Springfield youth for group to create understanding across faiths

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
A newly formed interfaith youth group learns about the Jewish faith when they stop by the Temple Sholom in Springfield.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A group of Springfield youth from Muslim and Christian backgrounds have come together to learn more about different religions.

“We’re friends with some of the girls from the mosque,” Emily Hasccke, a student at Springfield High and member of the Interfaith Youth Group, said. “We all thought it would be neat to start this group and to learn more about each other’s faith and to learn about other faiths in that process.”

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Sana Ahmed, a member of the Miami Valley Islamic Association, was then approached to facilitate the interfaith group. She and Hasccke had met through school, where Ahmed student taught. Ahmed is also a member of the Miami Valley Islamic Association.

The group formed in February and has been discussing faith differences and learning about different faiths.

“We meet up a lot, either at our church or at the mosque,” said Helena Buckman, a student and member of the group.

The topics they focus on can range from food to friendship, and then the group will discuss how their religions deal with those different subjects. They share their perspectives in hope of growing conversation and building understanding.

Along with meetings to discuss faith topics, the group has also visited Muslim and Christina places of worship.

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The Interfaith Youth Group learned about another faith when they visited the Temple Sholom last week and listened to Rabbi Cary Kozberg speak about Reformed Jewish traditions. The group of about 20 learned about a range of topics such as Jewish worship practices and beliefs about the after life.

They were also able to see and learn about the Torah, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible.

In addition to learning about different faiths, the group also participated in a peace walk in June.

“We had two people speak about what it was about and what our goals were,” Ahmed said. “It was a really nice moment to see them walking with their posters. It was cool because I’ve always seen interfaith more at the college level or the adult level, and when they came forward wanting to do this at the high school level, I was really proud because I don’t see that as much.”

Their next move includes partnering with the Global Education and Peace Network to do a poetry night in April.

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“We’re also working on expanding the group,” Buckman said. “We want more kids from different faiths and churches because you learn a lot from just being friends with someone.”

Hasccke said she was surprised to learn how much was the same between the different faiths.

“One thing I’ve learned from Interfaith is that there are so many similarities,” she said. “But it’s also nice to talk about the differences and to make sure that we all have that understanding that it’s OK to have those differences.”

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