December 2017

Written by WISDOM on . Posted in Newsletters

WISDOM Calendar of Events
 
Sunday, December 3rd, 1:45 PM – 4:00 PM
Creation Revealed at the Detroit Institute of Arts
See Flyer Below!!
 
Wednesday, December 6th, 5:00 PM
Interfaith visit to the Michigan Science Institute
to see 1001 Inventions.  See flyer below!
 
Sunday, March 11th 4:00 – 6:00 PM
The Nineteenth World Sabbath at Christ Church Cranbrook
See Flyer below!

IFLC Creation Series Concludes with Dec. 3 trip to the DIA
By Stacy Gittleman
From the bright geometric patterns of Islamic pottery and carpets to statues depicting Buddha to the soft landscape paintings of Thomas Cole, the Detroit Institute of Art’s collection holds many examples of how mankind has artistically interpreted and interacted with nature and the concept of Creation.
The above works and many others will be the focus of a tailored, docent-led tour, Creation Revealed as the IFLC Creation series concludes 2-4 p.m. Sunday Dec. 3 at the DIA.  The event is free but register to attend by November 30 online at https://iflc.wufoo.com/forms/q19glyg1eff13b/   or call 313.338.9777 X 0.  Participants are encouraged to meet at Prentis Court by 1:45, or they can gather in the DIACafe to have lunch prior to the tour at noon.
Works chosen represent the Native American, Meso-American, African, Chinese, Islamic, European, American and African-American cultural traditions.  Count on two hours to see as many of these cultures as your energy and feet will allow. Docents will lead small groups of 10 so that you will be able to see, hear and interact with the works of art.
The pieces were chosen by Paula Drewek, a retired Arts and Humanities Studies professor who taught at Macomb County Community College for 40 years and now serves on the IFLC education committee.
“We chose a diverse range of works that reflected the artists’ interpretation of the sacred relationship between man and nature,” Drewek said. “Though the Creation theme shines through in some pieces more obviously than others, each was chosen because they depict different religions and rituals and the connection to the environs around us.”
 
Tourgoers will observe ritual objects such as Inuit or raven rattles used by indigenous Americans to divination tools used to connect to ancestors from African tribal cultures. In some instances, the connection will be easy to spot and very explicit such as in the sculpture of Sakyamuni Emerging from the Mountains which captures the transition of Siddhartha Gautama to the Buddha. In other examples the created work draws upon the experience of the sublimity of nature as seen by Thomas Cole.  The beauty and pattern of natural elements is another approach in the work of Henry Moore. Each culture’s uniqueness emerges as we confront the myriad ways artists translate feelings and consciousness of the sacred in their art.

Muslims, Jews gather in Metro Detroit to forge bonds
Artists Dani Katsir, left, 71, of West Bloomfield, and Gail Rosenbloom Kaplan, 63, of Farmington Hills, carry their mosaic through the lobby to its display location onTuesday, October 3rd at at the Northwest Activities Center in northwest Detroit. (Photo: Todd McInturf / The Detroit News
As hate crimes targeting Muslims and Jews rise across the United States, according to advocacy groups, the key to sparking change in Metro Detroit lies in forging ties and fighting back, activists said Tuesday, October 3. “You’ve got to speak up,” said Farooq Kathwari, president/CEO of Ethan Allen Interiors and co-chair of the national Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council. “Silence is not a good option.”
That was the message leaders of the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council shared with religious and community leaders during a town hall in Dearborn on October 3rd. The invitation-only gathering at The Henry hotel coordinated by the Michigan Muslim Community Council and the Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC of Detroit, drew more than 150 from synagogues and mosques as well as community groups.
It capped a day of events for the council, which launched last year and unites business, political and religious leaders to advocate for common concerns, on the group’s first visit to Metro Detroit. Members earlier joined Jewish and Muslim community leaders, visited the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn as well as attended a mosaic project unveiling at Detroit’s Northwest Activities Center.
Since its founding last fall, the panel has met with senior officials in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and called for passage of the bipartisan Protecting Religiously Affiliated Institutions Act.
“As a council, we’re here to work together to combat hate crimes and put forward the reality of America and interfaith collaboration,” board member Arsalan Suleman, former U.S. Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, told the gathering.
The council wants to curb incidents such as attacks or threats against houses of worships such as synagogues or mosques.
The Anti-Defamation League found that anti-Semitic incidents in the United States spiked 86 percent in the first quarter of 2017. The group also noted a spate of similar acts across the nation after the Charlottesville, Virginia, white nationalist rally in August that led to violent clashes. The Council on American-Islamic Relations national

 headquarters in Washington, D.C., has noted “an unprecedented spike in hate incidents targeting Muslims and other minority groups” since the 2016 presidential election. The current climate underscores the importance of the council’s push and why members are moving to spread the word “to ensure there’s local engagement to draw attention to the sad increase in hate crimes,” said council co-chair Stanley Bergman, CEO of health care product provider Henry Schein.
“It is important to make sure that local politicians understand us so that ultimately people in Washington will hear about the concerns the local community has. We need to do something and we need to use our platform to make sure the American people understand the impact. If you do not arrest the hate crimes, we have a real challenge in the United States.”
The council was familiar with the strong interfaith collaborations in Metro Detroit and reached out, said David Kurzmann, executive director of the JCRC/AJC. Tuesday’s visit only underscores the success of local initiatives such as Mitzvah Day, through which Jews and Muslims volunteer in place of their Christian neighbors on Christmas Day, he said.
“There could be things we’re doing here in Detroit that leaders in other communities want to take on there, and there are certainly things the council are doing that we could learn from and potentially implement here,” Kurzmann said.
Town hall participants asked about how to address challenges locally on issues ranging from enhancing interfaith work to reaching out to students on college campuses.
The visit inspired Noura Ali, a University of Michigan-Dearborn student, to explore connecting with other peers to create a Muslim-Jewish effort. She also was encouraged by the council’s work. “With this council, I definitely see bounds being made that are going to stir up American politics,” she said.
The focus on issues affecting Muslims and Jews “shows a lot of the commonalities in both communities,” , said Shaffwan Ahmed, a Detroit revitalization fellow who has been active in interfaith and advocacy efforts. “We all have a responsibility in this to make a difference.

A British Muslim man sponsored a synagogue Kiddush luncheon to honor the late Jewish doctor who treated him, The Jewish Chronicle reported.
The Muslim man, who asked to remain anonymous, paid for the post-prayer spread at the Kingston, Surbiton & District Synagogue in south London to honor Dr. Tim Heymann, his gastroenterologist.
The Muslim man first contacted the synagogue earlier this year in order to reconnect with Heymann, only to discover that the doctor had died of a brain tumor a few months prior.
Since then, The Jewish Chronicle reported, the Muslim man “has become a regular at Shabbat and festival services and is studying Hebrew so he can better understand them.” “My father taught me to respect anyone who did good things for me,” he explained. “And I believe in toleration and coexistence among all peoples and religions.” He said that he found the community “warm and friendly” and enjoyed the sound of the Hebrew prayers.
This is the first time a non-Jew has sponsored a Kiddush, synagogue chair Sheila Mann said. “He comes to shul every Shabbat and often says how much he loves attending our services,” she said. “He joined us for the whole of the Yom Kippur service and fasted all day. We are delighted to treat him as part of the communal family.”

Philippine Christian leaders join
 to help rebuild Muslim-majority city
Christian leaders in Philippines have banded together to help rebuild Marawi, a Muslim-majority city in southern Philippines damaged by five months of occupation by terrorists.  

The Christian leaders are calling on smaller Christian groups “and even the monks” to pool their strength toward restoring Marawi, said Jing Henderson, communications and partnership development coordinator of the Philippine bishops’ social justice council and Caritas Philippines. The historically peaceful city is located on central Mindanao Island, a restive part of the country, which for decades experienced insurgency from Muslim rebel groups seeking autonomy.
“For example, our expertise is in disaster risk reduction, psychosocial support; others would have expertise in shelter, livelihood,” Henderson told Catholic News Service. “We would like to share these resources so that when we go on the ground, to these affected communities, then we’ll know what to do, when to provide the response and also how to provide it.”
On Oct. 23, five months after Islamic State loyalists began a sustained siege in Marawi, the Philippines declared the war ended. More than 1,100 people — most of them militant fighters — died in the fighting. Nearly all of Marawi’s 200,000 residents fled the city, along with hundreds of thousands of citizens from surrounding areas. Baptist Bishop Noel Pantoja, head of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches, told CNS: “Imagine more than 500,000 people are displaced. So the biggest religious blocks and (nongovernment organizations) are doing their part but … three months ago we came together, all the heads of these organizations and said, ‘What if we put our hands and resources together?’ After the relief operations, there will be rehabilitation.” Pantoja said the three church conferences would build temporary shelters, and each would be responsible for at least 100 houses and providing basic necessities, in addition to giving other support. Henderson said residents have played a crucial part, giving input on how they want their neighborhoods to be rebuilt. Media images of Marawi, a once-thriving city on a lake, show streets lined with what used to be midrise buildings and houses reduced to piles of rubble and twisted metal framework. Several of the city’s mosques lay crumpled with toppled, bullet-riddled minarets and cracked, hole-punched domes.
The Philippine National Defense secretary said in September that rebuilding would cost $1 billion. So far, the three church conferences have put $550,000 — half of it from Caritas Philippines — into their response. Donations from Canada, China, Germany, South Korea and other countries as well as pledges from the U.S. Agency for International Development, the European Union, the World Bank and other entities have started to arrive. The head of Caritas Philippines, Jesuit Father Edwin Gariguez, said the Catholic aid group is supporting a crisis response program started in August by Marawi Bishop Edwin de la Pena and Redemptorist priests. The goal of the Accompanying Marawi program is to “ensure people’s faith and culture are paid attention to and factored into the rebuilding process of the city.” De la Pena told CNS that volunteers — mostly Muslims — are helping with the program, which deals with the psychological toll of war. It provides medical help for physical and mental health problems, peace and reconciliation lessons for children, and promoting peace through dialogue between Muslim and Christian young people. He expressed concern over what he said was a strong sense of ambivalence among the residents who fled.
“To those who were less affected by the crisis… [the end of the fighting] is a very hopeful sign, they’re optimistic about the future,” said de la Pena. “But the others… who have no place to go home to because practically their house is destroyed, that would be another trigger for trauma.” Marc Natan, the Marawi emergency response officer for the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, said it was important to let displaced residents know that Christians supported them in their aspiration for peace and to return to their homes. He said those living far from the conflict zone were happy to go back, but those “in ground zero” who lost their homes would need a lot of support and access to information.
“Christians are in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters so that they will not feel down and forgotten,” he said. Natan said one community of Maranao, the main Muslim tribe in Marawi, “said we didn’t have to bring relief goods as long as we came around to visit regularly and chat with them at their shelters.”
Natan said the faith groups and government agencies were in the process of assessing how many residents would be returning to their homes and how many would remain away. On Oct. 27, the military said a few residents living far from the decimated city center started to return. De la Pena called on more faith groups to join the rebuilding. “Whether Muslim or Christian, people of faith really should be at the forefront of the rehabilitation effort because it is only with people who really believe in the God that they recognize that such a difficult task can by carried out,” he said.

What’s It Like To Be A Muslim-American Today? A Lot Like Being A Jew In The Early 1900s
Tucked away in a small conference room in the basement of the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia, a small group of Muslims and Jews listen quietly, some scribbling notes and eagerly awaiting the Q&A session to come. At the lectern stands an African-American Muslim, an expert from the Pew Research Center, providing thought-provoking, perhaps surprising, data about the U.S. Muslim experience. The lecture was mainly focused on how U.S. Muslims feel about their place in America and how these same Muslims are perceived by American society at-large. The takeaway? U.S. Muslims are, by and large, aligned with fundamental American values and should be acknowledged for their devotion to liberal ideals, especially considering the currently antagonistic political climate that has led to anti-Muslim discrimination and bigotry.
The 2017 Pew statistics break stereotypes and correct misperceptions about the US Muslim community, the majority of whom are first generation Americans (58%). One enlightening statistic is that two-thirds of US Muslims are very concerned about extremism in the name of Islam around the world (66%), compared with about half of the larger public (49%). This suggests that U.S. Muslims are more concerned about extremism in the name of Islam than are non-Muslims. Another elucidating statistic demonstrates that 92% of American Muslims are proud to be American, while another shows that they are far more worried about global extremism in the name of Islam (66%) than the general public (49%). The aforementioned puts to rest the despicable yet unfortunately ubiquitous claims that American Muslims are only loyal to Islam and tacitly support terrorism.
Many U.S. Muslims are liberally minded individuals who support progressive causes. U.S. Muslims reject the targeting and killing of civilians in far greater proportion (76%) than the American public (59%). More than half believe homosexuality should be accepted by society (52%). Finally, a strong majority of U.S. Muslims believe that working for justice and equality in society is an essential part of what being Muslim means to them (69%), a similar result for working to protect the environment (62%). Notably, issues like eating halal foods (48%), dressing modestly (44%), and following the Qur’an and Sunnah scored lower on this question (59%).
The Pew presentation was sponsored by the American Jewish Committee, and specifically, its Circle of Friends interfaith program. The mission of Circle of Friends is to build relationships between current and future leaders of the Muslim and Jewish communities of the Greater Philadelphia area based on mutual respect, understanding, trust and friendship, for the purpose of working together to combat acts of prejudice and bigotry directed at either group and/or its members. Its goals are: To create social forums to promote open dialogue on contemporary issues affecting particularly American Muslim and Jewish communities; To engage in social and civic activities to promote understanding and respect among members of the two communities and stand united to fight hate and discrimination, while creating a culture of respect for equality, religious freedom and inclusion; and to promote and support policies and laws that prevent hate crimes against both communities.
As the lecture continues, the Jews in the room can’t help but notice the myriad comparisons that can be made to the Jewish experience during the early 20th century, when they were still a new immigrant community to the US, viewed with suspicion by some, and themselves struggling with balancing their Jewish and newfound American identities. Anyone present can sense the interfaith bonds strengthening as the lecture transitions to a robust dialogue. It is apparent to all that human contact, engagement with “the other,” is essential to bridge perceived barriers to intercommunal relations. This too, is borne out by Pew data. Results clearly illustrate that favorable feelings towards Muslims are starkly higher for people who know a Muslim. Another Pew statistic evidences the same positive correlation in the context of favorable feelings towards American Jewry. For two communities facing similarly urgent challenges with respect to discrimination, harassment, unjustified scrutiny, and feelings of fear in the Trump era, humanizing each other and establishing trust is the necessary precursor to a more tangible Jewish-Muslim alliance against intolerance and hatred.
The majority of the Pew data justifies the concerns of Muslims: Their experiences with religious discrimination are trending upwards. 48% say they experienced some kind of discrimination in 2017 because they were Muslim. However, there are some positive signs. Between 2014-2017, the percentage of Americans who feel warmly towards Muslims increased from 40% to 48%. Additionally, most Americans see a great deal of discrimination against Muslims (69%). Notwithstanding this somewhat encouraging data, it is unquestionable that the American public needs to be better informed about the precarious situation in which US Muslims now find themselves and more vocal in their opposition to Islamophobia.
The Circle of Friends program provides a forum, and serves a vehicle, for creating and nurturing an interfaith coalition that can make a difference in this regard. The bonds that Circle of Friends has created will ineluctably lead to more powerful advocacy and political action on the collective behalves of Jews and Muslims in America. As one participant, Tarik Khan, noted: “It’s a beautiful thing to have a brotherhood of fellow Muslims and Jewish friends. In a way, our meetings remind me of visiting a mosque and feeling that sense of acceptance, brotherhood, and community… I feel that the connection with the Circle of Friends brothers is as valid and as strong as between members of our own individual faiths.”
US Muslims, now 1% of the US population, are proud, liberal, and moderate Americans who adhere to core American values. It is incumbent upon Jews (and non-Jews) to stand with them as they defend their rights to justice and equality in the land of the free.

Mormon Congregation Attends Jewish
Shabbat Service in Church Meetinghouse
POSTED BY Tracie Cayford Cudworth
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints joined a Jewish group for a Friday night Shabbat service in a Mormon meetinghouse in Irvine, California, Friday, October 13, 2017. It was the last time the Jewish congregation would meet at the Church stake center where it had been meeting for the past year, while its synagogue was undergoing renovation.
“Giving Thanks to Our Mormon Friends” was the title of the Shabbat service sermon by Rabbi Richard Steinberg of the Shir-Ha-Ma’alot (SHM) Jewish congregation. More than 200 Jews and Mormons welcomed each other with expressions of gratitude, handshakes and Shabbat greetings.

President Tait Eyre of the Irvine California Stake heard the Jewish congregation needed a place to meet and offered the Church meetinghouse as an option. “Our purpose for doing this was to strengthen our relationship between our faiths,” said President Eyre.
The Jewish congregation met at the building on Friday nights and Saturday mornings as part of their Jewish Sabbath worship when the facilities were typically not being used. Rabbi Steinberg said the Mormon congregation “opened the door with love and kindness.”
Church leaders would be there to host the Jewish congregation each time they met in the building. Members who came to host would help clean, prepare classrooms and even join in the services.
Throughout the year, Rabbi Steinberg said he had gained a greater understanding of why Mormons want to share the truths they believe. Yet, he said they refrained from proselytizing “in order to achieve a higher religious value.” In his Shabbat sermon, Rabbi Steinberg pointed out that the Mormon missionaries in attendance had even assisted with their High Holy Days.
As an expression of gratitude, Rabbi Steinberg pronounced a blessing upon the Latter-day Saints in attendance. He said SHM plans to dedicate a space in its new synagogue in honor of the Church as a reminder that its “graciousness, hospitality and kindness are a model for all religions.” The Mormon congregation was also invited to attend the grand opening of the new synagogue.
Rabbi Steinberg expressed a hope that “the world around would see the friendship between these two communities as a model.”
“It’s been a remarkable feeling of closeness that has never faded for the entire year,” said Marty Hart from SHM, who attended Shabbat services and Torah study on a regular basis at the meetinghouse.
“I enjoyed it every time I attended,” said Kenny Giuliani, a Mormon who had opportunities to serve as a host. “Even though the way we worship may be a little different, one thing that definitely unites us is love and respect for others’ religious views and beliefs.”
“We all had the opportunity to learn, with appreciation and gratitude, that we have much more in common than many may have suspected and more around which we can unite,” said Larry Gassin, a Latter-day Saint who coordinated the building sharing for the year.
The Shabbat service ended with the congregation interlocking arms.

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.

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