On Monday, December 26th, the seventh night of Hanukkah, rabbis and Occupiers joined a family on the westside of Chicago to reconsecrate their new home, which they recently reclaimed from the banks after it was vacant due to foreclosure.
Among other things, Hanukkah is a celebration of the re-occupation of the Temple in Jerusalem after it was seized and desecrated by the Syrian King Antiochus. In 164 BCE, led by the Maccabees, the Jews rededicated their reclaimed spiritual home, the Temple. Today, almost 2200 years later, many brave justice seekers are reclaiming for families homes that were unethically–and in some cases illegally–seized and desecrated by the banks.
One such family is Sabrina Morey and Carlos Arsiniega’s. Sabrina, unemployed mother of 4, and her sister Samantha, mother of 3, have been struggling to live in a stable home environment, due to lack of money and affordable or public housing.
This injustice persists despite the fact that the foreclosure crisis has swept across the country leaving hundreds of thousands of homes vacant. Census data from 2010 shows 174,000 vacant homes in Chicago alone.
With the support of Communities United Against Foreclosure and Eviction, Sabrina and Carlos stood up against this travesty by “reclaiming” for their family a home that the banks had made vacant. Their family held a housewarming on December 6th, 2011, as part of a national day of action to resist and reverse foreclosures.
During Hanukkah this year, the rabbis and radicals of Occupy Judaism and the Spiritual Affairs Committee of Occupy Chicago rededicated Sabrina’s and hundreds of other re-occupied homes with the lights of the holiday.
Kim Janssen covered the Hanukkah Party for the Sun-Times, and quoted Rabbi Menachem:
“Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of our reclaimed spiritual home, the Holy Temple in Jerusalem,” said Rabbi Menachem Cohen, who said a prayer to “reconsecrate” the Northwest Side home. “In the same way, we are today reclaiming and rededicating this home and, symbolically, all of the homes across the nation that were seized and desecrated unethically and in some cases, illegally, by the banks.”
“I’m a Christian but it’s all good if God is involved,” said Morey, who said she pays gas, water and electricity bills at the property. Activists helped reinstall plumbing stolen by burglars, though the home still has no sinks, she said. To property owners who consider her squatting unjust, she said, “The real injustice is that poor, homeless families who are struggling have nowhere to live when there are so many vacant homes.”
Fox News also covered the Hanukkah rededication and have video with the article.