By Ellie Rappoport:
The beginning of our day started off with us hopping on and off of three trains to get to Battery Park, Ellis Island and the Statute of Liberty. We talked about where are ancestors came from, why they came to America, and the American Dream and whether or not it still has the same meaning today. Then we walked to Wall Street to discuss how business is involved with the American Dream.
After that, we went to the Ground Zero memorial to remember all the people who died in the plane crashes on 9/11 and what could happen when people don’t have access to the American dream.
After the memorial, we visited the Muslim Student Association at NYU. It was a very fascinating experience because everyone was very welcoming and we got to see all the women dressed in beautiful hijabs. Before we walked into the service, we had to take our shoes off which was very interesting because I have never been to a service where I have had to do that.
After the service, we went to a room where we had to take off our shoes again and we talked with the Imam. He spoke about the hardships of being a Muslim in present day America. A few people from the congregation also came in and talked with us. One women who came in, converted from Christianity to Islam and she told us that her family didn’t accept her decision at first. At the end of the talk I went over to her and asked her how she felt when her family didn’t accept her. She responded by saying she was upset, but over the years when they did accept her she felt happy. After we left the mosque we went back to the hotel to have free time. During free time my sister Carly came to see me and go to services with the group. It was so nice to see her because I haven’t seen her since December and I’ve really missed her. We walked to the temple for Friday night services and they were very welcoming. The service was another interesting part of the day because we danced at this one just like the one in Berkeley in San Francisco.