The Olive And The Tree The Secret Strength Of The Druze

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The Olive And The Tree The Secret Strength Of The Druze
The Olive And The Tree The Secret Strength Of The Druze


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All religious groups have codes to guide the lives of adherents, but the Druze, Dr. Ruth tells us, are especially interesting. She has observed the Druze’s special “art” of adjustment in all walks of life, whether religious or secular, and for all people, young and old. Their key is an ancient custom called a-takiyya. During times of communal stress, the Druze refrain from accentuating their religious identity, thus reducing the possibilities of conflict with neighboring groups and allowing them to concentrate on internal community building.

According to Druze custom, they predate the Hebrew people in the area surrounding Palestine--particularly in Syria, Lebanon, and Israel. Thus, like many “native” peoples, they do not feel bound by the customs and religions brought into the area by later settlers. This, of course, has led to a long history of strife with their neighbors. Consequently, the Druze people have had to build an inner strength of individuals and community in order to survive as an identifiable ethnic group.

Through stories, personal encounters, and historical context, Dr. Ruth Westheimer describes with great warmth the roots of that strength, how the story of the Druze has played out over the millennia, how they influence today’s situation in the Middle East, and what Westerners can learn from them and their way of life.

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