Why the incarcerated? And why now?
Equal Justice Initiative, Covid-19’s Impact on People in Prison, May 2020
Seven of the 10 largest outbreaks in the country have been at correctional facilities...
Seventy percent of Texas prisoners tested have the coronavirus...But testing has been limited to only 1,700 people—about 1% of the state’s prison population.
Many of these prisoners will die, as will thousands of other incarcerated people in the U.S. because of mass incarceration and our carceral policies. The pandemic has exposed serious problems with American incarceration that need to be addressed.
Why is Sukkot the time of our joy?
- What are the connections between feelings of joy and being in a permanent residence? In what circumstances might one feel joy while being in an uncertain or temporary space?
- What makes a dwelling feel temporary vs. permanent?
- In what structural and experiential ways are prisons temporary dwellings that are made to feel permanent?
- How is the practice of Ushpizin meant to increase joy on Sukkot?
- Who feels joyful through this practice and why?
- How does the concept of hiddur mitzvah (beautifying the mitzvah) enhance joy on Sukkot?
- How do you experience a holiday differently when you are in an undecorated or impersonal place versus when you are in a more intentionally decorated space?
- In the absence of certain individuals within our communities and societies, and when many cannot join us even if they wanted to, how can we nevertheless help them feel welcome and seen?
- If the individuals are us, how would or do we want to feel acknowledged and as a part of the Jewish collective?