How to count my days
On mindfulness and matzah

Faithful friends

The stares surprised me. My brother Charlie, an Orthodox rabbi, wears a kippah, a Jewish head covering, and tallis fringes that hang out of his shirt. His friend Sedar, an Orthodox Muslim, wears a knitted skullcap and a qamis, a long tunic that touches his toes. Charlie is white; Sedar is black.

Though they've been friends for 23 years, I had never ventured out with them until last summer, when the three of us went to a restaurant in Rockville. Double takes from other diners turned into stares.

"It's like we're two sexy women walking down the street," Sedar said.

That's the beginning of an article by Alison Buckholtz, the sister of Charlie Buckholtz. Charlie and I overlapped at Williams. I remember him returning from Israel, my sophomore year, with tzitzit flying and a knit kippah pinned to his curls. [Edited to add: thanks to Adam for correcting me on Charlie's class year!] I think we shared a mentor; I suspect I ran into Charlie somewhere in labyrinthine Stetson Hall, where religion professors' offices used to be.

Anyway, he's an Orthodox rabbi now. And there's a beautiful article about him at -- specifically, about his lifelong friendship with Sedar Chappelle (as it happens, the brother of the comedian Dave Chappelle), who is an ardent member of the Tablighi Jamaat movement within Islam.

It's good to be reminded that orthodox religious practice and interfaith relationships can coexist. (And hey, Rabbi Charlie, if you ever find yourself visiting the Berkshires again, I'd love to have a cup of coffee. Just say the word.) Even absent the Williams connection I happen to have, this is a sweet story. Read it here: Faithful friends.


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