FASHIONED from empty plastic bottles lit in neon green, the
sukkah at St James's, Piccadilly, in London, was not
exactly as envisaged in Leviticus 23. But the roof was made
from vegetation, the spirit of hospitality was on show, and, with
the aid of the musical ensemble Don Kippur, a party was in full
swing on Tuesday.
The structure was made in collaboration with the Jewish Social
Action Forum, the West London Synagogue, the Trussell Trust, and
Gift, as part of a week-long celebration of the festivals of
Harvest and Sukkot, the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles,which
recalls the 40 years when the Israelites lived in temporary
shelters en route to the Promised Land.
The collaboration came about after the Bethlehem Unwrapped
events at St James's last Christmas, when a replica separation wall
was erected outside the church (News, 20
December), an event criticised at the time by the Board of
Deputies of British Jews as "highly biased".
The Board's interfaith and social-action consultant, Rabbi Natan
Levy, said on Wednesday: "On both sides there was felt to be a need
to start a dialogue, after a real breakdown of communication . . .
about what had happened and why it had happened. We then moved on
to something much more productive: 'What do we do now?'"
Jewish families who discovered it had been "shocked and
surprised that there was a kosher sukkah in the middle of
a church in central London. . . To put a sukkah in a
church dedicated to issues of hunger and justice is not something
that happens every day."
The Rector, the Revd Lucy Winkett, said: "Visitors have been
struck by this visible statement of joint social action, especially
as we are raising awareness of poverty in our city and collecting
for our local foodbank."