Over 250 students, parents and teachers gathered at Sydney’s Arkana College on Wednesday 28 April for Ramadan Interfaith Iftar organised together by Arkana College and Mt Sinai College with the support of inclusive not-for-profit, Together For Humanity (TFH), and was the culmination of TFH’s inter-schools program attended by year 5 and 6 students from both schools.
The evening brought the two communities together in a spirit of warmth and openness. Guests learnt about the holy month of Ramadan, prayed together, shared culture, traditions and formed connections over an abundance of Halal and Kosher food.
Together For Humanity National Director, Rabbi Zalman Kastel AM said the Iftar was a significant Interfaith event bringing together children and parents of two faiths and cultures.
“The idea behind the gathering was to give children (and their parents) the opportunity to come into contact with people they might never otherwise meet. In doing so, they reduce their fears about cultural difference and develop empathy and mutual acceptance. Living together and appreciating our multicultural differences are the bedrock of our society in Australia. Events like these are critical in breaking down barriers and increasing social harmony,” he said.
Sam Halbouni, Principal of independent Islamic primary school Arkana College which hosted the event, said the Iftar was a chance to expand on the connections made by the students.
“The two communities seldom come together, if at all, so we created an opportunity for them to interact. In a warm and welcoming environment, they could explore their differences, delight in their similarities and forge new friendships,” he said.
Phil Roberts, Principal of independent Jewish primary school Mt Sinai College said the school had been involved with Together For Humanity and the Interfaith program for close to 15 years.
“I’ve seen waves of year 6 children go through and benefit enormously from developing that intercultural understanding. It’s been magnificent,” he said.
Together For Humanity is an inclusive, not-for-profit organisation that works with school communities to combat prejudice, teaching students how to deal with differences and supporting teachers to create culturally inclusive classrooms. Since 2002, it has reached nearly half a million, primarily young, Australians through its programs that foster greater connection and inclusion.