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Spanning cultures 

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This month, the East Library district is home to "Bridges of Understanding," a multicultural education exhibit that highlights six of the United States' major cultures.

Collected artifacts from Native American, African-American, Latino/Hispanic, Jewish, Muslim and Asian Pacific peoples are on show in elaborate shadowbox showcases. Each of the 6-by-8-foot displays encapsulates items from ceremonies and festivals of the respective traditions.

"Our aim is to enhance cultural awareness, promote acceptance in our community and illustrate what we have in common with other people," says organizer Paulette Greenberg. "I think people will find that they have more commonalties than differences with one another; our hope is to honor those differences and the dignity of all humanity."

Greenberg acknowledges the power of visual imagery as a learning tool and feels that tangible presentations are one of the best ways to increase awareness of otherwise intangible concepts, such as belief structures. Costumes, jewelry, sacred ceremonial objects and artwork, among other things, focus on how different generations have celebrated and passed on their rich heritage. Rituals, dance, music and food are also up for discussion as features that distinguish our diverse cultures.

"Bridges of Understanding" offers self-guided tours during library hours, and descriptive capsules accompany each display case. Just as the exhibited ceremonies and festivals have brought communities together throughout history, "Bridges of Understanding" unites us in study.

-- Matthew Schniper

capsule

"Bridges of Understanding" exhibit, sponsored by Greenberg Center for Learning and

Tolerance at Temple Shalom

East Library, 5550 N. Union Blvd.

Free display through May 1, 2005.

Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday 1-5 p.m.

Visit www.mizelmuseum.org for more info, or call 634-5311.

Presentations open to the public every Sunday, 1:30 and 3:00 p.m. or by reservation, 531-6333, ext. 2247.

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