Interfaith charity marks succot with quilt of 700 squares made by refugees
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Interfaith charity marks succot with quilt of 700 squares made by refugees

Pieces of fabric woven together for the CCJ's project, with its president Rabbi Wittenberg saying it brings the festival's 'central theme into a contemporary context'

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Quilt woven together by refugees to mark succot
Quilt woven together by refugees to mark succot

The Council of Christians and Jews, the oldest interfaith charity in Britain, has created an innovative project to mark Succot — the Little Squares of Hope: Shelter from Storm Project.

Almost 700 separate fabric squares have been embroidered and decorated, primarily by refugees who are now living all over Britain. They come from Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Eritrea, and many other countries, and are now living in Sheffield, London, Manchester, and in towns and cities in Scotland. Faith communities have also taken part.

The squares have been sewn together to form a beautiful quilt which is draped across the walls of a pop-up succah at JW3, the Jewish community centre for London. After Succot it will be possible to see the quilt online at the Jewish Museum, London.

Quilt woven together by refugees to mark succot

Each square represents the individual’s experience of being a refugee and their perspective of shelter.

Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, one of CCJ’s presidents, said: “The project brings Succot’s central theme into a contemporary context, and encourages the construction of a society which treats all people with dignity”.

Succah featuring the quilt

The project’s co-ordinator, CCJ programme manager Esther Sills, said: “The quilt serves not only as an outlet for experience to be heard, but as a thread of common humanity, building connection and bringing people closer together”.

Interim CCJ Director Dr Nathan Eddy added: “Since its founding, CCJ has advocated for a society which, without scepticism or hostility, offers people sent into exile ‘shelter from storm’”.

Quilt woven together by refugees to mark succot

Participating organisations included Barnet Refugee Service, Caritas Social Action Network, Churches Refugee Network, JW3, King David High School Manchester, Refugee Support Network, Refugee Voices, Rene Cassin, Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees, Sephardi Voices, St Gabriel’s College, the Refugee Council, the Jewish Council of Racial Equality, the Jewish Museum London, and World Jewish Relief.

 

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