Interfaith Program shines in Golden Valley
A group of local students got an annual reminder that there are many traditions and holidays celebrated this time of year. Many of them are different from what they might celebrate at home. Every year since 1992, third graders from Good Shepherd Catholic School in Golden Valley have hosted a group of third graders from the Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School. The Jewish students learn about Christmas and some of the Catholic traditions surrounding the holiday.
Meanwhile, the Catholic students learn about Hanukkah and the various symbols involved with that celebration. Teachers from both schools say this exchange program helps the students better understand one another.
“I think third grade students from our school know little about Jewish faith,” said Kris Timian. She teaches third grade at Good Shepherd. “This gives them an opportunity to learn more about other faiths and how their neighbors celebrate significant holidays in their lives.”
Third grade teacher Rebecca Steinberg of Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School agrees.
“In this day and age when people are in their own silos and they’re not talking to other people who are different from them, it’s really important for people to be educated. To learn about other religions, and to learn to be respectful and also have that knowledge.”
The cultural exchange continues in the spring. Students from Good Shepherd will have the opportunity to go to a synagogue to meet a rabbi. There they will learn about Passover and important Jewish symbols.