Break­ing down borders — it’s thanks to bagels

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY - BY JOSH JACK­MAN

GRASS­ROOTS GROUPS or­gan­ised a syn­a­gogue Suc­cot event to hear from those help­ing refugees.

Left-wing ac­tivists Jew­das or­gan­ised the “Bagels Not Borders” event at East Lon­don Cen­tral Syn­a­gogue in con­junc­tion with Food Not Bombs, which re­dis­tributes sur­plus food from busi­nesses to those in need.

Speak­ers in­cluded 21-year-old Sheffield Univer­sity JSoc pres­i­dent Joanna May Sut­ton-Klein, who vol­un­teered at the tem­po­rary school set up in the so­called Calais jun­gle refugee camp.

A Jew­das spokesper­son said that though ev­ery­one had a re­spon­si­bil­ity to help those seek­ing safety, the story around Suc­cot gave the sit­u­a­tion ex­tra res­o­nance.

“We wanted to do some­thing. It’s the right time in the Jewish cal­en­dar and there’s been a lot of great stuff com­ing from the Jewish com­mu­nity and other groups — there’s a suc­cah in Calais right now, for in­stance.

“We thought of do­ing a protest but there’s al­ready been a huge demon­stra­tion which was very suc­cess­ful with a large Jewish bloc. So the idea of this was hear­ing from the peo­ple go­ing through the cri­sis.”

The free event also in­cluded din­ner, danc­ing and work­shops, and dis­cus­sions on racism, ex­ile and de­ten­tion. Vol­un­tary do­na­tions sup­ported the English classes for refugees that Jew­das runs.

Its spokesper­son added that while the refugee cri­sis was a prob­lem for ev­ery­one, it was “im­por­tant that we talk about how this re­lates to Jewish history.

“As Jews, we have the ben­e­fit of hind­sight. All the things now be­ing said about Mus­lims and mi­grants were said about Jews.”

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