WISDOM Newsletter – July 2016

Written by WISDOM on . Posted in Newsletters

Calendar for WISDOM and Other Interfaith Events  
NAIN Conference
July 10 – 13, See flyer below
Thursday, August 18, 6:00 – 8:30 PM
Jews and Chaldeans coming together
for a potluck and backpack stuffing for needy students
St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church
6910 W. Maple Rd., West Bloomfield
contact Gail Katz, gailkatz@comcast.net 
Sunday, August 28th 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Michigan Jewish Food Festival at Eastern Market in Detroit
Invitation is for people of all faith traditions!
Exploring our Religious Landscapes
August through November
See Flyer Below
Five Women Five Journeys
Sunday, September 25, 2016
Holy Cross Episcopal Church
40700 W. 10 Mile Rd., Novi
3:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Uncovering Our Sacred Texts
September 18th 3:30 – 6:00 PM
at the Mata Tripta Ji Gurdwara Sahib in Plymouth
See Flyer Below
Interfaith Amigos – The Power of Interfaith Dialogue
An Imam, a Pastor, and a Rabbi address why interfaith dialogue is so important!
Thursday, September 22nd 11:00 AM – 8:30 PM
Alpena Community College and Alpena High School
See Flyer below!
Sunday, October 23 12:30 PM – 2:45 PM (includes lunch)

Five Women Five Journeys
at First Presbyterian Church of Royal Oak
529 Hendrie Blvd, Royal Oak, MI 48067
Contact Maryann Schlie

Congregation Beth Ahm invites you to

Wednesdays at 1 pm
Free and open to the community,
no reservations required, walk-ins welcome
5075 West Maple Road, West Bloomfield (between Middlebelt and Inkster Roads)Starting July 13 – “VISIONS OF THE JEWISH STATE”
featuring Prof. Howard N. Lupovitch
Zionism was far from monolithic as an ideology and as a movement. On the contrary, it was a complex tapestry of ideas and aims which added up to different notions of what the Jewish State should be. In these three lectures, which were originally presented at Beth Ahm in January 2016, Prof. Lupovitch explores the different and at times contradictory Zionist visions of the Jewish State and how the founders of the State of Israel wove these visions together into a complex, contentious Israeli society and politics. Each DVD lecture runs about one hour and will be followed by brief informal discussion.
Wed. July 13
“Herzl: Sovereignty, Honor and Refuge”
Wed. July 20
“Ahad Ha’Am, A.D. Gordon, and David Ben Gurion – New Jews in a New State”

Wed. July 27

“Jabotinsky: Realism and Militarism”
New DVD course will begin in August. All are welcome. For more info contact Nancy Kaplan by phone (248) 737-1931, text (248) 390-4294 or e-mail nancyellen879@att.net         

Hazon Detroit is proud to announce their first annual Jewish Food Festival taking place on August 28, 2016 from 11 AM-4pm at the historic Eastern Market in Detroit! The Jewish Food Festival will provide a unique celebration engaging the local Jewish community and people of many faith traditions. It is a day for area foodies, rabbis, restaurateurs, chefs, farmers, educators, entrepreneurs, vegans, and omnivores to come together to explore the interplay of food, sustainability, Jewish traditions, and contemporary life. The Hazon food festival will develop and deepen diverse Jewish community connections and relationships while participants learn more about Jewish tradition, food, and sustainability.

Watch this beautiful video about Jewish and Muslim students coming together in Los Angeles to break down stereotypes and increase respect and understanding!

The evening of June 5 began the month of Ramadan, a holy month for Muslims who will spend 30 days abstaining from food and drink and 30 nights in worship. Ramadan is, by turns, a challenge and a celebration, consisting of practices for self-betterment and traditions meant to elevate the soul.
Here are eight things you should know about Ramadan.
1. I don’t care if you eat in front of me. Really.
There are sights and sounds that can compromise someone’s fast (excessive PDA, swearing, even lying), but seeing food is not one of them. We can look at food, I swear! I know it comes from a desire to avoid causing your friends discomfort, but effusive apologies and theatric food-hiding is unnecessary; I’d probably be looking at recipes on the internet anyways.
2. No, we can’t even drink water!
People who fast are encouraged to rehydrate throughout the night instead of filling up on food, in order to maintain energy levels.
3. Fasting isn’t easy …
Fasting is intensely difficult and it’s only the strongest among us who make it through without a nap – especially in the summer when sunset can push past 9 p.m.
4. But it is rewarding.
Ramadan gives you 30 days to stop relying on food and drink for emotional fulfillment. In a world that pushes us tirelessly to consume, a religiously stipulated time dedicated to refueling the soul and building constructive habits is truly refreshing. It’s a good time for new beginnings, and a good time to try and implement new habits with the knowledge that there are scores of other people working to improve themselves, too. When done right, Ramadan fosters a beautiful balance between social responsibility and self-knowledge; Muslims are encouraged to spend time alone in introspection, but also to be present for one another. It’s a profound exercise in realizing that strong communities depend first and foremost on self-accountability, and that there is no self without responsibility to others.
5. You don’t need to fast with us.
Fasting is not a political statement nor is Ramadan a movement, and for that reason there is really no need to fast in “solidarity” unless you want to reap the benefits too.
6. The primary goal is to get closer to God.
Contrary to what many may say, Ramadan is not actually about feeling empathy with those living in poverty; Muslims of all social and economic standings fast Ramadan, including those who don’t have much to eat to begin with. Fasting serves many purposes, and Ramadan means many things, but the primary purpose outlined in the Quran is simply to attain God consciousness. This is not to understate how central charity and generosity are to Ramadan, but rather that we can’t presume to really know how someone else feels with a 30-day experiment. If anything, a successful fast will reveal to us how lucky we really are, and how much further we can push ourselves to do good by others.
7. Ramadan is also a celebration.
I know many people have a hard time believing that Muslims are really willing or excited to be fasting in Ramadan, but it’s not just about the struggle. Throughout the month, an intense sense of connectedness permeates the air. While the official celebration is on Eid ul-Fitr at the end of the 30 days, the entire month can be quite festive. Children are allowed to stay up later, and food, when available, abounds. Families open their houses to each other, and everyone is just that much more generous.
8. Ramadan looks different in different places.
The best foods are often reserved for Ramadan; in the weeks leading up to it families stock up on ingredients, portion out and freeze meats, and plan what the month’s charity is going to look like.
Depending on where you live, there are traditions and specific treats to look forward to: Rooh afza is a beloved iftar drink among South Asians; North and East Africans prepare burek and sambusas, respectively (these are flaky pastries filled with meats or vegetables), as well as soups reserved almost exclusively to Ramadan; and vimto (the fruity soft drink) has gained a surprising footing as an iftar essential in the Gulf. When these foods are prepared at any other time of the year, it can make the day feel just a little bit more holy.

Joining hands to build a green future in the MidEast Israel’s Arava Institute for Environmental Studies is celebrating its 20th year of bringing together diverse populations to plan a healthier tomorrow.
On Kibbutz Ketura in Israel’s Arava desert, more than 800 students from Israel and other countries have torn down barriers over the past two decades to find cooperative solutions for regional environmental challenges. This year, the non-profit Arava Institute for Environmental Studies is sponsoring concerts, conferences and public forums in celebration of its 20th anniversary of innovative environmental and peace-building work.
“The Arava Institute is the only academic program in the Middle East to provide a balanced student body of approximately 40 students – one-third Jewish Israelis, one-third Palestinians and Jordanians and one-third international students each semester – with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed to inspire Israeli-Arab environmental cooperation,” says Deputy Director Eliza Mayo.
Considered one of the top environmental think tanks in the world, the Arava Institute recently was a semifinalist in the Hero Award by Billion Acts of Peace, a UN-supported initiative.
The institute’s founders, Alon Tal and Miriam Sharton, envisioned creating cross-border environmental cooperation while “transforming misperceptions into meaningful friendships that transcend traditional political and religious divides,” Mayo tells ISRAEL21c.
“We set ourselves a specific goal to train and educate young adults to go out into the world using the environment as a tool for dialogue and dialogue as a tool for improving the environment in the region,” she says. “In our anniversary year, we’re celebrating that we have done just that – through wars and intifadas, during which other initiatives have come and gone. We stick with it and work together because of our emphasis on respectful academic disagreement and on hearing other narratives and using that ability to improve the environment.”
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Singing ‘salaam,’ synagogue hosts a welcome
dinner for Syrian refugees
In Syria, Mostafa Hassoun was told that Jews were the enemy of Syrians and that Israel was out to occupy and oppress his people. But then he fled his country – and he gained access to the Internet.
One of the first topics he read about online was the Holocaust. And his attitude shifted drastically. On Thursday, Hassoun found himself in a building he might never have thought he would enter – a synagogue – to speak to people he had been taught to hate – Jews.
“Hitler, he was the butcher who killed millions of the Jews. And I’m certain, from the help of you all in the Jewish community, that Jews will never allow anyone in the world to be another Hitler,” he told the crowd made up of both Jews and Muslims. “If Jew is the attribute of what they call someone who asks for freedom, then I am honored that I have many great friends from the Jews.”
Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, Va., hosted Hassoun along with six Syrian refugee families at a dinner to welcome them to America. The refugees – more than 30 people in all, more than half of them children – have been resettled in Maryland in the past year and a half. One family arrived just three days before they found themselves at dinner in a Jewish house of worship. “We as a congregation feel it’s especially important for us. Especially as Jews. We’re commanded in the Torah to be kind to the stranger, because we were strangers in the land of Egypt,” Rabbi Jeffrey Saxe said. “We want to give them a message of welcome, which is not always what they’re hearing in this country.”
The United States has resettled 1,285 Syrians, according to a report in April by Human Rights Watch. That number is far short of  President Obama’s pledge to resettle 10,000 Syrians by the end of the year, and it shows the difficulty many have had entering the country. The vetting process is lengthy, and several governors have voiced opposition to allowing Syrians into their states. But on Thursday, the congregation of Temple Rodef Shalom easily mingled with the refugees. Many of the Syrians did not speak English, so some of the other guests – including congregants at McLean Islamic Center, which has a longtime relationship with the synagogue – helped translate questions about everything from what exactly the Syrians meant when they said they wanted a “no-fly zone” in their country, to how they were finding their new American neighborhoods. Some communication didn’t take words at all. A smile, some Play-Doh or crayons seemed to get the message across to the kids in the group. Saxe said the congregation has just finished raising money to sponsor a refugee family through Lutheran Social Services. Congregants don’t yet know which country the family will come from, but they look forward to helping them pay their first months of rent, find jobs and learn English.
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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!