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Sikh Center Outreach Program Explains Faith

Members of Plainview's Sikh community seek to educate the public about their faith by combining faith and food with fun.

Members of Plainview’s met with community members last week at the n a session designed to inform and educate.

On Friday, gurdwara members aired documentary films about their faith as well as pieces showcasing modern examples of Sikh adherents ranging from celebrity chefs to actors.

Members of the gurdwara (place of worship, or literally, the "house of the guru,") frequently hold public events around town to discuss various aspects of Sikh culture. The idea is to educate other communities about the basic tenets of their faith and way of life. The congregation is one of two Sikh communities on Long Island and serves 1,000 families, according to their web site.

“They do have programs aimed mostly for the Sikh community, but they also like to do a lot of things to show people what Sikhs believe," said Nancy Pintello, director of Community Services at the library, who explained the program for the group. "For instance, they will show documentaries on starvation and tie it back to the feeding of the homeless at the local gurdwara.”

For example, Holy Kitchens is a featured documentary popular within the Sikh community, one that Plainview's library was excited to show, Pintello said. The film, showcasing the life and talents of a Sikh chef employed by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey, examines the Sikh diet and the religious meaning tied to certain foods.

Holy Kitchens also explains the importance of food as a bond of equality (despite caste and color) within the Sikh faith. All events (whether held in the library or not) are free, as Sikhs believe money has no place in faith.

 The Sikh Center bears the name of the tenth guru, Gobind Singh Ji, who traveled extensively throughout Punjab Province spreading the teachings of the Sikh gurus and their holy book. The Plainview gurdwara attempts to emulate his message.

Just as the guru traversed India, generously providing for the people and educating the public, members of the Gobind Singh Sikh Center have made it their goal to dispel rumors and inform the public about what turbans, long beards and gurdwaras mean to Sikh people.

The group also contributes to various Indian charities, sending food, water, clothing and money to the many ravaged parts of the Asian subcontinent.

“They really go out of their way to engage with the public, and to…show people what their faith is about,” said Pintello. “...they just want people to see who they are.”

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