WISDOM Newsletter – January 2015

Written by WISDOM on . Posted in Newsletters

 Calendar for WISDOM and Other Interfaith Events

Monday, January 12th

7:00 PM

“Woman with a Thousand Faces”

Bloomfield Township Public Library

See Flyer below!


Saturday evening, January 24th

6:00 – 8:00 PM

Sacred Treasures show at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center

See flyer below!

Sunday, January 25

The 16th Annual World Sabbath

4:00 PM

Adat Shalom Synagogue

Farmington Hills

See Flyer below

Thursday, February 5th

6:00 – 9:00 PM

For 8th through 12th graders

Face to Faith at Temple Shir Shalom, West Bloomfield

See Flyer Below


Monday, February 9th

6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Social Action Project at the Song and Spirit Institute for Peace in Berkley (2599 Harvard, Berkley, MI) Join us as we cut fleece for hats for needy children and stuff paper bags with non-perishable food for the homeless. See Flyer Below! Contact Gail Katz if you would like to join us! gailkatz@comcast.net or 248-978-6664


Sunday, March 8th

2:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Celebrate Women’s International Day with WISDOM, the National Council of Jewish Women in association with the Race Relations and Diversity Task Force at the Birmingham Community House, 380 South Bates Street, Birmingham, MI. See Flyer Below for registration information!


Tuesday, March 10th

5:00 PM – 8:30 PM

Jews and Chaldeans Coming Together for Social Action!

See Flyer Below!

Wednesday, April 29th

The Dinner Party with Women of Note – an exciting event in the works for WISDOM women!!  Stay Tuned!

Thursday, May 14th

6:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Five Women Five Journeys at the Baldwin Public Library in Birmingham


Tuesday, August 11th

10:30 – Noon

Five Women Five Journeys with the Senior Women’s Club of The Birmingham Community House

Woman with a Thousand Faces: Woman as a Metaphor in Art 


January 12, 2015 at 7:00 PM

Bloomfield Township Library,

1099 Lone Pine Rd. 

(at the corner of Lone Pine and Telegraph)

Bloomfield HIlls 48302



Join us at this public presentation by Boyd Chapin from the Detroit Institute of Arts about the imagery of women in art, 

both Western and Eastern traditions.  

In artwork, symbols are often used as verbal metaphors where one object or form refers to and stands for something quite different. Are metaphors in art subjective, personal and cultural? Do metaphors help us to better understand the world?


 After the presentation, WISDOM will sponsor an afterglow in the same lecture room to allow us 

to share our thoughts and questions 

about the many “faces” of women in art


Please contact Trish Harris
no later than January 5, 2015 to indicate your interest in participating in the discussion 
so we may provide adequate light refreshments!




“Women and Change”

An opportunity to learn and take home skills to help

better understand money management and finance

2:00 pm, Sunday, March 8th, 2015

The Community House

380 South Bates Street

Birmingham, MI 48009


This NCJW Programming special event being held on International Women’s Day is jointly sponsored by WISDOM (Women’s Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach in MetroDetroit) in association with the Race Relations and Diversity Task Force. We will feature keynote speaker, Bridgit Chayt, Executive Vice President & Director of Treasury Management & Business Deposit Services at Comerica. Break-out sessions will be led by professional women speaking about:

  • Financial Planning: investments and portfolios, stocks/mutual funds/bonds, legacy planning
  • Legal Challenges: divorce, bankruptcy, trusts, wills
  • Balancing Resources: purchasing insurance, negotiating a salary, planning for retirement, when to buy social security


Please bring your collected spare change, the contents of your “change jars.” Our collecting and donating will help change the lives of other women. All event profits and donations will be given to NCJW’s Luggage for Freedom (our program with HAVEN) and SAFE (Sisters Acquiring Financial Empowerment). Many thanks to The Community House for generously donating their facilities and refreshments.


To make your reservation with $10 registration fee, send a check to the office or call the NCJW office (248-355-3300, ext 0) to pay by credit card. Register and pay online at www.ncjwgds.org. Please register by Monday, March 2nd.







A Master of Memory in India Credits

Meditation for His Brainy Feats

By MAX BEARAK (The NY Times)



MUMBAI, India – The young man sat cross-legged atop a cushioned divan on an ornately decorated stage, surrounded by other Jain monks draped in white cloth. His lip occasionally twitched, his hands lay limp in his lap, and for the most part his eyes were closed. An announcer repeatedly chastised the crowd for making even the slightest noise. 

From daybreak until midafternoon, members of the audience approached the stage, one at a time, to show the young monk a random object, pose a math problem, or speak a word or phrase in one of at least six different languages. He absorbed the miscellany silently, letting it slide into his mind, as onlookers in their seats jotted everything down on paper.

After six hours, the 500th and last item was uttered – it was the number 100,008. An anxious hush descended over the crowd.

And the monk opened his eyes and calmly recalled all 500 items, in order, detouring only once to fill in a blank he had momentarily set aside.

When he was done, and the note-keepers in the audience had confirmed his achievement, the tense atmosphere dissolved and the announcer led the crowd in a series of triumphant chants.

The opportunity to witness the feat of memory drew a capacity crowd of 6,000 to the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel stadium in Mumbai on Sunday. The exhibition was part of a campaign to encourage schoolchildren to use meditation to build brainpower, as Jain monks have done for centuries inIndia, a country drawn both toward ancient religious practices and more recent ambitions.

But even by Jain standards, the young monk – Munishri Ajitchandrasagarji, 24 – is something special. His guru, P. P. Acharya Nayachandrasagarji, said no other monk in many years had come close to his ability.

“Munishri’s mind is like a computer during the download process,” the guru said during an interview in a temple in central Mumbai on Monday. “Many processes can happen in his mind at one time.”

“Like when I forgot No. 81,” Munishri chimed in. “The rest of the processes continued, and then, later, that one process began and I remembered it. It takes no effort. I’m simply able to extract it from my subconscious, where I have stored it.”

He sees brainpower as directly proportional to sacrifice, however, and he and his guru have made some great sacrifices.

The guru, now 58, said he had worked in a diamond-cutting workshop as a young man, but at 23 he became disillusioned by the material world and renounced it, including his family and profession. Three years later, he took a vow of almost complete silence and solitude, and set out to walk acrossIndia barefoot, living off alms, chanting, praying and translating Jain scripture from Sanskrit into Gujarati.

In 2000, he passed through Unjha, a town in Gujarat State, where Munishri Ajitchandrasagarji was a 10-year-old boy known as Ajay. The guru made such an impression on the boy that Ajay gained the blessing of his family to join the guru in his travels, and two years later he, too, began a life of itinerant solitude, meditation – and total recall.

Munishri Ajitchandrasagarji has committed more than 20,000 verses of Jain scripture to memory, the guru said, adding that in the privacy of the temple, he has been able to retain as many as 800 random items in order.

The monk does not see himself as specially endowed, or some kind of rare genius. “I have sacrificed everything, and that is why I can do this,” he said. “Anyone can do this, it is not a miracle. My message is this: When you know your own capacity, when you get rid of your distractions, the power of your mind is immense.”

Many followers of the Jain religion have been successful in Indian politics, science and business, particularly in the diamond industry. The recollection event on Sunday was financed by a private nonprofit group called the Saraswati Sadhna Research Foundation, using donations from a lengthy list of Jain benefactors. The foundation says that more than 14,000 children have received training in meditation at its centers, and that the goal is to reach a million children in the next 10 years.

Jainism is the smallest of India’s major organized religions, with around five million adherents. Some Jains revere gods and goddesses that Hindus also worship, including Saraswati, the embodiment of knowledge, creativity and intellectual enlightenment. Munishri Ajitchandrasagarji follows a knowledge recollection method centered on devotion to Saraswati.

A trustee at the foundation, Girish Shah, said that for India, a country whose education system is largely based on rote memorization, meditation is a way to strengthen the mind so that the hours students spend studying will pay off. “Memory, I.Q., concentration ability, interest in studying and moral upliftment will all increase with meditation,” Mr. Shah said. “It offers many practical advantages for young people.”

Four other young disciples of Munishri’s guru have also performed feats of recollection, but so far only 100 or 200 items. Munishri is working his way up to 1,000.

Citing an obscure historical text, the guru said the last time anyone did that was in the Mughal court of the Subahdar of Khambhat, six centuries ago.






At a time when much of the news about Pakistan seems to involve drone attacks, bombings and jihadist groups, a University of Michigan professor is trying to change the conversation to the vibrant art and culture scene that exists in Pakistan.

Osman Khan is doing it by decorating a truck-Pakistani style. The vehicle is covered with a collage of floral patterns and pictures of Pakistani leaders, poets and activists such as Malala Yousafzai, the recent Nobel Peace Prize winner.

“Growing up, I saw truck art whenever I visited Pakistan,” said Khan, assistant professor at U-M’s School of Art and Design. “The truck grew out of another project I was working on about loss of cultural monuments to diaspora.”

The back of Khan’s vehicle is ornately decorated with buraq, a creature with wings which according to legend travelled with prophets to heaven. The front of the truck will soon be decorated with calligraphy, ornamental shapes and patterns in shiny metallic and colored foil.

Truck art is found in regions of South America and South Asia, but few are as elaborate as the moving canvasses that rumble down the roads of Pakistan, hauling bags of sugar, lumber and other cargo.

By making this Pakistani truck in the U.S., Khan is critiquing and celebrating the Pakistani art truck culture. Instead of traditional painting on the truck, he used painted vinyl strips. He wants to introduce the tradition in the U.S. and hopes that using vinyl strips, much like stickers, will provide a viable method to showcase this tradition in cities across the country.

He also said that he decided to not import a Pakistani truck like the Smithsonian did for an exhibition a few years ago because he wants it to be replicated and used in the U.S.

“It would be great to see another decorated truck on the road,” he said.

Khan wants to make a decorated truck part of the visual landscape as it crisscrosses through all the states. Last year, Khan traveled to more than 18 states as he took the vehicle to Los Angeles for his exhibition, “All the Rage.”

“This is another way to celebrate art from Pakistan that I didn’t see growing up in the U.S.,” said Khan, adding that highly decorated trucks in Pakistan are part advertising, part good luck talisman and part self-expression as each region has developed specialized decorations.

While driving from New York to Los Angeles, Khan said he attracted a lot of attention. Several people knocked on his window and asked if he was part of a carnival.

The truck is part of his new work called “The Road to Hybridabad” (a pun on the name of Pakistani city Hyderabad). Khan calls it aesthetic provocation to address Western cultural and visual control in the global landscape. He is challenging it one truck at a time.

Over the winter, Khan plans to work on the front of the truck, or taj as it is called in Pakistan, and also equip the truck to handle events. In January 2015, Khan and his truck will take part in an exhibition in Windsor, Ontario, on “Border Cultures.” He plans to take it to Brooklyn, N.Y., next summer and park it in a public space to see people’s reaction.

“I hope to do food nights, music nights on the truck and get people interacting with it,” he said.


To see these incredible photos go to:




On Raising Hindu Americans in Detroit, Michigan
By Chandru Acharya in The Interfaith Observer

Chandru Acharya and his family

As a first generation American who grew up in India, it seems counter-intuitive, at first, to be writing about growing up Hindu in America. Reflecting on my experience as a parent raising two Hindu American teens, though, a 19-year old and a 13-year old, I feel emboldened to put ‘pen to paper’ and share my thoughts. Interacting with Hindu kids growing up in America today, I find that they primarily identify as Americans. They share and cherish American core values and have American role models from various walks of life. Whether it is music, sport, or dance, mainstream American culture is a powerful glue that brings people together, breaking down the barriers that divide. Nonetheless, every individual wears secondary identities based on such criteria as gender, ethnicity, religion and race. Hindu kids too have nagging questions about their roots, questions like: Who is a Hindu? and What is our identity?

Most first-generation Indian Americans reach the shores of this bountiful country in pursuit of the great American Dream. Many have advanced degrees in fields such as computer science, medicine, and biotechnology and find their skills and experience much sought after in the techno-commercial marketplace here. I immigrated to America from India in 2002 as an information technology professional, and my family came shortly thereafter. The suburbs of Detroit, Michigan welcomed us with traditional Midwestern warmth. I felt at home the moment I arrived in this new land, surrounded by the majestic great lakes. About 2.7 million Hindu Americans, mostly of South Asian descent, live in America today. Second-generation Hindu Americans, growing up in the late 90s and the early 2000s, found the overall environment encouraging, allowing them to pursue a career of choice as equals. This has been particularly true where the Hindu population is highly concentrated in socially diverse states such as California, New Jersey, New York, and Texas. The environment is not always welcoming, though. In some regions Hindu Americans feel that they are “polemically tolerated,” in others they are simply “accepted,” while in a city like Detroit the diversity they bring the community is “celebrated.”

Prior to the 90s, Hindu children growing up in America faced more of an identity crisis. Parents were busy adjusting to the new land, pursuing careers, and establishing themselves. The younger generation seldom had opportunities to learn about tradition, faith, and culture. However, as the community stabilized itself financially, the second generation started making its mark in everything from spelling bee contests to corporate boardrooms in Silicon Valley. This was a great leap from earlier media-driven stereotypes of taxi drivers and 7/11 shop owners. A new confidence about our future developed, and a yearning was born for ways to draw inspiration from our rich cultural past and establish a distinct Hindu American identity.


A major challenge faced by Hindu American parents is conveying the essence of Hinduism to their kids. For many in the West, especially those in the Abrahamic traditions, faith and worship are an integral part of religion. For them, “religion” includes an inherent emphasis on adhering to the belief systems proposed by the founders of their respective traditions. Regular community worship each week tends to be embraced. By contrast, Hinduism is an ancient pluralistic civilizational framework that is based on freedom of faith rather than faith itself. The uniqueness of the framework is that every individual has absolute liberty in choosing a path of worship and adopting or rejecting a belief system. Hindu civilization is held together by two profound philosophical concepts : Vasudeva Kutumbakam(the entire Universe is my family) and Sarva Panth Samabhava (equal respect for all faiths). Accordingly, Hindu civilization has played a motherly role in ensuring that various Dharmic faiths that emerged from the civilization flourished unhindered and co-existed with respect and admiration. For an adult it might not be difficult to grasp the subtle difference between a civilizational framework that nurtures freedom of faith versus a religion based on theology and community worship, but try explaining that to a nine-year-old!


As a Hindu parent, I have to create explanations my kids can understand. I tell them to think about Hinduism as a way of life where “everyone lives in a community with a common shared backyard. Within each household, members privately practice their faith of choice. And when they all come out, sharing their backyard, the boundaries are invisible and insignificant.” Clearly this is not a religion where adherents live in fenced houses in exclusive gated communities.


I came up with a simple poem to explain our identity:


All are equal and all are free, all are part of our family.
We care for the weak and share when we eat,
We fold our hands and greet when we meet…
Namaste! Namaste! Namaste!

When it is right, we have no fear,
To show our might, we never fight.
We talk of peace, we have no foes,
We are friends of trees and nature as a whole.

We share our joy and love every life,
Be it the soul of a man or a tiny mole.
Yoga for the body and Gita for the mind,
For Black, Brown, Yellow, White, every shade and kind.
Respect for age is never hard to find,
We are a people that only try to bind.


Today we see a conscious effort in the Hindu American community to get connected with its roots. From Yoga classes to Bollywood actors, from classical dancers to spiritual gurus, every sort of cultural ambassador is in demand. Socio-cultural organizations such as Balavihaar and Balagokulam have gained popularity in temples, and youngsters are actively attending South Asian culture and language classes. Organizations like Hindu Students Council and Hindu Yuva are mushrooming on college campuses, and Hindu American youth are connecting with their roots in a more confident and assertive manner. In America as in India, Hindu festivals play an important role in propagating our key values – living in harmony with Mother Nature and living up to our roles and responsibilities towards family, society at large, and the whole human family. Important festivals are celebrated in America with vigor and traditional fashion. The most popular is Diwali, which hails the triumph of good over evil. In recent times Hindus have become actively engaged during Diwali in contributing to the wider community through service projects such as food drives for shelters and highway-cleanup projects. Hindu American engagement in the interfaith community is also showing an increase. More and more Hindus feel the urge to demystify Hindu values and concepts to the world, promoting the importance of including the diverse voices of wisdom from Dharmic and indigenous sources in the ongoing story of religion in America.

Marriage and Divorce Across the Faith Traditions

 an IFLC (InterFaith Leadership Council) event


By Karla Joy Huber


On Sunday, November 16, the IFLC facilitated the panel discussion “Marriage and Divorce Across Faith Traditions” at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Royal Oak. This presentation was the fourth in the IFLC’s Lifecycle Series.


The panel included a Jewish rabbi, a community leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), a Muslim layperson, and a Catholic Permanent Deacon. Each presenter spoke about courtship and engagement, the wedding ceremony, an overview of the faith’s perspectives of the role of men and women in marriage, and the customs for divorce as a last resort if a marriage cannot be reconciled.


Ariana Silverman, rabbi of Grosse Pointe Jewish Council, gave an overview of Jewish wedding and marriage customs. While making it clear that Jewish tradition is always evolving, different Jewish groups vary somewhat in how they do the ceremony, and it is permissible to introduce new elements, the typical four main elements of a Jewish wedding are always the same.


While divorce is obviously not treated casually, it is permissible in Judaism. New customs in Judaism, including the signing of a marriage contract before the wedding ceremony, allow for a more egalitarian separation if the couple decides to later divorce.


Many contemporary Muslim weddings also include the signing of a marriage contract for the same purpose, according to Gigi Salka, a teacher who is involved in multiple interfaith and diversity initiatives. Salka illustrated that spirituality is a core component of Islam, quoting the Prophet Muhammad as saying that marriage is half your religion. She also helped clear up some common misconceptions about Islamic wedding customs, such as the dowry, plural marriage, and women’s rights in marriage.


Divorce is permitted in Islam, after the couple has discussed the matter, gone through a period of separation, and worked through arbitration. Couples who divorce are expected to do so with no resentment, and maintain amicable relations regarding their shared obligations to their children.


The LDS Church also emphasizes simplicity and the sacredness of marriage, as a union meant to glorify God and ideally last for all time, Polly Mallory explained.


 Marriage between a woman and a man, and the birth of children into that marriage, are essential to God’s plan in the LDS tradition; preparing children for their eventual marriage is part of the basic education of LDS youth. LDS couples are “sealed” to each other in a simple, modest, and solemn ceremony in the temple, while a more festive yet still modest atmosphere is permitted at the reception, which is usually held at the church or a nearby restaurant.


When the question regarding plural marriages was asked during the question-and-answer period, Mallory clarified that the LDS Church formally prohibited the practice of polygamy in 1904, and that any splinter groups which practice polygamy are not acknowledged as part of the LDS Church.


Marriage is expected to last forever, so seeking to dissolve a marriage in the LDS church is a complex process that can take years, and many levels of tribunals within the Church leadership and repeated interviews with the couple and those closest to them.


Catholic courtship and marriage customs, Permanent Deacon Kurt Godfryd explained, also involve sacred preparations and ideally a church marriage. Marriage is viewed as a gift from the hand of God, intended to be a spiritual union, through which the couple celebrate God’s love between them, through the procreation of children, and by manifesting God’s love to others through community service. Catholics view marriage as the nation in microcosm, meaning that harmonious families are essential for a harmonious community, and beyond that a harmonious nation and world.



Regarding divorce, Reverend Godfryd clarified that Catholics are not prohibited from filing for civil divorce, but an annulment is required for the end of the marriage to be accepted by the church, and for a divorced person to be permitted to re-marry in the Church.


Previous presentations in the Lifecycle Event Series included illness and healing, death and funerary customs, and birth and coming of age. Different panelists present at each discussion, and represented religions have included Judaism, Catholicism, different denominations of Protestant Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and the Baha’i Faith.



60 Imams, Rabbis Meet In Washington 
For Muslim-Jewish Interfaith Summit
Religion News Service  | By Lauren Markoe

Frustrated by dangerously high tensions between Jews and Muslims in the Holy Land, 60 imams and rabbis gathered Sunday (Nov. 23) to hatch concrete plans to bridge the gulf between their communities, minus the kumbaya.

The “2014 Summit of Washington Area Imams and Rabbis,” its organizers hope, will be the first of many such gatherings of Jewish and Muslim clergy in cities across the U.S.

After prayers and a kosher-halal lunch at a Washington synagogue, the clergy resolved to limit the feel-good dialogue and spent the afternoon trading ideas both tried and novel. Among them: joint projects to feed the homeless, basketball games between Muslim and Jewish teens, Judaism 101 courses for Muslims and Islam 101 for Jews.

“Host a Seder in a mosque and hold an iftar dinner at a synagogue,” suggested Rizwan Jaka, who chairs the board at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society in Northern Virginia.

They threw out tough questions: “Do you invite people in your community who are particularly closed-minded to participate in interfaith dialogue?” asked Dan Spiro, co-founder of the Jewish-Islamic Dialogue Society. “Something to think about.”

And when Jews and Muslims meet, several imams and rabbis advised, do not sidestep the focal point of their mutual pain: the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Rage over the ability of both faiths to worship at Temple Mount – a site holy to Muslims and Jews, has heightened tensions with the violence culminating last week in a Palestinian attack on Jews praying in a Jerusalem synagogue that killed four worshippers and a Druze police officer.

“Discuss things from a spiritual narrative as opposed to a political narrative,” suggested Imam Sultan Abdullah of the New Africa Islamic Community Center in Washington, D.C.

Along spiritual lines, both Jews and Muslims believe they are descended from the sons of Abraham – Jews from Isaac and Muslims from Ishmael – a point both rabbis and imams repeated. In practice, they noted, similarities between the faiths abound. Both face toward the Middle East at prayer, for example, and share similar dietary laws.

“In my view we are the closest two religions in the world,” said Rabbi Gerry Serotta, executive director of the InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington, who sees healing between Muslims and Jews as a blessing that will resonate.

“There is something about a Jewish-Muslim rapprochement that is very important for the rest of the world,” Serotta said. “The perception is that Jews and Muslims are irreconcilable, and when people see that we’re not, it gives them hope.”

The event was sponsored by the Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum, the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, the All Dulles Area Muslim Society and Washington Hebrew Congregation, the synagogue where the meeting was held.

Pope Prays in Istanbul Mosque

Visit is historic show of religious outreach


Pope Francis stood Saturday for two minutes of silent prayer facing east in one of Turkey’s most important mosques, a powerful vision of Christian-Muslim understanding at a time when neighboring countries experience violent Islamicassault on Christians and religious minorities.

His head bowed, eyes closed and hands clasped in front of him, Francis prayed alongside the Grand Mufti of Istanbul, Rahmi Yaran, in the 17th-century Sultan Ahmet mosque, shifting gears to religious concerns on the second day of his three-day visit to Turkey. “May God accept it,” Yaran told the pope of their prayer.


The Vatican spokesman, Rev. Federico Lombardi called it a moment of “silent adoration.” Lombardi said Francis told the mufti twice that Christians and Muslims must “adore” God and not just praise and glorify him. It was a remarkably different atmosphere from Francis’ first day in Turkey, when the simple and frugal pope was visibly uncomfortable with the pomp and protocol required of him for the state visit part of his trip. Francis got down to the business of being pope on Saturday, showing respect to Muslim leaders, celebrating Mass for Istanbul’s tiny Catholic community and meeting with the spiritual leader of the world’s 300 million Orthodox Christians. Francis’ visit comes at an exceedingly tense time for Turkey, with Islamic State militants grabbing territory next door in Syria and Iraq and sending some 1.6 million refugees fleeing across the border. Some refugees were expected to attend Francis’ final event on Sunday before he returns to Rome.


Francis nodded, smiled and looked up in awe as Yaran gave him a tour of the Blue Mosque, famed for its elaborate blue tiles and cascading domes. Presenting the pope with a blue, tulip-designed tile, Yaran said he prayed to God that his visit would “contribute to the world getting along well and living in peace.” “We are in need of prayers. The world really needs prayers,” Yaran said.


Later on Saturday, the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, attended a mass Francis celebrated in the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Istanbul. Francis bowed before Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and asked him “to bless me and the church of Rome” at the end of an ecumenical service Saturday evening. The Orthodox leader obliged, kissing Francis’ bowed head. The two major branches of Christianity represented by Bartholomew and Francis split in 1054 over differences on the primacy of the papacy, giving particular resonance to Francis’ display of deference. The two major branches of Christianity represented by Bartholomew and Francis split in 1054 over differences on the power of the papacy. The two spiritual heads will participate in an ecumenical liturgy and sign a joint declaration in the ongoing attempt to reunite the churches.

In his homily, Francis called for unifying all Christians – a theme he was expected to repeat today during a liturgy in Bartholomew’s ecumenical patriarchate and in a joint statement.


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 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.

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.


WISDOM is a Non-Profit Organization. Get involved with WISDOM!

WISDOM’s challenge is to bring together people from different faith traditions, ethnicities, races, and cultures in an atmosphere of safety and respect to engage in educational and community service projects. Let’s change our world through the positive power of building relationships!