Book Clubs Bind Jews, Christians, and Muslims

October 21, 2006

Author: Johnny Diaz

Source: The Boston Globe

NEWTON -- The 14 women sitting in an outdoor hut, or sukkot , for the Jewish harvest holiday may not be related, but they call themselves the Daughters of Abraham or spiritual sisters. They're gathered in a tight circle discussing sukkot and one of this month's book club picks -- "The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews , and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain " by María Rosa Menocal -- at the home of rabbi Cherie Koller-Fox .

But their discussion could easily be called "How Muslims, Jews , and Christians Created a Culture of Acceptance in Modern Boston."

"They thrived together," says Saadia Husain Baloch , a Muslim software engineer, referring to the book.

"They really benefited from each other socially and economically," interjects Anne Minton , a retired Catholic nun.

And for the next hour, the women raise their hands, itching to share their stories on the subject.

As their club's name suggests, the DOA are Jewish, Christian, and Muslim women who gather to talk about literary works that delve into one or more of their faiths, which are connected through Abraham. What began with a book club in Cambridge in the aftermath of 9/11 has evolved into five clubs in Boston that are generating interest nationwide.