Celebration of Unity in Diversity
For the second year, St. Thomas University, in conjunction with Fredericton’s Faith communities, held an open forum, April 4th, for its students and the public to join together in Celebration of Faith in Diversity. The theme this year, was The Celebration of Youth.
The all day event was opened by New Brunswick’s Lieutenant-Governor, Graydon Nicholas. He was followed by a number of young people representing their Faith communities, who spoke of how their religious values and beliefs impact their daily lives. Some spoke of the difficulties they face as they attempt to integrate into the broader Canadian culture while upholding their own ethnic traditions.
Jasmine Kranat, a political science student at St. Thomas University, told the assembly about how recently as a youth, she’d come from a large Jewish community in London, England, to a small one, here in Fredericton, and some of the challenges it presented. How far more effort was needed in this smaller community to have any involvement, as in the larger community it was right there “in front” of you every day.
She said that she was pleased to have learned a lot about other students’ faiths and practices. Jasmine also mentioned that she is often asked by her friends who like to be invited for Friday Shabbat dinners. She is always happy to share it with them.
Jasmine’s light hearted presentation, was, as at the previous event, greeted with plenty of laughter from the audience.
The noon potluck meal provided by the participating Faith communities, featured several ethnic dishes including challahs and noodle kugels made by Ayten Kranat (Scrumptiously delicious!)
Afternoon celebrations included songs, poetry, dance and prayers…all focused upon the experience of youth in Fredericton. It was here that Jasmine fully demonstrated the Kiddush for Rosh Hashanah, giving a running translation and explanation of the symbolism involved.
Those of us from the public who attended the event found it a very enriching experience, and are looking forward to next year’s.