Kate Dudding: Voices From the Past: December, 2016

This is the thirtieth issue of Voices From the Past. My goal for each issue is to publish some highlights of one of my historical stories as well as an update on my activities. Please feel free to forward this e-newsletter to anyone you think might be interested.

Below is a story which will be on my next CD Learning About Muslims which I finished taping on Dec. 27!

One Path To World Peace

Once there were three young men: a Jew, a Hindu and a Muslim. No, this is NOT the beginning of a joke. This is actually a true story about one path to world peace.

But first, a quick detour to the village of Chelm. According to Jewish tradition, everyone who lives in Chelm is a fool. Here is one of the many stories about Chelm.

Two Chelmites were walking outside when it began to rain.

“Quick!” said the first one, “open your umbrella.”

“It won’t do any good,” replied the second one, “My umbrella is full of holes.”

“Then why did you bring it in the first place?” asked the first one.

“I didn’t think it was going to rain…” explained the second one.

So now you know a little about the village of Chelm.

Now back to the three young men: a Jew, a Hindu and a Muslim. For the past ten years, I’ve heard them and others tell stories at programs sponsored by Children at the Well - Youth Storytellers for Peace and Understanding.

I wish you could have been at these programs with me. Upon entering a house of worship, a different one each year, you see the families of the tellers bringing in fragrant and colorful food for after the program. Some Hindu women are dressed in brilliantly colored saris, and have a red dot on their foreheads. Some Muslim women are wearing gorgeous head scarves, which are coordinated with their tops and long skirts.

Then the stories start. Ben, the Jewish young man, tells a Chelm story. Ritam, the Hindu young man, also tells a humorous story from his tradition. Both these young men are gifted mimics and use many different character voices to embellish their stories. Khalafalla, the Muslim young man, often has a solemn expression on his face, but when he smiles, his whole face lights up. He shares the story about the journey from his Islamic school, where he graduated in 8th grade, to a public high school, where he is learning about that larger community and they are learning about him.

But what I love the most – more than the stories AND the food – what is most heartwarming to me and touches my soul -- is watching these young tellers before and after the program. They group together: chattering away, gesturing dramatically, laughing often. All these young people from so many different communities are now friends.

One day, I was at a local story swap as were those three young men. Of course, they were sitting together. After several stories had been shared, there was a lull. The facilitator looked at the three young men and said, “Does one of you have a story you’d like to share?”

Ritam, the Hindu young man, turned to Ben, the Jewish young man, and said, “Tell them a Chelm story!”

Khalafalla, the Muslim young man, smiled and agreed, “Yes, tell them a Chelm story!”

So Ben did, and we all laughed.

I remember thinking: How many places in the world today would you find a Jew, a Hindu and a Muslim sitting together as friends, and sharing stories?

Then I thought: Who would ever have imagined that one path to world peace goes directly through the village of Chelm?

News about me

Here are two upcoming performances - a perfect way to start out the new year!


Poster for Jan. 3, 2017 performance


I'm kicking off this series with:

Poster for Jan. 4, 2017 performance

Here's information about all the performances in this series:

Poster for ALL winter 2017 series

Thanks for reading this issue. I’ll be sending you some more story highlights in a few months.


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Copyright 2016 by Kathryn Eike Dudding. All Rights Reserved.