Last weekend, the LA Times ran a smart story about DO I KNEEL OR DO I BOW?, a book by English author Akasha Lonsdale, who, from the early age of 4, has developed a love of learning about other cultures.
Often, especially in diverse cities such as New York, where we live and work, we’ll happen into some situation where we don’t know how to interact when invited another culture’s ceremonies, and we can only hope that they are forgiving enough to excuse our blundering. There are so many different traditions–and meanings of small gestures–that our knowledge or ignorance of which can make or break a first impression.
In our multicultural society, a Sikh may invite a Muslim colleague to a family wedding. A Jew may invite a Catholic neighbor to a bar mitzvah. Or a Protestant raised in America may visit an Eastern Orthodox Church while traveling.
The book covers eight different faiths, and has been vetted and approved by the officials of each. So next time your patrons are on an international vacation or are about to “meet the parents” or attend the wedding or funeral of someone of another religion, give them this one so they don’t embarrass themselves and make their in-law situation any worse than it needs to be.