RABBI Zalman Kastel visited Orange on Tuesday to speak to community leaders about the upcoming Youth Arts Festival.
“We are looking forward to being part of that festival, to bring together people from different religions and backgrounds including Christians, Jews, Muslims and others,” he said.
It is seven years since Rabbi Kastel came to Orange on a similar mission and he can see some progress in breaking down the barriers of race, ethnicity and religion.
“But I think we have a way to go and we’re not there yet,” he said.
“It would be interesting to see if the community’s reaction to the boat people would be the same if their skin was white. It is the difference in people that makes some people uncomfortable.”
Orange migrant support worker Annie Gallagher said planning yesterday revolved around a program Rabbi Kastel will bring to the festival in September, designed to bring together people from diverse backgrounds.
“Canobolas Rural Technology High School is playing an integral part in the planning of the festival and yesterday’s program is just one aspect of that,” Mrs Gallagher said.
Several daytime art-based youth activities will be held during the festival, mostly at Canobolas Rural Technology High School, with other schools invited.
“We will have some evening activities for the wider community, as well a lantern festival, to be held on September 6 and a fine arts marketing day on September 7 at Canobolas,” Ms Gallagher said.