7 October 2015
Finchley Progressive Synagogue and Rabbi Rebecca Qassim Birk hosted a successful Barnet Citizens action over Sukkot, which saw Barnet Council agree to resettle 50 Syrian refugees.
As part of Liberal Judaism and Citizens UK’s Sanctuary campaign – which began last Sukkot – the event was hosted in conjunction with the Somali Bravanese Welfare Union, Vincentians in Partnership and Middlesex University Student Union.
The event resulted in the leader of Barnet Council, Richard Cornelius responding “Rabbi, the answer is yes” to Barnet signing up to the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme. More than 200 people were in attendance, including Liberal Judaism’s senior rabbi, Rabbi Danny Rich and Rabbi Danny Freelander, the president of the World Union of Progressive Judaism.
Barnet Citizens have organised five doctor’s practices, two schools, three landlords and work experience and training for the refugees.Rabbi Rebecca Qassim Birk said: “We know it’s not easy for a council to say yes, that’s why we needed local people to show their support, find homes and offer a warm welcome.
“There’s EU funding available to the council. Together we must act now and revive the great British tradition of helping those most in need.”
Over the past year Liberal Judaism and Citizens UK, working in partnership with Avaaz, have secured commitments from 22 councils – including Birmingham, Islington, Kingston, Malvern Hills, Newcastle and Edinburgh – to support 50 refugees each, and Glasgow has agreed to support 100 Syrians.
The campaign aims to help resettle 20,000 people nationally over the next two years. The next stop is a national action on Parliament Square on October 13, asking for 1,000 people to be resettled before Christmas.
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