Life at school can be tricky for students of minority faiths and cultures. Some situations, like overt discrimination, are easier to identify – and are illegal. More common, though, are situations that are perfectly legal but insensitive and make minority faith students uncomfortable. Students might wonder what to do when they have an exam on a religious holiday, for example, or how to deal with Christmas, Easter and other majority faith holidays in school. Or they might want to know how to respond when they’re always called upon in class to present the “Jewish/Muslim/Hindu/Other” point of view.
To provide resources for answering these kinds of questions, the Community Relations Committee (CRC) of the Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee has put together an interfaith program called “Stronger Together: How Religious Minorities Can Thrive at School.” It will take place at 7 p.m. Monday, October 21 at Montgomery Bell Academy in the Ingram Science Building’s Pfeffer Auditorium. The event is free to the public, and will include time for questions and answers from the audience. A dessert reception will follow the program.
The program’s panel is comprised of Gini Pupo-Walker, executive director of the Department of Family and Community Partnerships for Metro Nashville Public Schools; Tamara Losel, executive director of the Nashville Conflict Resolution Center; Trapper Baum, a retired principal with Metro Nashville Public Schools; Judy Saks, former director of the Jewish Federation’s Community Relations Committee, and Remziya Suleyman, director of policy and administration for the American Center for Outreach. Each panelist will bring a unique perspective on how students of minority faiths can work within and outside the school system to get their needs met.
The CRC thanks the following community publicity partners for their help in publicizing this program to their constituencies: Akiva School, Congregation Beit Tefilah Chabad, Congregation Micah, Congregation Sherith Israel, Family of Abraham, Harding Academy, Islamic Center of Nashville, Metro Nashville Human Relations Commission, Montgomery Bell Academy, The Temple, University School of Nashville, Vanderbilt’s Office of the University Chaplain and Religious Life, and West End Synagogue.
More publicity partners are expected to join the effort as the event approaches. For more information contact Abbie Wolf, director of community relations for the Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 354-1637. •