Indonesian Muslims visit through U.S. State Department

Indonesian Muslim visitors meet with the JDS administration to learn more about the schools curriculum and philosophy.

photo by talia denicoff

Indonesian Muslim visitors meet with the JDS administration to learn more about the school’s curriculum and philosophy.

Talia Denicoff and Miriam Minsk

A group of five Indonesian Muslim scholars and teachers, including one translator, visited CESJDS on Oct. 13 as part of a twelve-day tour of American schools. The U.S. State Department hosted the Indonesian Muslims and contacted JDS to request that they open their doors to the visitors.

Many of the visitors were heads of boarding schools in Indonesia, some of which teach up to 20,000 students. While at JDS, the Indonesians tried to understand American religious schools’ curriculums and management styles. They also went to private Christian schools in the area.

“Our schools are also good, but we would like to compare how they are managed,“ one of the visitors said through a translator.

After getting a tour of the school, the group sat down to speak with the JDS administration. The visitors were interested in many different aspects of the school, and asked about the school’s courses and approaches to education and religion.

“I think they learned all about our school operations,” High School Principal and Associate Head of School Marc Lindner said. “How we move from class to class and a lot of the different offerings we have and what our values and philosophies are.”

According to Lindner, they also discussed the different denominations of Jews that are represented at JDS as a pluralistic school, which was surprising to the Indonesian visitors. The fact that JDS students learn Talmud especially stood out to them, because at their Muslim boarding schools in Indonesia, students learn Talmud as well.

Lindner explained that the conversation that occurred between JDS administrators and the visitors signifies that there can be peace among members of the two religions.

While we didn’t talk about it directly, we knew that part of their goal in coming to the U.S. and visiting these schools was to use the information they gained to think about how to live peacefully in their country with people of different faiths,” Lindner said.