Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Temporary voluntary Homelessness


As you move into your Succah, the Mishnah instructs, ‘make your permanent temporary, and your temporary permanent.’ This is the season when we open ourselves up to the elements, voluntarily, and move into temporary dwellings, voluntarily.

As an exercise in realising what it is to have no permanent roof over one’s head it strikes me a little like those terrible stunts where ‘normal’ people live on a pittance for a week to prove that it can be done. The stunts are terrible because when the stunt comes to an end, or before then, if we run out of enjoyment, or if the weather isn’t rosy enough we voluntarily retreat to our cosy homes.


There are terrible floods in Bolder, Colorado. A colleague of mine, Rabbi Marc Soloway has four feet of water in his basement.

And then there is the news from Syria, 2,000,000 people are living in refugee camps, with levels of shelter less impressive than our pre-fab, wind-proof Succah.


Spending some time in a Succah is a wonderful thing to do, it opens up the soul a bit – especially for the more urban among us, and allows us to feel profoundly grateful for the ability to retreat indoors into cosier spaces. That’s all good.

It’s also worth being able to demonstrate some of that gratitude by supporting those for whom the destruction visited on their ‘permanent’ homes is neither voluntary nor temporary.


The Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado has set up a flood disaster response fund. You can link  to it from http://www.jewishcolorado.org/

And, I make no apologies for mentioning this for the second e-mail in a row, World Jewish Relief have a Syria Crisis Appeal. http://www.wjr.org.uk/


Chag Sameach,

May our experiences of homelessness always be temporary and voluntary.


Rabbi Jeremy


Rabbi Jeremy Gordon

New London Synagogue

0207 328 1026




Succot is coming - Wed night 18th Sept.

Services evening and morning at New London


Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur Sermons on the blog


A 'warm-up' to the prayers and music of Yom Kippur with Cantor Jason Green



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