April 2018

Written by WISDOM on . Posted in Newsletters

Calendar for WISDOM and Other Interfaith Events 
Exloring Religious Landscapes, Spring 2018
Prayer Across Faith Traditions
See Flyer Below
Thursday, April 5th 5:00 PM
Rochester College, Rochester Hills
Women and Political Turmoil in the Middle East
Sponsored by the Turkish American Society of Michigan
See Flyer below
Thursday, April 12, 7:00 PM
Ask A Native American
Unity of Royal Oak Church
See Flyer Below
Friday, April 13, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
C.A.U.T.I.O.N. Training
See Flyer Below
Sunday, April 22, 3:00 – 5:00 PM
Examining Compassion
At Repair the World, 2701 Bagley Ave., Detroit
See Flyer Below for registration
Monday April 23rd 11:00 AM Temple Israel Sisterhood Luncheon
Five Women Five Journeys WISDOM Presentation
Contact Gail Katz for more information 248-978-6664
Thursday, April 26th, 6:00 PM
Song and Spirit Tales of Holy Foolery
See Flyer Below
Thursday, April 26th 6:30 PM
Open Forum on Supporting our Children, Youth, and Families
in Foster Care
First Presbyterian Church of Birmingham
See Flyer Below
Sunday, April 29th 4:00 PM
Five Women Five Journeys WISDOM Presentation
St. Anne’s Catholic Church
Contact Paula Drewek for more information Drewekpau@aol.com 
Thursday, May 3, 7:00 – 9:00 PM
WISDOM Book Friendship and Faith Discussion
See Flyer Below
Sunday, May 6, 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Destination Hope Mother’s Day Brunch for Zaman International
Crystal Gardens Banquet Center
See Flyer Below
Friday, May 11th 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Confronting Racism Within: History, Systems, Community and Self
Baker College – Auburn Hills, 1500 University Drive
To Register, go to confrontingracism.eventbrite.com 
See Flyer Below

Michigan State Police Seek faith leaders for training session in Public Safety April 13
 Michigan State Police officials are seeking leaders from all faiths for a program aimed at fostering trust and improving public safety.
“Community Action United Team In Our Neighborhood.” or CAUTION is being expanded by MSP and it is seeking faith-based volunteers who can train to serve as a “quick response team for critical incidents” and a link between officers and residents.
The C.A.U.T.I.O.N training will be on
6 to 8 p.m. April 13 at
Metro North Post
Interested individuals can contact Trooper Richardson the Community Service Trooper for the Metro North Post at Richardsona12@michigan.gov or 248-217-1581.
A program with its roots in Flint, CAUTION started in 2012 has been part of the “Secure Cities” effort to reduce violent crime.
CAUTION members attend local meetings, work with MSP personnel at public engagement events, including assisting the Community Service Troopers, respond to criminal incidents where they can assist victims and their community with emotional support and assist on diversionary activities, such as jointly speaking with enforcement personnel at local juvenile detention facilities.
Volunteers will also receive training in areas including “ministering in a pluralistic environment” and “incident response and diffusing.”

Women and Political Turmoil in the Middle East
by Dr. Sophia Pandya
California State University – Long Beach
Dear Friend,

On April 5th, 2018 our topic will be “Women and Political Turmoil in the Middle East” presented by California State University’s Dr. Sophia Pandya. Her focus will be the impact upon women of the political chaos in Yemen, Bahrain, and Turkey since the 2011 “Arab Spring”.  Women are particularly vulnerable during political conflict, especially in patriarchal societies. They witness violence, sexual abuse, displacement, poverty, unemployment, disruption of education, and mental illness. Nonetheless, many Middle Eastern women are engaged in public activism, transforming, family and social dynamics in highly patriarchal countries.

Date:    Thursday, April 5
Time:    5PM
Venue: Rochester College
Ennis & Nancy Ham building, Room 112
800 W Avon Rd, Rochester Hills, MI 48307

Sophia Pandya is a full professor at California State University at Long Beach, in the Department of Religious Studies. Winner of the 2016 Advancement of Women Award at CSULB from the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, she received her BA from UC Berkeley in Near Eastern Studies/Arabic, and her MA and PhD from UC Santa Barbara in Religious Studies.  A Fulbright Scholar, she specializes in women and Islam, and more broadly in contemporary movements within Islam. Dr. Pandya has authored a book (2012), Muslim Women and Islamic Resurgence: Religion, Education, and Identity Politics in Bahrain, on Bahraini women and the ways in which globalization and modern education impacted their religious activities. Having carried out research in Turkey on several occasions, she is also the co-editor of a second published volume (2012), The Gülen Hizmet Movement and its Transnational Activities: Case Studies on Charitable Activism.


The Nineteenth Annual World Sabbath,
by Gail Katz, World Sabbath Chairperson
The Nineteenth Annual World Sabbath took place on March 11th, 2018 at Christ Church Cranbrook in Bloomfield Hills. The mission of the World Sabbath is to teach our diverse population in Metro Detroit that the work of building a community of justice, equality, respect and peace is a calling that we all share – all of us, no matter what our faith tradition might be. But most important is the fact that we are impacting our children, our teens, and our young adults.
Our World Sabbath processional included children of many faith traditions, proudly waving the peace banners that they decorated themselves. These children came together to sing the song “We Are Children of Peace.” Every year we honor someone with the World Sabbath Peace Award – someone who is making a difference in the interfaith world, bringing people together to build community.  This year Imam Mohamed Almasmari was honored for the work he has done bringing Jews, Christians, and Muslims together at the Muslim Unity Center in Bloomfield Hills.
The World Sabbath began with Abraham Miller from Temple Beth El blowing the shofar, Ehsun Karimi from the Islamic House of Wisdom chanting the Muslim Call to Prayer, and Vishal Kumar Chandu blowing the Conch shell, a Hindu tradition. Prayers were also given in the Sikh and Zoroastrian traditions. This beautiful Interfaith service featured youth choirs from Christ Church Cranbrook, the Baha’i Community, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Temple Beth El, as well as Hindu drummers and Jain dancers.
Clergy of many faith participated in the World Sabbath service, and the 60 clergy present got called up to read the “Commitment to Be Resilient” together about building the “Beloved Community” – a world of tolerance, justice, faithfulness, and peace.
What a uplifting celebration of our diversity and our commonality!!
Stay tuned for the 20th annual World Sabbath celebration to be held for the first time at a mosque – the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights on March 3, 2019!!
The Rev. Dr. William Danaher passes the Peace Banner to Imam Mohammed Elahi of the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights
where the 2020 World Sabbath will be held!

Young Nepalese girls sit in chairs as they wait during the selection of a new living goddess, locally known as “Kumari”, outside a Hindu temple in Patan, Lalitpur, Nepal, on Feb. 5, 2018. Five-year-old Nihira Bajracharya, second from right, was appointed the new “Kumari.” Nepal’s living goddesses are young pre-pubescent girls considered by devotees to be incarnations of a Hindu goddess. Selected as pre-schoolers, living goddesses usually keep their positions until they reach puberty. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha) 

Iceland could become first country
to ban male circumcision
(USA Today) – Iceland could become the first country in Europe to ban male circumcision, prompting criticism from religious groups about the ritual practiced in both Judaism and Islam. The legislation being debated by Iceland’s Parliament would impose a six-year jail term on anyone who “removes part or all of (a child’s) sexual organs” for nonmedical reasons.
“It’s an attack on freedom of religion,” Ahmad Seddeeq, the Egyptian-born imam of the Islamic Cultural Center of Iceland, said Monday (Feb. 19).
Silja Dögg Gunnarsdóttir, a lawmaker from the center-right Progressive Party, said she proposed the measure after realizing the country’s ban on female genital mutilation had no equivalent to prevent male circumcision. Iceland outlawed female genital mutilation in 2005, in line with other nations, to prevent procedures that intentionally alter or injure female genital organs for nonmedical reasons. “We are talking about children’s rights, not about freedom of belief,” she said when she introduced the bill in early February. “Everyone has the right to believe in what they want, but the rights of children come above the right to believe.”
About 336,000 people live in Iceland, including 250 Jews and 1,500 Muslims, according to government statistics and Seddeeq.
This Nordic island nation is known for progressive legislation on gender equality. Last month, the government made it illegal for companies to pay women less than men – another world first. The religious ritual of male circumcision, or removing the foreskin from the penis, generally occurs shortly after birth, during childhood or around puberty as a rite of passage. Jews and Muslims typically circumcise their sons to confirm or mark their relationship with God. While the practice is often associated with Judaism, a 2007 report by the World Health Organization said Muslims are the largest religious group to perform male circumcision. An estimated 30 percent of all males globally are circumcised, and about two-thirds of them are Muslim, the organization said.
In the United States, 98 percent of Jewish men are circumcised, according to the world agency. The organization also said there is substantial evidence that male circumcision protects against diseases, such as urinary tract infections, syphilis, invasive penile cancer and HIV.
In Iceland, Gunnarsdóttir’s draft law has political support in Parliament and popular backing. But religious leaders around Europe worry that Iceland’s quest to protect children is trampling on religious practices and could amount to anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
“Protecting the health of children is a legitimate goal of every society, but in this case (it is being used) without any scientific basis, to stigmatize certain religious communities,” said Cardinal Reinhard Marx, president of the Brussels-based Catholic Church in the European Union.
Milah U.K., a British group that protects the Jewish community’s right carry out religious circumcision, said, “For a country such as Iceland, that considers itself a liberal democracy, to ban it, thus making sustainable Jewish life in the country impossible, is extremely concerning.”
Seddeeq pointed out that native-born Icelanders do not get circumcised, and he is not aware of any medical specialists in the country trained to perform the procedure. He took his own 3-year-old son to Egypt to have it done. “What’s the point in banning something that doesn’t really exist?” he said.

VIDEO: “Muslim & Jewish Women Fight Hatred Together”
by Deena Yellin
In the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, during which there was an increase of hate crimes, a shell shocked Arwen Kuttner sought a way to take positive action.
“I didn’t want Muslims or immigrants feeling we were all against them,” said the Englewood resident, who teaches at a yeshiva day school in Paramus. “Nor did I want people turning against Jews. I felt we needed each other so that we weren’t treated as outsiders.”
Then she heard about Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, a national, New-Jersey-based group that seeks to build bridges among Muslim and Jewish women. Group leaders were inundated with e-mails and calls from others who apparently felt the same way as Kuttner. Some were from Bergen County, where there was no chapter.
Kuttner contacted other local women who had expressed an interest in the group.
“I said `Let’s all get together at my place,’ ” she said.
She’s now co-leader of the 12-plus member Bergen County Chapter of Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom whose goal is to form friendships and wage peace across religious and cultural lines.
The group is one of a growing crop of Muslim-Jewish interfaith collaborations, such as the Syrian Supper Club, where Jewish congregants invite Syrians to their home to cook and share a meal and, in turn, the diners make a donation to support the Syrian families. Other Jewish communities have raised money for damaged mosques or offered their own facilities as prayer spaces and Muslims across the U.S. have raised money in online campaigns to repair Jewish cemeteries that were vandalized.

Check out this incredible video!!  Thousands of Jews and Muslims sing “One Day” in perfect harmony. On February 14, 2018 Koolulam invited 3,000 people who had never met before to sing in Haifa, in 3 languages, in celebration of co-existence!!  It look just one hour for the Jews and Muslim to learn all the parts.  Click on the link below to see the heart-warming result!!

Sikhs welcome students on religious diversity journey
published March 1, 2018
Raman Singh, addressing a diverse group of seventh-graders visiting a Sikh place of worship in Plymouth Township, had a strong message of religious unity. Sikhs, Hindus, Christians, Muslims and Jews may worship in different ways, but their similarities – their yearning for a better world – outweigh their differences. “There should be no barriers between us,” Singh said. People of all faiths should vow to better understand one another, to improve the world and to help others “without discrimination,” she said.
Singh’s message is at the core of Religious Diversity Journeys, a project of the InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit, of which Singh is president. A program Tuesday brought 150 seventh-graders from seven schools to the Sikh Gurdwara Sahib Mata Tripta Ji (Hidden Falls).
In all this school year, 700 seventh-graders from 11 public school districts and seven private schools are participating, along with teachers and parents, in an initiative Singh said began 15 years ago. Their journeys also teach them about Judaism, Islam, Christianity and Hinduism as they visit synagogues, mosques, churches and temples.
Nevaeha Roberts, 12, who came from Holbrook Elementary in Hamtramck, reflected on her journeys Tuesday as students took a lunch break at Hidden Falls to sample Sikh cuisine such as cholay, made with chickpeas and spices, and naan flatbread. “You can learn a lot about other religions,” she said, adding that students have opportunities to ask questions about the different faiths. Students tour houses of worship, enjoy a meal with those of different faiths, have an opportunity to ask questions of clergy and meet peers their age.
Naseem Alhalimi of Kosciuszko Middle School in Hamtramck was among the students who learned that Sikh men grow their hair and wear turbans because gurus teach it as a way to show respect and love toward God. He learned about iron bracelets, or kada, worn by Sikhs.
“They wear it to do good things for other people,” Naseem said. “They want to protect people.”
Religious Diversity Journeys was started through a grant obtained by the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion. Now, the IFLC oversees the project, which has reached an estimated 2,500 students, along with their teachers and 150-200 parents. Atekeh Qazweeni, who teaches religious studies and social studies, accompanied students from an Islamic school, Wise Academy in Dearborn Heights. She said Islam teaches followers that they should work to understand other religions.
“We’re all human,” she said, “and we have to learn from each other.”
Qazweeni said Religious Diversity Journeys helps to dispel misconceptions and stereotypes.
Harminder Singh, Sunday school principal at Hidden Falls, said the program can help seventh-graders learn why Sikhs wear turbans and grow their hair and beards due to religious teachings. He wore on his arm several of the bracelets, or kada, that Naseem had mentioned.
Raman Singh said Religious Diversity Journeys gives students a chance to immerse themselves in other religions and learn firsthand that all faiths should not be divisive, but uniting. She is hopeful the effort can help dispel misconceptions that youngsters learn, often in their own homes, and enrich them with knowledge. “They can take it back to their schools and share,” she said. “This breaks down barriers and builds bridges. It opens hearts. It opens minds.” Singh said the project, which also has a separate adult component, also can help to reduce bullying as seventh-graders learn respect toward peers of other cultures.
“A lot of them come from homogeneous school districts,” she said. “They get to experience this diversity and religious diversity as a positive thing.” Parent Susan Bryant accompanied her son Ethan from the Waterford Montessori Academy. “I think this program has broken down a lot of barriers,” she said. “It dispels a lot of misconceptions. It’s a very good program.”
Wendy Miller Gamer, IFLC program director, said students each year also take a field trip to other places, including the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills. Other schools participating were Hilbert Middle School from the Redford Union district, Clifford Smart Middle School from Walled Lake and the Islamic Beverly Hills Academy.
For more information about the InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit and its programs, go to https://detroitinterfaithcouncil.com/.

WISDOM Mission Statement

To Provide concrete modeling of women from different faith traditions working together in harmony for the common good.
To Empower women to take a more active role in furthering social justice and world peace.
To Dispel myths, stereotypes, prejudices and fear about faith traditions different from our own.
To Nurture the growth of empathy and spiritual energy that result from our projects and interfaith dialogue.


WISDOM is a Non-Profit Organization. Get involved with WISDOM!

WISDOM’s challenge is to bring together people from different faith traditions, ethnicities, races, and cultures in an atmosphere of safety and respect to engage in educational and community service projects. Let’s change our world through the positive power of building relationships!