CSL to host interfaith dinner as celebration of major religious holidays


Camilo Fonseca

The Center for Spiritual Life.

By Olivia LeDuc, News Editor

To celebrate this week’s major religious holidays, members of the Emerson community are invited to an interfaith dinner on Friday at 7 p.m. in the college’s private dining room. 

The dinner, organized by the Center for Spiritual Life, will bring together students from the three Abrahamic faiths that have overlapping religious observances—the Jewish Passover, the Islamic month of Ramadan, and the Christian Good Friday. Members of Emerson’s Muslim Student Association, Hillel, and Emerson Christian Fellowship will take the occasion to share traditions and foods with their fellow believers. 

“We are very excited to have a night together, celebrating these holidays coming up,” said Amber Hai, the college’s Muslim chaplain. “Sharing these [religious] traditions, having a community moment of eating, and being together with mutual love and compassion” are all anticipations of the dinner. 

Jewish students will be observing the Passover Seder, a ritual feast celebrating the Biblical story of the Israelites’ escape from slavery in Egypt.

Christian and Muslim students will join in and learn more about the Jewish tradition, Hai said, while also observing Good Friday during Holy Week, as well as Iftar, the meal breaking of the Ramadan fast. 

Good Friday, the Friday before Easter Sunday, commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, during which Muslim followers fast from dawn to sunset as an act of piety and devotion to God. Iftar has been happening every Friday since March 22 when Ramadan started.

“[Muslim students] can come together as community members by breaking our fast by eating and praying together and being in the Emerson community,” she said. 

Brian Inderlie, the college’s Christian chaplain, wrote in an ECF email that the dinner would not only be a chance to share different perspectives “from the lens of our own religious beliefs,” but also to “get to know some really cool people” who share similar religious values—especially on a college campus that is largely secular. 

The dinner will include many of the customary dishes from all three major traditions, Hai said, taking into account the representation of foods of the other multicultural backgrounds students come from. 

Food will be provided by the Emerson Dining Center with outside catering providing the traditional Kosher foods for the Seder plate. 

“Spirituality is a huge spectrum and is tied to people’s cultural backgrounds, so we want to promote that for students,” Hai said. 

The dinner will create an inclusive space for all who want to participate in these holidays, Hai said, regardless of their intersectional backgrounds. 

“We are bringing awareness to these holidays that are happening,” she said. “Together in community, [students] can talk about moments of intensity because this is what Emerson is about. We can learn together and be together, as this is a lot of people’s homes.”

Ella Maoz, a sophomore creative writing major and member of Hillel’s social media committee, said the celebration of interfaith religion will serve all members of the Emerson community, even those outside of the college’s religious organizations. 

“It’s a cool thing we are celebrating all of this stuff together,” Maoz said. “It says a lot about solidarity among religious groups at Emerson, which is not a very religious school.”

By organizing the dinner, Hai hopes other celebratory events will be expanded in the future to address all of Emerson’s diverse backgrounds.

“To highlight that there are many rich traditions of all types of spirituality … hopefully we can expand in the future as more Emersonians speak and learn about their own journeys with faith and spirituality,” she said.