Last week, through our Partnership2Gether program, Israeli women from Jewish, Muslim, and Christian backgrounds came to Dayton for the Women Leading a Dialogue program. The program brought women of all backgrounds together to explore their cultural differences while breaking down barriers and stereotypes.

While the women were in Dayton, we visited a variety of places throughout the community so that our guests could experience culture here that perhaps they might not be exposed to in Israel. While at a program at the University of Dayton, we attended a First American (also known as Native American) led alternative Thanksgiving celebration.

We typically think of Thanksgiving as a time to gather with our family and friends, and enjoy a day filled with lots of delicious food as we celebrate all for which we are thankful. However, for many First Americans, the origins of Thanksgiving don’t evoke such positive feelings.

The relationship between the pilgrims and First Americans is often depicted as a very positive one; however, there was a long history of conflict between the two groups. In fact, there are many people who refer to Thanksgiving as a “National Day of Mourning” to remember First Americans who were killed at the hands of the pilgrims.

While we listened to the presenters, I realized I was so fortunate to be experiencing this with our friends from Israel. Not only did they get a glimpse into the First American community; I also had the opportunity to see things from a different perspective myself.

When we listen to and connect with one another, we can cultivate understanding about the diverse and rich history we each have experienced.

I wish you and your families a Happy Thanksgiving filled with great food, warm and loving family time, and the sharing of meaningful stories. By the way, enjoy the big game!

 

 

 

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