A Jew, a Muslim and a Christian Woman Dialogue
Just before the tenth anniversary of 9/11, I noticed that a new blog called “SheAnswersAbraham” went live on the Web. The timing was not coincidental, as it is a deliberate effort by a group of three women – a Jew, a Christian and a Muslim – to put an interfaith conversation about sacred texts out into the world with positive energy.
Each Friday, a different sacred text will be the subject of commentary and personal reflection from each of the three faith perspectives. The sources of the texts will follow a rotation through the different traditions. The first text discussed was “And God said, ‘Let us make a human in our image, according to our likeness….’”from Genesis 1:26.
The authors of the blog want to be known only by the pseudonyms “Tziporah,” “Grace,” and “Yasmina.” Readers can glean some basic information about their backgrounds from the short bios posted on the blog.
A little sleuthing led me to the Jewish member of the trio, who is currently the one taking care of the blog’s publishing logistics. She told me that the three women met through local interfaith programming in their Southern state, but that at this point they all feel strongly about keeping their identities anonymous.
For us, what we are doing is not so radical. But in the part of the country where we live, this kind of thing is not so normative,” Tziporah explained to me. “It’s not about us. It’s about the texts…We want to protect our privacy and ourselves from cyber-hate speech and other forms of harassment. So, at this point we are not revealing our full identities. But that may change in the future.”
In the past five months, the three have already intensively studied seven texts together, both in person and by email. “We started with a bit of a softball,” Tziporah said about the inaugural post. “Tougher texts are coming up. We want to grapple with the difficulty, and we are taking the approach that we are agreeing to disagree, if need be.”
In just a few days, SheAnswersAbraham has garnered 350 views from readers in 10 countries on three continents. “Getting reader response and comments would be great,” Tziporah added. “But we are doing it because we think it’s the right thing to do.”
She says that there is definitely a feminine, if not feminist, impulse behind this project. “In our community, we [the three bloggers] feel somewhat alone in wanting to establish meaningful interfaith relationships,” Tziporah shared. “I noticed that at interfaith meetings, women’s voices were under-represented. I have also despaired that certain Jewish leaders in our metro area have used their bully pulpits on many occasions to preach hate.”
Tziporah’s approach to addressing this lack and this wrong was to reach out to, engage, and write with thoughtful women of the Christian and Muslim religions. “Three women from different Abrahamic faiths having a conversation on a deep level and developing personal friendships is something that can change the world,” she said hopefully.