Dr. Ruth Westheimer:
"I've written many 'how-to' books, but the lessons that I learned from the Druze, and that I want to pass on to you, are not about the subject for which I am best known. Instead the Druze show us how much of an impact families can have on their children, even against seemingly insurmountable odds."
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.