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Thoughts on Interfaith Week

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Thoughts on Interfaith Week

My name is Sara and I am currently a student at Cardiff University. I am also the Treasurer of the Cardiff JSoc. I'm a huge supporter of and very passionate about interfaith here in Cardiff. I believe that interfaith unites us and brings us together in terms of our similarities rather than our differences.

In Cardiff, there is an accessible and welcoming Chaplaincy who is always open to everyone and anybody. Every Tuesday they serve £1 lunches and every Friday there is a drop-in cafe. These small events allow you to meet and interact with people from all faiths, ask questions in a safe and supportive environment.

Every year we host the 'National Interfaith Question Time'. This event is well supported with 92 members of the audience last year. The 9 faith societies in Cardiff each have a representation on the panel to answer any questions from the audience concerning their faith and religious doctrine. Cardiff University welcomes all students from a diverse background.

The faith societies at Cardiff include:

  • Christian Union
  • Catholic Society
  • Anglican and Methodist Society
  • Islamic Society
  • Ahlul Bayt Society
  • Jewish Society
  • Sikh Society
  • Hindu Society
  • Atheist, Humanist & Secularist Society

At Cardiff,  we also have the Global Village coming up. This is an annual event in which global cultures and faiths host stalls. This opportunity allows students to sample their traditional cuisine, learn about other cultures and celebrate being part of Cardiff’s international community. These events are a celebration of the internal diversity and global opportunities available at Cardiff.

On our first JSoc Friday Night (Shabbat) Dinner, we invited the Anglican and Methodist Society as well as others from different religions. This was an amazing opportunity to share a traditional Jewish Shabbat dinner including Kiddush (blessings over wine and bread) and Birkat Hamazon (Grace after meals).

Also, this year, we hope that JSoc will collaborate with the Islamic Society for Mitzvah day. We have a tradition in Cardiff University, which we have done for the last few years, during which we make sandwiches and create a little food bags for the homeless. We hand these bags out to the homeless in Cardiff city centre. These events are a great way to get involved with interfaith events.

I'm also the Cardiff Jewish representative for the CCJ (Council of Christians and Jews). We also plan to host a quiz night, 'speed faithing', living library events at the Chaplaincy with the other faith societies. For me, coming from a Jewish background and Jewish school, I personally feel somewhat ignorant about other religions. I love going to these events to broaden my knowledge in terms of their beliefs, traditions, festivals etc. In Wales there are not many Jewish students and the Jewish community is small, it is so common to hear 'you're the first Jew I have ever met' which is strange to a Londoner being surrounded by Jewish people back at home. Therefore, interfaith events also allows myself to expand my Jewish knowledge and background to others. To make them more aware of our religion. Interfaith events allows for first-hand perspective stories to be told rather than hearing about stereotypes and racism via the media and politics. Interfaith allows us to come together and share our similarities rather than our differences and create these bridges between us. It doesn’t matter what faiths, backgrounds or cultures we are from. We can come together to battle global, political and racism issues. We have more in common with each other than we think!

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