For the Niagara Foundation in Chicago with 8th grade students from the Science Academy of Chicago on Saturday, March 18, 2017 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
This event began at the Science Academy of Chicago located in Mount Prospect, IL, with a 30-minute slideshow presentation as an introduction to Abraham and the three monotheistic religions.
Suzanne began by tracing the origins of Judaism when it becomes established through the journey of the Israelites led out of slavery in Egypt by Moses. From wandering in the desert they are given Ten Commandments, which form them into a covenanted community with God. Bringing these in an ark of their making, to Jerusalem, they are placed within a Sacred place in Solomon’s Temple known as the Holy of Holies. Upon the temple’s destruction in 70 AD, Jews began to gather in synagogues. When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the powers that be were threatened and upon his crucifixion and assumption into Heaven, the Christian religion began with the twelve Disciples of Christ spreading the word throughout the Mediterranean area and thus established churches. Next, Suzanne talked about Islam, which originated in Mecca. The kaaba became the holiest pilgrimage site for Muslims. Mosques are oriented towards the Kaaba. This is where Muslims congregate for prayer.
The students visited a synagogue, a church, and a mosque where they got to explore the various architectural features of the buildings, and learn about the beliefs and rituals of each religious tradition. The tour concluded with the students expressing interest in visiting more religious spaces – namely Buddhist and Hindu Temples.