Bridging the gap between cultures

Bridging the gap between cultures
  • Upper Division
Elaine Abrams and Ellie Perlmutter

By Elaine Abrams and Ellie Perlmutter, Denver JDS 10th graders

On April 9 our school hosted a program in the Upper Division for Crescent View Academy, a local Muslim school. Around 15 students from Denver Jewish Day School participated. These students were primarily in middle school, however, some high schoolers were included. There were around the same number of students from Crescent View Academy, but they were only in grades six through nine as their school is currently in the process of starting a high school. 

This is the second event of the year that is part of this new program between our two schools. In the fall, we went to their school. The program was started last year by Denver JDS alumna Alison Siegel and she passed it down to us when she graduated.

When the students from CVA arrived there was a brief icebreaker that involved M&Ms; this helped get everyone comfortable. The students engaged in a discussion about some of the similarities and differences between the two religions in regards to scripture. This conversation led to comparisons about other aspects of the different religions such as prayer and holidays. After this, we took the students from CVA on a tour of our Upper Division. When all of the students arrived back in the room where the program was happening, everyone enjoyed a kosher pizza lunch and chatted with students from both schools. In the final activity, while in small groups, students discussed the similarities and differences between the two schools themselves as they are both small, private, religious schools in Denver. 
 
This program is important because it gives students exposure to people they would otherwise have very little or no contact with. Not only does this allow students to engage with each other but all of the programs are educational and teach a lot about both faiths to the students. Every time that we have a program we learn a tremendous amount about Islam. We also have gotten positive feedback from both students at our school and theirs that they learned a lot. We hope to continue this program throughout our time at Denver JDS because we think it is a very valuable experience for all of the participants. 

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