Holidays and Sacrifices
Monday marks the beginning of Eid Al-Adha. District public schools are closed but at ICS we think the best way to honor our multicultural society is to teach children about the major religious belief systems, not create a child care conundrum for parents. Sacrifice is a common theme in many of our cultures. For Muslims, Eid Al-Adha commemorates Abraham's commitment to God. The story is similar to the Jewish belief which is recalled on the second day of Rosh Hashanah. It also forms the opening stanza of Highway 61 Revisited, the Bob Dylan song.
All of this is to say that building background knowledge is not about enshrining a canon. It is about giving children (and adults) a common foundation on which to build understanding and find the themes that unite us. To comprehend our culture, both ancient and modern. And to understand what makes us different.
The study of religions is important because religion has been such a central force in shaping the development of civilizations, and it is difficult to teach world history without referencing the role played by religion. For example, the Middle Ages cannot be taught without reference to the importance of the Christian church. The Crusades cannot be taught without reference to the development of Islam
You have all made a commitment to ICS. In many cases this involves sacrifices. Perhaps giving up sleep in the morning, perhaps changing a work schedule to ensure you can pick up on time. You have also committed to joining a diverse community, perhaps sacrificing by compromising on your own culture and beliefs, to see the essential and common humanity in us all.
As the summer draws fitfully to a close, I am grateful for the commitment of our families to the ICS vision and mindful of the sacrifices you make for your children.
To those of you who are celebrating, I wish you an Eid Mubark.