Religion and Immigrants

This week I read Reproducing Ethnicity by Helen Rose Ebaugh and Janet Saltzman Chafetz. This article talks about how immigrant religious institutions provide a safe space  which those who share the same traditions, customs and languages can come together. As immigrants adapt to the new culture of their surrounds, it helps to have little bits of tradition to help you feel grounded. It made me think about how I felt when I first came to the University of Redlands and although everyone was still speaking the same language around me, it was still a new environment. I had never moved before so it was a big step for me. I had to try and bring little pieces of home to make myself feel more comfortable. I imagine that finding that community within the church makes the transition easier. In many religions a home alter is a piece of the ritual so creating that space were someone can be with God in their own home, helps the transition. Another point the article made was the community immigrants find in the church also makes it easier to share these customs with their children. The rituals that are conducted at churches contribute to reproducing ethnic customs that are particular to different ethic groups. Food was one custom that was talked about in depth. Food can remind people of the past and where they came from and teaching the children to cook ethnic food brings them closer to their ethnic traditions. Immigrants find homes within the religious communities to keep their traditions alive.