Rabbi Herbert Brockman of Congregation Mishkan Israel (CMI), one of the program’s founders, shared with the group the story of Abraham and the lessons rabbis derived from it. It was decided that focusing on the resources - synagogues and churches and their cadre of volunteers - would be a workable solution to house some of the overflow shelter. Abraham’s Tent was born.
CMI has since been among the estimated 900 volunteers from 19 congregations from across New Haven’s religious spectrum to provide housing to alleviate overcrowding at the Columbus House Overflow Shelter during the winter months.
This year, Congregation Mishkan Israel will host Abraham’s Tent during the week of January 8-15. During their stay, the stigma of homelessness disappears as the group is welcomed as guests into a friendly and relaxed atmosphere of enjoying dinner, playing cards, watching TV and schmoozing with caring volunteers before going to bed. In the morning, they wake up to a hearty breakfast and then leave for the day with brown bag lunches decorated by children in the CMI’s Religious School.
CMI’s volunteers have found participation in Abraham’s Tent to be so fulfilling that many‘re-up’ year after year and have even become regular volunteers at Columbus House year round.