Dear members of the Eden Prairie School Board,
We, the members of the Interfaith Circle have learned recently of the decision of the Eden Prairie School Board, to begin in-person classes on September 7, 2021.
This is the day of Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest days of the Jewish calendar. As a community group who “celebrates the commonality and diversity of our faith traditions by fostering understanding and acceptance”, the decision to ignore this day is disrespectful of the Jewish faith tradition and is in opposition to our Mission Statement.
Rather than follow Federal and state holiday observances, based on white Christian/colonialist patterns, we respectfully request that you develop a school calendar that reflects the primary religious observances of the changing culture and faith traditions in our community.
We, who are members of the Interfaith Circle, have worked over the past nearly 20 years to develop understanding and appreciation for various faith traditions and are available to help design such a calendar and put you in contact with persons of various faith traditions to provide guidance.
Not only would this effort value persons of various faith traditions it would also create a learning opportunity for the students and community to step up to a greater appreciation for the cultural and religious differences which exist in our community and in our world.
Creating a nation of respectful diversity is a critical need in this divisive time.The Interfaith Circle can help to facilitate this conversation and provide additional support through our current community efforts.
In our short history we have developed the annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Celebration, hosted dialogue conversations between people of various faith traditions, participated in the annual People Fest and offered on site tours to various places of prayer (Mosques, Synagogues, Churches, etc.). Dr. Cornel West, of Harvard University a philosopher and political activist thoughtfully reminds us that “Justice is what love looks like in public.”
Developing a calendar that offers sensitivity to a wider range of faith traditions is an act of love for those who have been overlooked or denied respectful treatment because of their faith tradition.We look forward to continuing the conversation with you and the opportunity to partner with you in developing a plan for the new school calendar.
Respectfully, The Interfaith Circle Board and warm regards, Rev. Dr. Trish Sullivan Vanni, Board Member
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