(Jewish Chaplain Alex Goldberg (r) and Rev Katie Thomas (l) with two members of the Islamic Society taking a break after moving sacks of rice)

Jewish Chaplain Alex Goldberg (r) and Rev Katie Thomas (l) with two members of the Islamic Society taking a break after moving sacks of rice

by Jack Mendel

Jewish, Muslim and Christian students came together for a joint food and money collection for refugees over succot.

The University of Surrey Jewish Society (Jsoc), Islamic Society and the Holy Trinity Church Guildford joined forces after being inspired by the Jsoc’s pop-up succah.

The temporary structure for succot prompted interfaith discussion, because it reminded the different faiths of make shift tents at Calais, inspiring them to consider what they could do to support refugees.

 As succot came to an end, they united with Calais People to People, to run a joint-Collection on campus last Frida – October 9.

The collection raised over £300 and the appeal for food brought in around £400 in food donations.

Assisting in the collection included refugees, children of refugees and their grandchildren from all three faiths.

Bags of food that were collected

Bags, cans and tins of food that were collected

 Money will go to providing tents in Calais and support for refugees on the Greek Island of Kos. Volunteers from Woking Mosque will deliver the Interfaith Aid.

 The three faith-based groups are now planning future joint action for refugees, including a Refugee Fundraising Dinner.

 Jewish Chaplain Alex Goldberg commented:  “It was moving seeing Jewish, Muslim and Christian students and clergy coming together to raise funds for refugees in Calais. All of us have been so have seen events unfold this summer and wanted to demonstrate that refugees were welcome at the University. Jews, Muslims and Christians helped each other to take large sacks of rice into the food storage area. Some of those helping were refugees, their children and grandchildren.”

 Rev Katie Thomas of Holy Trinity Guildford said:  “It was a real privilege to work with the Jewish and Islamic societies on Friday.  We were delighted with what we were able to collect for refugees – both in terms of food and money – but it was much more than just a collection – it was a profound witness to the university campus that people of all faiths can work (and laugh) together.  It was both incredibly fun and deeply moving – we’d love to work together for charity again.”

Surrey University has 100 Jewish students and staff and was the first university in the UK to develop an official interfaith programme.