Student Trip Helps Bridge Faiths

June 13, 2008

Author: Yonat Shimron

Source: The News & Observer

Having attended Jewish schools all his life, David Eisenband wasn't used to interacting with people of different faiths when he got to Duke University two years ago. During his freshman year, a discussion about the Jewish and Christian concepts of sin turned heated and contentious and, for a while, soured him on the prospect of interfaith dialogue.

But when he found out that a group of students and clergy was planning a trip to Israel to tour the holy sites and learn models of interfaith coexistence among Jews, Christians and Muslims, Eisenband signed up.

"I wanted to identify if religions clashed, if they do so necessarily, and where that happens," said Eisenband, a music major from Dunwoody, Ga., who attended last month's 14-day interfaith trip. The excursion was sponsored by Duke's faith council and the student-led Interfaith Dialogue Project.

Trip participants included a broad swath of religious adherents, not only Jews, Christians and Muslims, but also Hindus, Buddhists and one Bahai student, as well as one agnostic. The 19-member group prayed at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, visited the Temple Mount and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and toured the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where many believe Jesus was crucified.

See also: Interfaith, Campus