World’s Big Sleep Out: Chief Rabbi lends support to campaign to end homelessness
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World’s Big Sleep Out: Chief Rabbi lends support to campaign to end homelessness

'The peace and security of a roof over one’s head is a fundamental human necessity,' rabbi Ephraim Mirvis says

Participants spend the night in an Edinburgh park in 2017 as part of the campaign
Participants spend the night in an Edinburgh park in 2017 as part of the campaign

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has joined actors Dame Helen Mirren and Will Smith  in backing a global campaign calling for an end to homelessness.

Rabbi Mirvis said he was “very moved” by the World’s Big Sleep Out, a world event that will see thousands hunker down for the night on the pavement across 50 cities in a bid to show solidarity with rough sleepers.

He joined senior faith leaders of nine communities in pledging support for the campaign, including the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and the Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Vincent Nichols.

An estimated 2,000 are expected to settle in for the night in sleeping bags and cardboard boxes at Trafalgar Square on 7 December to raise funds for homelessness charities, including The Big Issue and Thames Reach.

Rabbis David Mason and Herschel Gluck will take part together with interfaith activist Zacki Cooper, who said: “At this time of fracture and division, it’s really significant that faith leaders have come together to support the World’s Big Sleep Out.”

“Homelessness is a shared challenge, and faith communities can help to tackle it through our collective efforts. We are delighted that faith leaders from different communities will be sleeping out,” Cooper added.

“The peace and security of a roof over one’s head is a fundamental human necessity. A home is not only a place where a person lays their head at night but the physical foundation upon which people can build for themselves a life of dignity and accomplishment,” Rabbi Mirvis said.

“It is a place from which one can offer kindness and hospitality to others and make a contribution of value to the world around us. That is why I wholeheartedly support all efforts to offer a helping hand to those without a home,” he added.

On-stage performances will include Dame Helen who will read a bed-time story,  and sets from musicians Travis and Tom Walkerby.

In New York’s Times Square, those taking part will be treated to a bedtime story read by Will Smith.

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