A Bad Time to Be a Samaritan (Newsday)
Middle Eastern sect fights to survive
By Conal Urquhart
December 15, 2003
Mount Gezirim, West Bank - When the apostle Luke told of Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan, the Jews of this region regarded the Samaritans as a sect to be shunned. Nearly 2,000 years later, the Samaritans are fighting for survival, having dwindled to a community of a mere 600 or so, and it is they who have ostracized Sophie Sedaka.
Sedaka, 28, would seem to be an advertisement for the Samaritan community. As one of Israel's best-known actresses, she is one of the most prominent of the sect, now one of the Middle East's tiniest religious minorities.
But the Samaritans have a shortage of women. In an effort to preserve the community and its "purity," women - but not men - are forbidden to marry outsiders. Those who transgress are cut off completely. Sedaka transgressed, and now is treated by her sect as a foreigner.
The story is too complicated to excerpt, so read it all. This sort of thing is very difficult and I wish the Samaritan community the best in sorting out how to deal with such situations.