Published : Monday, March 21, 2016 | 2:15 PM
For the fifth year in a row, the Interfaith Student Exchange between middle schoolers at a Muslim and Jewish school in the Los Angeles area has impacted student lives and perspectives. Seventh graders from Sinai Akiba Academy, a Jewish day school in Beverly Hills and the seventh and eighth graders from New Horizon School, an Islamic day school in Pasadena, visited each other’s campuses and participated in a variety of activities designed to help students get to know each other better and appreciate the similarities in their faiths and in their American cultural identity.
On the New Horizon campus this week, much of the activities centered around the NHS Peace Garden. Faculty advisors facilitated discussions on the importance of taking care of the environment in both faiths, and students moved between art and garden stations for hands-on activities.
In the innovation lab, students combined their collective creative energies to paint messages of peace, nature, and love on a rock or tree cookie with their interfaith partner. One of the goals of working in the Peace Garden space was to teach students about the sustainability features of water harvesting in the garden with focus on the new hugel (mound of natural materials), a dry arroyo bed, and mulching and bioremediation. They then moved on to other work in the garden such as completing a lasagna mulching project.
The final activity in the garden brought all students together under an 80-year old fig tree, for a concluding prayer for peace and harmony in our world and to thank our friends for their help in the garden.
The leadership at both schools wholeheartedly support this endeavor considering it to be a valuable opportunity for building bridges and understanding.
New Horizon School Pasadena, 651 N. Orange Grove Blvd, Pasadena, (626) 795-5186 or visit www.newhorizonschool.org.