BzsBzN6CEAAdp3W

Decorating the Succah

Succot has marked the start of an initiative to get London councils to double the number of refugees they take in from the Middle East, as Jews construct temporary shelters to remember the refugee experience of their ancestors.

There was early success in Kingston, when 70 faith leaders gathered in the town centre and persuaded Tory council leader Kevin Davis to offer sanctuary to 50 people from UN camps in Syria.

Organisers say they want to offer refuge to 1,500 people across the capital, up from 750 today.

“It was a pleasure to welcome Christians and Muslims to celebrate the festival of Succot with us and share this important tradition of our faith,” said Rabbi Baginsky.

“Together we promise to aid and welcome refugees resettled to Kingston.”

Liberal Judaism’s Danny Rich said: “This isn’t about an open door immigration policy; it’s about helping some of the most vulnerable refugees and supporting them to safety here in Kingston.” 

There are 2.3 million refugees in Syria and Iraq and the Bishop of Kingston, Rev. Dr Richard Cheetham, said even if the UK resettled 1,500 people, this was still a small number when compared with countries such as Germany, which was offering to settle 10,000 Syrian refugees. 

“The UK has a tradition of offering a home to those displaced by war and oppression,” he said.

“In giving sanctuary to Syrian refugees we would be affirming the understanding which is central to the Christian faith that the stranger should be made welcome in our communities.”