The Marlene Silbert Youth Interfaith Intercultural Programme celebrated National Woman’s Day on 9 August by visiting 4 houses of different faiths to learn about their practices and traditions; and the role of women within those faiths.
The first stop was the Sri Siva Aalayam; the first Hindu Temple that was started in Cape Town 40 years ago. Guru Krishna and Ms Nalini Gangen presented an informative session on the rituals and practices of the devotees. The students were given an opportunity to ask questions and have a tour of the temple.
Our next stop was the Claremont Synagogue where the tour was facilitated by the Rabbi’s wife (rabitzen); Mrs Lee Liebenberg. This visit helped the students to make connections between the Abrahamic Faiths as they were led through the significance of the Creation account and how God rested on the 7th day; providing humanity with an example of a work and rest. It was great to get a female’s perspective on the practices and traditions of the Jewish faith. We were served tea and cinnamon rolls at the Shul; hospitality is an important aspect of Judaism.
We arrived at St Saviour’s Anglican Church in Claremont for the next segment of the tour. This church houses the burial ground for the first Anglican Bishop of Cape Town, Robert Gray and his wife Sophie. The resident priest was called away to deal with a pastoral matter and so Revd Natalie Simons-Arendse; a female Anglican priest led the tour. The students had many questions about the liturgies; the various colours and symbols used and the all-time favourite – the Trinity… who is more important within that relationship?
The day concluded with a visit to the Masjid Ghiedmatiel Islamia – a mosque in Crawford. The Maulana Yazeed Mohamed (religious leader); connected with the young people so well and spoke of his own faith journey. The 5 Pillars of Islam were explained and the role of women within the faith was a lively discussion.
A beautiful day filled with learning and sharing of each other’s stories and faith practices.
Natalie Simons-Arendse, MS YIIP Programme Coordinator