Students build bridges

Rabbi Nicole Roberts speaking at the Youth PoWR conference.

JEWISH university students joined Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and other young people of different faiths at Saint Sabina College in Strathfield on August 20 for the largest interfaith forum for young adults in Australia – the 2017 Youth PoWR (Parliament of World Religions) conference.

AUJS national leadership and development officer Joshua Moses told The AJN more than 200 people attended the event, which had the theme of “Light in Dark Times – Sparking an Interfaith Movement of Hope”.

“Bringing together young people of different faiths, the event sought to create real dialogue and collective action,” Moses said.

“The first half featured talks by representatives of different faiths, and also a series of performances, including a traditional dance by young Sikhs which was spectacular.

“Then groups worked together to decide which relevant issues to explore and then develop ideas and strategies to adopt in motions.

“Racism and discrimination were the two main issues the forum chose to focus on, but there were also discussions and resolutions made on topics like refugees and climate change.”

The Jewish representative speaker at the Youth PoWR forum was North Shore Temple Emanuel’s Rabbi Nicole Roberts.

“This moment in time feels dark and foreboding, so where can we turn to find hope for a brighter day?” she said in her speech.

“At this very season each year, the Jewish people turn, and return, to the synagogue in celebration of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year.

“We reflect not only on the greatness of the God who created it, but on humankind’s own responsibility to maintain it, care for it, and ensure the welfare of all its inhabitants.”

“There are many ways to repair the world – so many that Judaism even has a phrase for this act in Hebrew: tikkun olam.

“It is considered the sacred responsibility of each and every one of us,” Rabbi Roberts concluded.