One Earth Writing collaborated with the Muslim Unity Center and BBYO for a  two part ground-breaking writing workshop, designed to build bridges of understanding – and friendship – between Muslim and Jewish teens by exploring similarities between the two faiths through food.

Food is needed in order to sustain us physically. We eat to survive. We eat to nourish our bodies.  And yet, there is also an element of enjoyment in eating. We choose our foods. We crave certain things. We remember people and special occasions by the foods we ate together.

There’s a spirituality to food that has expounded our understanding to our own cultures/religions.  When you savor your meals, you learn to savor your life. And when you’re accepting and grateful of the food you eat, you’re more accepting of yourself.  And once we know who we are, we also find out that other people have their own special foods and sometimes, our foods are similar. Which can make the meaning behind the foods similar, too. Which can bring us closer to other cultures and observances in ways we never thought possible.

At the beginning of our workshop, a Muslim teen and Jewish teen were paired together to question one another about the food that they most identify with, foods that connect them to their tradition, or foods they would like to eliminate. From there, really rich writing food poems became simple odes to the poet’s most beloved meal and elicited feelings of pleasure and nostalgia in the same way eating does.