On Wednesday, the Museum hosted one of my favorite events of the year. Since 2006, the Interfaith Living Museum (IFLM) has brought together students from Jewish and Muslim schools in the spirit of learning, compassion, and hope for three months of cooperative learning culminating in a final project. This year Clyde Haberman of the New York Times was there to see the students’ presentation—you can read his lovely article about the evening here.
IFLM is a fantastic program: this year students of the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan and the Islamic Leadership School of the Bronx met several times over the course of the semester and visited each other’s schools, a synagogue, a mosque, and museums (including ours) to learn about each others’ religion and culture. Then they began work on a joint project: their own “museum.” Each student brought in an artifact representative of their heritage—a prayer rug, a family cook book, a photograph—and together created different exhibitions, wrote descriptions and shared the stories associated with their objects.
Every year, I’m so impressed by the insight these children bring to each artifact. Moreover, it warms my heart to see kids, who may at first feel as though they have nothing in common, come together and just be kids. While they take the Living Museum project very seriously, they clearly have a lot of fun together, too. To quote Mr. Haberman’s article “there was every reason to feel that the world stood a chance of becoming a better place if more people were like these schoolchildren.”