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.