Schluffing at shul for all the right reasons
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Schluffing at shul for all the right reasons

Edgware and Hendon Reform Synagogue volunteers spent a night under the stars raising money for the homeless

Brigit Grant is the Jewish News Supplements Editor

The sleepout-ers
The sleepout-ers

The idea of sleeping at synagogue took on a whole new meaning last Saturday when Edgware and Hendon Reform Synagogue (EHRS) opened it’s doors to host the Big Barnet Sleep Out.

The event organised by Homeless Action in Barnet (HAB) and Together in Barnet (TiB) was part of an ongoing campaign to raise awareness and help the homeless and vulnerably housed in the borough.

Among the 30 ‘sleep-outers’ were staff members and Rabbi Emily Jurman who snuggled down for the night in the synagogue car park and sukkah after many months of raising much needed funds that will support both HAB and TiB over the coming 12 months.

The target was £25K and following Saturday’s event they are just short of the figure, but intend to keep pushing for the next few weeks.

Sleeping out in the car park

“We know that our sleep-out in no way matches the sense of danger, hunger and despair which rough sleepers face every day,” says John Bier (Chairman of HAB).

“However, it was a powerful way to raise money for the charities and to raise awareness of homelessness in all its forms.”

Sleeping on the streets for charity

The campaign which started last July has engaged six new companies and support even came from Maro Itoje of Saracens and England.

EHRS will continue with hosting the homeless after the high holidays.

The shelter will run from March through to June, but the hope is that it will continue all year if the funds can be raised. Audrey Zarach one of the co-ordinators of the TiB Night Shelter at EHRS says the response from members has been amazing, from the nursery who bake cookies and teens who help set up the night shelter before the guests come in for the night, to the members who cook the evening meals and those who sleepover with the homeless guests, we have been overwhelmed with the generosity of EHRS members.

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