VTT students build interfaith connections
VTT’s HannukkaMunity of LOVE. (photo from Vancouver Talmud Torah)
Vancouver Talmud Torah has two great Chanukah-related initiatives, one for the students to connect with students from other schools and one to bring parents and staff to work together and build the HannukkaMunity of LOVE. For the former, VTT students from grades K-7 have prepared Chanukah gift packages for Muslim, Catholic and First Nations children in British Columbia. Each package includes items related to the holiday with an explanation and a personalized greeting. Grade 7 students are making a video to include to help educate children from other faiths and cultures about Chanukah.
Shoshana Burton, VTT’s interim director of Jewish life and programming, said, “We want to emphasize the value of diversity and a building of a connection that is based on tolerance, curiosity and a pride of who we are by sharing the warmth of Chanukah with our peers. These gifts are just a start! They will be delivered on Dec. 12 to St. Augustine’s Catholic school, the Ismaili Muslim school and to First Nations Namgis T’sasala … on Vancouver Island.”
VTT Grade 7 students will also be exchanging gifts with Grade 7 students in the Ismaili community. “I have met Ismaili leaders who are excited about reciprocating in kind,” said Burton. “It’s an opportunity to teach our students about the upcoming Ismaili holiday,” which marks the birthday of the Aga Khan.
This exchange is the beginning of a partnership that will continue in February and March. In February, VTT students will have a chance to meet their counterparts at the other schools and get to know each other. Also, during spring break, they will be serving food to some residents of the Downtown Eastside.
“We’ll end our collaboration with families from both schools going out into the community for Random Acts of Chesed. We are calling it RAC Race TWOgether!” said Burton.