Daniel Roza, Youth Leadership Grant Recipient

Daniel Roza, 2009-2010 Grant Recipient
Mercersberg Academy

Breaking Bread, Breaching Barriers

David, my twin brother, and I were born on February 18th, 1993.  Our sisters, seven years older than us and twins themselves, were delighted to share their little brothers.  In elementary school, I developed a thirst for reading and learning, while dabbling in sports such as soccer, tennis, swimming, and Tae Kwando.  I am now a junior at Mercersburg Academy where I am president of Mercersburg’s Model United Nations and editor-in-chief of the school’s weekly newspaper.  One of my favorite classes is Chinese.  I have taken Chinese throughout high school, and have participated in one language camp in China, and another in Massachusetts.

Project Summary

My hope is to bridge the chasm by bringing young Israelis and Palestinians together so that they may realize that there are commonalities between them and that they may enjoy these similarities.  All teenagers like to eat and Israeli and Palestinians both enjoy and take pride in their delicious Middle Eastern cuisine.  Thus food is a perfect catalyst to bridge that chasm.  I plan to bring two diverse groups of Palestinian and Israeli teenagers together in a neutral venue to plan a menu.  They would then go shopping for the ingredients together, buying from both Israeli and Arab markets. The group would then cook the food and eat it together. Through literally ‘breaking bread together’, I hope that the teenagers would bond with each other on a personal level and, by extension, other Israeli and Palestinian teenagers. The teenagers would meet for a second time so that they could prepare the meal again. But this time they would work together to serve underprivileged Israeli and Palestinian families. This act of zakat, of tzedakah, will, in some small way, repair the world.

In this project, food brings two groups of teenagers together in friendship.  Food helps to illuminate the common humanity between the two groups. After establishing similarities, the process of understanding different perspectives emerges. Understanding leads to respect, which leads to acceptance.  Acceptance leads to empathy, which leads to compassionate action.  Compassionate action leads, ultimately, to peace.


Understanding leads to respect and acceptance.  Acceptance leads to empathy and action.  Judicious action leads to peace.