The Shared Table Project is bringing Syrian, Iraqi and Jewish women together to promote understanding and friendship.
The project brings newly arrived Syrian and Iraqi refugees to Emmanuel Synagogue in Sydney. With local Jewish women, they prepare a meal and eat together for five consecutive weeks. These occasions often include spontaneous outbreaks of song and laughter and give participants the opportunity to share aspects of their culture, such as the dishes they prepare, with others from a different background.
Project Director Mel Don Port points out that most of the Christian and Muslim women who take part will never have met a Jewish person before and vice versa. She remembers Hasna, a Syrian woman who was terrified and shaking when she first attended the group:
“‘At the end of that first week, she was the first one in class each week.”
“She was kissing us, and cuddling us and hugging ~ and in tears in the last week that she was saying goodbye to us.”
Sharing food, stories and laughter together breaks down barriers for these women and gives them a taste of the kind of harmony and love we’d all like to see more of in the world.
Re-post ~ Syrian, Iraqi and Jewish women creating friendships, harmony over food by Rachael Kohn for The Spirit of Things on ABC News