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Featuring Ruth Broyde Sharone

By Paul Chaffee

EDITORIAL

If ‘interfaith’ is considered a big tent, you might say it covers the whole of humankind and our relationships, includes indeed all that lives, according to so many traditions. The 21st century really is different because we’re much more connected with each other, and our networks grow each day. So many changes in a few years, so many strangers who’ve become friends! Interfaith stories and issues are commonplace now in major media as well as niche markets. Appreciating diversity and pluralism is being celebrated as a golden, global value in an all-too-violent world. Grassroots interfaith dialogue and interspiritual activities are experiencing exponential growth. Likewise, peacemaking and climate change action is breaking out all over the globe in the form of interreligious collaboration. Hallelujah! Om Shanti!

This sudden increase of blessings, though, loses much of its richness and interest if a key element goes lacking, the actual human connection between you and a stranger. Whatever the arena, we need to learn to meet each ‘other’ as unique, beautiful, valuable creatures capable of treasuring a multitude of different traditions. At some point, a human touch cuts across our cultural differences, ushering in a much closer relationship with someone who is no longer ‘other.’ When that happens, a black & white world takes back its color.

Ruth Broyde Sharone has a particular gift for conveying the vital human interactions which can make interfaith interaction powerful and transformative. A devoted Jew, she has a prodigious appetite for meeting and relating to people from all traditions all over the world. She has spoken at hundreds of interfaith forums in dozens of countries. From some 50 articles she has written for TIO these past five years, a number read like travelogues of the heart. Perhaps the best in this vein is what she wrote for this issue of TIO, Varanasi Now and Forever, following her recent trip to India with her daughter.

 Ruth Broyde Sharone (third from right), is pictured with the leadership of the Southern California Committee for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, a group she helped found in 2007, and which she co-chairs.

Ruth Broyde Sharone (third from right), is pictured with the leadership of the Southern California Committee for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, a group she helped found in 2007, and which she co-chairs.

Ruth is equally compelling in exploring and championing interfaith peace and justice issues and activism, particularly at the grassroots level. Her film, God and Allah Need to Talk and her memoire, MINEFIELDS & MIRACLES, testify to a deep, on-the-ground courageous commitment to peace among religions.

For TIO, Ruth’s provocative pieces about being proselytized at a fundamentalist temple, and her confrontation with a religious bigot in her own tradition, are among the best of the 1500+ stories TIO has published, and both can be found again in this issue.

You’ll find a dozen Sharone contributions inside. And below the photo is a list of Ruth Broyde Sharone’s whole TIO bibliography, with links included. You’ll also find a brief piece I wrote about being confounded, unbelieving, and finally overwhelmed by Ruth’s Interfaith – The Musical, a work in progress.

Ruth Broyde Sharone Contributions to The Interfaith Observer (TIO)