A joint venture of Arkana College (Muslim), Mount Sinai College, the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies Education Secretariat and Together for Humanity, the program brings the students together four times a year for the purpose of learning more about each others’ cultures and faiths.
The Year 5 and 6 students met for a day of cooking and discussion about food and charity, as practised by their cultures. Our Big Kitchen organised the cooking activities, and with the Board of Deputies and Oz Harvest hosted discussions about food and social justice.
Arkana College Principal Osman Karolia said: “What our schools have done, with the help of the Board of Deputies, Al Ghazzali, Our Big Kitchen and Together for Humanity, is almost unheard of, anywhere. Plenty of schools meet and chat, but the nature of this relationship is inspiring.”
Mt Sinai College Principal Phil Roberts: “Osman and I share a similar optimistic perspective and both recognise that the hand of friendship has no colour. We both believe the experiences the children share can be transformative. It is heartening to see the children playing and working side by side.”
Students described the day by saying “Everything was great! We loved cooking. When will we do something this fun again?” They learned that “Our Big Kitchen belongs to everyone and that a Muslim family helped start it”; “Oz Harvest gives food to those in need”; “How Muslim girls put the veil on and why they wear it”; “Why Jewish men and women sit on different sides in the synagogue”; and “How to cut carrots”.
The first event of the program was held at Mt Sinai College, while the second comprised planting trees with the Al-Ghazzali Centre in Riverwood. The fourth will be held at Arkana College.
Our Big Kitchen is housed in the Sydney Yeshiva Centre.