“Arranged” is a film that delves into the lives of Rochel and Nasira, two young educators. They become friends because they both follow Orthodox Judaism and Islam. The movie provokes thoughts on diverse notions; it occurs in modern Western society and discusses how Judaism and Islam are similar. Additionally, it illustrates the struggles people encounter when trying to uphold their customs in the 21st Century. Moreover, “Arranged” presents a compelling perspective on the potential for diverse religious communities to find mutual respect and appreciation. This essay will discuss the cultural similarities between Judaism and Islam, their adherents’ challenges, and how the film portrays the idea of God’s presence in fostering interfaith connections.
Cultural Similarities between Judaism and Islam
Through the experiences of Rochel and Nasira, “Arranged” demonstrates that Judaism and Islam share cultural similarities and face challenges in the modern world. Both religions place significant importance on faith and devotion. Rochel and Nasira display an unwavering dedication to their respective religions, participating in prayers and observing religious rituals with reverence. Judaism and Islam emphasize regular prayer and worship as integral aspects of their faiths. In the film, Rochel and Nasira are depicted engaging in their daily prayers with dedication, demonstrating their shared commitment to connecting with the divine (“Arranged,” 2007). Secondly, the film showcases the significance of community and the support networks found within religious circles. Both Rochel and Nasira draw strength from their religious communities, seeking guidance and solace in times of uncertainty.
The importance of community and family is also central to Judaism and Islam. In “Arranged,” Rochel and Nasira experience familial pressure to conform to cultural expectations, reflecting the significance of community ties within their religious frameworks. Judaism and Islam emphasize regular prayer and worship as integral aspects of their faiths (Iliško, 2018). In the film, both Rochel and Nasira are depicted engaging in their daily prayers with dedication, demonstrating the shared commitment to connecting with the divine. Modesty is also highly valued in both Orthodox Judaism and Islam. Rochel and Nasira adhere to modest dress codes, which reflect their religious observances and dedication to maintaining personal and cultural integrity.
Challenges in Maintaining Traditions in the 21st Century
Despite the shared cultural similarities, adherents of Judaism and Islam face numerous challenges in preserving their traditions in the modern world. The film highlights the clash between traditional beliefs and contemporary societal norms. Rochel faces pressure from secular colleagues and students, who question her choices and sometimes ridicule her commitment to Orthodox Judaism. Similarly, Nasira experiences similar challenges as she navigates through a society that often misunderstands or stigmatizes her religious practices. Furthermore, both characters face external pressures to conform to societal expectations, which can conflict with their religious obligations. These challenges present an ongoing struggle for individuals attempting to balance their faith with the demands of a rapidly changing world. The film showcases their determination to maintain their religious practices while working in diverse and secular environments, demonstrating the challenges religious individuals face in integrating their beliefs into everyday life (Hary et al., 2021).
God’s Presence and Building Bridges
The film “Arranged” introduces the idea that God can work through individuals from different religious traditions to foster understanding and love. Nasira, a Muslim, becomes a catalyst for Rochel, a Jew, to experience God’s love and plan. This concept highlights the potential for followers of different faiths to respect and appreciates one another, realizing that divine presence can transcend religious boundaries. The interfaith connection between Rochel and Nasira exemplifies the power of shared values and experiences to bridge cultural differences. By embracing the idea of God’s presence beyond their religious communities, individuals can develop respect, empathy, and appreciation for diverse faiths. This understanding contributes to building a more pluralistic world where interfaith dialogue and cooperation can flourish.
“Arranged” looks into the shared customs and beliefs between Judaism and Islam, their difficulties in today’s society, and how connections between people of different faiths can encourage understanding and admiration. The movie shows that people value praying, humility, and closeness to their community and family. Furthermore, the film discusses followers’ dedication to maintaining their cultural practices, challenging discriminatory judgments, and achieving a harmonious coexistence between their beliefs and daily activities. Additionally, the movie implies that God can be found beyond specific religious beliefs. It shows that God uses people from various faiths to carry out His love and plan. This idea is about supporting connections between people of different religions. It encourages believers to respect, understand, and care about others in different communities. By understanding and acknowledging a divine presence in different religious traditions, followers of various faiths can create connections of mutual respect (Turner & Stayton, 2019). This can lead to a more diverse and peaceful world where everyone feels included. “Arranged” reminds us how interfaith dialogue and cooperation can positively change our society today.
“Arranged” (2007). Directed by Stefan C. Schaefer and Diane Crespo.
Hary, B., Hayes, J., & Astren, F. (Eds.). (2021). Judaism and Islam: Boundaries, Communication, and Interaction: Essays in Honor of William M. Brinner (Vol. 27). Brill.
Iliško, D. (2018). Building bridges over troubled waters or learning “to live together” sustainably. Religious Education: Between Radicalism and Tolerance, 187-201.
Turner, Y., & Stayton, W. (2019). The twenty-first Century challenges sexuality and religion. Journal of Religion and Health, 53(2), 483-497.