| Conference on spirituality,
inspires students at Holy Names HS
Holy Names High School, in collaboration with The Curriculum Initiative of the Bureau of Jewish Education, presented Tikkun Olam — Repairing the World, a conference on spirituality and identity, Feb. 3 at the school.
The inspiration for this conference came from Catholic high school students who wanted to know more about Judaism, beyond the Bible and Holocaust. The goal was to heighten appreciation for one's own faith and spirituality by understanding common roots as well as our differences. Students from Salesian and Bishop O'Dowd high schools joined Holy Names High School's faculty and students for a day filled with challenging ideas and creative activities, as well as wonderful food.
The day began with an opening song "Salaam/Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu," performed by Holy Names High School's Vocal Ensemble. The song gets its name from the Arabic word for peace, Salaam, and the Hebrew phrase for "Peace will come upon us." There was a dramatic presentation that told the story of repairing the world. This was followed by educational workshops, some in the form of a presentation and others in interactive activities including art projects.
Holy Names sophomore Eva Harmon participated in the "Art to Repair the World" workshop. Images were transferred onto a piece of soft metal, creating an embossed surface. Her final piece showed lines of waves or grass that came together but did not touch, leaving space in the middle for the word Shalom written in Hebrew. Eva, a Jewish student attending Holy Names High School, said "the conference was a really good way to bring Judaism into our school while exploring spirituality. It made me feel more comfortable talking about religion at school."
Junior Veronica Oberholzer was on the planning committee. She emphasized the choice to create a variety of classes. "Not everyone wants a scholarly approach," she said. "Some people prefer an interactive learning experience."
Senior Sara Boyd said she appreciated the broad range of topics. "Coming from a Christian background, it gave me insights into a different religion," she said. In the workshop about women in Judaism, she said she appreciated "how some of the issues addressed apply universally and are relevant around the world."
Maya Castro, student body president, also helped with the activities. She especially appreciated the final ritual, where the puzzle pieces were assembled. "This symbolized everyone having a part in repairing the world," she said. "No matter how small the task, we are all part of it."