Tonight I attended a discussion group with eleven other women. At the beginning of the session we went around the circle, where are you from, what is your faith tradition.
Mona is from Egypt, educated in England, a master's degree in agricultural engineering. Lived in Canada for 10 years before moving to Florida eleven years ago. She is Muslim.
Laura Sue is from a Jewish family but says she's "more of a nature-loving, goddess-worshipping, love-for-all-things" type person. She is from Pennsylvania, she is a musician and a writer; her professional name is the Silver Nightingale.
Maggie is from Syria. Her parents were from Armenia; they fled to Syria as refugees when they were children. Maggie's husband is Muslim. She is Orthodox Christian.
Michele's parents are Sephardic Jews. She is a native-born American, married to a Hindu from India.
Fauzia describes herself as a "born-again Muslim." She was born in Pakistan, attended Catholic schools as a child, then went to Ohio State University. She has a medical degree and is a professional audiologist. She was raised in a Muslim culture but never knew a lot about Islam until after 9/11/01. She started investigating her childhood religion then and became a devout Muslim as a result of her studies.
Susan is Jewish, and attends temple weekly. For the past nine years she has also attended Sunday services at a predominantly black Baptist church. She says Judaism taught her to trust in God, but she never knew what faith was until she learned it from the Baptists. She also studies the Bhagavad Gita on a regular basis.
Naheed is a Muslim, born in Pakistan. She has lived in the United States for many years, and is the owner of a successful restaurant. She likes to say that immigrants need to learn to assimilate into American culture. She doesn't need to wear hijab to feel like a Muslim.
Kathy was born in Oklahoma. Her parents were Quakers. She converted to Judaism when she married her second husband. Since he died, she has been increasingly drawn to Buddhism, although she is still active at the temple.
Setsuko was born and raised in Japan. She is Shinto, but she says Shinto is not a religion, merely a collection of customs, a way of life, a viewpoint.
Ellie is a Jewish woman in her 70's who recently "declared herself" Ba'hai.
Willie is from Cleveland, brought up "mainstream protestant" and interested in learning about all different kinds of people and cultures.
I guess Willie was in the right place tonight.