SSI News Blog

SSI was recently delighted to have the opportunity to invite clients of all religions and backgrounds to participate in the five-week Shared Table Project, a grassroots peace-building initiative that aims to counteract prejudice and stereotypes and foster interfaith dialogue and friendship.

SSI clients help prepare Jewish and Iraqi meals during the Shared Table ProjectSSI clients help prepare Jewish and Iraqi meals during the Shared Table Project

A project of the Jewish Board of Deputies, the Shared Table brings together women of different cultures to cook, talk, and share stories, traditions, heritage and family heirloom recipes.

On May 1 the SSI women shared the traditional customs of the Sabbath, or Shabbat dinner, and baked fresh challah, the braided bread their Jewish hosts eat each week.

Shabbat is a festive day when Jewish people exercise their freedom from the regular labours of everyday life. It offers an opportunity to contemplate the spiritual aspects of life and to spend time with family.

The next week the SSI visitors helped prepare an Iraqi meal.

Project director Melissa Port said in her blog, “All these women have arrived into Australia in the past three to six months and have shared with us their enormous struggle to be here today.

“We are always amazed at the strength and courage of these families, who have fled terrorism for a better life for themselves and their children.”

On May 15 the SSI guests learned about some Jewish traditions, including customs when a baby boy is born, arranged marriages in the religious community, other customs when getting married, and the history relating to each celebration.

The following week the women received certificates for their participation in the program.

Success stories

Bassam Maaliki, a 14-year-old student wins Youth Community Medal at NSW Premier’s Harmony Dinner

Bassam Maaliki, Youth Community Award Winner with The Hon. Ray Williams MP and Jada Mathyssen-Whyman goalkeeper for Western Sydney Wanderers.Bassam Maaliki, a 14-year-old student at Homebush Bay High School and founder of the social change campaign #uBelong, was announced winner of the Youth Medal at the NSW Premier’s Harmony Dinner on 21 March 2018.

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