WISDOM Newsletter – Sep 14, 2011 Special

Written by WISDOM on . Posted in Newsletters

A SPECIAL WISDOM WINDOW
ABOUT OUR
SEPTEMBER 14th
Film Discussion Event
Please join WISDOM at the
Birmingham Community House

 

WISDOM
 September 14th Film Discussion

 

Five Women Five Journeys: How Different Are We?
WISDOM Women together

This unique WISDOM program features personal stories of women of different faith traditions – how their childhood impacted their beliefs today, what the challenges are for women in their faith tradition, what parts of their religion are misunderstood, how reaching out to someone from a different faith has enriched their lives.
To inquire about a Five Women Five Journeys Program for your organization, contact Elaine Schonberger at bookfairmama@comcast.net or Paula Drewek at Drewekpau@aol.com .
Check out the latest story about a friendship that crosses religion, race, or ethnic boundaries at www.friendshipandfaith.com.
Email Gail Katz at gailkatz@comcast.net if you have a personal story for the friendshipandfaith.com website!!
LINKS THAT YOU CAN USE FOR MORE INFORMATION!!

1) Go to http://www.readthespirit.com/religious-holidays-festivals/ for fascinating information about upcoming Religious holidays that your neighbors of different faith traditions may be celebrating!!

2) Go to http://www.readthespirit.com/were-making-news/ for a listing of all the articles written about the WISDOM Book Friendship and Faith: the WISDOM of Women Creating Alliances for Peace.

Go to our WISDOM websites at www.interfaithwisdom.org

Read our interfaith story of the week from our book Friendship and Faith,

and find the link to buy the book at

Amazon at

Contact Information

 

Gail Katz gailkatz@comcast.net
phone: 248-978-6664

 

Join Our Mailing List 

BECOME A FRIEND OF WISDOM! Click on this link to go to the WISDOM website (right side of home page) to print out form to support WISDOM.

WISDOM Newsletter – Sep 11, 2011 Special

Written by WISDOM on . Posted in Newsletters

A SPECIAL WISDOM WINDOW
ABOUT THE ACTS OF KINDNESS DETROIT
COMMUNITY SERVICE EVENT
SEPTEMBER 11, 2011

 

WISDOM
 ACTS OF KINDNESS (A-OK) DETROIT

A DAY OF COMMUNITY SERVICE

AND DIALOGUE

ON THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11

AT FOCUS: HOPE IN DETROIT

1355 Oakman Boulevard
Detroit, MI 48238-2881
(313) 494-5500

 

PLEASE SUPPORT THIS OPPORTUNITY

TO COME TOGETHER TO CELEBRATE OUR DIVERSITY

AND WORK TO MAKE OUR COMMUNITY

A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE.

 

Wear RED, WHITE, or BLUE

Clothing to this 9/11 Event

 

To register for AOK Detroit

Go to

http://www.usrising.org/serviceday.php

 

You will receive an email confirmation

after you register with detailed information

about our September 11th A-OK event!!

 

Donations to support this 9/11 A-OK event

would be greatly appreciated to help us pay for supplies and food for our volunteers!!

See Below!!

 

A-OK Flyer Revised

 

 

 

 

A-OK Detroit on 9/11Breakdown of the Day’s Agenda!!

 

For folks working on the outdoor beautification projects near Focus: Hope or in the Food Pantry Warehouse at Focus: HOPE

 

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM – Check in and get project assignments

1:00 – 1:30 PM – Kick Off Rally –

2:00 – 4:00 PM – Community Service Projects

4:00 – 5:15 PM – Get Refreshments in Cafeteria and Participate in the “Get to Know You” Dialogue in Focus: HOPE Conference Rooms

 

For our teens and adults working on the indoor projects (backpacks for Detroit Public School students, kits for DPS teachers, and writing letters to our troops)

 

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM – Check in and get project assignments

1:00 – 1:30 PM – Kick Off Rally

2:00 – 3:00 PM Community Service Projects

3:00 – 4:00 PM “Get to Know You” Dialogue

4:00 – 5:15 PM – Refreshments in Cafeteria and Conversation

 

Questions? Contact Gail Katz, gailkatz@comcast.net, 248-978-6664

 

Metro Detroit community groups transform 9/11 anniversary with ‘acts of kindness’Multicultural groups work side by side

in spirit of hope, harmony and unity

 

Press Release!!

 

DETROIT—-Major community leaders and organizations have joined to mark the tenth anniversary of 9/11 with a day of community service and intercultural connection called A-OK (Acts of Kindness) Detroit

 

A-OK Detroit aims to transform 9/11 into a day of caring and service by bringing together diverse community groups with common missions of unity, peace, and mutual understanding.

On September 11, volunteers from ACCESS, Women’s Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach in MetroDetroit (WISDOM), the Interfaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan, City Year Detroit, United Way, and J-Serve will come together in service activities focused around Focus:HOPE’s campus and its food outreach, education and community revitalization efforts.

“The Acts of Kindness (A-OK) mission is to transform 9/11 into a day for people to work side by side to make their community a better place to live,” said Gail Katz, co-founder of WISDOM and a board member of the Interfaith Leadership Council. Katz was a leader in launching the A-OK Detroit last year with more than 400 volunteers working on a number of projects in southwest Detroit.

“With this new approach, 9/11 becomes a day to find our commonality as human beings. As we work together, we reduce myths and stereotypes about the ‘other’ and increase respect and understanding,” she said. “We must continue to maintain our relationships and move forward-getting more people together to talk, perform community service together, and find out what we all have in common.”

“We want to make sure that we keep this message going long in the future, not just one day a year, but as a way of life,” according to Hassan Jaber, executive director of ACCESS. “When young people work side by side with those from different cultures and backgrounds, they have a wonderful way of focusing not on their differences but on their commonalities. In this way, our young people become examples for all of us, leading us forward into a brighter future.”

“This special day of service shows both the power and the beauty of people from different backgrounds working together in a spirit of harmony and unity,” said Focus:HOPE CEO William F. Jones Jr. “It is an honor for Focus:HOPE to host Acts of Kindness Detroit. My hope and belief is that this day will advance the effort to build a metropolitan community of people who respect and embrace our differences and our similarities.”

 As we approach the tenth anniversary of 9/11, we would like to offer you an opportunity to join with others in creating a prayer of hope for our future.

In May, WISDOM women created a beautiful prayer that dealt with diversity in response to the words “Open my eyes to …,” which may be viewed on our website at www.interfaithwisdom.org. We would like to use a similar format to create prayers of hope for our nation and our world in honor of the upcoming commemoration of 9/11 in the spirit of remembrance and renewal.

Just complete the line:

” I hope for a world where …”

and email your response to David Crumm at david.crumm@gmail.com by August 31st and look for these prayers on www.readthespirit.com and www.interfaithwisdom.org around Sunday, September 11th.

Please identify your prayer as a WISDOM response, since we will have other prayers from other organizations that will be participating in the Acts of Kindness (A-OK) Detroit event down at Focus: HOPE that WISDOM is co-sponsoring on Sunday, September 11th.

Five Women Five Journeys: How Different Are We?
WISDOM Women together

This unique WISDOM program features personal stories of women of different faith traditions – how their childhood impacted their beliefs today, what the challenges are for women in their faith tradition, what parts of their religion are misunderstood, how reaching out to someone from a different faith has enriched their lives.
To inquire about a Five Women Five Journeys Program for your organization, contact Elaine Schonberger at bookfairmama@comcast.net or Paula Drewek at Drewekpau@aol.com .
Check out the latest story about a friendship that crosses religion, race, or ethnic boundaries at www.friendshipandfaith.com.
Email Gail Katz at gailkatz@comcast.net if you have a personal story for the friendshipandfaith.com website!!
LINKS THAT YOU CAN USE FOR MORE INFORMATION!!

1) Go to http://www.readthespirit.com/religious-holidays-festivals/ for fascinating information about upcoming Religious holidays that your neighbors of different faith traditions may be celebrating!!

2) Go to http://www.readthespirit.com/were-making-news/ for a listing of all the articles written about the WISDOM Book Friendship and Faith: the WISDOM of Women Creating Alliances for Peace.

Go to our WISDOM websites at www.interfaithwisdom.org

Read our interfaith story of the week from our book Friendship and Faith,

and find the link to buy the book at

Amazon at

 
Contact Information

 

Gail Katz gailkatz@comcast.net
phone: 248-978-6664

Join Our Mailing List

BECOME A FRIEND OF WISDOM! Click on this link to go to the WISDOM website (right side of home page) to print out form to support WISDOM.

WISDOM Newsletter – September 2011

Written by WISDOM on . Posted in Newsletters

THE WISDOM WINDOW

SEPTEMBER 2011

WISDOM

Sunday, September 11th

Acts of Kindness (A-OK) Detroit, Community Service Projects for Adults, young adults, and teens. Event will be held at Focus Hope, 1400 Oakman Blvd., Detroit.

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM Check in and assignments

1:30 – 2:00 PM Kick off

2:00 – 4:00 PM Community Service Projects

4:00 – 5:15 PM Refreshments and interfaith/intercultural dialogue.

To register and for more information go to http://www.usrising.org/serviceday.php

Contact Gail Katz, gailkatz@comcast.net with any questions.

Wednesday, September 14

WISDOM Film Discussion Group will kick off with Dr. Parvinder Mehta of Wayne State University, leading a discussion of the movie “Arranged.” The movie is about a friendship between an Orthodox Jewish women and a Muslim women who meet as first year teachers in a public school in Brooklyn, NY. 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM at the Birmingham Community House in conjunction with the Diversity Task Force, 380 S. Bates St., Birmingham, 48009, cookies and coffee served!! Contact Sheri Schiff to register, sheritschiff@gmail.com

Wednesday, September 21

Five Women Five Journeys Panel Presentation at Christ Church Cranbrook, 470 Church Road, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304. Call Peggy Dahlberg, Director of Parish Programs and Children’s Ministries for more information (248) 644-5210, ext. 12

Thursday, October 27

“Flowers Aren’t Enough,” an event to educate women and teenaged girls about abusive relationships. Sponsored by the National Council of Jewish Women (Greater Detroit Section) and Temple Israel Sisterhood, and supported by WISDOM. The program will begin at 7:00 PM at Temple Israel, 5725 Walnut Lake Road, West Bloomfield. For more information contact NCJW at 248-355-3300. See Flyer Below!!

Friday, November 11

Jewish Book Fair: Ma Baseema: Middle Eastern Cooking with Chaldean Flair. Discussion of the book with a cooking demonstration and tasting. WISDOM is a sponsor. 11:30 AM at the West Bloomfield Jewish Community Center.

Wednesday, November 16

Five Women Five Journeys presentation at St. Mary, Our Lady of the Snows Parish, 1955 E. Commerce Rd., Milford. 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM. Contact Mary at the church at 248-685-2702, or Elaine at WISDOM, bookfairmama@comcast.net

Sunday, December 4

“Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus” – an interfaith panel program, sponsored by the Interfaith Leadership Council, will be held in conjunction with the Rembrandt exhibit from 2:30 pm – 6:30 PM at the Detroit Institute of Art. There will be a charge for this event. Contact Gail Katz at gailkatz@comcast.net More information to follow!!

Thursday, December 8

Make an interfaith beaded jewelry bracelet with Nomi Joyrich, owner of the Franklin Bead Works. Program will run from 4:00 – 7:00 PM at Unity of Farmington Hills 32500 West 13 Mile Road, Farmington Hills, 48334. Cost for attendance is $35.00 which will include beads, charms, staff time and a light supper!! RSVP to Gail Katz, gailkatz@comcast.net

Sunday, December 11

Kids Against Hunger Project – Community Service project to package dry meals for the hungry in Metro Detroit and abroad – at the Rush Trucking Warehouse 38500 Van Born Road, Wayne, MI 48184. 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM. Contact Gail Katz at gailkatz@comcast.net or Paula Drewek at drewekpau@aol.com

Wednesday, January 11

WISDOM film discussion group meets to view the film “Pray the Devil Back to Hell.” Discussion will be facilitated by the Rev. Dan Buttry, American International Baptist Ministries. 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM at the Birmingham Community House in conjunction with the Race Relations and Diversity Task Force, 380 S. Bates St., Birmingham, 48009, cookies and coffee served!! Contact Sheri Schiff to register, sheritschiff@gmail.com

Jews and Muslims Share Common Values, Poll Says

Muslim and Jewish Americans share common values on key questions, according to a Gallup poll.

The poll, released Tuesday, found that the Muslim Americans exceeded Jewish belief in religious pluralism and in the fairness of elections, and also in support of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – 81 percent for Muslims, 78 percent for Jews.

Jews and Muslims also were the only religious groups surveyed in which a majority backed President Obama.

Jews were the least likely group, besides Muslims, to question the loyalty of Muslims, with 70 percent of Jewish Americans denying that Muslim Americans sympathize with the al-Qaeda terrorist group and 80 percent agreeing that Muslims are loyal to the United States. They disagreed, however, on whether Muslims spoke out enough against terrorism, with 28 percent of Muslims and 65 percent of Jews saying that Muslims were not vocal enough. The 65 percent put Jews in the middle of the religious groups surveyed.

Interestingly, Jewish respondents were slightly more likely than Muslims to believe that Muslims face prejudice in American society.

The poll included results from the Gallup Heathways Well-being index conducted from Jan. 1, 2010 to April 9, 2011, as well as two independent studies of the Muslim-American population conducted from Feb. 10 to March 11, 2010 and Oct. 1-21, 2010, by a Gallup-affiliated research group based in the United Arab Emirates. According to researchers, the poll had a margin of error of 6.6 percent for Muslims and 7.3 percent for Jews.

The study also found that Muslims were the least likely religious group to agree that there is ever justification for individuals or small groups to attack civilians, that the generation that came of age post-9/11 are more likely to report feelings of anger than their peers, but that anger is reported less among those that regularly attend religious services.

“As children of Abraham, Jews and Muslims recognize that we don’t just share a common faith but also a single fate,” Rabbi Marc Schneier, president of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, an organization devoted to outreach between the Jewish community and other ethnic groups, said in an interview with JTA.

“People will be overwhelmed by these findings. The perception is that the Muslim Jewish relationship in the U.S. is one of conflict, not of cooperation. This is just the opposite of what we’ve found in the field.”

 

Below are some links to articles – some with video! Check them out. 

For Bloomfield Hills Couple, Ramadan Brings Spiritual Awakening, Closer Walk with God!!

 

http://www.theoaklandpress.com/articles/2011/08/02/news/local_news/doc4e38515d1659d831807015.txt?viewmode=default

 

Hate Causes a Lifetime of Pain

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ld2KCFAsmk&feature=youtube_gdata_player

 

 

A Ramadan Story Of Two Faiths Bound In Friendship

http://www.npr.org/2011/08/21/139831309/a-ramadan-story-of-two-faiths-bound-in-friendship

A Church, a Shul, and a Mosque Try Faithful Experiment

In Omaha, Three Faiths Join To Build Sanctuaries Together

Multi-Faith: Jon Meyers (left) and John Waldbaum (right) of Temple Israel talk with Azhar Kalim of Omaha's new Islamic center.

Multi-Faith: Jon Meyers (left) and John Waldbaum (right) of Temple Israel talk with Azhar Kalim of Omaha’s new Islamic center.

 

Deep in America’s heartland, a Reform synagogue, a nondenominational mosque and an Episcopalian church are all putting down roots on a 37-acre tract of land that once belonged to a Jewish country club. A body of water called Hell Creek runs through the development, over which the faith groups plan to build “Heaven’s Bridge.”

Fantastical as it sounds, this interfaith campus is currently in the works in Omaha, Neb. Slated for completion in 2014, the Tri-Faith Initiative is an experiment in religious coexistence in a city better known as a hub of corn-fed conservatism.

“The only other place where such a thing exists is Jerusalem,” said Dr. Syed Mohiuddin, chairman of the Creighton University School of Medicine. Mohiuddin’s organization, the American Institute of Islamic Studies and Culture, is building a mosque on the campus. “Jerusalem is so important to these three faiths. We are sort of reproducing that model.”

If the experiment works, the city of Omaha – with a metropolitan area population of about 900,000, including 5,500 Jews, 6,000 Muslims and 4,500 Episcopalians – will become a beacon of cooperation in a world of interreligious strife. But before that can happen, the three groups still need to navigate fears, stereotypes and bureaucratic hang-ups.

 

Read the complete article at: http://forward.com/articles/140929/#ixzz1UZ50aSIs

 

SHARIAH

By Imam Steve Mustapha Elturk

Shariah sometimes is portrayed as an antiquated Islamic system of law that is barbaric with no regard for values of democracy, human rights or women’s freedom. In fact, the opposite is true: Social welfare, freedom, human dignity and human relationships are among the higher objectives of Shariah.

What does Shariah mean?

The word Shariah comes from the Arabic: sha-ra-‘a, which means a way or path and by extension-the path to be followed. The term originally was used to describe “the path that leads to water,” since water is the source of all life. Hence, Shariah is the way to the source of life. Shariah in Islam refers to the law according to divine guidance leading to a good and happy life in this world and the next.

The concept behind Shariah is not unique to Islam and is found in nearly all of the world’s great religions. Moses, peace be upon him, received the Torah incorporating the Mosaic Law and the Ten Commandments. Look at the sampling of religious codes, shown at right, for more examples. In Islam, we look primarily to the revelation that came when the Quran was revealed to Muhammad, peace be upon him, incorporating the final Shariah for the benefit of humankind. “For each of you We have appointed a law (Shariah) and a way of life. And had God so willed, He would surely have made you one single community; instead, (He gave each of you a law and a way of life) in order to test you by what He gave you.” (Quran 5:48)

Sources of Shariah

There are basically two sources of Shariah-the Quran and the Sunnah (the divinely guided tradition of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him). There is also what is called fiqh or Islamic jurisprudence. There is a fundamental difference, however, between Shariah and fiqh. While Shariah is of divine origin, fiqh is the product of intellectual effort to deduce the rulings of Shariah through the jurist’s own intellectual exertion suitable for his specific time and place. Fiqh interprets and extends the application of Shariah to situations not directly addressed in the primary sources by taking recourse to secondary sources. Those secondary sources usually include a consensus of religious scholars called ijma and analogical deductions from the Quran and the Sunnah called qiyas. While the Quran and the Sunnah are permanent and unchangeable, fiqh is variable and may change with time and place-but always within the spirit and parameters of these two main sources of Shariah: the Quran and Sunnah.

Objectives of Shariah

Shariah aims at the welfare of the people in this life and in the life hereafter. The sources of Shariah guide people to adopt a set of beliefs and practices that would help them ward off evil, injury, misery, sorrow, and distress. These beliefs and practices may result in benefit, happiness, pleasure, and contentment not only in this world, but also in the next. The Quran confirms, “Whoever follows My guidance, when it comes to you [people], will not go astray nor fall into misery, but whoever turns away from it will have a life of great hardship.” (Quran 20:123-124)

It is an error to define Shariah as a “legal-political-military doctrine,” as some political activists claim. It also is wrong to associate and restrict Shariah only to the punitive laws of Islam. The fact is that Shariah is all-embracing and encompasses personal as well as collective spheres in daily living. Shariah includes the entire sweep of life: Prayers, charity, fasting, pilgrimage, morality, economic endeavors, political conduct and social behavior, including caring for one’s parents and neighbors, and maintaining kinship.

Shariah’s goal is to protect and promote basic human rights, including faith, life, family, property and intellect. Islam has, in fact, adopted two courses for the preservation of these five indispensables: the first is through cultivating religious consciousness in the human soul and the awakening of human awareness through moral education; the second is by inflicting deterrent punishment, which is the basis of the Islamic criminal system. Other major bodies of religious law in the world, including the Canon Law used by the Catholic church, contain both legal outlines of responsibilities and codes for punishing misbehavior.

 

To read the rest of this article please go to

 

http://www.readthespirit.com/explore/2011/8/1/dispelling-myths-about-islamic-law-shariah-explained.html

 

Why the Buddha Touched the Earth 

By John Stanley & David Loy

 

The entire cosmos is a cooperative. The sun, the moon, and the stars live together as a cooperative. The same is true for humans and animals, trees, and the Earth. When we realize that the world is a mutual, interdependent, cooperative enterprise — then we can build a noble environment. If our lives are not based on this truth, then we shall perish.” —Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

 

“The term ‘engaged Buddhism’ was created to restore the true meaning of Buddhism. Engaged Buddhism is simply Buddhism applied in our daily lives. If it’s not engaged, it can’t be called Buddhism. Buddhist practice takes place not only in monasteries, meditation halls and Buddhist institutes, but in whatever situation we find ourselves. Engaged Buddhism means the activities of daily life combined with the practice of mindfulness. —Thich Nhat Hanh

 

In one of Buddhism’s iconic images, Gautama Buddha sits in meditation with his left palm upright on his lap, while his right hand touches the earth. Demonic forces have tried to unseat him, because their king, Mara, claims that place under the bodhi tree. As they proclaim their leader’s powers, Mara demands that Gautama produce a witness to confirm his spiritual awakening. The Buddha simply touches the earth with his right hand, and the Earth itself immediately responds: “I am your witness.” Mara and his minions vanish. The morning star appears in the sky. This moment of supreme enlightenment is the central experience from which the whole of the Buddhist tradition unfolds.

 

The great 20th-century Vedantin, Ramana Maharshi said that the Earth is in a constant state of dhyana. The Buddha’s earth-witness mudra (hand position) is a beautiful example of “embodied cognition.” His posture and gesture embody unshakeable self-realization. He does not ask heavenly beings for assistance. Instead, without using any words, the Buddha calls on the Earth to bear witness.

The Earth has observed much more than the Buddha’s awakening. For the last 3 billion years the Earth has borne witness to the evolution of its innumerable life-forms, from unicellular creatures to the extraordinary diversity and complexity of plant and animal life that flourishes today. We not only observe this multiplicity, we are part of it — even as our species continues to damage it. Many biologists predict that half the Earth’s plant and animal species could disappear by the end of this century on the current growth trajectories of human population, economy and pollution. This sobering fact reminds us that global warming is the primary, but not the only, extraordinary ecological crisis confronting us today.

 

To read the rest of this article go to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-stanley/buddhism-and-climate-change_b_925651.html

Brigid’s Place Pink Iftar Dinner

Pink Iftar

Since its founding, Brigid’s Place in Austin, Texas has established connections with women from other faith backgrounds. Brigid’s Place has honored common roots by celebrating the women’s Passover Seder annually since 1998 during which women of all ages and faiths meet to experience a feminist liturgy for the traditional Passover Seder meal. Two Jewish table heads lead 8-to-10 women from other faiths through the Seder experience and share their own family traditions in order to foster better understanding and mutual respect.

Some Muslim women attended the 2009 Women’s Seder and became energized to create a similar experience that would promote understanding of Muslim traditions and celebrate the accomplishments of Muslim women through the ages. In 2010, Brigid’s Place celebrated its first-ever Women’s Ramadan Iftar with an educational talk followed by traditional prayers, breaking the fast, and a delicious meal. As with the Women’s Seder, the Women’s Ramadan Iftar celebration now is an annual event.

The Pink Iftar Committee, Brigid’s Place, and Christ Church Cathedral in Austin, Texas have planned another unique interfaith experience for non-Muslim women interested in learning about, celebrating, and honoring Muslim women’s contributions to the arts, sciences, religious and academic scholarship, politics, and everyday life. The Second Annual Pink Iftar Dinner will be Thursday, August 18, at Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas Avenue in Austin. Registration begins at 6:30 p.m. and at 7:15 Dr. Elora Shehabuddin of Rice University will open the program with a discussion about Islamic Faith and Feminism. Muslim women of diverse backgrounds will gather to welcome women from other faith traditions and lead a conversation about their life experiences and perspectives. Traditional Ramadan foods from around the world will be served along side engaging conversation.

The purpose of Brigid’s Place is to promote ecumenical relationships that are mutual, inclusive, and provide unity in diversity; relationships whose basis is love and “power with” rather than “power over” or privilege. Brigid’s Place is named after St. Brigid, a fifth century Irish Celtic Saint who founded a monastery of nuns and monks based on the social concept of equality of men and women. They were known for their wisdom, compassion, hospitality, and healing.

 

 

Rev. Stephanie Warfield, MA, BCC
Chaplain, Seton Cancer Care Team
Austin Cancer Center
2600 E MLK Blvd.
Austin, TX 78702
512.294.1897 (cell)
512.474.2695 (FAX)
sawarfield@seton.org

Clergy Beyond Borders PRESS ADVISORY

 Friday, Aug. 19, 2011 Contact: Katherine Mullen

914-309-7804 (day, evening)

 Religious Leaders to Amplify Voices of Pluralism, Confront Extremism during Multi-State Inter-faith Campaign Following 9/11 Anniversary

 Washington, D.C. – The 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks calls Americans to

promote voices for freedom and oppose the voices of extremism in every faith community. On Sept. 11, Clergy Beyond Borders will embark on a two-week journey across America to spread the message that religious diversity is an essential value in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Attacks on any faith community and on freedom of religion promotes extremism and threatens peace in America and abroad.

Using an approach modeled on interfaith dialogue, Clergy Beyond Borders will present

and teach resources for use by community members, clergy and divinity students so that they can respond to attacks on faith communities within the U.S., including anti-Islam sentiment. Each stop on the tour will respond to local communities’ needs and include sources for pluralism within Abrahamic traditions and resources for conflict resolution. The Tennessee program, and others as applicable, will focus on discouraging current anti-Shari’ah legislative efforts as well as opposing religious bigotry in all its forms.

Speakers on the tour will include Founder and President of Clergy Beyond Borders,

Imam Yahya Hendi, who is also the Muslim chaplain at Georgetown University and a member of the Islamic Jurisprudence Council of North America. Other participants include Rabbi Gerald Serotta, Executive Director of Clergy Beyond Borders and founding Chair of Rabbis for Human Rights-North America; Rev. Dr. Adam Bunnell, a Conventual Franciscan Friar and Roman Catholic priest who currently serves as Special Assistant to the President for International and Interfaith Relations at Bellarmine University; and Rev. Carole A. Crumley, an Episcopal priest who has served as Senior Program Director at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation since 1997.

The Louis Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies of the Jewish Theological

Seminary of America, the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), among other Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and interfaith organizations and individuals, have endorsed Clergy Beyond Borders’ Religious Leaders’ Caravan for Reconciliation.

 Clergy Beyond Borders:

 

Religious Leaders’ Caravan for Reconciliation:

An American Journey of Clergy Beyond Borders  

Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011 – Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011

Coming to Detroit, MI on Sept. 22

 

 

Clergy Beyond Borders (CBB) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to an active religious

pluralism that goes beyond mere tolerance for difference. The basic premise of our work is the conviction that all religions contain a message of commitment to improving the world, and that too often the differences rather than the commonalities become the subject for discussion. CBB promotes mutual recognition among religious communities, seeking not to remove meaningful borders between them, but rather building bridges of understanding and cooperation.

 

For specific travel times and locations or to make advance arrangements for interviews,

please contact Katherine Mullen at 914-309-7804.

For more information on Clergy Beyond Borders, visit: www.ClergyBeyondBorders.org  

 

 

Flowers Aren't Enough
Temple Israel Visit Temple Israel Visit 2On Friday evening, August 26th, WISDOM hosted a site visit to a Jewish House of Worship, Temple Israel in West Bloomfield. About 30 visitors of different faith traditions met with Gail Katz, WISDOM Co-Founder and member of Temple Israel, in the main sanctuary to learn about some of the basics of Judaism along with a description of some of the beautiful Judaica in the synagogue. Above on the left is one of the six stained glass windows in Temple Israel, depicting Isaac M. Wise, the founder of Reform Judaism in America. On the right is the golden Ark that houses the beautiful Torah scrolls pictured below. The Ark is made to resemble the portable one that the Jews carried with them when they wandered in the desert. The twelve circles on the front of the Ark represent the twelve tribes of Israel.

 

Temple Israel 3Temple Israel 4

Cindy Kandel, Temple Israel bar and batmitzvah tutor, took out one of the Torah scrolls and unrolled it so that our WISDOM visitors could get a good look at the holy Hebrew text of the Torah.

 

Temple Israel 5

The visit to Temple Israel is the first in a series of visits to houses of worship of many faith traditions. Other visits are being planned and will be publicized in the WISDOM Window in the near future.

FACE TO FAITH

AN INTERFAITH EVENT FOR

HIGH SCHOOL TEENS

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 22ND

6:30 pm – 9:30 pm

 

First Presbyterian Church of Birmingham

1669 West Maple Road

Birmingham, MI

 

How much do you really know about other religions? On Thursday, September 22nd, start a year long journey with Face to Faith in order to help break down the stereotypes that divide us and find some of the many things that Jews, Christians, and Muslims share in common.

 

Please RSVP by September 20th to facetofaith@yahoo.com and include your religion.

BBYO Teens: Register on www.b-linked.org to reserve your spot! Registration opens on August 25th and closes on September 20th.

 

Questions? Contact Gail Katz at gailkatz@comcast.net

 

 

Who Needs Sabbath?

posted by Rabbi Brad Hirschfield | Thursday August 25, 2011

Who Needs Sabbath? We all do. We all need a Sabbath – one that nurtures the body and the soul. But as religious leaders tend to spend more time defining what that means, convincing others to share their definition and condemning those who don’t share it as missing out on the having a “real” Sabbath, most people can’t imagine that Sabbath is for everyone and that it can look different from person to person and community to community while still remaining an authentic Sabbath.

 

Sabbath is a method or a value more than it is a rigid recipe or fixed practice. That may sound odd coming from a traditional Jew whose Sabbath observance is defined by many rules – rules which include many fixed practices and which prohibit all kinds of behaviors deemed to violate the Sabbath. I love that Sabbath and feel with all my heart that it achieves its goals, but it is the goals which need to be achieved and there have always been many ways to do that depending on the time and place in which Sabbath was observed.

 

Sabbath as described in the Hebrew Bible bears little outward resemblance to contemporary Jewish practice, and even among contemporary Jews, there is a wide range of what is experienced as Sabbath observance. The constant among all that change is, or should be, about a very simply idea: whoever you are, you should take about 15 percent of your time each week to remind yourself that you are more than that which you achieve or accomplish.

 

Sabbath was a radical innovation when it was introduced some 2,000 years ago, and it remains a radical concept to this day. No matter what happens, that you exist as you are, is worthy of celebration. No matter what anybody says or does to you, you are an infinitely valuable creation endowed with inalienable dignity, the right to be free and to enjoy a measure of rest on a regular basis. That has been the essence of Sabbath, in Jewish tradition at least for millennia, and while I may understand how that is accomplished in very specific ways, the ways are not the issue – feeling those feelings and connecting to the sacredness of our existence, are the issues.

 

If someone wants to know why I Sabbath as I do, great! I am always happy to explain because I love it and because it works. But in this crazy world, moving at a pace and filled with demands that make increasingly difficult for people to feel their own true value, however one gets to that place of rest, what the book of Exodus describes as being re-souled, is the thing upon which we should all be focused.

Read more:

http://blog.beliefnet.com/windowsanddoors/2011/08/who-needs-sabbath.html#ixzz1W4OKYQ3k

A SPIRIT OF ASSISI CELEBRATION

AT THE SONG AND SPIRIT INSTITUTE FOR PEACE

OCTOBER 27TH -29TH

 

The Song and Spirit Institute for Peace and its partners in faith throughout metro Detroit are proud to announce a Spirit of Assisi celebration, Thursday-Saturday, October 27-29, 2011. Commemorating the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s historic 1986 gathering of leaders of all faiths in Assisi, Italy to pray together for peace, we join in cooperation with the Archdiocese of Detroit, and with the support of area churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and other interfaith organizations, in a peace-filled dialogue – a cultural and spiritual exchange – with our brothers and sisters from a variety of faith communities.

 

Thursday, October 27, at 1:30 p.m. the Archdiocese of Detroit will host Pilgrims for Peace at St. Fabian Catholic Church, 32200 W. 12 Mile Rd, Farmington Hills, MI.

 

Religious leaders from Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Orthodox (Christian), Protestant, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh and other communities will be on hand to present documents and statements on world peace. This will also include a Peace presentation from area schoolchildren and music performance from Song and Spirit, featuring Jewish and Franciscan story-telling/song-writing duo, Maggid Steve Klaper and Bro. Al Mascia, OFM.

Pilgrims for Peace

 

Contact: Michael W. Hovey, Coordinator, AOD Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations,

Phone: (313) 237-4678 – email: hovey.michael@aod.org

 

Friday October 28, at 7:30 p.m., we welcome the entire interfaith community to Reform/Renewal-style Jewish Sabbath services at Congregation Shir Tikvah, 3900 Northfield Parkway, Troy, MI. Rabbi Arnie Sleutelberg and Maggid Steve Klaper will be joined by New York-based Cantor Ellen Dreskin, a nationally known Jewish teacher, program leader and musician. Refreshments to follow.

 

Jewish Sabbath Worship contact: Maggid Steve Klaper, Song and Spirit, ph. 248-895-3011

email: songandspirit@gmail.com

 

Saturday, October 29, 10:00 am – 4:00 p.m. we will host study sessions, storytelling, classes, and discussions with local

Jewish, Muslim and Franciscan teachers at the Song and Spirit Institute for Peace, 2599 Harvard, Berkley, MI.

 

Saturday sessions contact:Brother Al Mascia, OFM, Song and Spirit, ph. 313-320-0548 – email: alofm@hotmail.com

 

Saturday evening at 7:00 p.m., we will present a musical program at St. Hugo of the Hills, 2215 Opdyke Road, Bloomfield Hills, with a community interfaith choir, followed by a Song and Spirit concert, featuring Maggid Steve Klaper and Bro. Al Mascia, OFM.

 

Saturday evening program contact: Maggid Steve Klaper, Song and Spirit, ph. 248-895-3011 email: songandspirit@gmail.com

 

All events are free of charge and open to the public. More details regarding Pilgrims for Peace participants and teachers and session leaders for Saturday morning and afternoon will be announced. It is our hope that these exciting, insightful and uplifting activities will build bridges of faith and understanding within our diverse communities. On its 25 anniversary, we embrace The Spirit of Assisi as an example to be embodied — a guiding force to heal a broken world, to complete that which cries for completion, to bring Shalom/Salaam to the world.

New Beginnings:
Let’s Work Together

An interfaith service and get-together to lift up Detroit

Sponsored by the Detroit Interfaith

Outreach Network (DION)
Sunday, September 25, 2011

1:00-4:00pm Fort Street Presbyterian Church

631 W. Fort Street, Detroit, MI 48226

 

1:00 pm Social Hour & Potluck

Let us know what dishes you will bring when you RSVP.

 

2:00 pm Screening of the film “Coexistence: Is It Possible?” and discussion on ways we can work together for our city.

 

3:00 pm Concluding prayers, hymns, and readings.

We will also be accepting donations of gently-used clothing and unopened toiletries for the “Open Door Program” for the needy.

 

RSVP

Rabbi Dorit Edut – mutzim@aol.com

Randy Commissaris commissaris@wayne.edu

 

Secure parking is available.

www.detroitinterfaith.org

Five Women Five Journeys: How Different Are We?
WISDOM Women together

This unique WISDOM program features personal stories of women of different faith traditions – how their childhood impacted their beliefs today, what the challenges are for women in their faith tradition, what parts of their religion are misunderstood, how reaching out to someone from a different faith has enriched their lives.
To inquire about a Five Women Five Journeys Program for your organization, contact Elaine Schonberger at bookfairmama@comcast.net or Paula Drewek at Drewekpau@aol.com .
Check out the latest story about a friendship that crosses religion, race, or ethnic boundaries at www.friendshipandfaith.com.
Email Gail Katz at gailkatz@comcast.net if you have a personal story for the friendshipandfaith.com website!!
LINKS THAT YOU CAN USE FOR MORE INFORMATION!!

1) Go to http://www.readthespirit.com/religious-holidays-festivals/ for fascinating information about upcoming Religious holidays that your neighbors of different faith traditions may be celebrating!!

2) Go to http://www.readthespirit.com/were-making-news/ for a listing of all the articles written about the WISDOM Book Friendship and Faith: the WISDOM of Women Creating Alliances for Peace.

Go to our WISDOM websites at www.interfaithwisdom.org

Read our interfaith story of the week from our book Friendship and Faith,

and find the link to buy the book at

Amazon at

Contact Information

 

Gail Katz gailkatz@comcast.net
phone: 248-978-6664

Join Our Mailing List

BECOME A FRIEND OF WISDOM! Click on this link to go to the WISDOM website (right side of home page) to print out form to support WISDOM.

WISDOM Newsletter – August 2011

Written by WISDOM on . Posted in Newsletters

THE WISDOM WINDOW

AUGUST 2011

WISDOM

Friday, August 19th

Five Women Five Journeys for the Auburn Hills Senior Services, 12:30 PM, City of Auburn Hills, 1827 N. Squirrel Rd., Auburn Hills, MI Contact bookfairmama@comcast.net for more information.

Friday, August 26th

See Article below about a visit to Temple Israel in West Bloomfield for a learning opportunity about Judaism, the first in a series of visits to House of Worship!!

Sunday, September 11th

Acts of Kindness (A-OK) Detroit, Community Service Projects for Adults, young adults, and teens. Event will be held at Focus Hope, 1355 Oakman Blvd., Detroit.

12:30 – 1:15 PM Check in and assignments

1:30 – 2:00 PM Kick off

2:00 – 4:00 PM Community Service Projects

4:00 – 5:15 PM Refreshments and interfaith/intercultural dialogue.

Registration will be through United Way. More information to come!! Contact Gail Katz, gailkatz@comcast.net

Wednesday, September 14

WISDOM Film Discussion Group will kick off with Dr. Parvinder Mehta of Wayne State University, leading a discussion of the movie “Arranged.” The movie is about a friendship between an Orthodox Jewish women and a Muslim women who meet as first year teachers in a public school in Brooklyn, NY. 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM at the Birmingham Community House, in partnership with the Diversity Task Force, 380 S. Bates St., Birmingham, 48009, cookies and coffee served!! Contact Sheri Schiff to register, sheritschiff@gmail.com

Thursday, October 27

“Flowers Aren’t Enough,” an event to educate women and teenaged girls about abusive relationships. Sponsored by the National Council of Jewish Women (Greater Detroit Section) and Temple Israel Sisterhood, and supported by WISDOM. The program will begin at 7:00 PM at Temple Israel, 5725 Walnut Lake Road, West Bloomfield. For more information contact NCJW at 248-355-3300.

Sunday, December 4

“Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus” – an interfaith panel program, sponsored by the Interfaith Leadership Council, will be held in conjunction with the Rembrandt exhibit from 2:30 pm – 6:30 PM at the Detroit Institute of Art. There will be a charge for this event. Contact Gail Katz at gailkatz@comcast.net More information to follow!!

Thursday, December 8

Make an interfaith beaded jewelry bracelet with Nomi Joyrich, owner of the Franklin Bead Works. Program will run from 4:00 – 7:00 PM at Unity of Farmington Hills 32500 West 13 Mile Road, Farmington Hills, 48334. Program for Friends of WISDOM!! There will be a charge for this event for the materials and for a light supper!! More information to follow!!

Sunday, December 11

Kids Against Hunger Project – Community Service project to package dry meals for the hunger in Metro Detroit and abroad – at the Rush Trucking Warehouse 38500 Van Born Road, Wayne, MI 48184. 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM. Contact Gail Katz at gailkatz@comcast.net

 

Friday, August 26th

Shabbat Under The StarsVisit Temple Israel as part of our

WISDOM Houses of Worship Series.

Learn about Judaism through a tour from 6:30 – 7:15 PM

and a beautiful outdoor Shabbat service from 7:30 – 8:30 PM.

Temple Israel is located at 5725 Walnut Lake Rd., West Bloomfield.

Contact Gail Katz at gailkatz@comcast.net for more information.

We will be meeting at a restaurant

near the temple for dinner prior to the tour.

 

  

 

Check out the stories of the WISDOM Women

at the Bay View Association in Northern Michigan!

 

http://www.readthespirit.com/friendship-and-faith/2011/7/14/wisdom-women-invited-to-bring-their-diversity-into-americas.html

 

 

Check out this article in the Huffington Post – Why Include Interfaith Children in Interfaith Dialogue?

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-katz-miller/why-include-interfaith-ch_b_893526.html

 

Check out this article “Choosing to Wear the Muslim Headscarf!!

 

http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Choosing-to-Wear-the-Muslim-Headscarf

Check out Odyssey Networks short video-clips:

 

1) Rabbi Irwin Kula “Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life”

 

http://www.odysseynetworks.org/video/odyssey-networks/rabbi-irwin-kula-embracing-the-sacred-messiness-of-life

 

2) Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf on “Interfaith Harmony”

 

http://www.odysseynetworks.org/video/odyssey-networks/imam-feisal-abdul-rauf-interfaith-harmony

 

3) The Rev. Richard Cizik on “The Role of Interfaith Dialogue”

 

http://www.odysseynetworks.org/video/odyssey-networks/the-rev-richard-cizik-on-the-role-of-interfaith-dialogue

 

4) Anju Bhargava founder of the Hindu American Seva Charities

 

 http://odysseynetworks.org/video/odyssey-networks/anju-bhargava-an-interfaith-journey

 

 

Interfaith Worship Provides Education, Understanding

Detroit News, July 12, 2011

 

(See article below about a similar interfaith service held at the Washington National Cathedral)

 

Faith Shared

From left to right, Yousif and Younes’ father, Younes Makki, Yousif Makki, the Rev. Terri Polarksi, Gail Katz, and Eide Alawan

 

Imagine a worship service, the primary Sunday morning service in a Christian church, that begins with a nine-year-old Arabic boy offering the Islamic Call to Prayer, followed by a woman lighting candles on a table set with bread, wine and grape juice and offering the Jewish prayers that begin the Sabbath worship, followed by an Episcopal priest offering the collect of the day.

 

So began the interfaith service held this past weekend at Christ Episcopal Church in Dearborn. The service included portions of Muslim, Jewish and Christian worship, honoring each tradition in the process. Beginning with each tradition’s call to prayer and worship, the service continued with readings from and reflections on the sacred texts of the Torah and the Gospels, plus a reading from the Qu’ran which was chanted in Arabic and translated into English. Gail Katz, Co-Founder of WISDOM (Women’s Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach in Metro Detroit) and member of Temple Israel in West Bloomfield, brought her family’s Sabbath candlesticks, and after lighting the Shabbat candles, she blessed them in Hebrew and welcomed everyone to a beautiful interfaith service.

 

Yousif (Joseph) Makki, a member of the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, chanted the Muslim Call to Prayer, and his brother, Younes (Jonas) explained the meaning of the Arabic prayer in English.

 

Gail also shared the “”Parashah” of the week – the Torah portion read that week in synagogues all over the world. Reading from Numbers Chapter 16:1-35, Gail explained the story of Korach, the organizer of a rebellion against Moses and Aaron, and reflected on our personal struggle as human beings between our “inner Moses” and our “inner Korach.” Younes followed the sharing of the Torah portion with a reading from the Qu’ran. Prayers over a meal were offered by each tradition, and the bread, wine and juice were shared among the gathered congregation.

 

The Rev. Terri Pilarski, priest and rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Dearborn, was the creative force behind Dearborn’s “Faith Shared” service. Each component of the worship offered the comparable element from each tradition – Muslim, Jewish and Christian. The only unusual aspect of the service was that the various elements were woven into a typical order for a Sunday morning worship service in the Episcopal Church. Not every Jewish or Muslim worship experience would include all of these elements in one service, although they are each a component of faithful practice in the life of a Jew or Muslim.

 

Dearborn, Michigan, home to the largest Islamic community in the United States, is a unique community that honors it’s diversity and lives with sincere hospitality and compassion between the people of this city. While this worship service was a first for the community, it is just one example of the many ways that Jews, Christians, and Muslims work together for the good of all.

Hearing each other’s prayers and learning about our diverse faith traditions are ways to move forward to break down our cultural, ethnic and religious segregation, which is so pronounced in Metro Detroit. The more we learn about the faith-based practices of our neighbors who might dress differently, eat different foods, and speak different languages, the more we find our commonality as human beings and underscore our similar missions of unity, peace, community-building and mutual understanding.

In particular this was an opportunity for each of us to embrace the beauty of worship in other traditions, upholding that which distinguishes each and honoring our differences, while recognizing that all three traditions grow out of the God of Abraham. The purpose of this service, one of dozens nationwide inspired by the national Faith Shared project organized by the Interfaith Alliance and Human Rights First, both based in Washington, D.C., was NOT to blend our diverse ways of worshipping God into one common service, nor was it an invitation to create one world religion.

It was decisively an opportunity to learn from one another and celebrate our differences while honoring our similarities. The June 26 date for this service coincidentally fell at the end of the 10th annual Worldviews Seminar, an educational opportunity open to all, held every year in the month of June co-sponsored by the University of Michigan and Christ Episcopal Church, in Dearborn. The seminar, taught by Professor Lucinda Mosher, includes lectures on world religions followed by site visits to local houses of worship.

The Rev. Terri C. Pilarski is rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Dearborn.

Gail Katz is co-founder of WISDOM and a member of Temple Israel in West Bloomfield.

Eide Alawan is spokesman for the Islamic Center of America in .

 

Check out this article about the Interfaith service at the Washington National Cathedral which promoted Religious Tolerance on June 26th, 2011

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/interfaith-service-at-washington-national-cathedral-promotes-religious-tolerance/2011/06/26/AGryCWmH_story.html

 

 

The World Views Seminar students from the University of Michigan at Dearborn Come to Temple Israel in West Bloomfield, Michigan on Friday, June 24, 2011 for a site visit to a Jewish House of Worship!!

 

Temple Israel 1

Above Temple Israel member Cindy Kandel takes out the holy Torah scroll for everyone to view. Below, Cindy unrolls the Torah scroll for everyone to get a close up look at the Hebrew script. In the photo below is Professor Claude Jacobs, the director of the World Views Seminar. The students also had the opportunity to take part in the Friday night Shabbat services in the sanctuary.

 

 

Temple Israel 2

 

 

.Interfaith Potluck Supper

The Interfaith Leadership Council hosted a vegetarian potluck dinner at Unity of Farmington Hills on Sunday, June 26th, with the intention of discussing what interfaith initiatives have happened in Detroit since 9/11, what has worked well, and where do we go from here!! From left to right are Bob Bruttell (Chair), Victor Begg, Michael Hovey, Gail Katz, the Rev. Barbara Clevenger, the Rev. Bob Hart, Paula Drewek, and Sheri Schiff.

 

WISDOM Gives a Scholarship to Universitiy of Michigan-Dearborn student for the World Views Seminar, June 2011.

Here is a beautiful response from that student!!

 

Dear WISDOM Women:

 

I am writing to thank you for affording me the opportunity to attend the 2011 Worldview’s seminar. It was a wonderful experience, enriched by the site visits and personal connections that were formed as well.

 

Being the only Muslim in the group, it was a pleasure to share my faith tradition on a more personal level with other students who had many questions.

 

This experience not only deepened my appreciated for the Metro-Detroit area, it also enhanced my understanding of other faith traditions. My main goal, was to be able to form personal connections to various communities and places of worship. As a newly licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I wanted to be able to have as many points of reference to understand my diverse families and couples who often pull from their spirituality to get through a difficult time.

 

 

For those who may be wondering who the scholarship went to, I would briefly share that I have a M.A. in Conflict Transformation and Peace-building and I’m a newly licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I have a new company called Family and Couple Therapy Center factcentermi.com and I have been doing interfaith work for 10 years.

 

I have been trying to take the worldviews seminar since 2003 when I was a freshwoman at U of M Dearborn. I’m delighted that this year I was able to do so and had the financial help to make it happen. Thank you again for helping to make this possible.

  

 

Peace

 

Nadia Bazzy

 

 

 

Detroit Muslims, Jews and Christians

join together in health-care drive.

 

An interfaith group of Muslims, Jews and Chaldeans teamed up on Tuesday. July 19th to provide health-care services to the working poor and those without medical insurance at the Muslim Center Mosque and Community Center in Detroit.

 

“We’re helping the people who show up to this clinic and fulfilling a need within the community,” said Robert Cohen, the executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Detroit.

 

 

“We’re also trying to build trust and build relations between the Jewish and Muslim communities in the city.”

 

 

The Interfaith Health Fair was organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Detroit and the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan and ran for four hours on Tuesday afternoon.

 

Around 100 doctors, nurses, social workers and medical students performed standard medical screenings, took blood samples, recorded patients’ medical histories, and provided them with guidance on any necessary follow-up, through a one-onone consultation with a physician.There are approximately 68,000 Jews living in the Detroit metropolitan area and anywhere between 150,000-200,000 Muslims.

Victor Ghalib Begg, chairman emeritus of the Council of Islamic Organization for Michigan, said that it was crucial for the Muslim and Jewish communities to have good relationships.

“We live with the Jewish community as neighbors, our doctors work together in hospitals and our kids go to school together. This initiative is helping provide an important service to people who have no medical insurance but it’s also bringing our communities closer together – Muslim, Jewish, suburban and inner-city,” said Begg Tuesday’s health-care fair was the second such event, the first having taken place in November last year.

The two community organizations have worked together on previous projects such as a Christmas Day initiative dubbed “Mitzvah Day,” in which Jewish volunteers – joined in recent years by members of the Muslim community – have stood in for Christian communityservice workers on Christmas Day to allow them to take a break on the holiday.

“This health fair is part of an ongoing effort to make our community more inclusive,” Begg said. “Our communities appreciate the work we do to bring the communities together and we need more good news like this.”

“We’re hoping this kind of message will be delivered in Palestine and Israel because we want to be an example to others further afield,” he said.

The volunteers also included a number of medical professionals from Detroit’s 125,000-strong Chaldean community, an eastern Christian denomination of the Catholic Church.

As with all Muslim-Jewish ties, Cohen explains, relations are strained because of the conflict in the Middle East and the general support of each community for their co-religionists.

“So we’re not trying to solve the conflict or even engage in difficult conversations.

We are so far apart in the way we look at the conflict there’s almost no common ground, but yet we live together side-by-side in this city and it’s a good idea to get to know your neighbors.

Interfaith Health Fair
Pakistani Women at Interfaith Health
Robert Cohen (Jewish Community Relations Council) and Victor Begg (Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan) stand with women from the Pakistani Women’s Association that prepared meals in the soup kitchen for the patients!!
Michigan Department of Civil Rights

Launches a New Public Service Campaign

 

When it comes to the places Michiganders interact with each other – where we live, work, learn and cross paths in the world – there’s no compromising on basic fairness. This important message is at the heart of a new public service campaign launching from the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. WISDOM co-founder, Shahina Begg, was invited to take part in the Department’s series of public service announcements that began airing on radio and tv on July 19.

“I am not an actor by any means, but I was excited when I received the invitation,” said Begg. “The Only Fair is Fair message is important to get out there, and it represents core values that we’ve held at WISDOM from the beginning. Also, as a Muslim, the very notion of civil rights for all people irrespective of color, race, religion or economic status is the core element of my Islamic faith.”

 

Take a look at the PSA and pass the word on! Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lge0X5f0NHE

 

New Documentary about Muslim youth and the Koran

entitled “Koran By Heart.”

 

 

When I was in Aspen last week, I saw the documentary “Koran By Heart” and I thought it was a very remarkable film, and presented a balanced view of Islam, grabbing at your heart strings through the filming of young Muslim children. See the blurb about the film below. This film will be aired on HBO on Monday, August 1st at 9:00 PM EST. There was also an article about the film director Greg Barker in the Saturday, July 30th NY Times. See link below. (Gail Katz)

 

“Once a year, the brightest kids from across the Islamic world head to Cairo for the world’s oldest and most prestigious Koran-reciting competition. They must not only repeat randomly selected passages down to the last perfect syllable, but also perform to the highest standards of “tajweed,” ancient rules governing melody and rhythm. This lively film follows three extraordinary 10-year-olds: Nabiollah, from Tajikistan, has never attended school; Senegalese Djamil, an imam’s son, carries the weight of his village’s expectations; Rifdha, from the Maldives, is exceedingly bright and one of the few female competitors. Through the eyes of his three young subjects, acclaimed filmmaker Greg Barker provides a compelling and colorful glimpse into the many faces of contemporary Islamic culture.”

 

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/30/us/30religion.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=koran%20by%20heart&st=cse

 

For World Cup Host Germany, Diversity Is the Goal

Gordon Welters for The New York Times

Muslim girls can wear head scarves, forbidden in international play, in German youth leagues.

Fatmire Bajramaj, a star midfielder, is the lone Muslim player on Germany’s women’s national team, which is seeking a third consecutive World Cup title.
Read this article at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/26/sports/soccer/for-host-germany-in-womens-world-cup-diversity-is-the-goal.html
Five Women Five Journeys: How Different Are We?
WISDOM Women together

This unique WISDOM program features personal stories of women of different faith traditions – how their childhood impacted their beliefs today, what the challenges are for women in their faith tradition, what parts of their religion are misunderstood, how reaching out to someone from a different faith has enriched their lives.
To inquire about a Five Women Five Journeys Program for your organization, contact Elaine Schonberger at bookfairmama@comcast.net or Paula Drewek at Drewekpau@aol.com .
Check out the latest story about a friendship that crosses religion, race, or ethnic boundaries at www.friendshipandfaith.com.
Email Gail Katz at gailkatz@comcast.net if you have a personal story for the friendshipandfaith.com website!!
LINKS THAT YOU CAN USE FOR MORE INFORMATION!!

1) Go to http://www.readthespirit.com/religious-holidays-festivals/ for fascinating information about upcoming Religious holidays that your neighbors of different faith traditions may be celebrating!!

2) Go to http://www.readthespirit.com/were-making-news/ for a listing of all the articles written about the WISDOM Book Friendship and Faith: the WISDOM of Women Creating Alliances for Peace.

Go to our WISDOM websites at www.interfaithwisdom.org

Read our interfaith story of the week from our book Friendship and Faith,

and find the link to buy the book at

Amazon at

 
Contact Information

 

Gail Katz gailkatz@comcast.net
phone: 248-978-6664

 

Join Our Mailing List

BECOME A FRIEND OF WISDOM! Click on this link to go to the WISDOM website (right side of home page) to print out form to support WISDOM.

WISDOM Newsletter – July 2011

Written by WISDOM on . Posted in Newsletters

THE WISDOM WINDOW

JULY 2011

WISDOM

Thursday, June 30th, Friday, July 1st, and Wednesday, July 6th –

WISDOM and Interfaith at the Bay View Association in Petoskey, MI. See flyer below for all the details!!

Friday, August 19th

Five Women Five Journeys for the Auburn Hills Senior Services, 12:30 PM, City of Auburn Hills, 1827 N. Squirrel Rd., Auburn Hills, MI Contact bookfairmama@comcast.net for more information.

Friday, August 26th

Visit Temple Israel as part of our WISDOM Houses of Worship Series. Learn about Judaism through a tour from 6:30 – 7:15 PM and a beautiful outdoor Shabbat service from 7:30 – 8:30 PM. Temple Israel is located at 5725 Walnut Lake Rd., West Bloomfield. Contact Gail Katz at gailkatz@comcast.net for more information. We will be meeting at a restaurant near the temple for dinner prior to the tour.

Sunday, September 11th

Acts of Kindness (A-OK) Detroit, Community Service Projects for Adults, young adults, and teens. Event will be held at Focus Hope, 1355 Oakman Blvd., Detroit.

12:30 – 1:15 PM Check in and assignments

1:30 – 2:00 PM Kick off

2:00 – 4:00 PM Community Service Projects

4:00 – 5:15 PM Refreshments and interfaith/intercultural dialogue.

Registration will be through United Way. More information to come!! Contact Gail Katz, gailkatz@comcast.net

Wednesday, September 14 or Wednesday, September 21

WISDOM Film Discussion Group will kick off with Dr. Parvinder Mehta of Wayne State University, leading a discussion of the movie “Arranged.” The movie is about a friendship between an Orthodox Jewish women and a Muslim women who meet as first year teachers in a public school in Brooklyn, NY. Date and venue should be firmed up soon.

Thursday, October 27

“Flowers Aren’t Enough,” an event to educate women and teenaged girls about abusive relationships. Sponsored by the National Council of Jewish Women (Greater Detroit Section) and Temple Israel Sisterhood, and supported by WISDOM. The program will begin at 7:00 PM at Temple Israel, 5725 Walnut Lake Road, West Bloomfield. For more information contact NCJW at 248-355-3300.

Sunday, December 4

“Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus” – an interfaith panel program, sponsored by the Interfaith Leadership Council, will be held in conjunction with the Rembrandt exhibit from 3:00 – 7:00 PM at the Detroit Institute of Art. There will be a charge for this event. Contact Gail Katz at gailkatz@comcast.net

Thursday, December 8

Make interfaith beaded jewelry with Nomi Joyrich, owner of the Franklin Bead Works. Program will run from 4:00 – 7:00 PM at the Farmington Hills Public Library and will include a light supper. There will be a charge for this event.

Sunday, December 11

Kids Against Hunger Project – Community Service project to package dry meals for the hunger in Metro Detroit and abroad. Venue and time to be determined.

 BAY VIEW 2011 SUMMER PROGRAM

ABOUT INTERFAITH INTERACTION

Bay View Association of the

United Methodist Church

Petoskey, MI

THURSDAY, JUNE 30th WISDOM WOMEN INTERFAITH PANEL

7:30 – 9:00 PM Voorhies Hall (No Charge)

 Five Women of different faith traditions

(Baha’i, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, and Muslim)

share their journeys

FRIDAY, JULY 1st COFFEE AND CONVERSATION

WITH THE WISDOM WOMEN

9:30-11:00 AM Evelyn Hall (No Charge)

FRIDAY, JULY 1st EXPLORING THE EMERGING INTERFAITH

MOVEMENT

1:00 – 2:30 PM Loud Hall, Room 13

$10 members/ $12 others

Gail Katz (WISDOM Co-Founder)

Deb Hanson (Interfaith Chaplain)

 will offer their perspectives

and experience in the Interfaith Movement.

Explore how Interfaith Interaction and Celebration

are affecting today’s world!!

WEDNESDAY, JULY 6  FRIENDSHIP AND FAITH:

THE WISDOM OF WOMEN CREATING

ALLIANCES FOR PEACE

A BOOK DISCUSSION

1:00 – 2:30 PM Loud Hall, Room 12

$10 members/$15 others

After having had the opportunity to

meet several of the contributors to WISDOM’s book,

Friendship and Faith, you will now have the chance

to share your thoughts, ideas, and experiences

with others.

Why Interfaith Dialogue Doesn’t Work — And What We Can Do About It

By Rabbi Eric Yoffie – President, Union for Reform Judaism

I have been participating in interfaith dialogue as a rabbi and Jewish leader for more than 30 years, and most of the time it just doesn’t work.

Most of the time — and it is painful for me to admit this — it is terribly boring. Most of the time there is a tendency to manufacture consensus, whether it exists or not. Most of the time we go to great lengths to avoid conflict. Most of the time we cover the same ground that we covered last month or the month before. And far too often we finish our session without really knowing the people across the table and what makes them tick religiously.

And most of we time we are satisfied with mouthing a few noble, often-repeated sentiments. Thus, we affirm the importance of mutual understanding, tolerance and dialogue; we assert that all human beings are created in the image of God; we proclaim that despite our differences, all of our traditions preach love of humankind and service to humanity. Nothing is wrong with these sentiments, of course; in conceptual terms, I believe in them all. But if we don’t dig beneath the surface and focus on substance rather than rhetoric, they mean very little.

The result is that most of the time, interfaith discussions are simply excruciating, irrelevant to me and to the world around me. Why then have I been so involved for so many years?

The reason is that very occasionally, something extraordinary happens: One of these conversations changes me, binds me to my colleagues, advances my understanding of myself and others, and adds texture and depth to my own religious beliefs and convictions.

In thinking back on these moments, it seems to me that there are three things that make for a “good” dialogue and that turn tiresome interfaith conversations into meaningful religious moments.

First, meaningful dialogue happens when the conversation turns to our religious differences. Platitudes are set aside when, as representatives of our faith traditions, we cease to be embarrassed by the particular; when we put aside the search for the lowest common denominator that most often characterizes — and trivializes — our discussions; and when we recognize that absent a clear affirmation of who we are, how we are different and what we truly believe, all our conversations are likely to come to nothing.

Second, interreligious exchanges become compelling when my colleagues and partners give expression to their religious passions. I am drawn in when they share with me their deepest beliefs and strangest customs, no matter how radically other they are from my own. And the sharing of religious passions should lead to passionate debate, in which we struggle with the really hard questions: What happens when conflicting beliefs lead to conflicting interests? What do we do about those areas where differences cannot be bridged and must be dealt with?

Third, interreligious dialogue truly touches us when we can discuss what we all know to be true but what we rarely say: that, in some ways at least, we all believe in the exceptionalism of our own traditions. We all tend toward the conviction that there are some elements of our religious beliefs and practice that stand above and apart from what other religions offer, and it is liberating when we are able to acknowledge this and then explain why we think that way, without apology but open to the honest reactions of those around us.

Other high points come from those moments when we all say what it is about our own traditions and communities that we don’t like and then talk frankly about why that it is so. And I am always delighted when we stop focusing on talk and start planning to work together — and really mean it.

As I said, these things happen rarely. I, like others around the interfaith table, am often sitting there just going through the motions, distracted by other things and caught in the same old patterns and clichés that predominate in these settings. Still, from time to time, we find a way to speak from the heart. When we do, God’s presence — variously felt and differently experienced — creates an atmosphere of faith, partnership and common purpose in the room. For those rare moments, I will continue to make the effort, without regrets.

 

  • Congregation Beth Ahm in West Bloomfield Dedicates a Bible Garden!!
  • People of all faiths along with gardening enthusiasts gathered on June 5, 2011 at 11:00 am for the dedication of the Louis and Fay Woll Memorial Bible Garden, Michigan’s largest and most meticulously designed Bible Garden. Located on the campus of Congregation Beth Ahm, 5075 West Maple Road in West Bloomfield, the dedication and public opening included tours of the Garden which illustrates many biblical and botanical themes.

    This unique Bible Garden not only reflects various biblical stories but is also comprised of actual plant and tree species noted in the Bible. Visitors will experience a series of themes including the Garden of Eden, Abraham and Sarah’s Tent, Parting of the Red Sea, and the giving of the Hebrew Bible at Mt. Sinai. The many species of plants, flowers, and trees included in the Garden are identified by both their biblical references and botanical names. A visit to the Woll Memorial Bible Garden concludes at a replica of the Western Wall, the remnant of the Old Temple and one of Judaism’s holiest sites, in Jerusalem.
    Dr. Douglas Woll, the visionary for the project, said his parents were the inspiration for the Bible Garden.

    “I wanted to honor the memory of my parents by creating something of beauty, of spirituality, of renewal, and of celebration, which could be connected to the unending living link of the Jewish people,” Woll said. “Designing and building a Bible Garden, with the major themes and plants from the Hebrew Bible, seemed to be a perfect combination of things that are wonderful about Judaism, the Jewish people, and my parents. They lived by the principles of kindness, caring, education and generosity, ” he said.

    The Louis and Fay Woll Memorial Bible Garden is a place for inner reflection, education, and social and community gatherings. It is a place to understand and appreciate the beauty and continuity of nature and its connection to the Jewish people and to the Divine.
    The Woll Memorial Bible Garden is open in the spring, summer, and fall from sunrise to sunset. Guided visits can be arranged by calling 248.851.6880 and visitors may come at their convenience for self guided tours. The public may also visit the Garden on the internet at wollbiblegarden.org.

    • Phone:(248) 851-6880
    • Email:dgoodman@cbahm.org

     

Check out Odyssey Networks short video-clip featuring Diana Eck, head of the Pluralism Project at Harvard University, and Kathryn Lohre, discuss “Common Ground in the Midst of Differences.”

http://odysseynetworks.org/video/odyssey-networks/diana-eck-kathryn-lohre-common-ground-in-the-midst-of-differences

Another Odyssey Networks video that speaks to each of us working so hard in the interfaith world!!

http://odysseynetworks.org/video/odyssey-networks/rev-otis-moss-iii-understanding-faith-through-jazz

Another video to see about Interfaith is

“Honorouring Diverse Beliefs in Our Communities: A Conversational Toolkit”

A Himar Productions Ltd.

http://vimeo.com/22148547

From the Baha’i World News Service

BORDEAUX, France, 31 May 2011
Summit Moderator His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel Adamakis, Co-President of the Council of Churches of France, told participants that they were face-to-face not just as religious leaders but as representatives of humanity, speaking with one voice to the leaders of the G8 and G20 countries. That voice was heard in a unanimously agreed statement drafted at the meeting and later presented to the Secretary General of the G8. In addition to recommendations on five major themes - reforming global governance, the macro-economic situation, climate change, development, and investing in peace - the statement called for representatives from the African continent and the Middle East to be included in the G8 and the G20 meetings.

“We - leaders of diverse religious communities throughout the world - re-commit ourselves to working together across religious lines for the common good and with governments and other partners of good will. We remain convinced - each in accordance with the teachings of their tradition - that justice, compassion and reconciliation are essential for genuine peace,” the statement said. Two Baha’i delegates gathered with Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Shinto, and Sikh colleagues, as well as members of interfaith organizations at the Religious Summit in Bordeaux to deliberate on matters related to the agendas of the G8 Deauville Summit and the G20 Cannes Summit, scheduled for 3-4 November 2011.

TWO) Iran’s human rights violations: international condemnation spreads

GENEVA, 26 June 2011 (BWNS) - The worldwide outcry against the persecution of Iran’s Baha’i community has been joined by the Chilean Senate, a Muslim Senator in Canada, and prominent Indian organizations. The latest calls - for an end to both the imprisonment of Iran’s seven Baha’i leaders and the continuing detention of 12 staff and faculty members of the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE) - have coincided with the sending
of a message to the Baha’is of Iran by the Universal House of Justice.
The letter, written in Persian and dated 17 June, dismisses as “baseless” and “absurd” statements by the Iranian authorities that the Baha’i community’s effort to educate its young members is “illegal.” It also upbraids those in Iran who, it says, have shunned true Islamic values,
the laws of their land, and the nation’s proud history of learning and
knowledge, and have allowed themselves - based on ignorant religious prejudice - to deny young citizens of their higher education.

“Unjust detention”
In Chile, the Senate has unanimously asked President Sebastian Pinera to
“strongly condemn” Iran for its “rigorous and systematic persecution of
Baha’is.” In a resolution approved unanimously on 15 June, the Chilean Senate specifically mentioned the arrests last month of BIHE faculty and staff, objecting to the “unjust detention of those individuals.” The Senate noted that, “since 1979 the government of Iran has systematically
denied higher education to young adherents of its largest non-Muslim religious minority, the large Baha’i community of 300,000 believers.
“The government also has sought to suppress the efforts of the Baha’is to
establish their own initiatives, including the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE).”

YOUTH ASCENDING –

RAISE A JOYOUS SHOUT!

Lift up the youth of Metro Detroit

in prayer and song at an exciting interfaith service

 

SUNDAY, JULY 17,2011

St. Peter Claver Catholic Community

13305 Grove St

(6 Mile Rd. and Schaefer)

Detroit, MI 48235

Potluck lunch and social hour 2:00 – 3:00pm

Meet and greet, fun and food

Worship service 3:00 – 4:00pm

Youth choirs and bands from all over the Metro Detroit area

For further information contact:

Rabbi Dorit Edut, 248-543-4255

Organized by DION (Detroit Interfaith Outreach Network)

FAITH SHARED

A Project of Interfaith Alliance
and
Human Rights First

Tensions around Islam in America have erupted throughout the country in the past year, leading to misconceptions, distrust and in some cases violence. News stories on the rising tide of anti-Muslim bigotry and violence abound, with graphic and often searing images of the antagonists, the protagonists and the battlegrounds where they meet. All too often, media coverage simplistically pits Muslims against would-be Qur’an burners, neglecting any substantive representation of where the majority of Americans actually stand: a shared commitment to tolerance and freedom. We are committed to ensuring that the storyline changes dramatically in 2011 by helping to create an environment of mutual understanding and respect for each other’s faith traditions.

Interfaith Alliance and Human Rights First offer the Faith Shared event as a way to engage faith leaders on the national and community levels in interfaith events intended to highlight respect among people of different faiths. Through photos, video clips and print coverage distributed around the world, we are looking to display visual images that reflect the mutual respect that is shared by so many Muslims, Christians, Jews and other Americans, standing together as a strong counterpoint to the negative images that have dominated the domestic and international news.

The Goals

This project will create opportunities across the United States for faith communities to strengthen ties with each other. We will counter the misperception, including in the Arab and Muslim worlds, that the United States is a nation defined by the widely covered images of the marginal few who would burn a Qur’an, rather than by a proud and longstanding tradition of religious freedom, tolerance and pluralism. In communities across the United States, this project will not only serve as a model for tolerance and cooperation and promote local faith leaders as champions of such, but it will also create a concrete opportunity to build and strengthen working ties between faith communities moving forward.

Will You Join Us In Faith Shared?

Faith Shared asks houses of worship across the country to organize events involving clergy reading from each other’s sacred texts. An example would be a Christian Minister, Jewish Rabbi and Muslim Imam participating in a worship service or other event. Suggested readings will be provided from the Torah, the Gospels, and the Qur’an, but communities are encouraged to choose readings that will resonate with their congregations. Involvement of members from the Muslim community is key. We will also provide suggestions on how to incorporate this program into your regular worship services. And we will assist local congregations in their media and communications efforts.

While there is a strong preference for all of the events to happen on the same day, a number of congregations held interfaith services in January and February giving us wonderful examples of how communities can come together in support and fellowship. We will be posting photos, sample programs and audio files from theses services.

Faith Shared will collect images and videos from these events to use in our efforts to spread this message of respect and understanding from America.

For More information go to www.faithshared.org

The Gift of the Upanayanam

A Hindu Bar Mitzvah? One mother considers her son’s upcoming initiation into the study of the Vedas.

By Padma Kuppa, June 08, 2011

I am going to remember this as the year of the upanayanams. Not only is it the year in which my son’s upanayanam will be performed, it is the first time I will be attending so many, both in the U.S. and in India. While many sacred sacraments, called samskaras, exist for Hindus this one is the initiation of a young boy into one of the profoundest prayers of the Hindu people: the Gayatri or Savitri mantra. This provides the boy the right to pursue wisdom through the study of the Vedas, and is a compound word: upa means “near,” nayanam is “to send.” Before the upanayanam, a boy is still a child. Once his upanayanam is complete, the boy or vatu is supposed to stay with a guru, live a life of regulation, pray three times a day, and spend a good part of his time in acquiring knowledge, particularly from the Vedas, the Hindu scriptures. I have been explaining to friends and colleagues that this is my son’s “Hindu Bar Mitzvah.”

Under Jewish laws, children are not obligated to observe the commandments but they are encouraged to do so as much as possible to learn the obligations they will have as adults. At the age of 13 (12 for girls), boys become obligated to observe the commandments. The words “Bar (or Bat) Mitzvah” actually mean the “son (daughter) of commandment,” and the purpose of the Jewish commandments is to keep one’s life focused on family, community, and a relationship with God. The bar mitzvah ceremony formally, publicly marks the assumption of that obligation, to form binding contracts, to testify before religious courts, and to marry. The popular bar mitzvah ceremony isn’t needed to confer these rights and obligation; it doesn’t make you Jewish.

Similarly, having an upanayanam doesn’t make one a Hindu. To bring in a Christian analogy, it does, however, mean one is born-again. The vatu (a word describing the boy)receives life-through a physical body-from his parents: this is the first birth. While living with the guru after the upanayanam, the guru imparts knowledge of the scriptures and gives him a life of jnana: this

My mother knew that my son and I wanted to know more about what is involved in the ceremony, so she emailed us a list of steps involved. These include: punyahavachana (preparation of the surroundings, the time), prayaschittam (redemption), and performance of the other jaata karmas (life sacraments, such as naming ceremony) that the boy had from birth to now. She explained that the priest who conducts the ceremony will also make my son step on a stone, to tell him that whatever he will be doing from now on-either in doing his duty justly, in leading a disciplined life, or in fulfilling his wishes or desires rightly-he should be like a rock with a firm mind.

I also did some research and landed at Hinduism Today.  I was happy to know that this is not a ceremony to exclude, that young boys of all backgrounds are initiated into study of the Vedas.  My son and I discovered that Rama, the avatar of Vishnu, also had an upanayanam, and that there are several other words to denote it: janoi (Gujarati/Hindi), poonal (Tamil), Brahmopadesam (Sanskrit), vodugu (Telugu).

Just as a bar mitzvah is called to read the Torah during the Jewish ceremony, a vatu is being initiated into the sacred Vedic mantra, the Gayatri. Literally, Gayatri means that which protects him who chants it. He must then perform sandhyavandanam thrice daily, an exercise to quiet the mind and render it fit for meditation on the highest truth epitomized by the Gayatri. Since the Gayatri mantra is meditation on the Sun (as god), the priest or guru will take him to show him the sun and other stars.

The initiate is also invested with a sacred thread, a reminder of his connection to that which is holy and sacred. The sacred thread is the yajnopaveeta and is symbolic of the trinities found within the Hindu tradition: Brahma, Vishnu, Siva; Saraswati, Lakshmi, Parvati; Father, Mother, Supreme Spirit; Teacher, Scriptures, Inner-self. There are three cotton threads prepared in a special way and placed across the vatu’s neck and chest from left to right (there are variants to this depending on occasion and ritual) and worn daily.

During the ceremony, the vatu also takes a vow of celibacy, and seeks alms and blessings, beginning with his mother and father-this step is the Bhikshakaranam. This is done symbolically today, since parents continue to support their children after the event. This ritual is done to imbibe the virtue of humility-the end result is much like the Jewish event-lots of presents!

But the most important gift of the upanayanam is the Gayatri mantra itself; the translation here is from the late Sathya Sai Baba’s site (which also has a fount of information on the Gavatri).

We contemplate the glory of Light illuminating the three worlds: gross, subtle, and causal. I am that vivifying power, love, radiant illumination, and divine grace of universal intelligence.

Padma Kuppa is a writer, IT professional, community activist,wife, and mother working to build a more pluralistic society within a Hindu and interfaith framework. You can also read her blog A Balancing Act, at padmakuppa.blogspot.com. The views represented in this column are not a reflection of the views of any organization of which she is a part.

 

An Effort to Foster Tolerance in Religion

Eboo Patel helped the White House develop its Interfaith and Community Service Challenge.

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
Published: June 13, 2011 in the New York Times

CHICAGO – For a guy who is only 35 and lives in a walk-up apartment, Eboo Patel has already racked up some impressive accomplishments.

A Rhodes scholar with a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, he has four honorary degrees. His autobiography is required freshman reading on 11 college campuses. He runs a nonprofit organization – the Interfaith Youth Core – with 31 employees and a budget of $4 million. And he was tapped by the White House as a key architect of an initiative announced in April by President Obama.

Mr. Patel got there by identifying a sticky problem in American civic life and proposing a concrete solution. The problem? Increased religious diversity is causing increasing religious conflict. And too often, religious extremists are driving events.

He figured that if Muslim radicals and extremists of other religions were recruiting young people, then those who believe in religious tolerance should also enlist the youth.

Interfaith activism could be a cause on college campuses, he argued, as much “a norm” as the environmental or women’s rights movements, as ambitious as Teach for America. The crucial ingredient was to gather students of different religions together not just to talk, he said, but to work together to feed the hungry, tutor children or build housing.

“Interfaith cooperation should be more than five people in a book club,” Mr. Patel said, navigating his compact car to a panel discussion at Elmhurst College just west of downtown Chicago, while answering questions and dictating e-mails to an aide. “You need a critical mass of interfaith leaders who know how to build relationships across religious divides, and see it as a lifelong endeavor.”

Until Mr. Patel came along, the interfaith movement in the United States was largely the province of elders and clergy members hosting dialogues and, yes, book clubs – and drafting documents that had little impact at the grass roots.

For the rest of this article, please go to:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/14/us/14patel.html

Check out this article on Women in Religious Peacebuilding!!

http://www.usip.org/publications/women-in-religious-peacebuilding?utm_source=Parliament+Newsletter&utm_campaign=188de9ddd5-Newsletter_18_Women_Peacebuilders&utm_medium=email

INTERFAITH HEALTH FAIR
Interfaith Health Fair will be held on July 19th, 2011, in cooperation with the HUDA Clinic, the Muslim Center, the Chaldean community and the Jewish Community Relations Council.

Please email

Dr. Zahid Sheikh at zahid43207@msn.com

or

Dr. Muzammil Ahmed at mahmed@ispu.org

if you would like to volunteer either as a medical professional or to help with the CIOM sponsored soup kitchen that day.

Volunteer registration: http://interfaithhealthfairvolunteers.eventbrite.com/

Client registration: http://interfaithhealthfairclients.eventbrite.com/

 

A Taste of Asia – China, Philippines, Japan, India, and More!!

Come and enjoy the cuisine, culture, and diversity of Asia through an exotic dining experience! The evening will feature two surprise performances. Travel to each station to taste fine foods from various Asian countries.

SATURDAY, JULY 16, 2011 3pm-6pm

17356 Northland Park Ct.

Southfield, MI 48075

Admission is FREE for all CAPA (Council of Asian Pacific Americans) members and $25 for new members. All current members should bring at least one other new member.

Please send your RSVP to amykoehler@capa-mi.org by

Monday, July 11, 2011

Registration opens at 2:30pm

Philippine American Community Center

“What In the World Is Ovarian Cancer and Why Didn’t I know About It?”

Very few of us can answer that question.

On Thursday September 1 at 7:30 P.M. Temple Israel will host a panel of ovarian cancer survivors and caregivers who will discuss the myths, facts, symptoms and risk factors of the disease.

These dynamic women who have “walked the walk” of hearing those dreaded words “you have ovarian cancer” will talk about their lives, how the cancer affected them and those around them, and how they have gone on to live their lives to the fullest.

This year 22,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer and 15,000 will die. Those numbers have not changed in the thirty years since the American Cancer Society declared war on cancer. We want those numbers to change as we raise awareness and education of this dreaded disease.

Though once referred to as “The Silent Killer”, this disease is anything but quiet. Our goal is to increase the number of survivors as we raise awareness and education of this dreaded disease.

The outstanding women who will speak are a part of the Survivors Teaching Students program that is sponsored by the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance which is based in Washington D.C. The program was originally formulated to speak to third year medical students, however, it (the program) is so successful that the group speaks to residents, nurses, nursing students, p;physician’s assistants as well as social workers.

Now it is time to raise awareness and educate the women of our community – women of all faith traditions – about ovarian cancer.

We urge you to make a reservation for this highly educational and informative evening by calling the Temple Office at: 248-661-5700.

 

Elaine Greenberg

Midwest Regional Coordinator,

Survivors Teaching Students,

Saving Women’s Lives

Five Women Five Journeys: How Different Are We?
WISDOM Women together

This unique WISDOM program features personal stories of women of different faith traditions – how their childhood impacted their beliefs today, what the challenges are for women in their faith tradition, what parts of their religion are misunderstood, how reaching out to someone from a different faith has enriched their lives.
To inquire about a Five Women Five Journeys Program for your organization, contact Elaine Schonberger at bookfairmama@comcast.net or Paula Drewek at Drewekpau@aol.com .
Check out the latest story about a friendship that crosses religion, race, or ethnic boundaries at www.friendshipandfaith.com.
Email Gail Katz at gailkatz@comcast.net if you have a personal story for the friendshipandfaith.com website!!
LINKS THAT YOU CAN USE FOR MORE INFORMATION!!

1) Go to http://www.readthespirit.com/religious-holidays-festivals/ for fascinating information about upcoming Religious holidays that your neighbors of different faith traditions may be celebrating!!

2) Go to http://www.readthespirit.com/were-making-news/ for a listing of all the articles written about the WISDOM Book Friendship and Faith: the WISDOM of Women Creating Alliances for Peace.

Go to our WISDOM websites at www.interfaithwisdom.org

Read our interfaith story of the week from our book Friendship and Faith,

and find the link to buy the book at

Amazon at

Contact Information

 

Gail Katz gailkatz@comcast.net
phone: 248-978-6664

Join Our Mailing ListBECOME A FRIEND OF WISDOM! Click on this link to go to the WISDOM website (right side of home page) to print out form to support WISDOM.

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.