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May 6 – Day 5

Drive to Center for the Study of World Religions

Dialogue with Nicole and Carina of the Pluralism Project

Lunch @ Harvard Square

Auschwitz Exposition: Not Long Ago. Not Far Away

Trinity Church

Dinner @ American Flatbread

Retire to BB

I was really excited to hear what [graduate students] Nicole and Karina had to say at the Pluralism Project. The part I found the most interesting was hearing Nicole talk about queer people not being able to identify as who they are, especially through religion. I was very happy when hearing that they are studying about that subject, along with finding solutions. – Matai

Nicole and Karina were so kind, and it was really fun to see their excitement. Karina said something that I really liked. She said, “studying religion is an exercise in empathy”, which is pretty obvious, in retrospect, but I liked that idea. – Matrix

At the Pluralism Project, we talked about how we need to balance focusing on the similarities and differences [across religions], how we should not use religion to divide, but also not to forget the individual histories and cultures of each religion…It seems a little idealistic to say we should all love each other, but at the same time, it’s just that simple. – Isabel

The saying on the front of the Auschwitz Exhibition was, “Not long ago, and not far away”. The truth of that statement scares the pants off of me…Society is so utterly split on many topics, and many people every day are treated like cargo, not humans. As immigrants and refugees running from wars started by similar people to those who refuse them aid. These conditions are horridly reminiscent of those prior to the Holocaust. This is why we learn history: unlearned pasts learn to repeat themselves. – Ezra K.

I stared at the contents of the large class box. The audioguide’s words blurred. My hand started to shake, and a wave of goosebumps overtook my body, but I was not cold. In fact, I had begun to sweat. Before me lay two small articles of clothing: a small dress, or maybe a shirt, and a baby’s onesie. The colors were worn. I could clearly imagine two little children wearing them. Chubby cheeked. Laughing. Dancing. – Ezra P. 

Auschwitz: death, destruction, fear, sadness. In the Expo, I felt sad and distraught about what had happened there. Then, I just wanted to forget and forgive. Then I realized that I can forget, but we as humans should never forget the inhumanity of Auschwitz. – Elon

After the [Auschwitz Exhibition] while we were in Trinity Church, I realized that I wasn’t sad, I was so, so angry. And then I was thinking about what all the people we have met with had said about hate, and that anger turned into a question is powerful. What am I going to do? I feel like this question really sums up everything I have been feeling and processing this year, about climate change, homelessness, and war. – Lyla

At Trinity, I was stuck in silence. I just sat there and didn’t think. I just felt and sat. I looked at the beautiful church around me and imagined the organ. I love the soulful, deep sound of an organ that travels through a church like a warm knife through butter. I was sad, and felt a little bit of awe. I was in a beautiful place with a loving community. – Isabel