The University Chaplains Association hosted its annual Multifaith Thanksgiving on Wednesday evening in the Shalala ballrooms. The potluck-style dinner allowed students, staff and faculty from all faiths to enjoy home cooking and religious conversation.
The event was planned with the purpose of bringing together different faith and cultural communities to share a meal of thanksgiving.
“Unlike a traditional prayer service, this event is not necessarily religious in nature, though it is sponsored by our campus faith communities,” said Rabbi Lyle Rothman, the third-year chair of UCA. “Whether you are a person of faith or just a hungry student, the Multifaith Thanksgiving dinner is for you.”
This event also coincides with the Thanks and Giving Project that Rothman brought from Hofstra University Hillel. The goal of the project is to thank students and staff who are often overlooked on campus with a hand-written card of appreciation. Note cards were passed out to those in attendance for them to fill out with their words of gratitude.
President of the Miami Multifaith Council, Alexander LaBarbera, worked with UCA to plan the event this year as well as reach out to departments and organizations for sponsorship.
From halal to kosher options, Multifaith Thanksgiving offered a variety of foods for everyone to enjoy and LaBarbera, a political science, religious studies, history and economics quadruple major, said that events like these are fundamental to student life on campus.
“Multifaith dialogue is absolutely necessary in today’s world in order to help eliminate divisive hate and ignorance,” he said. “In the end, we are all part of the Canes family and that family is made stronger by emphasizing the ways we are similar while embracing and educating others on the ways we are unique.”
Junior Sonia Khan said that the event was a great way for people of different religious backgrounds to share conversation and a good meal.
“I decided to attend because I thought it would be a great way to celebrate so many walks of life coming together on one campus,” said the finance and legal studies major.
As a muslim student, she said she appreciates “when people learn more about [her] religion and vise versa.”
Another student who attended the event, Kayla Mason, shared that bringing people of different religious backgrounds “promotes growth, tolerance and friendship.”
Mason, a junior majoring in microbiology and immunology, said that attending events like these are necessary to step out of one’s comfort and broaden the college experience.
Correction, 6:22 p.m., Nov. 15: This article previously stated that Rabbi Lyle Rothman had brought the idea of a Multifaith Thanksgiving from Hofstra University. The event was an idea of the University Chaplains Association at the University of Miami. The article also stated that the Thanks and Giving Project was something that Rothman brought to UM from Hofstra University. The project was an initiative of Hofstra University Hillel. The article has been updated to reflect this information.