Muslim and Jewish school students work together

July 8, 2010 Agencies
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More than sixty Muslim and Jewish students from two Sydney schools have joined forces at Riverwood in a  intercultural program.

Gil Hergrass (Mt Sinai) and Zain Khan (Arkana)

A joint venture of Arkana College, Mount Sinai College, the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies Education Secretariat and Together for Humanity, the program brings the students together four times a year for the purpose of getting to know about each others’ cultures and faiths, and relationship-building.

The Year 5 and 6 students met for a day of tree planting and discussions about their shared concern for the environment. The Al-Ghazzali Centre organized the activities and together with the Board of Deputies facilitated a conversation about the perspectives of the Jewish and Muslim faiths on the issue of nurturing the world around us.

Arkana College Principal Osman Karolia described the program as “children of diverse backgrounds working together as young Australians – a reflection of all that is good about the fabric that constitutes modern Australia. Arkana College is thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful initiative, it demonstrates through actions what we as a school and as a community are all about.”

Mt Sinai College Principal Phil Roberts said “Osman and I share a similar optimistic perspective and we both recognise that the hand of friendship has no colour. We both believe the experiences the children share can be transformative. It is so heartening to see the children playing and working side by side.”

Gabi Srage (Mt Sinai) and Azra Darienda (Arkana)

Students described the day as “great fun – the idea of planting trees was great. It was a great experience.” “It’s a nice feeling when you work with people from different cultures.” They learned that “we aren’t that different to them”, “Islam has a connection to Mother Nature” and “the Jewish religion celebrates a Tree Birthday every year”.

This was the second event of an innovative four-part program.

The first event of the program was held at Mt Sinai College, the third will be held at Our Big Kitchen in Bondi in September and the fourth at Arkana College.

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