A photo of two children went viral last month during the Muslim ban protests, striking an emotional chord with the nation. In the photo, seven-year-old Meryem Yildirim (wearing a hijab) and nine-year-old Adin Bendat-Appell’s (wearing a yarmulke) are each sitting high on their respected father’s shoulders, smiling at one another and holding rally signs. The Muslim girl’s sign reads “Love” while the Jewish boy’s sign reads “Hate has no home here.” Two weeks later, and the Muslim and Jewish families have reunited but this time over dinner. Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell and his family invited the Yildirim family over for Shabbat dinner (a Friday night dinner for observant Jews).
Speaking about the protest, Rabbi Bendat-Appell says that when he first met Fatih he “recognized him as just a good person, ” adding that he thinks the dinner is important because it’s “much harder to objectify” people once you get to know them.
“Even two normal families standing next to each other is becoming inspirational, that’s how crazy the world is,” says Fatih Yildirim, father to little Meryem. “We don’t want crazy for our kids in the future. We need to come out from our bubbles or our comfort zones … and reach the others and communicate.”
Also be sure to check-out the viral photo: Interfaith Photo of Children Shines With Hope.