The sukkah, the mosque and a new way to help refugees

10 October 2017

Rabbi Danny Rich, the senior rabbi of Liberal Judaism, helped to build a sukkah inside East London Mosque, assisted by a refugee family and local Muslim leaders (pictured), as part of an event to launch a new foundation for those fleeing Syria.

Sponsor Refugees has been set up by Citizens UK to help resettle more refugees in the UK over the coming years, by boosting community sponsorship.

This new foundation will advise and support community groups who take on the responsibility of raising funds, finding a home and then welcoming and settling refugee families in their neighbourhoods.

Community sponsorship of refugees was launched by the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, in 2016 and groups around the UK have successfully pioneered the scheme. It received a further boost at the East London Mosque event – which took place during Sukkot – when 42 Muslim, Jewish, Christian and non-faith groups pledged to also become sponsors. South London Liberal Synagogue was among those taking the pledge.

Danny said: “During Sukkot, Jews live in temporary booths, reminding us of the frailty of our existence. Combine that with our historical experience, and I expect Jews to be particularly sympathetic to those fleeing persecution and disruption today.

“That is why I am calling on the entire Jewish community to put some of its considerable intellect, skills and resources behind the community sponsorship scheme. With support from Sponsor Refugees, we can make a real difference.”

Community sponsorship is based on a successful Canadian programme where churches, mosques, synagogues and community groups have welcomed and supported 300,000 refugees since 1979.

Tim Finch, director of Sponsor Refugees, says: “Everyone who hears about community sponsorship is enthused by it, as it gives ordinary people a chance to directly transform the life of a refugee family, not at arms-length, but in their own neighbourhood.”

Visit for full details as to how you can help.

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