Country: United States Language: English
Organizations: Macomb Community College
Expertise: Comparative Religions Focus area: Academic Religious affiliation: Secular

Adjunct Faculty, Macomb Community College

Jessica Sitek is guided by the axiom: life is relationships. Barriers exist that obstruct our ability to be in relationship. Our biases, prejudgments, misunderstandings and lack of knowledge can impair our ability to connect with others. As a result, Ms. Sitek sees the principles of dialogue as a necessary starting point to recognize and overcome these obstacles, to truly listen and understand, and therefore connect with others in a meaningful way. Jessica has a Master of Arts in Religious Studies from Temple University where she studied under Dr. Leonard Swidler, a pioneer in interreligious dialogue. She has worked with Swidler as a Dialogue Institute (DI) Associate, and traveled to Turkey and Iraq as a DI representative. She has spent some time working in the non-profit sector, specifically in an interfaith context, joining people of various backgrounds and faiths to work on common goals in peace and justice. Jessica is currently an Adjunct Faculty at Macomb Community College teaching comparative religions. Jessica is aware of the limits of individual perspective, the importance of dialogue for expanding understanding, and the need for independent critical thinking. These three serve as the foundation for her educational objectives in the classroom. Jessica also aims to cultivate empathy as a natural byproduct of dialogue and critical thinking. Her interest in intercultural and interreligious dialogue has expanded to include intergenerational dialogue, and is actively exploring dialogue across generations in her daily life in the interest of formalizing programs for intergenerational exchange. Jessica is also an aspiring beekeeper.

Fellows Project: Religion and Food; the Ethical and Spiritual Dimension of Eating

Jessica’s project explored the relationship between religion and food, specifically how the selection, procurement, preparation and consumption of food all become processes by which the values of a religion can be expressed and perpetuated. Since food has the potential to tell stories and pass on values, this project not only aimed to explore the possibility and

meaning in our meals, but also attempted to utilise food as a platform for dialogue and sharing.