Looking for another fulfilling aspect to add to your sukkot repertoire? You’re in luck, because Ari Johnson, who you might know from such projects as Jews in the Woods and Moishe/Kavod House Boston, is organizing a great new initiative combining celebrating sukkot and social action.
Sukkot hearkens back to a time when Jews were harvesting and had substantially less protection from the elements in their lives, an era when natural disasters and disease threatened. In this present day, many Jews no longer feel the insecurity our ancestors did, but we can all help fight disease and help people who sleep in sukkot, not as a spiritual choice/obligation but as a necessity.
In Mali, and many other places, due to the heat of the rainy season it is important to sleep where the outside breezes cool people down. However, those same places have ample mosquitoes many of which carry malaria and are especially prevalent during that season. Without nets people die of an alarmingly preventable disease. Ari thought to link our sleeping in sukkot with theirs and the Sukkathon is a project where folks will (safely) sleep in sukkot to raise money to buy mosquito nets for places where so doing is unsafe. Sukkathons being organized in communities in Toronto, Providence, Waltham, Worcester, Newton, New Haven, and Philly thus far, will you be the next to step up?
Get the details on the flip…
The Sukkathon to Fight Malaria Each year, more than one million people die of malaria, most of them children under age five living in Sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria is largely preventable and treatable. Insecticide-treated bed nets are one of the most potent life-saving tools we have to prevent the disease. By sleeping under these nets every night, people living in malaria-heavy areas are protected from mosquitoes that carry the disease.
This Sukkot, the Jewish community is mobilizing in solidarity with those who are vulnerable to malaria and cannot afford the tools to protect themselves. In Sub-Saharan Africa, lacking the shelter and security of mosquito-proof housing or even a net to hang over a child’s bed can have deadly consequences.
On Sukkot, we eat and sleep in the sukkah in memory of a more fragile time in our own people’s history, when we were wandering in the desert, without the shelter and safety of permanent homes. Through the mitzvah of dwelling in the sukkah, we create a living memory and a bond between our own people’s legacy and all who live without safe shelter.
The Sukkathon to Fight Malaria is working in partnership with Project Muso Ladamunen, the Project for the Empowered Woman, to raise money for bed nets for pregnant women and young children who are most vulnerable to malaria.
Here’s how you can help:
1. Get sponsors. Set a goal of how many bed nets you will contribute
(each bed net costs just $8). Ask your family, friends, classmates, and coworkers
to sponsor you, and you can even sponsor yourself! Sponsors can
pledge bed nets for each night you sleep in the sukkah, or make a single
2. Sleep in the sukkah. This is especially fun to do with friends or family.
If you don’t have a sukkah at home, find out about sleeping in a friend’s
sukkah, or in your Hebrew school’s or synagogue’s/temple’s sukkah.
3. Collect pledges. Tell your sponsors how many nights you slept in the
sukkah, and collect donations. Sponsors should make checks out to “Under
the Baobab Tree, Inc.,” the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that runs
Project Muso, with the note “Sukkathon” on the memo line. Please mail
Under the Baobab Tree
PO Box 25651
Washington, DC 20027
Donations may also be made by credit card at http://www.projectmuso.org/DonateNow.htm .
All contributions are tax-deductible to the extent provided by law.
Please email [email protected] with any questions.