Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Jewish Academy of Orlando partners with Christian and Muslim schools for Multi-faith program


December 27, 2019

MEP students learning about the Torah.

Jewish Academy of Orlando fifth grade students partnered with Muslim peers from Leadership Preparatory School and Christian peers from Geneva School in a day of learning at JAO. The event is the first of the schools' three-part Multi-faith Education Program that has been in place for 17 years. The students meet at each school to learn about each other's cultures and religions.  

The Multi-Faith Education Program began when its founder, Louise Franklin Sheehy, worked to foster a climate of peace among the children of the different Abrahamic faiths. 

The students spent the day in a variety of activities. They learned about the holidays and played an Israel game. They also saw a Torah and learned how it is written. At the end of the day the students socialized and even played dreidel.  

"Through the MEP our students have, not only the opportunity to learn about other faiths, but also to build bridges of understanding among their peers," said Alan Rusonik, head of school.

When discussing interfaith dialogue, the Right Honorable Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, former Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, once said: "God has given us many faiths but only one world in which to co-exist. May [our interfaith] work help all of us cherish our commonalities and feel enlarged by our differences." 

In this spirit, Rusonik continued, "We are proud that this program helps to promote understanding, dialogue, unity and gives our students and their peers tools to change the world."

Jewish Academy of Orlando serves central Florida students of all faiths from transitional  kindergarten through fifth grade. The school delivers a whole-child education fostering academic excellence and character education rooted in Jewish values. Jewish Academy of Orlando is accredited by the Florida Council of Independent Schools.  

To learn more about Jewish Academy of Orlando, please visit: jewishacademyorlando.org or follow the school on Facebook facebook.com/JewishAcademyOrlando.


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