West Point Cadets


By Manny Fernandez

  • April 6, 2008

JERSEY CITY — It sounds at first like a student’s worst nightmare: A long field trip to this gritty, gentrifying and altogether unlikely destination.

But by Saturday afternoon, at the end of a three-day cultural adventure, 30 young men and women had seen a side of New Jersey’s second-largest city that few tourists or even locals had ever seen.

They met police officials, politicians and religious leaders. They shunned some of the city’s best hotel rooms with dramatic views of the Manhattan skyline and slept on blankets on the floor of the prayer room of one of the city’s largest mosques. They debated the roots of Middle East tensions with a Muslim scholar over omelets and falafel at breakfast, and then stood next to a rabbi as he went over a sacred, handwritten Torah scroll.

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