WISDOM Newsletter – February, 2012

Written by WISDOM on . Posted in Newsletters

Sunday, February 5

Five Women Five Journeys presentation to members of the First Congregational Church in Ann Arbor from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

Thursday, March 15

Five Women Five Journeys Presentation at Albion College, Albion, MI. Contact the Rev. Daniel McQuown, College Chaplain, 517-629-0492.

Thursday, March 29

Interfaith seder held in partnership with Temple Beth El, Bloomfield Hills and the Malin Interfaith Activities Fund of Temple Beth El. The Interfaith Seder will be celebrated at the temple and begins at 6:00 PM. There will be a charge for participation in this program. Contact Fran Hildebrandt Fhildebr@aol.com or Paula Drewek, drewekpau@aol.com for more information. (See Flyer below!!)

Wednesday, April 18

Five Women Five Journeys to the students at the Mercy Education Project at their headquarters in Detroit, 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM. This program is not open to the public.

Wednesday, May 16

“Mental Health Issues and Challenges Facing Metro Detroit’s Diverse Faith Traditions” 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM at The Community House in Birmingham (380 S. Bates)

This presentation will focus predominantly on youth of multiple faith groups, the challenges they face, and the stigma attached to dealing with mental illnesses. The panel will include experts in the mental health field representing the Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, and Muslim faith traditions. This program is sponsored by the Family and Youth Institute, the Interfaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit, Kadima, The Race Relations and Diversity Task Force of the Birmingham Community House, and WISDOM (Women’s Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach in MetroDetroit). The event is free! Coffee and cookies will be served. For further information or to register, please contact Sheri Schiff, sheri1228@yahoo.com

Thursday, May 24 – Friday, May 25

Five Women Five Journeys Presentation at the United Methodist Church of the Dunes, Grand Haven, MI. More information in the near future.

Sunday, September 9

Third annual Acts of Kindness (AOK) Detroit event – kick off at University of Michigan-Dearborn!! 1:00 – 5:00 PM. Contact Gail Katz for more information. gailkatz@comcast.net

Come to our Interfaith Sederat Temple Beth El

7400 Telegraph Rd, Bloomfield Hills

Thursday, March 29, 2012

6:00 – 7:30 PM

(with registration beginning at 5:30 PM)

Rabbinic Associate Keren Alpert will lead the seder and explain the Haggadah (the ritual Jewish Passover text) to mark the Jewish Passover holiday which begins on the evening of April 7th. The service will include a light supper that will highlight the traditional Passover foods, the ritual recitations, songs, and portions of the service.

Registration is required. Cost is $20 per person.

Send name(s), contact number(s) and email address(es), along with your check made out to WISDOM to: WISDOM, P.O. Box 7091, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302

Registration must be received by Wednesday, March 21st.

For more information contact:

Fran Hildebrandt, 248-318-8301 or

Paula Drewek, 586-419-6811

Sponsors: WISDOM, Temple Beth El, and the Isadore and Frances Malin Interfaith Activities Fund of Temple Beth El

Face to Faith Teens Meet at Adat Shalom Synagogue

to learn about Judaism

About 70 Muslim, Christian, and Jewish high school teens came to the January 19th Face to Faith event at Adat Shalom Synagogue in Farmington Hills, MI. After registration, the Face to Faith Committee organized a brief mixer in which the teens introduced themselves to each other by stating their names and their faith traditions and “broke the ice” with some general questions about their interests.

Following the mixer, the teens returned to their interfaith tables, and dined on kosher Jerusalem Pizza along with kosher seven layer cake (a traditional Jewish dessert) and listened to Rabbi Aaron Bergman speak about some of the basic tenets of Judaism – explaining that Judaism has respect for all human beings because we are all made in God’s image, regardless of our faith tradition. Judaism values the current moment – who we are now and our daily actions – as the afterlife is not something that is stressed. This introduction was followed by a visit to the small chapel, where Rabbi Bergman explained that the daily services are a way to offer each Jew a place to be part of a community, and that the same Torah readings occur on the same day in synagogues around the world. In his Conservative synagogue men and women are treated equally, and any knowledgeable person can lead the religious services – it does not have to be the Rabbi. Rabbi Bergman took one of the Torah scrolls from the Ark, beneath the eternal light that burns 24/7 in every Jewish House of Worship, and the teens gathered round the Torah to get a good look at the Hebrew words of the Jewish Bible that are hand-written (and can have no mistakes!) by a trained scribe.

One of the highlights of Face to Faith is the Teen Forum at the end of the evening. The teens gathered in a large circle and asked each other questions about their faiths. Some of the questions had to do with the hijab that the Muslim women wear, baptism, and the meaning of a barmitzvah.

The teens left this Face to Faith event at the synagogue with a greater understanding about Judaism, and a deeper connection with each other!!

The next Face to Faith event will be Thursday, March 22nd in the evening. The details are in progress!!

CALLING ALL HIGH SCHOOL TEENS

OF MANY FAITH TRADITIONS!!

THURSDAY, MARCH 22ND

JOIN US AT FACE TO FAITH!!

An Interfaith Initiative for Teens of all faith traditions!!

6:30 PM – 9:00 PM

Meet new people and make new friends!

Stay tuned for more information!!

or contact Gail Katz at gailkatz@comcast.net

A Jew and a Christian co-create
the Song and Spirit Institute for Peace.

 

by Esther Allweiss Ingber for the Jewish News

 

A Jew married to a Christian and a Franciscan monk, have taken on a big challenge: creating a community that promotes greater understanding among people of diverse religious, cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Song and Spirit Institute for Peace, a nonprofit in Berkley, is the venture founded by Steve Klaper and Brother Al Mascia, the program directors, and Mary Gilhouly – the art director and Klaper’s wife of 27 years. The institute offers music, art, cultural programs, dialogue and study opportunities.

“Living in a diverse society and culture, inter-religious cooperation is no longer an option but a fact of life,” says Klaper, a maggid (inspirational speaker) ordained by Yitzhak Buxbaum in Brooklyn N.Y.

The men met three years ago. Brother Al walked into Klaper’s sukkah upon the recommendation of a mutual Catholic friend. Brother Al “had never been to a sukkah, didn’t know what to expect – but he had brought his guitar,” Klaper

says. “We talked about the holiday of Sukkot – how the fragile nature of this structure mirrored our fragile place in the world; how we rely on the grace of heaven to keep our health, our jobs, our families and, indeed our lives, intact.”

Talking and playing music, the men began imagining how they could take their stories and songs and do something meaningful with them. Song and Spirit was born.

Shir HaNishamah (Song of the Spirit) is a monthly Shabbat service on the first Friday. Leaders Klaper and Judy Lewis were co-music directors at Oak Park-based Temple Emanu-El. Klaper, raised modern Orthodox, draws upon more than 30 years’ experience as a professional musician to infuse traditional Jewish teachings with mystical chants and melodies at the soulful, renewal-style Kabbalat Shabbat.

“This is what your grandfather’s shul would have been like if they spoke English, played guitar and counted women in the minyan,” he says. “Everything that I present religiously will always be representative of normative Judaism, and everything Brother Al presents represents Franciscan Roman Catholicism.”

Song and Spirit’s interfaith Havdalah begins with a fully Jewish Havdalah service. With the onset of Saturday night – after the Havdalah candle is extinguished – the Lord’s Day begins for Christians.

“The Christians sing to the Jews in attendance, thanking them for their faithful tending of Shabbat all these centuries, and the Jews sing to the Christians, welcoming them into the deep and fulfilling practice of marking sacred time,” Klaper says.

Free education programs include “Faith in Our Community,” clergy explaining their beliefs. Temple Emanu-El Rabbi Joe Klein’s series,

“Reading Exodus Again,” meets 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Jan. 26-Feb.9.

The spacious building housing Song and Spirit was a convent in 1957. Jesuits were tenants about 50 years. The Archdiocese of Detroit found the building for the partners at Brother Al’s request. They moved there in April 2011.

Gilhouly, a mosaic artist and a home-based graphic designer along with her husband, hosted “Art-in-Action Day” on the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Nearly 50 participants became well acquainted making peace collages, painting bowls and designing mosaic squares for the gift shop. Proceeds help the institute and Brother Al’s Canticle Cafe Bicycle Cart Ministry.

There’s no membership requirement at Song and Spirit. Klaper says they’d rather charge for specific events and opportunities than institute dues. On Jan. 22, he and Brother Al started an online, monthly show, Song and Spirits, at UDetroit Cafe. They explore diverse cultures, times and places through music, stories and interviews from 5-7 p.m. on the third Sunday (www.udetroit.com).

Looking ahead, Klaper says the partners would love to have a Muslim member
join them, and also a Hindu and a Buddhist, but “we just haven’t met the right people yet.” He also wants to “procure a Torah scroll, even a used one.”

Song and Spirit Institute of Peace 2599 Harvard Berkley, MI 48072
248-895-3011 www.songandspirit.org

Art in Action Day at the Song & Spirit Institute

A Great Success!!

On Martin Luther King Monday, the Song & Spirit Institute for Peace in Berkley, MI offered a day of artistic creation that will benefit the poor, hungry and homeless in Detroit. About 50 participants, ranging in age from 7 to 83 years old, came to the Song & Spirit Institute (many for the very first time) to experience an interfaith coming together and to try their hands in the creation of three art projects. Mary Gilhuly, one of the Co-Founders of this Institute for Peace, had organized the day so that everyone could create a Peace card,

 

 

a ceramic bowl, and a mosaic tile plaque.

 

 

All of these art works will be sold either through the Song & Spirit online store, their gift shop, or at an Empty Bowls Dinner to be held in the late spring. All of the participants will have helped to raise over $2,000 for charity in the first ever Art in Action Day!!

For more information about the Song & Spirit Institute for Peace go to www.songandspirit.org.

A Panel Discussion about the Show

“All-American Muslim”

is held at the University of Michigan-Dearborn

on January 17, 2012

by Gail Katz

(photo borrowed from All-American website http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/tv/all-american-muslim)

An interesting panel discussing the TLC show entitled “All-American Muslim” and how the show has impacted the Detroit/Dearborn community was held at the University of Michigan-Dearborn on January 17th. The program featured a panel of local, regional and national figures who provided a variety of ideas and opinions, followed by an opportunity for questions and answers. The program featured a panel including: Suhaib Al-Hanooti, UM-Dearborn student;Aayat Ali, UM-Dearborn student; Dr. Hani Bawardi, UM-Dearborn faculty member;Dr. Sally Howell, UM-Dearborn faculty member;Dr. Saeed Khan, Wayne State University faculty member (panel moderator); and Mr. Mike Mosallam, Co-Executive Producer of “All-American Muslim.”

Controversy over the show erupted in December when home-improvement retailer Lowes pulled its advertising, a move that followed the Florida Family Association’s email campaign against the show, which said in part, ” ‘All-American Muslim’ is propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda’s clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values.”

The main thrust of the panel was to explain that the show was not a documentary on how to be a Muslim, but a platform to air the stories of five Muslim families. There is not only one single Muslim story or one definitive representation of all Muslims. The panel pointed out that the show also gives the moderate Muslim voice a platform. The two U of M-Dearborn students underscored that their fellow students really don’t know what Islam is all about. “All-American Muslim” shows that Muslims are just normal people, very much like what The Cosby Show did for African Americans in the 1980’s and 1990’s. All-American Muslim depicts “what is normal versus what is normative!!”

 

Studying Sacred Texts Online to Encounter Another View of God

by Matthew L. Skinner

Research consistently shows that people-and I’m thinking primarily of those in my home country of the United States-know alarming little about the basic contours of the world’s religions.

Runaway ignorance about the foundational tenets or central writings of religions, whether of other religions or even one’s own, threatens to undermine the prospects for constructive inter-religious dialogue and cooperation. But a corollary ignorance should generate as much concern. Consider how widespread is misunderstanding of or unfamiliarity with the ways that religious beliefs and texts are interpreted or put into practice.

People of faith can promote religious literacy and better acquaint our neighbors (and ourselves) with our beliefs; but to do so without showing them how our faith is meaningfully lived out, how it helps us makes sense of our lives and our world, accomplishes little. Worse, it risks reducing the notion of “religion” to a list of definable assertions or a set of historical processes.

In my vocation as a scholar who educates students to serve in Christian ministry, I emphasize the need for biblical interpreters to be more forthcoming, more public, about their hermeneutical presuppositions and tendencies. Pastoral leadership, I believe, is less about transmitting “what the Bible says” than it is about attending to the ways faithful imaginations get shaped through attentive, critical, and corporate interaction with the Bible. Other Christians may approach scripture out of a different set of values, but I would expect them to agree that the goal of having and reading a Bible is not to amass more information so much as it is to meaningfully indwell and practice their faith.

Given these convictions, it makes sense that I became part of an editorial team responsible for launching nearly six months ago a Web-based resource called ON Scripture-The Bible. Produced weekly by Odyssey Networks, the multi-faith media coalition, and published on their website.

ON Scripture-The Bible is simply an investigation of a biblical text, offered in a way intended to show readers how the Bible might affect people’s interactions with the trends and events that inform our lives. An accompanying video follows the biblical themes or a current event, making for a richer exploration into lives of faith.

I knew ON Scripture-The Bible would, as it has done, provide Christians a forum for learning more about-and vigorously discussing-how the Bible is faithfully interpreted in light of current news and social realities. My pleasant surprise has been discovering that it brings others, especially those interested in reading the Bible over Christians’ shoulders, into the conversation, as well. Whether out of curiosity, worry, or respect, others want to see what Christians are doing with their scriptures.

By making the study of scripture more public, ON Scripture-The Bible welcomes others into discourse around the nature of the Christian Bible, hermeneutics, and practices of faith, whether they realize that this is what they are doing or not.

Having glimpsed the potential for a resource like this to attract and promote not just intra-faith but also interfaith conversation, Odyssey Networks expects to launch ON Scripture-The Torah in early 2012. This will feature rabbis and Jewish scholars writing weekly on Torah passages. The possibility of a third ON Scripture resource, dedicated to interpretation of the Quran, sits on the horizon.

These resources cannot make up for our culture’s shortcomings in “religious literacy.” But they do much to promote “religious fluency,” which consists of a curiosity and ability to be in informed, constructive conversation with a religious tradition, whether one’s own or someone else’s. It is about becoming familiar with people’s ways of living their faith.

The focus on sacred texts provides a fitting arena for welcoming others to observe a religious worldview in action. At the same time, it affords anyone with a computer the opportunity to examine other religious perspectives. For in doing so, I do not just read another’s sacred text; I watch another person enter into creative and expectant dialogue with this text. The encounter becomes personal, and a clearer window into a lived faith. To peer inside other people’s scriptural interpretation-and inside another religion’s scripture-is to gain a better sense of their understanding of who or what God is, and their understanding of what it means to respond to this God.

Mourning in a Digital Age

By BRUCE FEILER

I HAVE found myself in a season of loss. Every few weeks for the last six months, friends in the prime of life have suffered the death of a close family member. These deaths included a mother, a father, a sister, a brother, a spouse and, in one particularly painful case, a teenage child who died on Christmas morning. The convergence of these passings brought home an awkward truth: I had little idea how to respond. Particularly when the surviving friend was young, the funeral was far away and the grieving party did not belong to a religious institution, those of us around that friend had no clear blueprint for how to handle the days following the burial.

In several of these cases, a group of us organized a small gathering. E-mails were sent around, a few pizzas and a fruit salad were rounded up, someone baked a cake. And suddenly we found ourselves in what felt like the birth pangs of a new tradition.

“It’s a secular shiva,” the hostess announced.

So what exactly were we creating? Grieving has been largely guided by religious communities, from celebratory Catholic wakes, to the 49 days of mourning for Buddhists, to the wearing of black (or white) in many Protestant traditions, to the weeklong in-house condolence gatherings that make up the Jewish tradition of shiva. Today, with religiosity in decline, families dispersed and the pace of life feeling quickened, these elaborate, carefully staged mourning rituals are less and less common. Old customs no longer apply, yet new ones have yet to materialize.

“We’re just too busy in this world to deal with losing people,” said Maggie Callanan, a hospice nurse for the last 30 years and the author of “Final Gifts,” an influential book about death and dying. “And yet we have to.” Ms. Callanan and others in the field point to the halting emergence of guidelines to accommodate our high-speed world, in which many people are disconnected from their friends physically, yet connected to them electronically around the clock.

One puzzle I encountered is the proper way to respond to a mass e-mailing announcing a death. “We still feel it’s nice to pick up the phone or send a card,” said Danna Black, an owner of Shiva Sisters, an event-planning company in Los Angeles that specializes in Jewish funeral receptions. “But if the griever feels comfortable sending out an e-mail, you can feel comfortable sending one back. Just don’t hit Reply All.”

Facebook presents its own challenges. The site’s public platform is an ideal way to notify a large number of people, and many grievers I know have taken comfort in supportive messages from friends. Like CaringBridge, CarePages and similar sites, social networks can become like virtual shiva locations for faraway loved ones.

But Megory Anderson, the founder of the Sacred Dying Institute in San Francisco (it seeks to bring spirituality to the act of dying), said problems arise when grievers begin encroaching on the personal space of others. “The safest thing is to share your own story,” she said. Since everyone grieves differently, she cautions against sharing private details of other family members, loved ones or the deceased themselves. She also recommends sending a private message to grievers instead of writing on their wall.

To read the rest of this article go to : http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/15/fashion/mourning-in-the-age-of-facebook.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&emc=eta1&adxnnlx=1326717261-a/vfvSXkiBBIF3SmrONmIg

To read Rabbi Jason Miller’s response to Bruce Feiler’s article go to: http://blog.rabbijason.com/2012/01/sitting-shiva-for-traditional-shiva.html

Launching the First Hindu Military Chaplaincy

It is a great day for America and the democratic principles we’ve sworn to defend as service members. The Department of Defense has recently established the first Hindu Military Chaplain program in American history. Army Captain Pratima Dharm, who currently works as a Chaplain Clinician at Walter Reed Medical Center Hospital, took on her new role as the Army’s first Hindu Chaplain as of May 16.
Hindu chaplain

“It is an honor to take on this incredible role supporting military members and their families serving in our Nation’s Armed forces,” says Chaplain Dharm, who holds degrees in Psychology and Theology.

Chaplain Dharm earned her commission in the U.S. Army in 2006 and in 2008 was selected for the Army’s Clinical Pastoral Education Program (CPE) while serving in Iraq. Her awards include the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal and Global War On Terrorism Service Medal. No stranger to achieving “firsts,” Chaplain Dharm is also the first female Chaplain of Indian descent in the United States Army.

Launching the Program

Chaplain Dharm learned of this program after reading a flyer developed through the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s (OSD) Chief of Chaplains office. As an Air Force officer stationed at the Pentagon, I had the distinct pleasure of serving as the action officer for this effort. I came across the opportunity after reading about three individuals who led Hindu services at the Pentagon. The three lay leaders leading the services, Mr. Bhuj Gidwani, Hitul Thakur and Dr. Ram Bhat, informed me there was an official DoD endorsement for a chaplain, however a candidate had yet to come forward.

Unsure of the collective interest in such an effort, I teamed with the lay leaders to develop a flyer to find out what the need was. We circulated the flyer throughout the Hindu community. A few months later, Chaplain Dharm contacted me and indicated she was interested.

Throughout the process, OSD’s Chief of Chaplain’s office was extremely supportive. Once Chaplain Dharm conveyed her interest, the Army moved out quickly to establish the program. Chinmaya Mission West and the three lay leaders served as the endorsing agents for the effort (every military chaplain requires an endorsing agency).

Read more!! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ravi-chaudhary/a-great-day-to-be-an-amer_b_871748.html

My Three Months as a Temporary Citizen

of Damanhur

By Deb Hansen

(This is a shortened version of Deb Hansen’s original article!!)

Deb Hansen photo

From September through November of 2011, I lived in Damanhur, a spiritual community located in the foothills of the Italian Alps north of Turin. The New Life or Temporary Citizen Program began about a year ago. I assumed its purpose was to give the participants an opportunity to get a taste of a different way of life. Later, it became clear that we also provided both a challenge and breath of fresh air to the residents with our perspectives, ideas, and cultures. While I was there, my fellow “new lifers”, as we called ourselves, came from Argentina, Australia, Croatia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Scotland, Switzerland, and the U.S.

About 400 people of all ages live inside the community in groups called nucleos. Another 600 people from many places in the world affiliate with the community in one of several formal ways. The nucleos function as independent families of choice. Each nucleo has at least one major project such as running the bakery, managing the guest houses, experimenting with the latest solar power technology, or elder care.

When I first heard about Damanhur, the idea of such a place resonated immediately. This was my second visit. Two years ago I spent a month there, exchanging work in three homes for room and board. With the language barrier and the lack of a group of English-speaking peers, I felt quite isolated much of the time. But that didn’t stop me from making friends and really wanting to know more about how these people were able to build a place of such beauty and substance, literally creating a unique culture in such a short period of time. I had to go back and wasn’t quite sure why. What I did know is that I longed to know what it might be like to live in a culture that was an integrated whole. I know what it’s like to live in one that’s deeply fractured. I wanted to experience a way of life based on spiritual principles, ethics, and individual choice – where no ideal or goal would be too outrageous to work towards. Damanhur is only one of many groups, large and small, who want to change the world and provide a model of sustainable living. But I suspect they are unique in the depth and breadth of their scope. They’ve been in existence longer than most. When I arrived, they were celebrating the founding of the community 37 years ago.

What is Damanhur? I still have difficulty describing to people the essence of this community, what it’s attempting to accomplish, what makes it different from other communities you might already be familiar with. Damanhur was founded in the 70’s by 12 people who had participated for some time in a meditation group led by Oberto Airaudi in Turin. The federation of communities now describes itself as a school of thought. It is also an experimental community wheremore than you could ever imagine is deeply thought through and re-imagined, then put into practice. There is a complementary currency, a detailed philosophy, a system of therapies and health maintenance used in conjunction with western medicine, a number of businesses and art studios, fine jewelers, a beauty shop, and a calendar of ritual which emphasizes the solstice, equinox, and Day of the Dead, a sacred language, an art and architectural style, and dance form. They produce fashion shows with their own hand-crafted clothing. They produce concerts, plays, dances, and publish a daily newspaper. There’s an order of monks – male and female. There are also schools for children from infancy to adolescence. At age fourteen, Damanhurian young people complete their education in the Italian system so they are prepared to make the choice of remaining in the community or living in the larger world. Damanhur invests a lot in these schools which emphasize travel, a sense of autonomy, and individual attention. Some people in the area pay to send their kids there, as did several of the temporary citizens. Damanhur’s constitution begins with these words: “The citizens are brothers and sisters who help one another through trust, respect, clarity, acceptance, solidarity and continuous inner transformation. Everyone is committed to always extending to others, the opportunity to reach higher. Each citizen makes a commitment to spread positive and harmonious thought, and to direct every thought and action towards spiritual growth, putting ideals before personal interest. Each person is socially and spiritually responsible for every action they take.” It is an artistic community where everyone is encouraged to get involved. People, including some who have had little to no training in their specialties, have produced what the community is best known for: the magnificent Temples of Humankind, excavated entirely by hand in secrecy inside a mountain. A building permit for such an effort would surely never have been allowed. Damanhur is a modern-day mystery school where research into ancient forms of communication with the Divine has created rituals such as the Oracle that takes place every month at the full moon. A variety of courses are offered to the public, ranging from how to build a successful community to learning about past lives as a means of deepening the understanding of the soul’s greater mission over lifetimes. Damanhur is also an eco-village, one of a growing number of communities around the world that are experimenting with ways to become self-sustaining in food and energy. There is a four-person laboratory that, in addition to testing products sold in the all-organic food store for chemical contamination and genetic modification, is focusing on two major research projects: growing meat from the muscle cells of animals — and producing propane from algae.

Before arriving, I had made a request to either live in a family on the beautiful grounds of Damjl or in the village of Vidracco, a 20-minute walk from the capital. Living close to our activities would mean I could easily check in on my canine companion, Mitzi, from time to time and not be so dependent on getting a ride from a more remote area. So I was delighted to learn that I would be living with one of three families in Damjl.

Life at Damanhur is not an easy one. Guests who arrive expecting to have a good part of the day spent in meditation are mistaken. “Here we pray with our hands,” people there are fond of remarking. It’s a spirituality centered on practical action, individual and group goals, shared ideals. People are active every day with a wide variety of responsibilities and interests. Days often last well into the evening. I was surprised at the diverse population who make their home there: doctors, a nurse, a dentist, therapists, a veterinarian, lawyers, mechanics, plumbers, builders, accountants, administrators, artists, teachers, business people, information technology specialists, solar heating specialists, etc. The economic hard times in Italy and beyond have definitely affected Damanhur. Nine people used to work at making cheeses; now there is only one. In the beginning, almost everyone worked outside the community. Today it’s the reverse. The level of creativity in every aspect of life impressed me. While medical people are required to have the credentials we’re familiar with, it was surprising to learn how many artists in stained glass and sculpture had no formal training in their field.

Some of you have asked me what I learned there and whether I would go back….

It was truly refreshing to have a break from being treated as a consumer. In the three months I lived there, no one attempted to sell me anything – ever. It made relationships with others feel “cleaner” and more authentic. I appreciated the emphasis on choosing and choosing again in all aspects of life. Even one’s marriage is re-evaluated formally on a regular basis. As one woman remarked with a smile, “Yes, I’ve been married many times, but always to the same man!” I learned to be open to ideas and experiences without giving up common sense or discernment. I learned a lot about initiative and responsibility. I gained humility in the face of the endless demands such a life entails: the need to pull your own weight and push through fatigue, the effort it takes from everyone to maintain grounds and buildings, the sweat equity and attention required to raise food. These people don’t hire anything out unless they don’t have the skills to do it themselves. That doesn’t mean everyone is paid the same though. Diversity in all forms, including income diversity, is respected. I learned how difficult it is for me and others to counter a lifetime of conditioning in individualism. Unlike our dynamic Spanish predecessors, my group of temporary citizens always had difficulties pulling together as a unit, myself included. But I did get a taste of both the sacrifice of prioritizing group goals to self interest and how much fun you could have doing all kinds of things together. I experienced how living in close proximity to others wears us down and eventually transforms us. Damanhurians really walk their talk when they say they put equal value on all forms of work — hard work. I saw healers mopping floors and artists tending the coffee bar. The founder and visionary of Damanhur regularly scheduled rides for one of us who lived a distance away. The political and social climate in this country is so divisive right now – and our culture so fragmented. In contrast, I learned how much is possible when people really pull together, aim high, and invest their energies and resources in creative endeavors rather than endless bickering. Don’t get me wrong, as in the larger Italian culture, debate is a lifestyle, and there’s no shortage of it at Damanhur. I sometimes grew weary of the long-windedness of the organized discussions. Relationships get tense at times and sometimes rupture. But a higher vision and common purpose seem to transcend and sustain people there for the most part – and evoke a level of inventiveness, can-do attitude, camaraderie, and productivity that are unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I don’t consider Damanhur a utopian community. I agreed with many who remarked that these people are running around all the time, engaged in endless activities related to their work, interests, creative endeavors, and spiritual paths. Many seemed tired. On the other hand, the people who live at Damanhur clearly feel a sense of urgency faced with the inability of business, government, and religion to address some of our most serious challenges: water, food, energy, population, etc. Do we have an unlimited amount of time to chart a different course?

The colder weather along with some health issues with Mitzi and the need to consult with our own vet, made it easier to say good-bye to the people and places I had grown to love. Visitors to Damanhur often do clay work and leave their shamanic figures to be placed somewhere on the grounds. But it was the spirits of nature that captured my attention on the day of our workshop. So I left a bit of myself behind in a little mushroom, an acorn, and a caterpillar. Already, they are calling me back to this unusual and astonishing place….

‘Places of Faith’ Tells What Really Goes on in America’s Temples, Mosques and Churches

By David Briggs

What do Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn, Hispanic Catholics in central Nebraska, megachurch evangelicals in Houston and South Asian Muslims in suburban Detroit have in common? More than many people could ever imagine.

Forget the popular cultural images from shows such as HBO’s “Big Love” that revive stereotypes linking Mormonism with polygamy or the ubiquitous images in the news associating Islam with terrorism. Look past the cultural crossfire that lumps religious liberals and conservatives into separate boxes defined by extremist political and social agendas.

 

The reality, as presented in a new book by two respected scholars, is that if you walk into a mosque, synagogue, temple or church next weekend, you will most likely find groups of believers in prayer and meditation seeking spiritual growth.

For six weeks, Pennsylvania State University sociologists Christopher Scheitle and Roger Finke traveled nearly 7,000 miles across the country visiting diverse religious communities. What they report back in “Places of Faith: A Road Trip Across America’s Landscape” is a portrait of people of faith sharing many of the same aspirations across theological and denominational divides.

They encounter members of a black church in Memphis and a Mormon congregation in a small Utah town giving personal testimonies amid Sunday worship and religious education classes lasting three hours and more. In both the Friday prayer service at the Islamic Center of America in Detroit and the Saturday morning Shabbat service at B’nai Avraham in Brooklyn, the authors find immigrants from Africa, Asia and Europe praying for the well-being of humanity.

These straightforward observations of faith groups at worship have a critical role to play in public discourse on religion especially when an increasing body of research reveals sharp declines in religious prejudice, the more people of different beliefs get to know one another.

“Places of Faith” allows “students and people in general to look over our shoulder and to find out what these communities are like and how similar they are in many ways,” said Finke, who is also director of the Association of Religion Data Archives.

To read the rest of this article, go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-briggs/inside-edition-places-of-faith_b_1214251.html?ref=religion&utm_source=Email+Updates&utm_campaign=c52c2d73e2-Newsletter_32_KidSpirit+Jan+26&utm_medium=email

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 – Feb 9, 2012 Special

Written by WISDOM on . Posted in Newsletters

 

A VERY SPECIAL WISDOM WINDOW
FEBRUARY 9, 2012

WISDOM

THERE WILL BE A COMING TOGETHER OF OUR

INTERFAITH COMMUNITY

TO SHOW SOLIDARITY AT THE

SIKH GURDWARA IN STERLING HEIGHTS!!

 

ON FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10TH, AT 3:00 PM

the interfaith community of Metropolitan Detroit

will show their solidarity

by coming together to protest the

defacing of the Sikh Gurdwara

which is located on

14 mile and Dequindre

(north of 14 on the east side of Dequindre )
33340 Dequindre road, Sterling Heights, Mi 48310

 

The press will be in attendance.

WISDOM reps will be at this conference and will read the statement included below.

 

Please join us if you are able!!

Questions?

Call Gail Katz at 248-978-6664

 

Sikh House of Worship Vandalized in Sterling Heights

with Anti-Muslim Graffiti

By Niraj Warikoo – Detroit Free Press

 

A Sikh house of worship in Sterling Heights under construction was vandalized with what appears to be anti-Muslim graffiti.

 

The Sikh building, known as a gurdwara, was defaced sometime between Sunday evening and Monday morning, a Sikh advocacy group said today. Some of the graffiti reads: “Don’t Builed” and “Mohmed,” which seems to refer to Islam’s prophet, Mohammed. The graffiti also included a Christian cross, a pistol, and the letters R and A. It’s unclear what the letters refer to.

In the West, Sikh men are sometimes confused for being Muslim because they wear full beards and turbans. Over the past ten years, some Sikhs in the U.S. have been victims of violent bias attacks because they’re wrongly perceived to be Muslim. Based in India, Sikhism arose about 300 years ago and now has about 25 million adherents.

 

Jasjit Singh of the Sikh American Legal Defense Education Fund, said: “attacks and vandalism against any of the nation’s houses of worship must be condemned by all Americans.”

Singh asked anyone who has information about the incident to call Sterling Heights police at (586) 446-2800. The Sikh house of worship is on Dequindre Rd. just north of 14 Mile.

Singh added: “We call upon local and federal law enforcement agencies to rightfully classify this incident as a hate crime.”

 

The Michigan chapters of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the American Jewish Committee also condemned the vandalism.

“We condemn the vandalism of the Sikh house of worship in Sterling Heights and call on local and federal law enforcement to use their full resources to apprehend the perpetrators of this hate crime,” said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Muslim council.

 

“The attack on any house of worship in our community is despicable, and we are pained to see the Sikh community targeted,” said Kari Alterman of the Jewish committee. We look to law enforcement to investigate this act, and arrest those responsible.”

WISDOM’s Response to the Desecration

of the Sikh Gurdwara in Sterling Heights

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Women of WISDOM (Women’s Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach in MetroDetroit) take a stand against the terrible vandalism done to the Sikh Gurdwara in Sterling Heights. As women of many faith traditions, ethnicities and races, working together to break down myths and stereotypes and build respect and understanding, we stand together in condemning the actions of those who spew hate and fear and who desecrate holy places. We call on people to remember the Golden Rule and to treat others as we would want them to treat us. We stand together to affirm our vision of a Metro Detroit community where all our diverse religious and ethnic groups are treated with dignity. Our diversity serves to strengthen our community’s resources and provides an important model of cooperation for our children and others in this nation and abroad. An attack on any ethnic or religious group is an attack on all of humanity.

 

Signed by:

 

Paula Drewek, President

Trish Harris, Vice President and Co-Founder

Fran Hildebrandt, Vice President

Anjali Vale, Secretary

Gail Katz, Immediate Past President and Co-Founder

 

(The WISDOM Executive Board on behalf of all the women of WISDOM)

 

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.
This email was sent to gailkatz@comcast.net by gailkatz@comcast.net |
WISDOM | P.O. Box 7091 | Bloomfield Hills | MI | 48302

WISDOM Newsletter – January 2012

Written by WISDOM on . Posted in Newsletters

THE WISDOM WINDOW

JANUARY 2012

A Very Happy New Year to All!!

WISDOM

 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

Thursday, January 19

Five Women Five Journeys Presentation at Birmingham Public Schools, Seaholm High School Media Center. 4:00 – 5:30 PM. Contact Marcia Wilkinson, mw01bps@birmingham.k12.mi.us, 248-203-3025.

Thursday, January 19

Face to Faith – an interfaith program for high school teens. Calling all teens to come to Adat Shalom Synagogue, 29901 Middlebelt Road Farmington Hills, MI and join teens of many faith traditions in learning about Judaism, and participating in interfaith interaction! 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM. Light supper included! Contact Gail Katz, gailkatz@comcast.net for more information about registration!

Thursday, January 26

Five Women Five Journeys Presentation at Christ The Redeemer Catholic Church in Lake Orion. 7:00 PM. Contact Nancy Clancy, ctrdirector@ameritech.net

Sunday, January 29

Thirteenth Annual World Sabbath – see article below!!

Thursday, March 15

Five Women Five Journeys Presentation at Albion College, Albion, MI. Contact the Rev. Daniel McQuown, College Chaplain, 517-629-0492.

Thursday, March 29

Interfaith seder at Temple Beth El, Bloomfield Hills, MI. 6:00 PM. Program plans are in process. Contact Elaine Schonberger, bookfairmama@comcast.net

Wednesday, May 16

Community Forum on the Challenges of Dealing with Mental Health Across Different Faith Traditions. 6:30 – 9:00 PM at the Birmingham Community House in partnership with Kadima in Southfield and the Race Relations and Diversity Task Force, 380 S. Bates St., Birmingham, 48009. Look for more information in the near future! Contact Gail Katz, gailkatz@comcast.net

Thursday, May 24

Five Women Five Journeys Presentation at the United Methodist Church of the Dunes, Grand Haven, MI. More information in the near future.

Join us at the WISDOM and InterFaith Leadership Council’s Film Discussion Group with the Race Relations and Diversity Task Force on January 11th to hear the Rev. Dan Buttry discuss the film “Pray the Devil Back to Hell,” which features Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee!!
 
 

CALLING ALL HIGH SCHOOL TEENS

OF MANY FAITH TRADITIONS!!

THURSDAY, JANUARY 19TH

 

JOIN US AT FACE TO FAITH!!

 

An Interfaith Initiative for Teens of all faith traditions!!

6:30 PM – 9:00 PM at Adat Shalom Synagogue

29901 Middlebelt Rd., Farmington Hills, MI

 

Meet new people and make new friends!

Learn about Judaism and take a tour of the synagogue!

Participate in interfaith round table discussion while you dine on delicious pizza and Jewish seven layer cake!!

 

To register go to:

http://www.fpcbirmingham.org/events/face-to-faith/

 

For more information

contact Gail Katz, gailkatz@comcast.net

WISDOM Co-Founder

 

or Josh Morof, jbmorof@yahoo.com

Andover High School Senior and Founder of Face to Faith

 

 

COMING SOON TO DETROIT!!

 

THE 2012 THIRTEENTH ANNUAL WORLD SABBATH

SUNDAY, JANUARY 29th FROM 4:00 – 5:30 PM

WITH AN AFTER-GLOW FROM 5:30 – 6:30 PM.

 

AT GREATER NEW MOUNT MORIAH

MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH

586 OWEN, DETROIT

Secure Parking will be available

OUR YOUTH AND YOUNG ADULTS

WILL BE LEADING THE SERVICE

WITH PEACE PRAYERS

FROM DIFFERENT FAITH TRADITIONS

AND THE CHILDREN OF PEACE OF MANY RELIGIONS

WILL BE WAVING PEACE BANNERS

AND SINGING “WE ARE CHILDREN OF PEACE” TOGETHER

 

OUR ETHNIC DANCE AND MUSIC WILL HIGHLIGHT

THE DIVERSITY OF METRO DETROIT!!

 

DON’T MISS THIS FABULOUS INTERFAITH EVENT!!

 

PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE

WWW.WORLDSABBATH.ORG

 

CANNED FOOD DONATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED

FOR THE HUNGRY AND HOMELESS IN DETROIT!!

 

FOR ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS

AND TO GET INFORMATION ABOUT

HOW TO GET THE YOUTH FROM YOUR

SYNAGOGUE, MOSQUE, CHURCH, TEMPLE INVOLVED

CONTACT GAIL KATZ, WORLD SABBATH CHAIR

gailkatz@comcast.net 248-978-6664

 

WISDOM GETS CREATIVE!!

 

On December 8th. 2011 20 WISDOM Women came together at Unity of Farmington Hills to work with Nomi Joyrich, owner of Bead Works in Franklin, to create interfaith beaded bracelets.

 

We got the opportunity to choose the different colored beads for our bracelets and design how the Baha’i star, the Jewish star, the Muslim crescent, the Ohm symbol for the Eastern faiths, the Christian cross, and the Buddhah would be interspersed among the beautiful beads to fit around our wrists after we added the clasp. What fun!! Women had a chance to be jewelry designers while chatting with each other and getting to know one another better. The afternoon ended with a repast of vegetarian pizza, salad, fruit, and desserts.

 

A big thank you goes to the Rev. Barbara Clevenger, who graciously allowed WISDOM to use her church social hall for this event, and to Nomi Joyrich for donating her time and expertise.

 

Bead Event one

WISDOM Women had to measure the beads and the interfaith charms.

 

 

It was so much fun to be creative with the beads and the interfaith charms!!

 

Bead event two

Mary Gilhuly and Amanda Clark, two WISDOM participants, show their finished bracelets!!

WISDOM HELPS TO SPONSOR A
COMMUNITY SERVICE EVENT
CALLED “HELPING HANDS FOR THE HUNGRY!”

By Gail Katz, WISDOM Co-Founder

 

Sunday, December 11th, 2011 was a very special day!! This was the day that WISDOM and the National Council of Jewish Women, Greater Detroit Section, sponsored a huge interfaith community service event with Kids Against Hunger, Michigan Coalition. Working with Mike Burwell, CEO of the Michigan Kids Against Hunger and with Mary Miller, our contact person at the Rush Trucking Warehouse in Wayne, Michigan, who helped us secure this venue for our food packing, we organized this community service event that attracted over 230 adults, teens, and children – Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Protestants, Unitarians, and Hindus!

 

Our group of volunteers packed 20,000 meals of dry food, one third of it reserved for Focus: HOPE who will make the distributions to hungry children here locally in Detroit, one third to go to hungry children internationally, and one third to be put in reserve for natural disasters such as tsunamis or earthquakes. Packing 20,000 meals meant that we had to raise $5600, and we were so fortunate to find houses of worship, organizations, and individuals who donated funds to help finance this interfaith coming together to “repair the world.”

 

In addition to WISDOM and the National Council of Jewish Women, Greater Detroit Section, major funds were donated by the Muslim Unity Center in Bloomfield Hills, the Bharatiya Hindu Temple in Troy, St. Hugo of the HIlls Catholic Church in Bloomfield Hills, and the Rush Trucking Warehouse in Wayne.

 

We began our interfaith community service event with an opening litany that focused on social justice and the fundamental unity of the human family!. This was followed by the inclusion of ten youth who came together in a circle to read the Golden Rule in ten different faith traditions. This sharing of the Golden Rule underscored that many of our faiths have, as a major tenet, the idea of treating others as you would want them to treat you!! We then shared “A Prayer for the World” by Rabbi Harold Kushner that emphasized “seeing each other clearly – beyond labels, accents, gender or skin color.” We then all got to work scooping and weighing the dry food and putting it in plastic bags that were then sealed and packaged in boxes!

 

What a wonderful event. It gave me such pleasure, as the WISDOM Chair of this event, to see Muslims, Jews, and Christians working side by side – to see children learning the lesson to give back to their community, to know that WISDOM can make a difference through community service!!

In the front row from the left to right are Uzma Sharaf (Muslim Unity Center), Padma Kuppa (Bharatiya Hindu Temple), Gail Katz (WISDOM Co-Founder), Sue Simon (National Council of Jewish Women, GDS), Mary Miller (our Rush Trucking contact), and behind Mary on the far right is Mike Burwell (Kids Against Hunger Michigan Coalition).
Kids against Hunger
kids Against Hunger
kids Against Hunger boxes

Detroit’s Brother Al Mascia

puts soup kitchen on wheels

Louis Aguilar/ The Detroit News

 

Brother Al Mascia has much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, and so does his flock. After losing the brick-and-mortar headquarters for his Detroit-based charitable operations earlier this month, the brown-robed Franciscan friar has kept serving the homeless, the elderly and others in Detroit.

Mascia anticipated the closing of the building more than a year ago and raised $4,000 to buy two specially designed tricycles with vendor carts in front and storage trailers in the back so he wouldn’t miss a beat in serving his clientele.

“St. Francis went beyond the walls of the medieval city to serve the exiled,” said Mascia, referring to St. Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Catholic religious order to which Mascia belongs. “Now, I have no walls between me and the people I serve.” Mascia’s Canticle Café and St. Al’s Community Center used to be housed in a large aging building on Washington Boulevard that cost $200,000 a year in utilities and maintenance. The building’s owner, the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit, sold it to a private firm that now owns the entire side of the street.

An archdiocese official said it cannot find an affordable new space for the community center because many building owners in a rebounding downtown don’t want a tenant that serves the poor and homeless.

But the development didn’t stop Mascia. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, in sun, sleet and snow, he pedals into the outdoor waiting area of the Rosa Parks Transit Center on the tricycle – a practice he started last year.

He comes loaded with hot drinks, sandwiches and fruit, small packets of toiletries and clothing. He said he won’t be serving today because there are meals served all over the city, but he does plan on serving people on Christmas Day.

 

On Tuesday last week, dozens quickly lined up – the homeless Army veteran with two children, the recovering crack addict, the elderly woman who said she comes mainly to stave off loneliness. Mascia and three volunteers gave away all they had within 45 minutes. “Brother Al is always working for the people,” said Leona Palazzolo of Detroit, who says she has relied on the friar’s services for seven years. “He’s always got time to listen to you, and he doesn’t ever talk down to you. He’s just real nice to be around.”

 

The change in operations might be a blessing in disguise, Mascia said.

“There is more opportunity here than the brick-and-mortar center,” he said. “I see more families here on the streets, more of the mentally ill. We are about serving people.” The tricycle-based Canticle Café provides service six times a week at the public bus terminal on Cass Avenue just north of Michigan Avenue. Father Tod Laverty from St. Aloysius Catholic Church on Washington Boulevard and other volunteers operate the mobile help center on the days when Mascia is out raising money. He has already found a benefactor to buy another tricycle.

 

The brick-and-mortar Canticle Café would not have lasted as long as it did without Mascia’s fundraising and venture into retailing. In 2008, the recession led to a decline of more than a third in corporate donations, and donations kept shrinking, the friar said. The community center served about 300 daily. It offered breakfast, groceries and clothing, Internet access and general education diploma and literacy classes, as well as medical help from a nurse practitioner.

“Even someone like me knew that this wasn’t a temporary setback. We had to act,” Mascia said. First, he began to sell shade-grown, fair-trade coffee from Chiapas, Mexico, by partnering with a local coffee vendor. The Canticle Cafe blend helps the Detroit poor and the indigenous growers in Mexico.

The venture raised thousands of dollars for the Detroit center. The cafe expanded into selling candles called Friar Lights, T-shirts and dog biscuits. The retail line still survives despite the shutting of the shelter.

 

Mascia is also a musician who writes songs inspired by the seniors and homeless people he meets on the job. About two years ago, he decided to take his guitar and amplifier on the road – along with a specially made pushcart full of coffee, Friar Lights, T-shirts and CDs – mainly to suburban parishes, where he hopes his concerts will move people to help the downtown friars continue their good works.

 

Mascia has a concert scheduled for 3 p.m. Dec. 18 at Prince of Peace Church in West Bloomfield Township. Mascia says he’s eager to expand the services. He is forging more partnerships with private businesses, such as the one with Ypsilanti-based Perk and Brew Inc.’s Brenda Moore, as well as churches of other denominations and other Catholic churches, to keep growing. What he now mainly lacks, he said, is more volunteers to help him in the winter months.

“When we get the newvehicle, I hope to go into the alleys and other areas where people with no home may be seeking shelter,” Mascia said. “We want them to know that someone is thinking about them.”
http://detnews.com/article/20111124/BIZ/111240393/Detroit’s-Brother-Al-Mascia-puts-soup-kitchen-on-wheels#ixzz1fM24kYLU

 

Brother Al Mascia, along with Maggid Steve Klaper will be the recipients of the World Sabbath Peace Award for their interfaith work and their work helping the homeless in Detroit! See flyer about the World Sabbath in this WISDOM Window!!

 

 

The Real Way to Decorate a Christmas Tree
What do dharma and decorating have in common?
By Padma Kuppa, December 15, 2011

Padma Kuppa

Every December, I put up a Christmas tree, and don’t think much of it; after all, what is so unique about an American Hindu putting up a Christmas tree? A tree is a symbol of life, the lights are a symbol of knowledge, and the nativity scene with the baby Jesus underneath is akin to the avatar concept that many Hindus ascribe to-that God can take a human form, to protect and save us. A Christmas tree is symbolic of joy and fun, the presents underneath symbolic of giving and sharing. Hindus love that which is colorful and festive-look at our deities, our altars, our sacred art-and giving (dana) is a highly valued practice. But this year, the boxes of ornaments lay around our half decorated tree as I discovered that I am in the middle of my own December Dilemma: I don’t want to celebrate, decorate, or put presents under the tree.

 

My December Dilemma is not the one that the Anti-Defamation League or my Jewish friends speak about. The ADL actually describes it as a “difficult task of acknowledging the various religious and secular holiday traditions … Teachers, administrators and parents should try to promote greater understanding and tolerance among students of different traditions by taking care to adhere to the requirements of the First Amendment.” The Jewish community’s issue with this month has led to a movie (December Dilemma), books (such as Sam I Am, about a boy raised by a Jewish father and a Christian mother), and countless other resources such as parenting seminars at synagogues. These are done to help children and parents-especially interfaith couples-contend with how to respond to the lavish festivities and the consumerism that often goes with Christmas. But my dilemma is more a dharmic one, especially since I head to New York, where the source of my December discontent originates: Wall Street. Specifically, Occupy Wall Street and the depressing news about economic inequities, about those who have and those who don’t.

I had hoped to go to the Zucotti Park encampment, not as a voyeur, but as a sympathizer. The non-violent movement that began as a protest about the corruption and greed on Wall Street was something I wished to witness and support: it was a throwback not simply to the Arab Spring, but to the Gandhian resistance movement, a way to change the world and the economic inequalities that exist today. However, the Occupiers were removed and I had no one to sympathize with, no Liberty Plaza to visit, and my disappointment became my dilemma, my discontent.

 

But Gandhi said we must be the change we want to see, and as Ian Desai pointed out in the New York Times recently, he would have rejected the division between the 99 percent and the 1 percent. Desai also pointed out that Gandhi supported and prescribed constructive social action, “through which we might begin to mend the world.” This brought me back to my Jewish friends, who want to repair the world-through the concept of Tikkun Olam-particularly one friend, Gail Katz, co-founder of WISDOM, a non-profit interfaith women’s organization of which I am a Board member. Gail’s interfaith journey explains how she became sensitive to the plight of “the other” through various childhood experiences, and how her adult life is centered on social action, and bringing diverse people together to do good things.

 

I agree with Gail: my dharma is to focus on social justice and to do something-not visit someone. So I participated in WISDOM’s second Kids Against Hunger community service project. According to the Kids Against Hunger Coalition website, ten children per minute die of starvation or malnutrition related diseases, and WISDOM decided we wanted to do something to help. Co-sponsored by the National Council of Jewish Women and WISDOM, with much of the financial support coming from St. Hugo of the Hills Catholic Church, the Muslim Unity Center in Bloomfield Hills, and the Bharatiya Temple of Metropolitan Detroit, WISDOM raised funds and gathered people of diverse religious and cultural backgrounds on a Sunday afternoon in December. Nearly 250 of us came together at Rush Trucking Warehouse in Wayne, to package twenty thousand meals in just a few hours. A third of these go to feed local children in need, a third go to twenty other countries, and the remaining third go to help in areas where disaster relief is needed. We are the 100 percent, we gave a 100 percent, and my Christmas tree is now decorated – 100 percent!

 

THE POWER OF A HUG

By Teri Bazzi-Oliveri

 

In recent months, the world’s billion-plus Muslims have marked the fasting month of Ramadan, the pilgrimage to Mecca and the Islamic New Year 1433. From the Eastern Christian church to the Western church, the world’s 2 billion Christians are celebrating the season of peace that leads to Christmas. The world’s millions of Jews are looking forward to the season of Hanukkah, a celebration of religious liberty in a diverse world that begins at sunset on December 20, 2011.
And all of us-all 7 billion of us on planet Earth-are thinking about our New Year’s Resolutions. never thought that I would say this, but I like Jews.
Yes, a Lebanese-American-born Muslim loves Jews.
Are you surprised?

I

 

The world tells us that Arabs and Jews should not be loving one another-that we should be killing and shooting and destroying not only each other, but also our homes, our lands and our religions. I know that some in my own community would not approve of friendships that I am forming these days. I know that even my father might have some harsh words for me for opening my home and sharing a meal-like iftar, the joyous breaking-the-fast dinner after sunset in Ramadan. This year for one special iftar, I hosted not only some of my closest Muslim friends, but Jewish friends, as well. I just might be let off the hook if I mention that I mixed it up at my diverse iftar and had some Christian friends at my home as well. I was crossing several boundaries as I opened my door.

Writing as a Muslim-Arab-American, I feel the tensions around me when I risk this kind of openness. The most prevalent media stereotypes of Muslims show us as strict and unwilling to compromise. If you doubt this, just look at network television, websites, magazines, Hollywood movies. We’re usually protrayed as extreme. In fact, the whole Middle Eastern situation usually is depicted as impossible to resolve. I have often heard people say things like: “The Middle East does not want peace.”

 

I can tell you: This is not true. Peace is possible. For long stetches of Middle East history, families enjoyed peace. We want peace to return.

 

The question is: How do we define peace? I have learned from my Jewish brothers and sisters that what I define as peace in the Middle East from my perspective as a Lebanese-American does, indeed, involve different steps than the definition of peace by a Palestinian or an Israeli. We share the same deep desire for peace-but finally achieving peace across the Middle East does involve different requirements for each group.

 

Think of asking a Palestinian who is living in occupied territory to explain what peace means. What do you think that this person would say? How would a Palestinian living in Gaza define peace? You will hear many common themes. Yes, peace involves a years-long yearning for land. Yes, peace involves mourning lost parents and children. And, our dreams of peace also involve practical hopes that most people overlook-like clean water and a good education. Like the freedom to live without the terrors people face each day in many places. What does peace mean to my father and his Lebanese-American friends? You will hear yet another somewhat different definition. No question: Dreams of peace are big and diverse, drawing on deep memories and aiming at high hopes for our children and grandchildren.

 

Now think of this: If we were to turn and ask a Jew, perhaps a European Jew or an Israeli Jew, about the meaning of peace-what would we hear? A Jewish friend once told me that she will never feel safe unless the State of Israel is recognized by all nations. But does that step alone define peace? I cannot answer that, of course. But think about the many perspectives within Judaism. Try to put yourself in the shoes of a Holocaust survivor. What might peace look like to this person? The answer likely would include freedom from the haunting memories of all that has been endured during and after the Holocaust. For Jews answering this question, would peace include shaking hands with a Palestinian? Or, as people do every day in the cultures of the Middle East: Might peace involve an embrace, a hug, a friendly kiss on the cheek?

 

These are the questions-and the hopes-that inspire me to open my mind and my heart and my home to all of those who are trying to figure out the same thing-this “peace” thing that we all keep talking about. Can we, one by one, begin to achieve this “peace” thing? Or is “peace” just a buzz word we feel cool and sophisticated tossing around-and almost confident enough to have the audacity to say that we know what the hell we are getting ourselves into when we talk about it?

 

I-for one-blatantly admit that I am still trying to figure out my role in the peacemaking project. I know that I will not make waves in the Middle East. I know that I will never get heads of state and the UN and the IDF and Hamas together in the same room for a hug. But I do know that I am part of a larger, diverse community where I live. Christians, Jews and Muslims live around me and we all want this thing called peace that seems so elusive. I do know that we can, at least, discover what peace means for each of us as individuals. And, most importantly, each of us can make sure that we listen carefully and find out what peace means for “the other”-whoever that “other” may be for each of us.

That is why when Abbey, a Jew, tells me about her Holocaust study in Poland, I listen. That is why, when she comes into my mosque, I kiss her not in the American way on one cheek, but I embrace her and kiss her twice, once on each cheek, in the style of my Lebanese friends. That is why when Jeff, a Jew, comes to my house, I hug him, even though my religion has strict rules about socializing with the opposite sex. I cross a line in embracing Jeff because I want Jeff to know that I care about him so much that even this social barrier will not prevent me from fully showing my concern for him. That is why when Jacob, a Christian, offers his opinions about the crisis in the Middle East, I try to listen with my head instead of my heart. And that is why when John, another Christian, asks questions about culture vs. religion, I try to give him an unbiased answer. That is why when Molly, a Christian, tells me about her experiences with Arab culture, I try not to cry because it is so refreshing to hear that someone is out there is trying to learn rather than merely spout slogans at me. That is why when Amy, a spiritual Christian, responds to some of my concerns, I know that in her answer I am hearing her concern for me, as she speaks. And that is why when Hussein, a Muslim, tells me his “philosophy” about how to handle the world, that I find I respect him so much more every time I hear him speak. And that is why when I find myself in the same room as Sarah, a Muslim, I know that I am in the presence of greatness and I find that I have a lot to live up to and, at the same time, I am somehow responsible for her.

 

Why do I do these things? Why do I dare to open my door and my arms in these ways? Because, in doing so, I realize that I am not alone. I discover, for example, that my notion of taking steps toward peace is much like that of Rashid, a Muslim friend. We have that bond-cut from the same cloth and now we understand one another in a deeper way. We are reaching toward the same hopes.

 

I know that my Jewish and Christian brothers and sisters want the same thing: to understand what peace means to one another. As I enter the Muslim year 1433-and we collectively approach the new year 2012-I am urging all of my friends to follow a simple yet powerful suggestion.

Open your eyes. Open your ears. And, open your arms. Open arms. That’s the only way we can even begin to cross barriers-and truly enjoy the warmth of a hug.

 

Peace, Shalom, SALAAM.

 

Jewish, Muslim volunteers
join forces to help out on Christmas

Detroit Free Press

December 25, 2011
 

Ari Goldberg filled Styrofoam cup after Styrofoam cup with lemonade from a giant jug cooler in soup kitchen at the St. Leo Catholic Church’s on Detroit’s west side on Christmas morning.

The 13-year-old West Bloomfield resident was one of about two dozen volunteers from the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit who helped prepare and serve a festive holiday meal to less-fortunate people.

It was part of the organization’s annual Mitzvah Day program, the largest single day of volunteering by the region’s Jewish community, which enables Christians to spend the holiday at home with their loved ones, according to the Federation. This year, for the third time, an estimated 1,000 Jewish volunteers joined forces with their Muslim neighbors

“Mitzvah” means “good deed” or “commandment” in Hebrew.

 

Read the rest of the article by going to the following website!!

 

http://m.freep.com/localnews/article?a=2011312250002&f=1232

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 – December 2011

Written by WISDOM on . Posted in Newsletters

THE WISDOM WINDOW

December 2011

WISDOM

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 pm – 6:30 PM at the Detroit Institute of Art. There will be a charge for this event. Go to www.detroitinterfaithcouncil.com to register. More information below!!

Thursday, December 8

Make interfaith beaded jewelry bracelets 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!! See more information below.

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. See more information below.

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

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8TH

 

bracelet

 

 

 

Make Interfaith Bracelets with WISDOM

AT THE UNITY OF FARMINGTON HILLS CHURCH

32500 W. 13 MILE ROAD, FARMINGTON HILLS, 48334

4:30 pm – 7:00 pm

 

Come and join WISDOM and Nomi Joyrich, owner of the Franklin Bead Works, as we put together beads and charms of different faith traditions to make beautiful interfaith bracelets for the holiday season. Light supper will be served. Cost is $35.00 for the beads, charms and dinner.

 

Email Gail Katz, gailkatz@comcast.net, or Paula Drewek, drewekpau@aol.com, or Fran Hildebrandt, fhildebr@aol.com with your name, address, telephone number(s) and email address. Send your check for $35, made out to WISDOM, to WISDOM, P.O. Box 7091, Bloomfield Hills, Mi 48302. Registrations must be received by November 18th so that Nomi Joyrich has time to order the interfaith charms!!

 

If you are planning on coming to our interfaith Jewelry making event, we would like to request that you also bring some items to assist women and children in Detroit who have lost their cash assistance as of October 1, 2011. Over 6500 families in Detroit will be impacted by the loss of this cash assistance. WISDOM is asking you to bring some winter items such as socks, underwear, hats, gloves, scarves, coats, in addition to jeans, sweater, pajamas and any personal hygiene items that you can spare. We will be taking a collection at our winter WISDOM events, and then donating these items to a clothing pantry on the east side of Detroit. Thank you!!

 

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 11TH

 

 

kids against hunger

 

JOIN WISDOM and the National council of Jewish Women/Greater Detroit Section AT OUR KIDS AGAINST HUNGER PROJECT

2:00 PM – 5:00 PM

AT THE RUSH TRUCKING WAREHOUSE

(NOTE CORRECTED ADDRESS!!)

38500 Van Born Rd.

Wayne, MI 48184

 

Event is co-sponsored by The Bharatiya Temple in Troy, The
Muslim Unity Center in Bloomfield Hills, and St. Hugo of the Hills Catholic Church in Bloomfield Hills.

 

We welcome your individual donations to this Community Service Project with Kids Against Hunger. You are welcome to bring family members, but registration is required. To register email Gail Katz, gailkatz@comcast.net, Paula Drewek, drewekpau@aol.com Fran Hildebrandt, fhildebr@aol.com with the names of people in your group, where you are from, phone number(s), email contact information, and which shift you prefer. There will be two shifts – the first shift starting at 2:00 PM and the second shift starting at 3:15 PM if we have enough volunteers!! Otherwise you will be notified that we will have only one shift starting at 2:00 PM!!

All children must be supervised by parent/guardian!!

 

If you are planning on coming to our food packing community service project, we would like to request that you also bring some items to assist women and children in Detroit who have lost their cash assistance as of October 1, 2011. Over 6500 families in Detroit will be impacted by the loss of this cash assistance. WISDOM is asking you to bring some winter items such as socks, underwear, hats, gloves, scarves, coats, in addition to jeans, sweater, pajamas and any personal hygiene items that you can spare. We will be taking a collection at our winter WISDOM events, and then donating these items to a clothing pantry on the east side of Detroit. Thank you!!

 

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 4

Rembrandt

The Interfaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit

and The Jewish News/ Chaldean News Building Community Initiative

are sponsoring:

 

“Religion, Community and the Arts

Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges”

 

3:00 – 6:30 p.m.

Lecture/Symposium · Exhibit Tour · Reception

 

in conjunction with the exhibit Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus

at the Detroit Institute of Arts!!

 

The symposium’s panelists from the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religions will look at the person of Jesus, examine the context of his time, and discuss how their individual faiths view the figures of Jesus.

 

Patron Ticket – $100 (includes preferred seating in lecture, exhibit tour with curator and reception)

 

Regular Ticket – $48 (includes lecture, exhibit and reception)

 

Include your name, address, email, and phone number

and mail check to:

 

The Interfaith Leadership Council

10821 Capital Street, Oak Park, MI 48237-3147

 

To read more about the panelists and the program and to register online go to:

 

http://www.twsclients.com/clients/symposium.html AND

www.detroitinterfaithcouncil.com

 

Join us at the WISDOM and InterFaith Leadership Council’s Film Discussion Group with the Race Relations and Diversity Task Force on January 11th to hear the Rev. Dan Buttry discuss the film “Pray the Devil Back to Hell,” which features Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee!!
 
 

 

THE COMMITTEE WORKING ON THE

2012 THIRTEENTH ANNUAL WORLD SABBATH

WOULD LIKE YOU TO MARK THE DATE

OF SUNDAY, JANUARY 29th FROM 4:00 – 5:30 PM

WITH A PRE-GLOW THAT BEGINS AT 3:00 PM

 

AT GREATER NEW MOUNT MORIAH

MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH

586 OWEN

DETROIT

 

OUR YOUTH WILL AGAIN BE LEADING THE SERVICE

WITH PEACE PRAYERS

FROM DIFFERENT FAITH TRADITIONS

AND THE CHILDREN OF PEACE OF ALL RELIGIONS

WILL BE WAVING PEACE BANNERS!!

 

OUR MUSICAL OFFERINGS WILL HIGHLIGHT

THE DIVERSITY OF METRO DETROIT!!

Please bring canned food

donations with you to this event!!

Secure parking available!!

 

PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE

WWW.WORLDSABBATH.ORG

 

FOR ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS

AND TO GET INFORMATION ABOUT

HOW TO GET THE YOUTH FROM YOUR

SYNAGOGUE, MOSQUE, CHURCH, TEMPLE INVOLVED

CONTACT GAIL KATZ, WORLD SABBATH CHAIR

gailkatz@comcast.net 248-978-6664

 

Interfaith Articles and Links of Interest

 

1) Islamic Art as Cultural Diplomacy

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-15503130

 

2) http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/26/us/a-jewish-edition-of-the-new-testament-beliefs.html

 

 

Growing up Jewish in North Dartmouth, Mass., Amy-Jill Levine loved Christianity. Her neighborhood “was almost entirely Portuguese and Roman Catholic,” Dr. Levine said last Sunday at her book party here during the annual American Academy of Religion conference. “My introduction to Christianity was ethnic Roman Catholicism, and I loved it. I used to practice giving communion to Barbie. Church was like the synagogue: guys in robes speaking languages I didn’t understand. My favorite movie was ‘The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima.’ “

Christianity might have stayed just a fascination, but for an unfortunate episode in second grade: “When I was 7 years old, one girl said to me on the school bus, ‘You killed our Lord.’ I couldn’t fathom how this religion that was so beautiful was saying such a dreadful thing.”
Read the rest of this interesting article at the New York Times website listed above.

Face to Faith

By Rachel Gorosh, Andover High School Student

 

Looking around his ceramics table, he found himself surrounded by two strangers.
“It was my first time ever being at a table with no other Jews, and at first it was really uncomfortable,” expresses Josh Morof who after sharing a table with a Muslim and a Christian student for a semester created Face to Faith, an organization which brings high school students of different religions together. “The clear differences, [such as] accents, skin colors, etc, kept us from talking. But as the class continued on, we started to [talk about our different religions] and breaking down our boundaries.
“I started to realize how separated the hallways [of our school] are. The Jews gather by the stairway, the Chaldeans sit on the benches and the Muslims in the library. But then it became clear to me that this is really a big issue. We’re separating ourselves for no reason.”
On November 17, Morof will host the third Face to Faith program at the Muslim Unity Center in West Bloomfield.
“I came up with the idea [the Face to Faith program] because last year I was asked to serve on an interfaith panel for a building community dialogue at Model for Jewish and Chaldean students. That was my first interfaith experience,” shares Morof.
Morof says that after his experience in his ceramics class and on the interfaith panel, he decided to break down these religious barriers by taking his idea to Face to Faith interfaith program coordinator Gail Katz.
“Working with teens and with youth is my passion,” explains Katz who was contacted by Morof last January. “I am very involved in many ways in involving youth and coming together to understand other faith traditions. I am always out there connecting with interfaith initiative sand impacting our youth. So Face to Faith was right up my alley.”
“I [think that Face to Faith] is a great way to get different communities together,” shares Morof’s mother, Sherri Morof. “And of course, [I am] very proud of him. He took a nice leadership role and he felt comfortable talking in front of so many people, just the way he put this whole thing together. I hope that it goes on and we get a better turnout [in the future.]”
According to Senior TKS who was in Josh’s ceramics class, Face to Faith has been successful in breaking down religious barriers so far.
“At this stage we are seeing a lot of people come [to the event] who are really motivated. People who aren’t as accepting [of other religions] can really learn from programs like Face to Faith,” shares TKS. “It is very motivating to see Face to Faith in this beginning stage because we can already see that it is going to go a long way.”
“I never thought that my experiment would really have this huge impact,” explains Morof. “It’s cool to see my creation turn into this big thing and when people said ‘we have to do this again,’ and were at [Face to Faith] talking to people of different faiths and getting their phone numbers and Facebooks, I realized that the program really has an impact.”
“Something like [Face to Faith] where you structure a dialogue and it’s a safe space and you stay away from politics and actually get to know each other, you find out that [people of different religions] actually have some of the same interests,” says Katz. “I think it really helps to break down those, what I like to call, the myths of stereotypes.”
“I think most people don’t ever have an opportunity in their lives, or at least in their high school experience, to really sit down and learn about other people that are different from themselves,” concludes Morof. “They never realize that people [of different religions] are so similar to [each other] and I think that Face to Faith is a really unique opportunity to bring everyone together.”

We are all God’s creations ..

 

An article by Daniel Cherrin that appeared in

the November 10th issue of the Jewish News

Let’s get to know each other better! A teacher at Hillel Day School of Metropolitan Detroit taught my child and me, “We are all God’s creations.” She said “not only are we all created by God, but also it is God that made us all different. Some of God’s children have dark hair while some have light hair. Some have blue eyes and others have brown eyes.” And some have darker skin than others.

 

We are all different from each other — in how we look and act, in how we learn and in what we do. And yet for some of us, it is our differences that keep us apart.

 

Bankole Thompson, senior editor of the Michigan Chronicle, an African American, and Arthur Horwitz, publisher of the Detroit Jewish News, a Jewish American, see differences, yet respect and celebrate those differences because they have taken the time to better understand each other and each other’s culture. Both are co-founders of a young organization of editors and publishers of Detroit’s ethnic media called the New Michigan Media. Both got together to host an event to raise awareness and create a better understanding between our communities on Oct. 25 at Temple Beth El in Bloomfield Township.
Despite being the children of God, Jewish Americans and African Americans are rooted in different and distinct cultures. There will, however, always be a need to understand each other better. Since the 1967 Detroit riots, our communities have been trying to build a bridge. Perhaps for the past 40 years, we have been going at it all wrong.

 

I grew up in an age when cultural diversity, awareness and sensitivity were each just becoming in vogue. My children are from a generation where the differences become irrelevant or lie just in the background. The first president of the United States that they will remember is black. I hosted a fundraiser for the mayor of Detroit in our home; I happened to work for him, and he just happened to be black. Although my children attend Hillel Day School, a Jewish day school, they have friends, classmates and teachers who also happen to be black. At Congregation Beth Shalom in Oak Park, we pray alongside people who just happen to be black.
Let’s work to create a better understanding about everyone who is different from us, including those in our own community. Let us respect each other for who we are, while at the same time, seek a better understanding of each other. Let us invite the African American community into our synagogues, just as we want to be welcomed into their churches. Let’s invite African Americans to the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills to see how we were treated and almost exterminated by a person who did not respect us for our differences. Let us open our seder tables to those that want to learn how we were once enslaved. And let us ask the African American community if we can walk with them to trace their ancestors’ footsteps along the Underground Railroad, while visiting the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History to see how they once were enslaved.

Together, let’s package and deliver kosher food through Yad Ezra in Berkley — and the next week, let’s serve food at a church’s shelter. Then we can celebrate our differences and respect our cultures, while eating matzah ball soup with cornbread and brisket with some sweet potato pie.

Once we have a better understanding of each other, perhaps we can find ways to partner in a new business venture, mentor others and otherwise be vested with each other, not as two separate groups of people, but as a region.

We may look a little different, but in the end, we all want the same thing — the opportunity to live side-by-side as one community.

Food Stamped – a Documentary about hunger!!

 

As part of Fighting Poverty with Faith, a national, interfaith movement working to overcome poverty in the United States, the Jewish Community Relations Council and Yad Ezra, the kosher food bank, are screening the documentary film Food Stamped. This informative and humorous film follows a couple as they attempt to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet on a food stamp budget. Following the film, there will be a facilitated discussion about food insecurity, and we will encourage audience members to take the Food Stamp Challenge, which asks people to try to live on $31.50 (the average amount one person receives weekly in food stamps) for one week.

 

The screening of Food Stamped is on Wednesday, December 7th, at 7pm, at Wayne State University Oakland Center, 33737 West 12 Mile Road – Room 130, in Farmington Hills.

What: Screening of documentary film Food Stamped

When: Wednesday, December 7, 7pm

Where: Wayne State University Oakland Center

33737 West 12 Mile Road – Room 130

Farmington Hills

Who: Anyone interested in hunger, food insecurity, and healthy eating

Register: foodstamped.eventbrite.com

Questions? Call 248-642-5393 or email scrane@jfmd.org.

Hosted by the Jewish Community Relations Council and Gleaners Community

Food Bank

Once you have seen the film, we encourage you to sign up for the Food

Stamp Challenge to get a small taste of what it’s like to depend on

food stamps. The Food Stamp Challenge encourages individuals to try to

live on $31.50 (the average amount one person receives weekly in food

stamps) for one week during the Fighting Poverty with Faith

mobilization.

The Rev. Dan Buttry, who will be facilitating our WISDOM film discussion group of “Pray the Devil Back to Hell” on January 11, 2012 at the Birmingham Community House is also appearing at the Ecumenical Theological Seminary on December 8th in the evening.

Dan Buttry Flyer

 

 

 

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 – Nov & Dec 2011 Special

Written by WISDOM on . Posted in Newsletters

THE WISDOM WINDOW

NOVEMBER and DECEMBER 2011 Events

WISDOM

Friday, November 11

The 60th Annual Jewish Book Fair will present “The Essence of Chaldean Culture Through Food – A Tasting” on Friday, November 11 at 11:30 AM at the Jewish Community Center on West Maple Road in W. Bloomfield, MI. Join us for a culinary journey to one of the world’s oldest cuisines, dating back to ancient Mesopotamia. Demonstrating recipes from the new Chaldean American Ladies of Charity (CALC) cookbook, Ma Baseema, the presentation will also include a history of the Chaldeans, both in Mesopotamia and the Metro Detroit area. Members of the CALC will demonstrate making 2 foods: vegetarian dolma and baklawa.

 

Presenting a meal to guests is an important cultural experience of the Chaldean community. Thus, we invite you to come to the table to share and enjoy foods that are time-honored traditions of the Chaldean culture. The cost is $10 per person, for a meal that includes vegetarian dolma, baklawa, and Iraqi salad. Registration is required by November 3. To register, please call the Book Fair Office at 248.432.5692 or order online at www.jccdet.org

 

This program is co-sponsored by the Chaldean/Jewish Building Community Initiative – Arts & Culture Division and WISDOM.

 

bracelet

 

MAKE INTERFAITH BRACELETS WITH WISDOM

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2011

4:00 PM – 7:00 PM

AT THE UNITY OF FARMINGTON HILLS CHURCH

32500 W. 13 MILE ROAD, FARMINGTON HILLS, 48334

 

Come and join WISDOM and Nomi Joyrich, owner of the Franklin Bead Works, as we put together beads and charms of different faith traditions to make beautiful interfaith bracelets for the holiday season. Light supper will be served. Cost is $35.00 for the beads, charms and dinner.

 

Email Gail Katz, gailkatz@comcast.net, or Paula Drewek, drewekpau@aol.com, or Fran Hildebrandt, fhildebr@aol.com with your name, address, telephone number(s) and email address. Send your check for $35, made out to WISDOM, to WISDOM, P.O. Box 7091, Bloomfield Hills, Mi 48302. Registrations must be received by November 18th so that Nomi Joyrich has time to order the interfaith charms!!

 

If you are planning on coming to our interfaith Jewelry making event, we would like to request that you also bring some items to assist women and children in Detroit who have lost their cash assistance as of October 1, 2011. Over 6500 families in Detroit will be impacted by the loss of this cash assistance. WISDOM is asking you to bring some winter items such as socks, underwear, hats, gloves, scarves, coats, in addition to jeans, sweater, pajamas and any personal hygiene items that you can spare. We will be taking a collection at our winter WISDOM events, and then donating these items to a clothing pantry on the east side of Detroit. Thank you!!

 

kids against hunger 

JOIN WISDOM AT OUR KIDS AGAINST HUNGER PROJECT

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2011

2:00 PM – 5:00 PM

AT THE RUSH TRUCKING WAREHOUSE

35160 E. Michigan Ave., Wayne, MI 48184

 

Event is co-sponsored by The Bharatiya Temple in Troy, The
Muslim Unity Center in Bloomfield Hills, The National Council of Jewish Women, and St. Hugo of the Hills Catholic Church in Bloomfield Hills.

 

We welcome your individual donations to this Community Service Project with Kids Against Hunger. You are welcome to bring family members, but registration is required. To register email Gail Katz, gailkatz@comcast.net, Paula Drewek, drewekpau@aol.com or Fran Hildebrandt, fhildebr@aol.com with the names of people in your group, where you are from, phone number(s), email contact information, and which shift you prefer. There will be two shifts – the first shift starting at 2:00 PM and the second shift starting at 3:15 PM!!

 

All children must be supervised by parent/guardian!!

 

If you are planning on coming to our food packing community service project, we would like to request that you also bring some items to assist women and children in Detroit who have lost their cash assistance as of October 1, 2011. Over 6500 families in Detroit will be impacted by the loss of this cash assistance. WISDOM is asking you to bring some winter items such as socks, underwear, hats, gloves, scarves, coats, in addition to jeans, sweater, pajamas and any personal hygiene items that you can spare. We will be taking a collection at our winter WISDOM events, and then donating these items to a clothing pantry on the east side of Detroit. Thank you!!

RembrandtThe Interfaith Leadership Council

of Metropolitan Detroit

and

The Jewish News/ Chaldean News Building Community Initiative

are sponsoring

“Religion, Community and the Arts

Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges”

 

Sunday, December 4, 2011 – 3:00 – 6:30 p.m.

Lecture/Symposium · Exhibit Tour · Reception

 

in conjunction with the exhibit

Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus

at the Detroit Institute of Arts!!

 

The symposium’s panelists from the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religions will look at the person of Jesus, examine the context of his time, and discuss how their individual faiths view the figures of Jesus.

 

Patron Ticket – $100 (includes preferred seating in lecture, exhibit tour with curator and reception)

 

Regular Ticket – $48 (includes lecture, exhibit and reception)

 

Include your name, address, email, and phone number

and mail check to:

 

The Interfaith Leadership Council

10821 Capital Street, Oak Park, MI 48237-3147

 

To read more about the panelists and the program and to register online go to:

 

http://www.twsclients.com/clients/symposium.html and

www.detroitinterfaithcouncil.com

 

Attention High School Teens!!
 
Teens working together
 
JOIN US AT FACE TO FAITH!!
 
An Interfaith Initiative
for Teens of all faith traditions!!
 
Thursday, November 17th
6:30 PM – 9:00 PM
at the Muslim Unity Center
1830 West Square Lake Road
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302

 

Meet new people

and make new friends!

Learn about Islam

and take a tour of the mosque!

 

Participate in interfaith round table discussion

while you dine on delicious

Middle Eastern food!!

 

For more information

and to register

contact Gail Katz, gailkatz@comcast.net

WISDOM Co-Founder

 

or Josh Morof, jbmorof@yahoo.com

Andover High School Senior

and Founder of Face to Faith

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 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.