Calendar for WISDOM and Other Interfaith Events
January through April 2017
Comparative Judaism Series
See Flyer Below
Sunday, February 19, 2017 3:00 – 5:00 PM
WISDOM Visit to the Arab American National Museum
13624 Michigan Ave., Dearborn, MI 48126
See Flyer Below!
18th Annual World Sabbath
Sunday, March 5, 2017 starting at 4:00 PM
Temple Beth El, 7400 Telegraph Road, Bloomfield HIlls
See Flyer Below!
Sunday, March 12, 2017 5:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Potluck Family Treasures Show and Tell
Mulberry Square Club House, Bloomfield Hills
Deepen your understanding of different faith traditions by WISDOM women recounting their family stories related to a personal article of faith, practice, or tradition
Contact Paula Drewek at email@example.com
Thursday, March 30, 2017 11:00 AM
Tour of Zaman International followed by lunch!
26091 Trowbridge St., Inkster, MI
Contact Delores Lyons at firstname.lastname@example.org
March through June, 2017
Exploring Our Religious Landscapes
Immersive Experiences in Religion and Culture
See flyer below!
Thursday, April 13, 12-3 pm
Five Women Five Journeys Presentation
Oakland Community college
Highland Lakes Campus
7350 Cooley Lake Rd.
Waterford, MI. 48327
Wednesday, April 26, 7 pm
Five Women Five Journeys Presentation
St. John Fisher Chapel
3665 Walton Blvd.
Auburn Hills, Mi.
Wednesday, May 10th, 7:00 PM
Five Women Five Journeys Presentation
St. Hugo of the Hills Catholic Church
2215 Opdyke Rd., Bloomfield Hills
contact Paula Drewek at email@example.com
Sunday, October 15th, 2017, 5:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Tenth Anniversary Celebration of WISDOM
North Congregational Church
36520 W. 12 Mile Road, Farmington Hills, 48331
On Sunday, February 19th,
froom 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM
the women of
WISDOM invite you to attend
a docent-led tour of
the Arab American National Museum
13624 Michigan Avenue
$10 Adults $5 Seniors and students
(Payment upon arrival)
Attendees must register by February 12th
RSVP at 480-239-7120 or
Parking is available behind the museum
Consider joining other participants at
Al-Ameer Restaurant, 13624 W. Warren Ave
following the tour to continue
your conversations over some good
Middle Eastern food.
The restaurant is less than 5 minutes away
from the museum.
Please print out and sign the Resiliency Statement below and mail to the InterFaith Leadership Council at
10821 Capital Street, Oak Park, MI 48237!!
The IFLC is trying to collect as many signatures as possible to show our “Standing Together” during this difficult time
of increased prejudice and intolerance!
Share Kindness – 10-year-old boy gives back to Muslim community after visiting local mosque
Giving has always been part of the Organ family culture, but this holiday season, they got to see the direct impact their generosity had on another family. In their church’s newsletter, Christine and Matthew Organ came across an event being thrown at Masjid al Huda, a mosque near their home in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Without really knowing what to expect, they brought their two sons -Jackson, 10, and Teddy, 6 – along with them on November 19. “We’ve never had an event like this before, but a lot of people have been forming their own opinions about our faith in the past year, so we wanted to open our doors to show what it is we actually do,” Saima Faiz, a congregant of the mosque, told TODAY. Over 400 people came curious and left inspired after learning more about Islamic culture and beliefs. On the way home from the event, Jackson had a lot of questions about what he had just experienced. It wasn’t until it was time to put his Christmas wish list together that Christine Organ really saw the impact it had on him. He handed his mom the final list on December 2nd and right there, sandwiched between tickets to a basketball game and a Hot Wheels AI System, were the words, “donations to the mosque we went to.”
“I was so happy to see that he took something away from attending the mosque,” Organ told TODAY. “He was very persistent about wanting to help them.” Organ reached out to the mosque to find out how to go about making a donation and included a photo of his wish list in the email. Saima wrote back thanking her and copied her husband, Salman Faiz, who is on the board. Instead of responding to the email with directions, Salman called Organ up and said he’d like to thank Jackson in person. “It was humbling to see that he was affected by our hospitality,” Salman said. “It really made me reflect on how, through all of the hateful noise that surrounds Muslims and other minorities these days, there are good people out there raising kids that are goodhearted.” About an hour later, Saima, Salman and their three young daughters showed up at the Organ’s front door to express their gratitude.
Organ didn’t even have a chance to write a check before Salman announced that he had something for Jackson. He went out to his car and came back with a Hot Wheels AI System. “I was floored and so was Jackson,” Organ said. “Since I always make him include a donation on his wish list, he didn’t think what he did was anything too special.”
The Organs make an effort to be charitable all year long, not just during the holiday season. Jackson has made many trips with his mom to drop food off at a local shelter and even gave up presents for his 5th birthday and instead asked everyone attending his party to make a donation. “His sincere intention in wanting to give without expecting anything in return was why I felt so compelled to fulfill one of his wishes,” Salman said. “We should always try our best to reciprocate such good actions.” Before the families parted ways, both mothers had a moment on the front porch where they hugged and cried into each other’s arms. “Our daughters know the value of receiving a gift on a special holiday and so they were amazed someone used their special holiday gift to help us,” Saima said. “It was a blessing to have them see that generosity.”
From the Baha’i World News Service
LAHORE, Pakistan, 25 December 2016, (BWNS) – The Baha’i International Community (BIC) has emphasized the need for a deeper understanding of human oneness in fostering peaceful coexistence between different religions.
Speaking at an event organized by the government of Pakistan to promote interfaith harmony-the International Seerat Conference in Lahore-BIC representative Chong Ming Hwee stated, “In the human body, cooperation ensures the functioning of that system… Similarly, civilization can be seen as the outcome of a set of interactions among closely integrated, yet diverse components-components which have transcended the narrow purpose of tending to their own existence.
“And just as the viability of every cell and every organ depends upon the health of the body as a whole, so should the peace and prosperity of every individual, every family, and every people be sought in the well-being of the entire human race.”
The Conference was held on 11 and 12 December 2016, taking place on the anniversary of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad. Leaders in Pakistan, recognizing the urgent need for interfaith harmony, used the occasion to draw attention to the role of religion in creating unity. The conference, which was attended by Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, also included representatives of different religious communities and government officials.
“To be a part of this historic conference convened by the government of Pakistan, where contributions of religious minorities were welcomed and embraced, was very heartening,” said Mr. Chong. “Not only did the gathering attest to how the teachings and example of Prophet Muhammed emphasized interfaith harmony, but it also affirmed foundational truths that are common to all religions, namely the oneness of God and of humanity.”
RIP HUSTON SMITH, THE MAN OF RELIGIONS
By Phillip Goldberg
The Huffington Post
A year that brought the passing of too many important public figures capped it off with the death of the past century’s leading explainer of religion and the roles it plays in people’s lives. Huston Smith died peacefully in his Berkeley California home, at age 97, on December 30th, after a long, steady weakening that had those who knew him scratching their heads about how he lingered so long and remained so lucid. He was beloved for his wit, his decency and the joy he derived from good company and stimulating conversation, and he was revered for his unparalleled contributions to the study of the world’s religions.
Born in 1919 in China and raised there by missionary parents, Smith came home to America at 17 and pursued his studies in religion and philosophy. Always a self-identified Methodist, he was an indomitable explorer long before spiritual eclecticism became fashionable, and his investigation was never the kind of shallow pursuit he advised against, comparing religious dilettantes to people at a buffet who get too much of what they want and not enough of what they need. He plunged deeply into traditions other than his own, not just as a scholar but as a seeker of spiritual illumination. He practiced Zen meditation; he practiced disciplines from the Sufi branch of Islam; he practiced yoga, famously bending and stretching his tall, lean body to demonstrate asanas (postures) in a 1950s film that launched his public career and again, in 1996, on Bill Moyers’ five-part PBS series, “The Wisdom of Faith with Huston Smith.” By then, he was, as the Christian Science Monitor put it, “Religion’s Rock Star.”
The non-Western tradition that had the biggest impact on Smith, and by extension all of his readers and students, was Hinduism-specifically, the Vedanta school of Hinduism, whose essence is articulated in the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. When I asked him how influential Vedanta was in his life, he was 88 and already frail, but he straightened up in his chair and his voice boomed “Immense!” As a young scholar beginning his first teaching job, at Washington University in St. Louis, he was advised to look up Swami Satprakashananda at the local Vedanta Society. On his first visit, he purchased a copy of the Katha Upanishad. “I was overwhelmed in just two pages,” he told me, “astonished by how much truth could be compressed into so few words. I was hooked.”
He was tutored on Vedanta by the learned swami for the next ten years. Those studies would inform his entire body of work, which in turn influenced the way millions of people understand religion, especially religions other than their own. Vedanta’s delineation of different spiritual approaches for different personality types “came as a welcome revelation,” he said. So did the core insight captured in the Rig Veda dictum usually translated as “Truth is one, sages call it variously.” That perspective is known in scholarly circles as Perennialism, and Huston Smith described it better for laypeople than just about anyone, with the possible exceptions of his friends, Joseph Campbell and Aldous Huxley.
For advocating the underlying unity of the world’s religions, he was mistakenly accused of saying all religions are the same. This naive critique ignores the distinction Smith made throughout his distinguished career-between the exoteric aspects of religion (rituals, forms, behavioral codes, stories, etc.) and the esoteric (direct inner experiences). “Exoterically, they’re very different,” he said, “but esoterically they are one.” That is, whatever pathway one might follow, if it is taken to its highest level it leads one to the same mountaintop as travelers on other paths.
His seminal textbook, The Religions of Man (later retitled The World’s Religions), first published in 1958, reflects that point of view. It was also unique in its day in that it took religion seriously. Scholar of religion Dana Sawyer, the author of an authorized biography of Smith titled Huston Smith: Wisdomkeeper, says, “Rather than trying to explain religion away, as so many of his colleagues did in the 1950s, Huston claimed the right to love what he studied. . . . By emphasizing the value of religion rather than its drawbacks, and by describing the religions in ways that their adherents could recognize, Huston opened fresh perspective on religion.” The book was a landmark, Sawyer adds: “To treat the religions as equals was unusual, since there tended to be a Christian or Western bias at the time. When they were treated as equals it was as antiquated curiosities, all equally useless, not as relevant sources of wisdom.”
Smith never stopped exploring and advocating, through his books, media appearances and countless lectures around the world. His was a sane voice, against fundamentalism and extremism and for pluralism (he helped get the Dalai Lama into the U.S. for instance). In the 1960s, already famous, he took part in the psychedelic experiments of Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (later Ram Dass). He was considered the grownup in the crowd, warning against the cavalier use of drugs and pointing out that the goal of spiritual experience was not just altered states but altered traits.
It is not an exaggeration to say that Huston Smith’s fingerprints are on most of the changes in how we in the West have come to approach spirituality in the last half century. As one who was charmed by him in two memorable encounters, profoundly instructed by his work and honored to have him write the foreword to one of my books (American Veda), I join his admirers and loved ones in celebrating his uniquely significant life.