A year and a half ago, Sheryl Olitzky asked me to serve on the Executive Committee of the newly forming organization, the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom. I was happy to be able to say “Yes!” and my life has been enriched in lovely and unexpected ways since.
My co-chair, Tasneem Shamim, and I started our Chapter of the Sisterhood in central New Jersey about a year ago. Our membership has grown, and we have an extraordinary group of Jewish and Muslim women. I have so enjoyed the times that we’ve been together, and truly look forward to each upcoming gathering. I am very grateful to be having the experience of meeting and making friends with these many special women.
I’ve learned that I share a multitude of important things with my new Muslim sisters: our faith based orientation to life, how deeply connected we are to our religions as a source of meaning in our lives, the richness of our communities, our basic values of doing and being good, our families, our roles in the larger community.
My Jewish journey is deeply meaningful to me. I love being Jewish, I love the tenets and teachings of Judaism, and my life is structured around daily spiritual practices, observing holy commandments, community, work and Shabbat rest, holy days and holidays. I believe that my spiritual path is deeply right for me. I also believe that there are multiple paths to the Holy One, and I so admire my new sisters’ own spiritual journeys.
One of my daughters told me once, in response to my saying yet again how much I love being a Jew, that if I were Christian, I’d love being a Christian, and if I were Muslim, I’d love being a Muslim. There was wisdom and truth in what she said, and perhaps that is one of the reasons I am so happy to be engaged in the holy and joyful Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom.
With deep gratitude,