Over 600 Sydneysiders joined together in Blacktown’s Bowman Hall to participate in the Breaking Bread initiative, a key event of SydWest and Blacktown City Council’s 2018 Harmony Day celebrations.
The Breaking Bread initiative, Facilitated by FoodFaith and the Faith Ecology Network, brought together over 12 faiths and cultures to learn about each other’s rich food traditions, customs and wisdoms.
There was challah, Egyptian feteer meshaltet, Indigenous damper, Bangladeshi paratha, Chinese rice dumpings, Filipino pan de sal, Mexican tortilla and more.
As well as the showcasing and sampling of different breads, representatives all got together to make and share a giant pesto – a potent symbol of community and togetherness.
FoodFaith’s first garden, in Lane Cove, hosted a Breaking Bread event last year, but the Breaking Bread initiative in Blacktown coordinated hundreds more and aims to be a signature large-scale FoodFaith event.
‘Bread is arguably our first shared and communal food,’ said Judy Friedlander. ‘In our early history, we got together to transform the gifts of the earth for a shared purpose. It is no surprise that bread is so special and symbolic to faiths and cultures around the world and why the phrase “breaking bread” conveys communing over food.’
Said Laya Slavin of Our Big Kitchen which provided the Jewish challah for the event: ‘The ingredients on every table with every faith and culture represented were flour and water. Taking the most basic ingredients of life. Bread is the mainstay of every tradition and is used when celebrating and mourning. The commonality of simple flour and water brought us together.
‘If you fathom the ripple effect – everyone walked out of the hall feeling positive. People were hugging one another. This will impact on their families – a ripple effect of kindness. It was like opening a packet of glitter – you are always going to find a little spark somewhere – little sparks of hope.’
Sheik Youssef Hassan of Islamic Relief Australia (who is planning various projects with Together for Humanity’s Rabbi Zalman Kastel) said that he was keen to participate in Harmony Day’s Breaking Bread initiative as it was an important symbol of showcasing positivity around multi-cultural Australia.
Images courtesy of Naomi Shaw