By BRIAN BONILLA
At the Anti-Defamation League’s annual Passover Seder, students showed that the best way to fight religious intolerance is with unity.
On Thursday, more than 75 Catholic, Muslim and Jewish middle school students from four New York City schools came together to experience a traditional Passover Seder and learn about each other’s holiday traditions. The annual event is a way for young minds to learn about other faiths and how to be tolerant of other religions.
“We’re all Human first,” said Aminata Camara a sixth grade teacher for the Islamic Cultural Center. “This shows that we can all come together as one. We can all put our differences aside, especially these times with a lot of stigma and misunderstandings in the media about certain faith groups.”
The voices and laughter of students filled the room as they interacted with each other. They sat at tables with students from other faiths and worked on drawings that expressed the similarities between each religion represented. After some of the drawings were presented everyone broke matzo bread and shared a traditional Passover Seder meal which included fish, vegetables, and bitter herbs.
“So many students live in a bubble they live in their own world around their family, religion. their friends,” said Evan Bernstein, the director of the ADL in New York City. “This is one of those opportunities for them to break out of their bubble.”
One student who understands this is Ben, an eighth grade student at the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan.
“I go to a Jewish school and it’s not every day I get to meet people from other religions,” he said. “Now if I meet someone who isn’t Jewish I’ll have more of a background behind them instead of being completely oblivious to other religions.”
This event comes at a time where cases against Trump’s travel ban, which targeted people of Islamic faith, are ongoing and interfaith tensions are high. Maybe something can be learned from these kids.
Photo by Brian Bonilla.