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God willing, I'll be there some day - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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God willing, I'll be there some day [Jan. 15th, 2004|03:29 pm]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |impressedimpressed]

I have previously mentioned Fred, one of the older attorneys still working in the office. Fred is very Jewish. I spotted three different dreidl ties during the holidays. He is active in his temple, and he keeps kosher.

Fred just got back from his annual winter vacation yesterday. I stopped by his office to consult on the project we're working and asked him how it was. He smiled, "Sun and sand and reading. I must have read 5 or 6 books."

"Oh, what did you read?"

He reeled off the titles of 5 or so scholarly books, all on the subject of radical Islam. He told me that he and his wife are participants in a group of Jewish people studying Islam, because they all want to understand better why there are such differences in the hopes of encouraging respect and the ability to live together. He has looked at a people who would prefer to see his people wiped off the face of the earth, and instead of answering hate with hate is trying to figure out why.

Fred was immediately transformed in my mind from a really sweet older guy into a hero. He is unapologetically old-school liberal, but his opinions aren't formed by some sort of working group sloganeering. He is investigating, learning, working to understand. It's not just because he's supposed to think this way. His opinions are formed though study and thought, discussion and debate.

Fred may be slowing down some, but he is still intellectually keen and interested in the world. There's no resting on his laurels - he still wants to help the world change, see justice done, and he's willing to put in the brainpower it takes to impact his little corner of the world. He's a great role model for what I want to be like when I reach his age.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: wolflady26
2004-01-15 02:00 pm (UTC)
I hope you find some way to let Fred know how much he has impressed you. It sounds like at his point in life, that would really mean a lot to him.

Your last post about him still makes me very, very sad.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-01-18 06:55 am (UTC)
I go out of my way to show interest in him. He really is a gem.
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[User Picture]From: myshanter
2004-01-15 02:09 pm (UTC)
Heck, I want to be like that NOW.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-01-18 06:54 am (UTC)
True!
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[User Picture]From: stephenbooth_uk
2004-01-15 02:50 pm (UTC)
Sounds like a really great person, impressive.

He might be interested in this. It's a freely downloadable copy of the Qu'aran; in English, Arabic and transliterated Arabic. In addition is has commentary on the passages which give background and discuss what each passage means. It has a search function so you can easily track down references within the Qu-aran. There's also other programs in the site that have things like histories of the prophets of Islam. I'm not a Muslim but I've found it very helpful in improving my understanding of my Muslim co-workers.

I noticed that you say he's reading about radical Islam. One thing that your collegue might need to be aware of is that Islam is much less factionalised (there is basically just Sunni and Shia, unlike like Christianity and Judaism which have many different sects) than many other religeons and that where schisms exist each side views the other as not being Islam at all. For example many Sunnis view Shi'ites was almost hatred, more so than they do the Israelis (anyhow the Islamic-Jewish conflict is much more a secular land war than it is a conflict of religeon, the Qua'aran tells Muslims to respect Jews and Christians) in many cases. A lot of Muslims would reject the idea of radical Islam. You're either fundemental Muslim or not Muslim at all in their eyes, indeed to them the word fundemetal in 'Fundemental Islam' is redundant.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-01-18 06:54 am (UTC)
Thanks - I passed it on to him. He is a great guy.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-01-18 06:56 am (UTC)
I know. I feel honored to know him. A true liberal. Rare these days.
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[User Picture]From: cyan_blue
2004-01-16 01:36 pm (UTC)
Thanks for sharing him with us!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-01-18 06:56 am (UTC)
Glad to!
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[User Picture]From: shiftercat
2004-01-20 07:18 pm (UTC)
That is so darn cool. Thanks for sharing.
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