Friends and Faith: a trip to remember
On Tuesday, March 14, the juniors and seniors embarked on the 40-minute drive to Pope John Paul 2 High School, a Catholic school near Royersford, PA. The program, which lasted a little over half a day, was part of a bigger program called Friends and Faith. Barrack students meet with PJP2 students three times in their time as upperclassmen with the hope of creating connections between Catholics and Jews. In October, Barrack hosted the PJP2 students, giving the seniors time to bond with the students of the other school.
The program was designed in a specific way to give students a chance to get to know each other personally and learn more about others’ religions. Students were split up into different color groups with whom they spent their time. There were four different rotations: jeopardy, word wall, texts learning, and a session in the chapel. Each rotation incorporated aspects of Judaism and Catholicism while giving students the ability to collaborate and learn from each other. Because this occurred in the springtime, there was a specific focus on Easter and Passover. As such, some of the rotations focused on traditions involving those holidays. In addition, two speakers presented the history and connections between Passover and Easter. They pointed out that symbols such as eggs are in both holidays and the origin of the holidays is similar.
I really enjoyed this opportunity to meet Catholic students who are my age. I learned a lot about the beliefs and traditions of Catholics and enjoyed sharing my experiences with my religion. Furthermore, I loved talking to them teen-to-teen, not just through the lens of interfaith learning. It was interesting to hear about their school experiences and their life outside of school. This experience inspired me to learn more about the culture of other religions and broaden my views on religion.
This was a great opportunity for students from both schools to bond and expand our worlds in a meaningful way. As a junior, I’m really looking forward to seeing the PJP2 students again next fall!