আপডেট: ফেব্রুয়ারি ২৫, ২০২০
Samuel’s favourite Jewish festival is Pesach, or Passover, which commemorates the exodus of Israelites from slavery in Egypt. The 10-year-old enjoys taking part in the seder, or ritual feast, which marks the start of the holiday. “The food is nice, and we sing songs and tell stories,” he said.
This is unusual because Samuel comes from a Colombian Christian family. He and dozens of other non-Jewish children attend an orthodox Jewish school in north London, where he wears a kippah, learns Hebrew and says Jewish prayers day.
Against a backdrop of increasing antisemitism, with record numbers of hate incidents reported last year, the Simon Marks Jewish primary school in Stoke Newington is proud of its diversity and message of tolerance.
“If you teach non-Jewish children about the Jewish faith, they’re likely to have a positive attitude later in life,” headteacher Gulcan Metin-Asdoyuran – who is from a Turkish Muslim background – told the Observer.
The school, which is affiliated to the United Synagogue, a union of modern orthodox synagogues in the UK, is split almost equally between Jewish and non-Jewish pupils. Among the non-Jews are Christians, Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses and children of no faith. The teaching and support staff are equally diverse.