MINEFIELDS AND MIRACLES:
WHY GOD AND ALLAH NEED TO TALK
A Global Adventure in Interfaith
In 2006 Ruth Broyde Sharone, filmmaker and journalist, was the first woman and the first Jew invited to address more than 1,500 Muslim participants at a peace rally organized by the conservative Muslim Shi’a community of Los Angeles, one of the highlights of her colorful and adventurous interfaith career. She is willing to enter the minefields of interfaith because, as she writes in her memoir, “I come from a long line of dreamers.”
Miracles and Minefields opens in the 60's in Chicago with Ruth’s "wake up call,” a jarring encounter with institutional anti-Semitism at a private university. After graduation, she decides to travel to Latin America, Europe and Israel, crossing geographical, cultural, religious and linguistic borders, while trying to understand "why it appears so hard for people of different faiths to get along with one another, considering that we are all part of the same human family.”
In the 70's, she comes face to face with her loyalties to her Jewish homeland, the painful political realities of the war-torn Middle East, and the dilemma of the Palestinian refugees.
Back in the States in the 80's and 90's, while working on a new film project about Passover, Ruth is led to a serendipitous meeting with a black Christian minister who also celebrates Passover. They join forces to organize a series of interfaith journeys for Christians, Muslims and Jews. They encourage participants to share their faith stories as they retrace the steps of the Exodus, beginning in Egypt, continuing through the Sinai, and culminating in a Universal Freedom Seder on Passover in Jerusalem. The ongoing minefields and miracles of interfaith engagement are plentiful along the way, which Ruth comes to see as an inevitable part of the human journey towards wholeness and peace.
Ruth’s evolving role in interfaith engagement intensifies in Los Angeles after 9/11 when she sees a disturbing billboard in Hollywood which reads “God & Allah Need to Talk.” She feels compelled to make a film by the same title in order to explore the new religious and civic landscape as Americans of all backgrounds deal with their 9/11 trauma. A sold-out premiere and a standing ovation convince Ruth that she is "on to something." She takes her film on the road, to mosques, synagogues, and churches across the country, and abroad. In her call to action, the lynch pin of her inspirational talks, Ruth urges her audiences to engage in “Interfaith Pilates” to stretch from the core, leave their comfort zone, and commit to performing “one, small profound act that could change the world.”
In 2007, at an interfaith conference in Monterrey, Mexico, Ruth screens God & Allah Need to Talk, this time with Spanish subtitles. She speaks to the crowd of 600 in Spanish and, as she concludes, the audience goes wild, treating her like a rock star, begging for photos and autographs. Ruth, unsettled by this turn of events, ultimately interpreted their reaction as an indication that people around the world are preparing for a new form of social interaction in which interfaith activity will be one of the most popular themes of their lives. And not a minute too soon, she believes.
Ruth intuits new possibilities for the 21st century. There are enough of us now who believe that, “just beyond the horizon, there is a land of unity within diversity, and diversity within unity, a land so rich in potential for inner and outer peace, that we are willing to risk all.”
This book is bound to inspire a new generation of peace builders, willing to risk all.