I have been struggling with this post all week. My book club met a few nights ago to discuss The Faith Club: A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew — Three Women Search for Understanding, by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner. My first draft of the post lauded the book and two of the authors but strongly criticized the third. At book club, I made a judgmental comment about children of intermarriage, and it greatly offended one of my friends. We tried to resolve our differences that evening, but I had to call her the next day to apologize. The thing is, I don’t feel like I should apologize for my convictions or censor myself in a close-knit group. So, I’m going to post what I really thought of The Faith Club. Anyone who takes umbrage with my opinion should contact me through the Phone The Zone tab above.
Our small group talked for hours and hours. It was a passionate dialogue about a terrific book. As I was the only Jew in the group, the other women were curious to hear my reaction to the book. While I learned a lot about Christianity and Islam, I curious to see whether any of the others — one devout Catholic and the others Christian — gained any insight into Judaism. Not much, and IMVHO, what they did learn was from me and not the book.
Why? Because of the three authors, the Jewish woman’s perspective was the weakest. Ranya Idliby, a Palestinian-American Muslim, was strong in both her faith and culture; she has strong knowledge of her faith’s scripture. Suzanne Oliver, who was raised Catholic but is now Episcopalian, was also strong in her faith and well-versed in New Testament scripture. Priscilla Warner, born and raised Jewish, has a strong Jewish cultural identity but has comparatively weak knowledge of the Torah and Old Testament Scriptures. My difficulty with Ms. Warner mirrors my struggle with Reform Judaism: too dismissive of Jewish law and too little emphasis on Torah and scriptural learning in religious school, to cite a couple of examples.
The bias is mine. The opinions are mine. The blog is mine. Compliments and comments and even constructive criticism are always welcome. Flames are not and will be deleted.