Faith and Friendship Day 2019

Faith and Friendship Day 2019

The 5th, 6th and 7th graders from New Horizon School and Weizmann Day School jumped right into the second annual Faith and Friendship Day. They’ve done other activities together this year—visiting each other’s schools for important annual celebrations and taking field trips.

However, Faith and Friendship Day is specifically designed for the students to teach each other some of the beliefs and practices of Islam and Judaism, their respective faith traditions.

Discovery Boxes

After some icebreakers, the students went out in teams to the field to explore the Discovery Boxes.  Each box held items associated with Fasting, Clothing, Prayer, Charity and the Ten Commandments.

The children explained to each other (sometimes with a little adult help) how and why the objects are used. They were surprised to learn that the words for charity—sadaqah in Arabic and tzedakah in Hebrew—are so similar. Also, in both faith traditions families have jars at home to save money to give to others in need.

They especially enjoyed learning about the Clothing and Prayer items—a keppa (Jewish men’s cap or yarmulke, hijab (Muslim women’s head cover), prayer rug, prayer shawl, and teffilin (small black boxes with Jewish scriptures).

But the hands-down favorite item this year was the shofar. An instrument made from a ram’s horn, the shofar announces the beginning of High Holy Days in Judaism.  Most of the students tried it out, and several got some sound out of it!

Peace Garden Prayer

Many children said that the Prayer Circle was their favorite activity.  Students from each school translated Hebrew and Arabic prayers into English and demonstrated how they pray.

They noted newly discovered similarities between the prayer traditions. Believers in both Islam and Judaism face toward a holy city while praying. They even use some of the same words while addressing God.

Art Project

Each team discussed what they’d learned that morning and how to represent their ideas to create Peace Doves.  As the photos show, each Peace Dove beautifully illustrates their new knowledge and appreciation for each other’s faith traditions.

If your school would like to hold a Faith and Friendship Day and needs help locating partner schools or designing suitable activities, please contact Dr. Lisa Patriquin, Program Director for Youth and Young Adults.