Connecting Across Faith Traditions



May 22, 2023

In partnership with the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation, Hillel International’s Social Impact Department offers Interfaith Outreach Microgrants, which support projects that are the outgrowth of collaborative relationship-building between Jewish students and students from other faith traditions, and that result in expanding and strengthening relationships among students from different faith traditions. Below are some examples of recent multifaith programs from across the country. 

Syracuse University:

Rabbi Ethan Bair and Imam Amir Durić, both chaplains at Syracuse University, were inspired to build relationships between the Jewish and Muslim students on campus as a way to strengthen their individual and shared faith communities. With an Interfaith Microgrant from Hillel International, Imam Durić and Rabbi Bair worked with their student leaders to host a multifaith Passover and Ramadan celebration that would serve as an iftar for Muslim students and an opportunity to observe Passover for Jewish students. 120 students with equal representation from both faith communities gathered for dinner, a Kahoot about the relationship between Judaism and Islam, and powerful conversations about the connections between these two faith traditions.

Students discuss their different faith identities at a multifaith Passover and Ramadan celebration
Students discuss their different faith identities at a multifaith Passover and Ramadan celebration

The celebration was followed by a community service project centered around the value of tzedakah or sadaqah, shared by both faiths. Both Rabbi Blair and Imam Durić remain committed to continued shared learning and celebrations. 

Wake Forest University: 

During Passover and Ramadan, students from across multiple faith communities gathered together for a communal Interfaith Seder and Iftar. Over 60 students who identify as Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, and more attended the event. Aman Kimani, the President of the Hindu Student Association shared, “It was a really impactful and immersive experience to learn about each other’s cultures and religions – not just with Jewish and Muslim people, but with people who hold all kinds of beliefs and traditions.” 

University of Miami:

The University of Miami Hillel recently hosted an Interfaith Shabbat program, led by student leaders from multiple faith communities. Katherine Pratha, one of the student organizers of the event, shared this reflection, “We had a fantastic time at InterFaith Shabbat! I truly enjoyed the ability to work with student leaders from other faiths on an event that meant so much to me. Coming from an interfaith family, dialogue surrounding shared traditions and differences has always been a conversation of value to myself and my learning. The ability to learn from other students of other faith practices while sharing the Jewish tradition of Shabbat with communities at the University of Miami was an enriching experience that I sincerely hope to repeat.”

For more information on Hillel International’s Interfaith Microgrants, connect with the Social Impact team at [email protected]