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Second interfaith dinner aims for friendship and joy

Read the full story by Caitlin Hayes in the Cornell Chronicle.

The second Community Care Dinner will build on the energy of the first, held last December, when more than 80 Muslim and Jewish students and allies gathered to find common ground, build friendships and celebrate each other’s cultures. Organizers have the same aims for the second event; they hope to reach even more students and to strengthen bonds for returning students. The event will feature kosher and halal food, and facilitators at each table will offer prompts for conversation.

“We want to establish a connection between our communities first, to talk about who we are, where we come from, what our traditions are, before we launch into heated debate,” said Osama Awadalla '25, a statistical science major in the College of Arts and Sciences and outreach chair for the student-run Muslim Educational and Cultural Association. “We’re throwing this event as a welcome back, and to encourage people to really get to know one another.”

The dinner is hosted by the newly formed Jewish Muslim Alliance, a group of 11 students, nine student leaders from Muslim and Jewish organizations on campus and two allies. The group came together after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks to build bridges between their communities. Supported by the Office of Spirituality and Meaning-Making, the group decided on and executed the first Community Care Dinner and has led a volley of invitations to shared events between Jewish and Muslim groups on campus.