The Intersection of Homelessness & Judaism:  A Discussion in the Sukkah with Professor Geoff Claussen & Kim Crawford – Sept. 24

The program takes place at the Sklut Hillel Center from 4:30-5:30 p.m.

On Tuesday, September 24, from 4:30-5:30 p.m., Elon Professor Geoff Claussen and Kim Crawford, executive director of Allied Churches (a Burlington agency supporting the poor and homeless), will share their insights and wisdom on homelessness.  

The discussion will take place inside the Elon sukkah, located behind the Sklut Hillel Center

What are the causes of homelessness?

What does homelessness look like in our community?

What are Jewish responses to homelessness?

This discussion will take place during the one-week holiday of Sukkot, the Jewish festival of giving thanks for the fall harvest.  During Sukkot, Jews erect a sukkah, a small, temporary booth or hut, in which they eat, celebrate, sleep, and relax.  The Elon sukkah was erected and decorated on September 18, at the beginning of the holiday.  The sukkah is located behind the Sklut Hillel Center, across from the tennis courts.

Elon Hillel sukkah at Sklut Hillel Center
On Sukkot, Jews are commanded to “live” in temporary booths for seven days, as a reminder of the time when wandering ancestors had to dwell in sukkot during the harvest.   This naturally draws to mind those who are homeless, or who must live in temporary housing all year round, unable to procure a permanent home of their own. We have the privilege of returning to our homes following the seven days, but there are many who have no homes to which they can return.

The event is organized by Elon Hillel, under the leadership of Mathew Goldberg ’14, the Hillel Coordinator for Social Justice.  “Sukkot is an important holiday and reminds us of the transient nature of life.  Through discussions with students, Professor Claussen, and community members from Allied Churches, we can break down boundaries and see that we are all part of one community.”

Mat Goldberg says that this issue is particularly important to him since he volunteered at a homeless day center.  “I’ve recognized the immense talent and profound stories each person has and hope to create a platform for understanding issue of homelessness.”

The discussion is open to all students, and snacks will be provided.  For more information, contact Mat Goldberg at