Hasmonean pupils are set to join teenagers from other faiths at the Emirates Stadium next month as part of a groundbreaking new initiative by Arsenal.
The Premier League giant’s project was praised this week by Jewish education chiefs as a way of giving children the chance to meet their peers and learn first-hand about each other’s festivals, while also enjoying a kick-about on the pitch.
The first session will be on 1 November with Hasmonean High School for Boys and East Barnet School participating. Students at East Barnet include those from a Muslim, Greek Orthodox and Anglican background.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Arsenal FC who are hosting this interfaith day bringing together a school from our community with a local mixed faith school,” said Marni Levy, projects and events manager at Partnerships for Jewish Schools (PaJeS).
“This is a fantastic chance to learn first-hand about each other’s religions whilst playing a match in one of the world most iconic football stadiums!”
During the course of the day, pupils will be split into small groups of three or four, where they will discuss a festival of one of our main religions – Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sikh, Hindu and Buddhism. As well as playing football, the youngsters will have a tour of the Emirates.
An as-yet-unconfirmed Jewish primary school and pupils from Danegove School in Barnet will take part in a second event later in the month, with hopes that the programme will be expanded to may more schools.
Sporting interfaith initiatives in the capital have some precedent. In 2008, the Football Association supported an event entitled ‘One Ball, One Faith, One Community’ at West Ham’s ground, Upton Park.
It brought together Catholic, Muslim, Hindu and Jewish children to play football, supported by National Association of Muslim Police and the Board of Deputies. There were hopes that similar events would take place around London Olympics 2012, but these never came to fruition.
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