Pope Francis has always stressed the inclusion of all people. He stated that “although we seek or meet God in different ways, we are all children of God.” What better time than during the Easter/Passover holidays to help spread the words of our Pope!
Thanks to a grant from St. Faith’s House Foundation, Cabrini Immigrant Services (CIS), Dobbs Ferry, held a special program for its Kids in Grades 1-5. The children learned through story, food and art about Easter, Passover and Ramadan. We had people present who are Christian, Jewish and Islamic. Their personal thoughts and experiences certainly added to the program.
Ellen Tessitore, a retired art teacher, created the program for the children. When the children first arrived, they completed a “Search a Word” puzzle where she used specific words that had to do with each of the holidays. She then read about each holiday and had the children do a project that was related to each one.
After reading about Easter, the children dyed Easter eggs. They decorated them and then added them to some “Easter grass.” Following Easter, Ellen read about Passover and the special meal that is served. The children then had matzo and charoset, which is a mixture of apples, pears, cinnamon and honey. They learned about what the different foods represent and why they are used at the Seder. The children then learned about Ramadan. They learned that the ninth month of the Muslim year is called Ramadan. It is a time of strict fasting. Besides fasting, people are encouraged to do good works, to be light in the world. Our children made “Charity Jars.” A votive candle was placed inside a jar and then the children dec
orated the outside of the jar with diverse color tissue paper. The jar is a reminder to always do good to others and to themselves. Every time they do a good work, they can open their jars and light the candle as a reminder that they are doing good works.
The children enjoyed hearing about the various religions and also about the different traditions. The main learning that everyone took home was that it doesn’t matter what religion you practice but that we are all one. What is important is what is in your heart and how you treat others. What a wonderful lesson for everyone to learn and how important it is to teach children the importance of acceptance. After all, as Pope Francis says, “We are all children of God.”Reli