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Sukkot: Program Ideas for Congregations and Youth: Welcoming the Stranger

Ushpizin Chair Project: Invite all those artistically inclined (or religious school classes!) to decorate chairs in honor of the ushpizin guests symbolically invited into the sukkah. Encourage participants to include meaningful texts or quotations on the chairs and use different materials, paints, or techniques. At the end of the project, hold a fundraising auction of the chairs. This program was originally implemented by Congregation Shomrei Torah of Santa Rosa, CA.
Sukkat Shalom, Sukkah of Peace: Sukkot is an excellent time to welcome representatives from the local Arab-American community to join us in our Sukkot to engage in dialogue, debate, and learning about the current situation in the Middle East. Words of peace and sharing between our two groups can be most meaningful for all. 

Stone Soup: The URJ created a wonderful family education program using the classic folktale entitled, "Stone Soup." The story revolves around a poor man who visits a village in which no one wants to welcome him, due to the terrible poverty. The visiting man decides to create a "stone soup" for the community. When they see him, they think that the soup will taste terrible, so they begin to slowly bring vegetables and seasonings from their homes to contribute.

Breaking the Circle of Hate: Temple Har Zion of Thornhill, Ontario, created a one-day event designed to sensitize the congregation's youth to anti-semitism and racism with over 120 people participating. The senior youth group heard a lecture entitled "Anti-Semitism on Campus," the congregation's younger children learned to express their concerns artistically in a class called "Racism," and adult workshops focused on strategies to confront racism, neo-Nazism, and Holocaust revisionism. Following the one-day program, Temple Har Zion reached out to the community, creating numerous interfaith educational events and multicultural dialogues culminating in an interfaith retreat.

Additional Interfaith programming can be found in our Social Action Program Bank