‘The about their religions. While Suzanne, the Christian, seemed

‘The Faith Club’
kind of sounds like the beginning of a bad pun; “a Muslim, a Jew and a
Christian sit down to talk about faith”. The book gave me a different outlook
on the religions and the women’s background.

made this book interesting for me is that the three women are very liberal and
non-fundamental about their religions. While Suzanne, the Christian, seemed the
most stable in her beliefs and was the most connected to her religion of the
three, in the end of the book, it was her who had a few doubts after her time
in the faith club.

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felt as though Suzanne sometimes came off as over confident in some parts of
the book and even though she was first practicing Catholicism, she would
sometimes knock down how they would do things. Now, even though I am Christian
myself, I have had some stereotypical thoughts about Christian people. One
thing I usually think is that people who practice it are very close minded when
it comes to other religious views, homosexuals, abortions, etc. Nonetheless,
seeing how Suzanne had some doubts about her own religion for example; how she
truly believed in God, but was not sure about the resurrection of Jesus, I can
see that being in The Faith Club, has led her to be a little bit more open
minded to other beliefs.

in the beginning did not feel “Jewish enough” and constantly doubted
God’s presence in the world. Her statements offended me a little bit in the
beginning as she was determined to be a victim and to blame the whole religion
of Christianity for historical Judaism problems.  However, her experiences developing her faith
in God was touching and I gradually saw her achieve peace as her writing
developed. Throughout the book, she slowly learns that it is acceptable to
admire Jesus and other religions even though she is Jewish. In a powerful part
of the book, she explains how becoming friends with two Palestinian women meant
she could no longer see Palestinians as “they.” 
You saw a very dramatic change in her from the beginning of the book
when she was more focused on her background and deep-rooted feelings of
victimhood more than her religion compared to the end where she was in awe that
the musings of her friends helped her become a “born again” Jew and
find her faith. I do not know a lot about Judaism except the occasional
stereotypical jokes about how they have big noses, are frugal about money and
how at Bar Mitzvahs they sit on the chair while people hold them up. To be
honest, the book did not really open my eyes to anything about Judaism itself, I
was more amazed about her progression.

person I related to the most in the book is Ranya, the Muslim woman. Even
though it took her a while to find her voice while the other two dissected
their own religions, she ended up being a fount of knowledge. In the United
States, we are swamped with negative images of Islam, Muslims—majority of the Middle
East is stereotyped. Ranya was a voice of tranquility and purpose, explaining the
tenants of her faith and divided the political displays and preconceptions. I connected
to her the most because I am black and a female, and in this society, I get
stereotyped and discriminated just like she does. In the book, people were
telling her she is lucky that her and her family do not look like they are
Palestinian and that she should stop doing certain things so people don’t
discriminate. I can connect to that as well, for example, if I get pulled over
when I drive, I was told to always keep my hands on the wheel so the cop sees
them, to not make an fast movements, and to comply as much as possible. I
should not have to do that out of fear that the cop might shoot me as she
should not hide her background from fear of discrimination.

was moved by the story of how her family was driven out of Palestine and was
not able to return and how they felt like outsiders. She made me ponder about
the Israeli policy as I also felt terrible for the banished Palestinians. Ranya
spoke of Islam’s simplicity how there’s no Jewish holiday (Bar Mitzvah) or
Baptism making you a Muslim, but simply affirming and recognizing that there is
only one God and that Muhammad is his prophet. Especially if you are Sunni
Muslim, that there is nothing standing between you and how you understand God
or how you decide to worship Him. That as long as you recognize God, it does
not really matter if you’re a Jew, a Christian, or a Muslim you won’t be
labeled as an “infidel” for the reason that all three of these faiths are
“people of the book.”

I read through the book, at first I was disappointed with the women and the way
they thought about their religions. None of them were fully committed to their
faith in the first place; Priscilla, really only knew the social parts of being
Jewish and not the religious parts and Ranya did not accept many characteristics
of her religion. Suzanne was the most committed considering that she had
changed from being a Catholic to being an Episcopalian, but she would knock
Catholicism down. However, at the end, each women definitely touched me, inspired
me. Even though I was 3 when it happened, I identified with their feelings
about 9/11, and also the trials and tribulations of their lives as they dealt
with questions about death, traditions, stereotypes, good and evil, and
pressures to conform to the norms. I was enthused by how their association
became a friendship that transformed each of them. I also liked how speaking with
each other helped the authors clarify and develop more confidence in their own
faith, changed how they saw people of other faiths, and influenced how they
discussed religion with their kids. Priscilla decided to believe in God again,
Suzanne started discussing other religions in Sunday school, and Rayna started
reading the Quran on her own, found a mosque community and felt more confident
raising her children as Muslims. This book and these women definitely gave me a
different outlook on my religion and others.

I personally felt about the book was hope. Personally, I am struggling with my
own religion and what is true and what is not. Reading the book made me hopeful
that one day, I will know what I truly believe in and find peace within me just
like Priscilla did. Within the three religions told, I noticed that I
stereotyped my own religion the most. It is the most popular religion and seemingly
strict on a lot of sensitive topics. As I am very supportive on a lot of these
topics, it is hard to find other open minded Christians and I often feel left
out or wrong for thinking the way I do. The book and these women gave me a
great deal of optimism and inspiration to fine my peace with religion and most importantly