Calendar for WISDOM and Other Interfaith Events
Sunday, March 1st, 4:00 – 6:00 PM
21st Annual World Sabbath Celebration
North Congregational Church in Farmington Hills
See Flyer Below
Coming to America: A Women’s Perspective
A Panel Discussion on Immigration
Sunday March 8th 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Bloomfield Township Library
See Flyer Below
Sunday, March 8th 5:00 Muslim Unity Center
Audacity of Spirit
See Flyer Below
Saturday, April 18th through Friday, April 24th
Art and Faith at the Robert Kidd Gallery
See Flyer Below
Sunday, April 19th 3:00 – 5:00 PM
Interfaith Panel Discussion about Art and Faith
Robert Kidd Gallery 107 Townsend St., Birmingham Mi 48009
See Flyer Below
May 27th WISDOM General Membership meeting
and Installation dinner
Stay tuned for more information
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha: Hosted by the West Bloomfield Library and co-sponsored by the Chaldean Cultural Center, this is an evening with Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha on Thursday, April 23 at 7 pm. Due to popular demand, a ticket will be required for this event. Tickets are free but limited and will be available on a first come, first served basis. Register for tickets by phone or at any Library Information Desk. Limit two (2) tickets per cardholder. Contact the Adult Information Desk at (248) 232-2290 with questions and to register.
A short documentary about four women poets: The West Bloomfield library is holding an event on Thursday, June 18 at 7 pm to screen a short documentary about four women poets – Dunya Mikhail, Weam Namou, Alise Alousi and Lamise Al Ethari. There will be a poetry reading afterward and Q&A.
Give Yourself a Great Gift!
Holiday gift money just waiting to be spent?
Searching for a good read for yourself or your book club?
Look no further, purchase “Friendship and Faith”, 2nd edition, by the Women of WISDOM.
This unique collection of stories of women forming friendships with women different than themselves is a fantastic way to start you reading for the new year!
It is available in both print and e-book formats on Amazon.
Our book sales are a major source of program funding for our nonprofit. Your patronage is greatly appreciated.
Help us create a better world through faith and friendship. Buy a copy for yourself, a good friend and recommend it to your book club.
Happy New Year and great reading for 2020.
Hundreds of Jews pay solidarity visit to Jerusalem mosque hit by arson attack
Roughly 200 Jews paid a solidarity visit to a mosque in the Sharafat neighborhood of East Jerusalem on Saturday evening, a day after the Muslim house of worship was torched in an apparent hate crime.
Fire services were dispatched to the East Jerusalem mosque on Friday morning and managed to put out the blaze before serious damage could be caused.
Police announced that they had opened an investigation into the attack and distributed photos from the scene, showing that the vandals had spray-painted in Hebrew “Destroy [the property of] Jews? Kumi Ori destroys [the property of] enemies!” before fleeing.
Kumi Ori is a flashpoint outpost neighborhood of the Yitzhar settlement in the northern West Bank where security forces razed a pair of illegally built homes earlier this month.
The Saturday visit was organized by the Tag Meir organization, which works to counter hate and racism in Israel and the West Bank. Recalling the inter-faith meeting, the group’s chairman Gadi Gvaryahu said: “We expressed our shame and anger at the appalling crime, jointly wished for days of peace and brotherhood and promised to keep in touch with the residents of the neighborhood.”
“They shared with us that despite their anger, they declared during their Friday prayers that it is imperative to respect everyone – Jews and Arabs alike,” Gvaryahu said.
Ismail Awad, a Mukhtar or community leader in Sharafat, who was present during the Saturday solidarity visit said he was overwhelmed by the gesture.
“It’s good that this horrible event happened because it led us to meeting all of these generous people,” Awad told The Times of Israel, adding that the Jewish visitors also donated more than enough money to repair the damage caused by the arson attack.
In a Friday statement, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion said he “strongly condemns the hate crime committed in the [Sharafat] neighborhood. Such things are unacceptable and not tolerated.”
Anti-Arab vandalism by Jewish extremists has become a common occurrence in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
Incidents of vandalism against Palestinians and Israeli security forces in the West Bank are commonly referred to as “price tag” attacks, with perpetrators claiming they are retaliation for Palestinian violence or government policies seen as hostile to the settler movement.
Arrests of perpetrators have been exceedingly rare and rights groups lament that convictions are even more unusual, with the majority of charges in such cases being dropped. Last week,
however, state prosecutors did indict one perpetrator of such a crime and requested that the suspect remain behind bars until the end of proceedings against him.
First female and openly lesbian bishop of the
Episcopal Diocese of Michigan ordained
Dr. Bonnie Perry receives a hug from Rev. Dan Scheid, of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Flint, before the ceremony where she will be ordained as the 11th Episcopal Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan on February 8, 2020 at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center in Dearborn, Mich. Perry will become the first woman bishop as well as the first lesbian bishop in the diocese since it was formed in 1836. (Photo: Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press)
Bonnie Perry still remembers sitting out on the ocean on a boogie board and watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean while she lived in Hawaii growing up. The image of that sunset and the golden light over the water is one she has always carried with her. That image decorated Perry’s body Saturday morning. Bright teals and gold captured the scene Perry still remembers on her cope, the vestment worn by priests in celebration. She wore the water scene in front of a crowd of more than 1,000 as she was officially ordained and consecrated as the 11th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center in Dearborn.
“The ocean for me is a great metaphor for God, because it is necessary for life, it is playful, compelling. And you can’t control it,” Perry said. “You don’t know when it’s coming and when it’s going, you can try to predict but there’s no way of controlling it, it’s enormous and it’s also scary. I think God is like that in all of its ways, both comforting and caring.”
Perry is the first female and openly lesbian priest to be elected as bishop in the 184-year history of the diocese. She was elected as the next bishop
on June 1. She was voted in with 64 clergy votes and 118 laypeople. To be elected, Perry needed a minimum of 55 clergy votes and 94 lay votes. She succeeds current Bishop Rt. Rev. Wendell Gibbs Jr., who has held the role since 2000 and was the first African American pastor to fill the role. Rt. Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, the 11th bishop of Indianapolis, reminded the audience of the importance of sound leadership that cares about equality and love for all people, regardless of creed, during her sermon Saturday.
“I don’t have to remind you of what is at stake, our country is being held hostage by fears based on the lies of white supremacy, transphobia, misogyny and a callous disregard for the generations we pray will come after us,” Burrows said.
Perry’s history of community organizing and passion for social justice was also highlighted during the ceremony.
“There’s an urgency to this moment, and knowing how to organize and mobilize for the sake of the gospel is a matter of life and death for vulnerable children, for immigrants and refugees,” Burrows said. “Your new bishop is the real deal, she knows that the world wants us to be afraid, afraid of stretching out beyond our comfort zone, but like Peter, we’ve got to try.”
Perry was also presented with her Episcopal ring, which is given to a newly ordained bishop at the ordination service. The custom ring captures Perry’s love for the Great Lakes, with each lake elevated on the side of the ring and surrounded by sapphires of different shades of blue to represent the different colors in the lakes.
On the underside of the ring is the logo of All Saints Chicago, where Perry got her start and served for 27 years. The Celtic knot on the bottom of the band is representative of her Irish roots and Scottish connections.
Air Force updates its dress code policy to include turbans, beards and hijabs
The US Air Force has updated its dress code policy to outline a clear approval process for Sikhs and Muslims who want to serve while wearing their articles of faith. Under the new guidelines, which were finalized last week, Sikhs and Muslims can seek a religious accommodation to wear turbans, beards, unshorn hair and hijabs, and expect to be approved as long as their appearance is “neat and conservative,” except under extremely limited circumstances. The final review for the accommodation must take place within 30 days for cases in the United States, and 60 days for all other cases, according to the guidelines. And for the most part, airmen can expect the religious accommodation to follow them through their career. Previously, Sikhs and Muslims serving in the Air Force individually requested religious accommodations that were granted on a case-by-case basis, but the approval process could be lengthy. This update standardizes that process and outlines a formal timeline for approval.
Advocacy organizations say more needs to be done. Sikh and Muslim advocacy organizations said the move was a significant step toward inclusion, though some said that the military needs to go further.
“We support these new guidelines as a step toward religious accommodation and inclusion for military personnel of all faiths,” Ibrahim Hooper, national communications director for the Council of American-Islamic Relations, said in a statement.
Both the Sikh Coalition and the Sikh American Veterans Alliance (SAVA) have called on the US military to allow religious minorities to serve without exception.
“Sikhs have served honorably and capably in the U.S. Armed Forces and other militaries around the world, and while we are eager for a blanket proclamation that all observant Sikh Americans can serve in every branch of the military without seeking accommodations, this policy clarification is a great step forward towards ensuring equality of opportunity and religious freedom in the Air Force,” Giselle Klapper, a staff attorney for the Sikh Coalition, said in a statement.
SAVA President Kamal Singh Kalsi said that the Department of Defense should institute a broader policy that applies across all branches of the military, following the example set by the US Army
“The Department of Defense should have a consistent and department wide policy on religious accommodation,” Kalsi said in a news release. “Those who are committed and qualified to serve our country in uniform should be able to do so in a more streamlined and efficient manner.”
A handful of Sikhs and Muslims have received accommodations to serve in the Air Force while wearing their articles of faith.
On Wednesday, the Sikh Coalition announced
that Airman 1st Class Gurchetan Singh became the first Sikh American to receive an accommodation to serve in the Air National Guard.
Last June, Airman 1st Class Harpreetinder Singh Bajwa became the first active duty airman
to receive religious accommodation allowing him to serve with the Sikh turban and beard — a process that took nearly six months.
Airmen 1st Class Sunjit Singh Rathour
and Jaspreet Singh received religious accommodations last year.
And in 2018, Maysaa Ouza, now a captain, made history
as the first officer in the Air Force’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps authorized to wear a hijab, a reflection of her Muslim faith.
BRUSSELS, 9 February 2020, (BWNS) – At a recent European Parliament panel discussion, the Brussels office of the Baha’i International Community (BIC) led an exploration of how institutions and civil society actors can develop language that at once respects diversity and fosters shared identity. This discussion comes at a time when questions of identity and belonging occupy a central place in contemporary discourses across Europe.
The panel, attended by some 40 policymakers and civil society representatives, was hosted by Julie Ward and Samira Rafaela, two members of the European Parliament Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup (ARDI)
, and chaired by the BIC Brussels office. Ms. Ward expressed that she welcomed this conversation, giving an opportunity to frame these issues from a new perspective, and remarked on the power of language as a tool for either fostering cohesion or inciting division.
“We should value diversity as a unifying factor,” said Ms. Rafaela, “but how do we address this through language? We need to create language that is respectful towards people rather than laying blame on others. How can a language be developed that fosters a strong sense of loyalty to all of humanity?”
In a paper prepared for the discussion and distributed to participants at the gathering, the BIC office highlighted that much of the thinking about language has been directed towards celebrating diversity and promoting peaceful coexistence. Language reflects people’s attitudes toward one another and shapes their thoughts. The BIC suggests that, while it is essential to have language that respects differences, overemphasizing this can reinforce the notions of “us and them” that must be overcome
The panel, therefore, focused on how institutions and social actors can address the root of the issue: that although celebrating diversity and advocating co-existence represent a step forward, a shared identity
is needed to chart a path towards harmonious societies.
Pascal Jossi, a representative of an agency that assists firms and institutions to create inclusive organizational cultures, spoke about how the language used to describe differences among people can lead to a sense of othering. “It’s not about finding the best category to place someone in,” he said “but building a new reality in which everybody feels welcome.”
Mr. Jossi shared his experience as someone of Cameroonian descent born in Belgium and raised in Luxemburg, who in each of these places found himself referred to in terms that separated him from the majority. “This kind of tension will remain,” he said, “until we remodel our interactions. I don’t think adding or removing specific words from our vocabulary will alone make language a catalyst for creating an inclusive society; we have to examine what attitudes and assumptions underlie the way we speak to one another so that we can begin engaging in a way that builds trust and unity
“We are learning to speak in ways that enable us to establish interdependent and cooperative relationships,” said Mathieu Marie-Eugenie, describing his experience facilitating workshops with youth in the Paris area that promote coexistence and cooperation through poetry and artistic expression. “In an environment of trust and kindness, we are able to tell ourselves ‘I am a person who belongs within humanity,’ or in poetic language, ‘I am a drop, and I am a part of the ocean.'”
“Beyond our individual identities,” said Rachel Bayani, representative of the BIC, in her remarks at the forum, “we need to conceive of an overarching, shared identity, one which can unite, which is based on the understanding that humanity is one and that all the peoples of the world are part of the same human family. This is essential if the splintering of humanity into opposing groups is to give way to greater degrees of unity, and if the rich manifestations of diversity
are to be constructively woven into the fabric of social life.”