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How to be a perfect stranger : a guide to etiquette in other people's religious ceremonies /

Other Authors: Magida, Arthur J.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Woodstock, Vt. : Jewish Lights Pub., 1996
Edition: 1st ed.
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Review by Choice Review

These two volumes are updated and expanded from the award-winning and well-received first series of this set from Ben Franklin, first published in 1996 and '97. Total religions and denominations covered now number 38: 21 for volume 1, which covers larger religions with memberships in the millions (Baptist, Buddhist, Jewish, Methodist, Roman Catholic), and 17 for volume 2, which covers faiths with a smaller membership (Baha'i, Mennonite/Amish, Orthodox Churches, Native American/First Nations). Revision and expansion consists of the addition of Canadian branches of the faiths and the updating of the calendar of religious holidays and festivals. Information for guests regarding what to expect at religious services includes details such as what to wear, whether flash photography is permitted, how to address the clergy, whether it is impolite not to eat, and whether or not one may politely leave early. The information was obtained from questionnaires completed by the national office of the religion or by interviews with clergy. The section on Native American religions deviates from the standard question-and-answer format and includes the advice that if you are not invited to a ceremony you should not attend. This raises the question of whether uninvited guests should ever attend religious services of faiths not their own, which is not directly addressed in the other entries. Future volumes could be improved by more extensive coverage of African American religions and services. Descriptions of core beliefs and short bibliographies are given in this practical reference guide, written for general readers rather than scholarly researchers. M. Meola; Temple University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review

Guests at religious celebrations of faiths other than their own are often unaware of customs and rituals, appropriate dress, or gift-giving practices. The guidelines to religious etiquette in this book were developed to answer common questions asked by guests seeking to participate in the event yet attempting to avoid violating religious principles. Topics are addressed in a straightforward and nonjudgmental manner. The foreword was written by Sanford Cloud, president of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, who describes the effort as "a conscientious labor in the service of intergroup understanding." Each of the 20 chapters is devoted to a particular religion, including Baptist, Buddhist, Christian Science, Episcopalian, Greek Orthodox, Hindu, Islam, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jewish, Mormon, Quaker, and Roman Catholic. Extensive questionnaires seeking information about customs, rituals, and language of the faith were completed by the national office of each religion, or by a member of the clergy of that faith. The respondents are listed in the front of the book. Each chapter begins with a brief introduction to the history and beliefs of the faith, followed by a series of standard questions that detail the basic service (appropriate dress, behavior during the service); holy days and festivals; life cycle events (birth, initiation, marriage, and funerals); and home celebrations. They answer such questions as Where do I sit? Are there any parts of the service in which a guest should participate? Is there a reception after the service? What does the ritual mean? Is it OK to leave early? Is flash photography or videotaping permitted? Will contributions be collected at the ceremony? Will the casket be open? Representing a diversity of faiths, these guidelines to correct social behavior at religious ceremonies belong on public library shelves everywhere. (Reviewed Feb. 15, 1996)

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review

Many of us feel nervous when we receive an invitation to attend a wedding, bar mitzvah, funeral, or other religious ceremony in a denomination or religion with which we are unfamiliar. What will the ceremony be like? What should I wear? When do I kneel? When do I stand? In what should I not participate? What sort of gift is expected and when do I present it? After questioning religious centers and experts across the country, Magida and other staff of Jewish Lights have compiled this helpful and informative guide to the basic beliefs and ceremonial practices of the major Jewish and Protestant denominations, Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Mormon, Christian Scientist, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist religions. While general etiquette books usually cover some religious etiquette, none covers it as extensively or in as much detail as this. A welcome addition to public library collections. Highly recommended.‘Marcia Welsh, Guilford Free Lib., Ct. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.