Diversity Abounds At Interfaith Community Evening 2015
On March 11th, 2015, more than 150 people came together for Poetry Pals’ Interfaith Community Evening, featuring poetry and performances by Muslim, Jewish and Catholic 4th grade students and an interfaith community dialogue. Attendess included staff, parents and students from three participating schools MCC Academy, our host in Skokie, Sacred Heart Catholic School and Chicago Jewish Day School, as well as dozens of other community members interested in sharing and celebrating religious diversity.
Leaders from each school expressed the importance of children’s interfaith experiences and thanked Poetry Pals for the opportunity to learn from each other, and the crowd got a chance to experience some Poetry Pals activities and watch a video of the year’s highlights.
While the students left the gym to rehearse their end-of-the-evening performances, parents, families and community members got a chance to share more about traditions and practices most meaningful to Muslims, Jews, Catholics and others. They formed small groups to share more about holidays and interfaith issues in their community.
“This was a great way to conclude our year’s program, throughout which students got a chance to host, visit, write poetry with, and learn from others from different religious backgrounds,” said Poetry Pals Director Adam Shames. “Tonight was a wonderful opportunity for parents and community members to not only see the kids perform poems they wrote together, but to talk with others of different faiths who have more in common than they may have realized.”
Here is a sample poem from the evening, written by students:
At the Holy Place
At the mosque, I see the Imam reciting the prayer
And the women are wearing hijabs to cover their hair
At the synagogue I hear the cantor reading from the Torah
At the wedding, we dance the hora
I smell the candles burning in the chapel
While learning about Jesus preaching to his disciples
This is what happens at the holy place!
Poetry Pals appreciates the ongoing commitment from the three schools involved with this Community Evening and notes the years they have each been involved: MCC Academy–6 years, Sacred Heart–4 years, Chicago Jewish Day School–3 years. Thank you and congratulations on another fantastic year of creativity and sharing of faiths!