The View from the Bridge: An Israeli Druze Woman as Guardian of Religious Tradition and Agent of Social Change

By Deborah Court and Randa Abbas.

Published by The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Randa is an Israeli Druze woman who is both an unusual guardian of religious tradition in her community and a groundbreaking agent of social change. The Druze believe in reincarnation, and Randa is among the few who remembers her previous incarnation. She believes that this memory allowed her to begin this life with unusual maturity, setting and realizing goals that Druze women have not normally aspired to or achieved. Not religious in the traditional sense, and thus not privy to the secrets of Druze religion, she has nonetheless been sought out and enlisted by the sheiks who are the religious leaders of her community to promote Druze tradition amongst the young and to be the face of change in public venues. The sheiks seem to have understood that Randa offers a unique bridge between tradition and change. This article will explore Randa’s personal narrative and relate her story to the complex dynamics between religion, tradition and social change.

Keywords: Religious Tradition, Social Change, Druze Woman

The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp.135-146. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 536.168KB).

Dr. Deborah Court

Senior Lecturer, School of Education, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel

Deborah Court was born and educated in Canada. She received her doctorate in education from the University of British Columbia. For the past 15 years she has lived in Israel, where she is a senior lecturer at Bar-Ilan University’s School of Education. She teaches graduate courses in curriculum studies and qualitative research methodology. Her research and publishing focus on school and classroom culture, religious education and the place of religion in multi-cultural societies, especially Israel. She has a special interest in exploring the place and position of the researcher in qualitative research. She has five beautiful grandchildren, who give her perspective and are a daily blessing in her life.

Dr. Randa Abbas

Head of Education, Teachers’ Seminar, Israel

Dr. Randa Abbas was born in a Druze village in Northern Israel. She completed her Ph.D. studies at Bar-Ilan University, and was the first Israeli Druze woman to receive a Ph.D. in education. In addition to being Head of Education at the Teachers’ Seminar in Northern Israel, she is a lecturer at Western Galilee College. Five years after the completion of her doctorate, she is an active researcher, especially into aspects of Druze education and Druze community life. She has academic articles “in press” in Hebrew, English and Arabic. She is also the busy mother of three daughters.