“Help ye one another unto righteousness and pious duty.” Qur’an, 5:2
The only name they could come up with is the “Interfaith Iguanas” (?!), but they did brainstorm an exciting list of community service activities for the coming year. Jewish, Christian and Muslim teens gathered to break fast together, breaking stereotypes in the process. They sat in a circle, taking a Ramadan quiz, sharing their own fasting traditions, and asking a lot of questions. Parents stood back, smiling; one whispered, they’re learning so much more than they would sitting in a classroom.
We broke fast with dates — and a potpourri of dishes reflecting different families’ cultural traditions, from kugel to samosas to rice and beans (aptly called Moros and Cristianos) to lasagna. The teens discussed their plans — they’d like to participate in the 9/11 Unity Walk, tutor kids at an enrichment program, serve dinner at a shelter, and work with animals on a farm. One teen invited his new friends in faith to a Hannukah celebration, another to his family’s Christmas festivities. Then we prayed. Muslim teens lined up on a white sheet, facing east. The others, watching, listening, respecting.
Eboo Patel, founder of the Interfaith Youth Core and the inspiration behind this initiative, is on to something big: bring young people of different faiths together to connect through common values — and start a movement to change the world. Day 28: Deed 28: Connecting in faith, friendship and service.