On the seventh night of Hanukkah Monday, a Jewish celebration of the re-occupation of the Temple in Jerusalem, Chicago Rabbis blessed homes reclaimed from bank seizures by families who were reportedly evicted on unethical or illegal grounds.
The home of Sabrina Morey, an unemployed mother of 4, was one of 174,000 sitting vacant in Chicago, according to 2010 Census data, after being evicted by a bank foreclosure. As part of a national reclamation movement aligned with the Occupy Wall Street movement, Morey re-occupied her home with a housewarming party Dec. 6.
"I believe what we are doing is right, because people need a place to live," Morey said about the occupation. "There should be no vacant homes anywhere."
In solidarity with the movement, led by Communities United Against Foreclosure and Eviction, Rabbi Menachem Cohen organized the rededication of homes reclaimed by their former occupants.
"Just as each night of Hanukkah we add a candle to increase light and each day of the year is getting longer since the solstice, we hope to cast increasing light on the injustice of these mass foreclosures and bring blessing to those struggling with the imminent and real loss of one of the most basic human needs, shelter," Rabbi Cohen said in a statement.