Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Book Review: How to Be A Perfect Stranger

This past September we learned that one of my mother's neighbors had lost his battle with cancer. Attending the funeral was important to my mom and me because this man had been our neighbor since my parents had moved into the home in 1975. However, we had one challenge. He was Jewish and we had never taken part in a Jewish funeral. Not wanting to offend anyone I reached out to the ministers at my church, The First Unitarian Society of Madison. To my delight Rev. Karen Gustafson (no relation) recommended the book How to Be A Perfect Stranger: The Essential Religious Etiquette Handbook by Matlins and Magida. What a resource it is; one that merits a spot on my bookshelf.

Organized into 29 chapters (by religion), it contains information related to:
  • history and beliefs;
  • the basic service;
  • holy days and festivals;
  • life cycle events (birth, initiation, marriage, funerals); and
  • home celebrations.
No matter your profession, this is an excellent resource to be an informed and caring community member. It will not be a purchase you regret.

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