The Olive and The Tree

The Olive and the Tree: The Secret Strength of the Druze, a documentary which Dr. Ruth Westheimer acted as Executive Producer and in which she appears, will air in Sacramento on WQED on April 23rd at 10 PM. This hour-long documentary tells the story of the Druze, Israelís most fascinating non-Jewish religious minority. It focuses on their approach to childhood education which maintains the sectís unique cultural and social identity, despite the lure of assimilation.

The Druze religion is an 11th century offshoot of Islam, which developed as a separate faith. Though aspects of it are secret, it includes belief in reincarnation. Because their faith preaches loyalty to the nations in which they reside, the Druze, unique among Israelís non-Jewish minorities, perform compulsory military service in the Israel Defense Forces. As a result, the Druze have earned the trust and respect of Israelís Jewish citizens and government. Their unique status, however, has forced the Druze to confront challenges to their continued existence as a distinct social group as the modern world continues to intrude. How do the Druze preserve their cultural identity? What is the secret strength of the Druze?

The Olive and The Tree is Dr. Ruth Westheimerís fourth documentary. While the subject matter has always varied, the purpose remains the same; to demonstrate the importance of family values, especially the manner in which they are transmitted to future generations. An accompanying book, The Olive and The Tree, is being published by Lantern Press to coordinate with the airing of the program.

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