American Druze heritage By Julia mullin Makarem
This work is the realization of a goal that began many years ago in Lebanon after I had moved there to live with my husband, Dr. Sami Makarem. Before I had married, I made an effort to learn to speak, read and write Arabic, as well as to learn more of the history and the culture of the Druze. After I befriended young Lebanese, I realized that they knew even less about their culture and history than the Druze who had been born and raised in the United States. There were no texts in Druze history in Lebanon, at least not in English, and even less in Druze culture. With the advent of the internet, I realized that my work researching and writing about the history and the culture would benefit the Druze all over the world, so I began with my dissertation of American Druze heritage; their history and their culture. Finally, for the American Druze to have a better understanding of their forefathers and their heritage, I have tried to put together a brief thesis about the Druze, a tenth-century offshoot of Islam, and about their culture and history from 1017 A.D. when the Druze Movement began to present day.
When I began this project, my goal was to concentrate on the question, "What is the impact of Druze values on the Druze community settled abroad: keeping in view the changing time, technology, ideology, and various social systems." As I researched, I realized that there was so much information regarding the heritage of the American Druzes that the THE DRUZES themselves knew very little about, and that the American Druzes, along with other people, would be just as interested in knowing that aspect of the Druzes, as well as the impact of Druze values on the Druze community settled abroad. I have read the different versions of the different aspects, and at some points I decided to include more than one version in the subject matter. It is pertinent to tell you here that when I began my writings, the friends and colleagues that became aware of my work always encouraged me to continue and even do more on the subject. Therefore, the friends that were so supportive even arranged for my collection of Druze memorabilia, along with my writings, to be stored at the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor for research. Subsequently, this work is an attempt to enlighten American Druzes and any others who have interest in the Druzes, along with the Druze values, and other aspects of their Druze heritage.
I sincerely appreciate the help I received from Attorney Abdeen Jabara in New York, Dr. Sally Howell in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Mr. Kenneth Scheffel , Archivist Emeritus of the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Mr. Len Coombs, the present Acquisition Director at the Bentley Historical Library, as well as Mr. Asaad Saleh from Kfarkatra, Lebanon. Abdeen Jabara encouraged me to pursue the Oral History Program so that the efforts and voices of our ancestors who came to America, and thus, made it possible for us to be here, would live on in history. Sally Howell assisted me in getting my collection together, and for that, I will always be grateful. Ken Scheffel, who was the Director of the Bentley Historical Library when I began this project, encouraged me, guided me, and read all my writings and edited them. Without his help and guidance, my work would not be completed today. I will always be thankful to him for his contribution to American Druze Heritage.
I am also sincerely indebted to Mr. Asaad Salah from Kfarkatra, Lebanon for his wisdom and knowledge in allowing me to construct a web site and for giving generously of his time to make the website a tool for the North American Druze community to know their heritage. I attribute the success and the ease in reading the material to Mr. Saleh’s insight; he made important comments and suggestions. For this, I am thankful to him.
My deep gratitude to all these people who allowed me to reach my goal: to concentrate on the question, "What is the impact of Druze values on the Druze community settled abroad: keeping in view the changing time, technology, ideology, and various social systems."