The Faith Club

Ranya Idli­by, Suzanne Oliv­er, and Priscil­la Oliver
  • Review
By – December 16, 2011
Amer­i­cans Suzanne, a Chris­t­ian, Priscil­la, a Jew, and Ranya, a Mus­lim intend­ed to write a children’s book express­ing their faiths’ com­mon­al­i­ties. Their meet­ings broad­ened into a dia­logue. They dis­cussed anti- Semi­tism, Jesus, the image of Islam, and Israel. Emo­tions rather than schol­ar­ship char­ac­ter­ized the dis­cus­sions. The Chris­t­ian and Mus­lim women were con­fi­dent and strong. Priscil­la, the Jew­ish par­tic­i­pant, was con­fused, neu­rot­ic,” and plagued by pan­ic attacks. She was often defen­sive and depen­dent on the good opin­ion and friend­ship of the oth­ers. Priscil­la had attend­ed a Jew­ish day school, and a Quak­er high school where she must have been exposed to that group’s sym­pa­thy for the Pales­tini­ans. This dia­logue led her to see Jesus as a good friend,” and to pro­nounce her­self as neu­tral” on Israel. She described Jews who dis­agreed as vil­lains or inau­then­tic. Dia­logue can be pos­i­tive and legit­i­mate when all par­tic­i­pants are pre­pared and knowl­edge­able about their own faith. A chap­ter on start­ing a faith club states any mix of peo­ple and reli­gions should work.” This vol­ume dis­proves the authors’ assumption.
Lib­by K. White is direc­tor of the Joseph Mey­er­hoff Library of Bal­ti­more Hebrew Uni­ver­si­ty in Bal­ti­more, MD and gen­er­al edi­tor of the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries Newsletter.

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