U2 singer Bono. Photo by AP
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Two words you don’t often see in the same sentence: Bono and Sukkot.

But the U2 rocker/activist’s ONE advocacy group, which fights poverty in the Horn of Africa, has released a PDF booklet that links the desperate situation in Africa with the ancient Jewish holiday.

Read more about Sukkot in the United States on the Jewish Journal.

On Sukkot we gather in flimsy booths to remember when the Children of Israel wandered through the desert. But a fragile, hungry existence is the daily reality for millions of Africans.

The pamphlet provides Jews observing the holiday, and their rabbis, with facts, figures, text and rituals to make the connection between the lessons of Sukkot and the reality of Africa. The purpose, according to the project’s creator Marc Friend, an intern at the American Jewish World Service, is to inspire Jews to act to address the situation.

The three-page pamphlet states:

In Jewish tradition, the holiday of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, provides a time for one to remember the journey from Egypt to the Promised Land and to celebrate the benefits of the harvest, by living in temporary structures, a Sukkah for a week.

Yet, for millions in the Horn of Africa, living in temporary structures is a reality. Currently the Horn of Africa is experiencing its worst drought in 60 years. More than 13 million people, mostly nomadic pastoralists and farmers in parts of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia are severely lacking access to food.

Instead of being able to celebrate the harvest, these millions are left hungry and powerless.
The holiday of Sukkot provides an opportunity to celebrate our past, but recognize that while we are free, others are still wondering the desert.

As the Horn of Africa faces such high levels of human suffering, we can draw on our Jewish values and raise our voices together.

Click here to download Bono’s guide to Sukkot.

Bono founded ONE in 2002. (He wrote the song, “One,” in 1992. Monies from that went to benefit AIDS research.)

Read more on the Jewish Journal.