WISDOM Newsletter – September 2015

Written by WISDOM on . Posted in Newsletters

Calendar for WISDOM and Other Interfaith Events  


Thursday, Sept. 17

9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Conference on End of Life issues across faith traditions

Henry Ford Hospital, Gilmour Conference Center, 

One Ford Place, Detroit

Sponsored by Henry Ford Hospital, and the InterFaith Leadership Council

Contact Nancy Combs for more information ncombs1@hfhs.org 


Sunday, October 18

3:30 PM – 5:30 PM 

Head Coverings Across the Faith Traditions

Sponsored by the InterFaith Leadership Council

A showing of “Hats of Jerusalem” documentary, followed by an interfaith panel

St. John’s Episcopal Church, 26998 Woodward Ave., Royal Oak

$10.00 charge

Contact Gail Katz at gailkatz@comcast.net for more information.


Thursday, October 22

5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Five Women Five Journeys

Macomb Intermediate School District

For more information contact MaryAnn Schlie at maryann_schlie@hotmail.com 


Sunday, October 25

4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Five Women Five Journeys at the Unity of Royal Oak Church

2500 Crooks Rd., Royal Oak

For more information contact MaryAnn Schlie at maryann_schlie@hotmail.com

Tuesday, November 17

6:30 PM – 9:00 PM

A Showing of the film “Ocean of Pearls”

(see flyer below)

The Community House

380 South Bates, Birmingham

6:30 PM – 9:00 PM

Four dates in November

The Passenger – an Opera about the Holocaust at the Michigan Opera Theatre

See flyer below and join us for this coming together of Metro Detroit to fight hate and prejudice!!


Examining The Spiritual Determinant Of Health – Interfaith Health and Hope Coalition Prayer Event
by Dennis Archambault
Social determinants of health”  are factors that impact our ability to achieve health and well-being. The “spiritual determinant” is one seldom mentioned among common determinants like housing, public safety, and fresh food distribution. Yet in the holistic balance of wellness, spirituality plays a key role.
Medical scientists and holistic health proponents have long associated health and spirituality. Steven P. Kliewer, MS DMin, LPC, whose professional vocations are in both ministerial and medicine fields, addresses the spiritual determinant in his work. As executive director of Wallowa Valley Center for Wellness in Oregon, Dr. Kliewer is the author of Creative Use of Diversity in the Local Church, and was the primary author of Healthcare and Spirituality, a basic text for health care providers.
He will speak on “Spirituality as a Social Determinant of health” at the 2015 Interfaith Health & Hope Coalition Prayer Event on Thursday, September 24, from 11:00 AM until 2:00 PM at Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church, 2080 W Grand Boulevard, in Detroit. Registration is free, but attendees are asked to register. Call Ron Beford at 810-923-6940 or email rbeford@yahoo.com.
The program will review the classic concept of determinants of health, then explore the implications of spirituality. The program will look at spirituality as a determinant, as well as the protective and risk factors inherent in the spiritual domain. While relevant for professionals, Dr. Kliewer’s comments, and those of the panelists, will be relevant to all who share an interest in spirituality and wellness.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has identified “eight dimensions” of health, according to Dr. Kliewer. “There are emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, the occupational, physical, social, and spiritual dimensions (http://www.samhsa.gov/wellness-initiative/eight-dimensions-wellness)
“These dimensions are now considered as critical as the traditional social determinants of health, and open new opportunities for working with patients in meaningful ways.  So we can now add a new layer of richness to the traditional concept of social determinants, which include economic stability, education, social and community context, health and health care and neighborhood.”
The Interfaith Health & Hope Coalition is comprised of faith leaders and health professionals who promote access to health care and wellness through the health ministries of faith constituencies, as well as promoting the integration of spirituality in the caregiving process. The Coalition sponsors localized “circles of care,” which are based in churches or health systems, but generally connect health resources in communities through faith networks.


September 9
6:30 pm
Foster Care
Faith Communities Coalition on Foster Care
Join us Wednesday, September 9 at 6:30 pm for reception and 7:00 pm at The Kirk in the Hills to hear inspirational stories and learn how you can help our children in foster care.  Mr. Hosner, Executive Director of Judson Center will be hosting a panel of foster children and their foster parents and Pastor Zo will be speaking on how you can support foster care children and parents.
The Faith Communities Coalition on Foster Care is a grass roots collaboration that provides a catalyst to educate and motivate congregations to engage in at least one project/program that will support our children in foster care or moving out on their own.
MotivationalSpeaker: PastorLorenzo Sewell,Woodside Church Pontiac &The Pontiac Dream Center
A Panel of Foster Care Youth and Parents to share their experiences hosted by: Cameron Hosner, Executive Director of Judson Center
Bring a Friend and Join us at The Kirk in the Hills 1340 West Long Lake Road Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302 Free Refreshments
More Information
Faith Communities Coalition on Foster Care
Rev. Kate Thoresen
September 9th 2015
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
In the Refectory Room

This uniquely important opera about the Holocaust reminds us of man’s potential for inhumanity to his fellow man, while standing as a glowing testament to the resolve of the human spirit.  Being performed by Michigan Opera Theatre in the 70th anniversary year of Auschwitz’s liberation, the company will honor Holocaust victims and survivors, and other cultures that have faced genocide. Michigan Opera Theatre invites robust participation from diverse groups to engage in an educational discourse about the importance of remembering genocide and addressing it in our own times.  Together we will examine the power of art and music to promote understanding and combat evil. Check with the Michigan Opera Theatre for tickets 313-237-7464.

(Women’s Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue
 and Outreach in MetroDetroit)
The Race Relations & Diversity Task Force
 The Baldwin Public Library in Birmingham
are sponsoring the showing of the film
Followed by discussion by Jaspal Neelam
The wife of Sarab Neelam, the producer
At The Community House
380 South Bates
Birmingham, MI 48009
On Tuesday, November 17th
6:30 PM – 9:00 PM
No Charge
(Parking in the lot near the Baldwin Library on Chester Street)
Amrit Singh is of two worlds, but belongs to neither. A turban-wearing Sikh, he has lived his life in North America out of sorts and out of place, cast adrift at an uneasy crossroads between East and West. But when he is offered a prestigious position as a transplant surgeon in a Detroit hospital, the young doctor sees it as a opportunity to start fresh. He struggles to be the man he believes he is and at the same time the person he wants to be. His ambitious pursuit of success, however eventually leads to tragedy and it is only in defining his singular identity that he finds peace.

631 W. Fort Street
Detroit, MI 48226
We Welcome Clergy and Religious Leaders
To Lead Us in an Interfaith Prayer for World Peace!!
If you are Clergy or a Religious Leader planning to attend,
please contact Gail or Meredith

WISDOM’s Five Women Five Journeys presentation was given to the
Birmingham Community House Senior Women’s Club
on August 11th.  Pictured from left to right are:
Ellen Ehrlich – moderator
Gail Katz – Jewish panelist
Parwin Anwar, Muslim panelist
Shama Mehta – Hindu panelist
Jatinder Kaur – Sikh panelist
Dianne Coin – Baha’i panelist
It was a wonderful morning with about 60 delightful women hosting the six of us from WISDOM!

On Sunday, July 26, Temple Israel Sisterhood and Hartford Women United went together to the Charles Wright African American History Museum in Detroit to learn about the challenges that African American’s faced, and still face.  Several months ago they went together to the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills to learn about the challenges that the Jewish people struggled with during World War II.  Women of different faiths and different races are learning about each other’s cultures, religions, and history!  Our new friendships are awesome!

Dominican-backed Hope House grows new life in a Detroit neighborhood

by Dennis Sadowski

Catholic News Service



The sunflowers, while not blooming yet, tower over 6-year-old Ahmad Malone as he and his father, Abdul, walk through the small but lush garden outside Hope House. It won’t be long before huge bright yellow flower heads greet the sun every morning and attract bees looking for sweet nectar to take back to their hives. Across a narrow path are a couple of rows of corn. It’s only the end of June and the stalks are more than three feet tall, nearly as high as Ahmad is tall. Malone finds such green space in the Brightmoor neighborhood a blessing.


“It was sort of like going down,” Malone said of the neighborhood when he moved there from Maryland in 2008. “People’s houses was raggedy. Then they started fixing up.” For that, Malone gives plenty of credit to Hope House and its parent program, Voices for Earth Justice, an interfaith ministry with strong Catholic roots supported by the Dominican sisters of Adrian, 70 miles southwest of the city. Around the neighborhood in northwest Detroit, vegetable and flower gardens are becoming more evident. Malone likes seeing the colorful gardens, luscious greens and vegetables and the growing diversity of animal and insect life that are gradually transforming the working-class neighborhood that once was primarily the home of Ford Motor Co. factory workers into a community that appreciates the beauty of nature. Walking to his home three doors up Greydale Street from Hope House, Malone points to the other houses on the block and credits his neighbors for making repairs. A few burned-out and abandoned structures remain, but Malone said the community is looking and feeling like a real neighborhood. The Malone father-son duo often volunteer at Hope House. Young Ahmad likes to work in the garden. Abdul, who works fixing houses and cars, has used his construction skills in renovating Hope House’s two main buildings.


“If you got the motivation like Miss Patty and the other sisters and you’re willing to step out and be willing to lead and bring a group of people together and give an example of what you want done, you will be surprised how many people will step up and do what you are trying to do,” Malone said. Miss Patty is Patty Gillis, a one-time pastoral associate at a Detroit parish who now is the executive director of Voices for Earth Justice. She and Dominican Sr. Janet Stankowski founded the organization in 2002, focusing on environmental education. By 2011 the organization evolved enough to consider purchasing property in Brightmoor to help connect people with the environment.

It took a few years to raise the funds and line up the work to deconstruct the structures, recycle the materials and restore them to usable space. One building already functions as a meeting site and by the end of summer it will house a resident caretaker through the Capuchin Franciscan Volunteer Corps. The other will become an environmental learning center by August, where children and adults can learn about insect life, plants and gardening, environmental sustainability and recycling. All of the efforts have a faith component.

Stankowski told Catholic News Service she and Gillis realized that a faith connection was necessary so that participants would have a deeper understanding of their place in God’s creation. That connection stems from the decades-long commitment of the Adrian Dominicans to environmental responsibility and a better understanding the role of humanity in the natural world. The Dominican presence at Hope House is strong. Sisters serve on the board of directors and volunteer at the garden, teach children and lift the spirits of the neighbors.


“We’re not just about gardens,” said Dominican Sr. Patricia Benson, a former theology professor at Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit, who now speaks about the organization to area churches and community groups. “We’re about the bigger vision for Earth and justice.” Gillis said the organization sees itself as “leaven” to help raise awareness of the need for sustainability so people act in the best interest of the environment. “We don’t see ourselves as building this huge organization. We see ourselves as a catalyst. We don’t need to own a lot of property. We don’t need to have a lot of staff. But if we can be a catalyst or a leaven, we can see the change,” she explained.

Meanwhile, environmental concerns have been a priority since the 1970s at the Dominican motherhouse campus in Adrian. Over the years, the order has implemented a slew of environmentally sustainable practices, including replacing traditional light bulbs with low-energy-usage LED bulbs, using organic fertilizers and weed killers, composting, comprehensive recycling, growing organic food and, for those so inclined, simple living practices.


In recent years, the order also adopted permaculture methods that encompass about 9.5 acres of the 106-acre property. Much of the land has been allowed to return to its natural state, where fruit trees, grasses, wildflowers and wildlife flourish. Smaller water gardens, vegetable gardens, flower gardens and berry patches are spread throughout the property, looking as if they have been there for years. Milkweed now sprouts in many areas, providing a ready source of food for the declining North American population of Monarch butterfly caterpillars. Dominican Sr. Carol Coston, who directs the permaculture effort, explained that the land use approach emphasizes sustainability, biodiversity and human cooperation with natural systems, as opposed to domination of them. “It is a witness that we don’t need manicured lawns. Those go back to the aristocracy in England. We’re not trying to ape that. We’re trying to show how you live in concert with nature,” Coston said. The effort also provides a real-life example of the kinds of practices cited in Pope Francis’ encyclical, “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home,” she said. Dominican Sister Corinne Sanders, general councilor for the order, said the motivation for the program stemmed from massive rainwater runoff from buildings and parking lots. It funneled into a culvert that functioned as a high-pressure hose and washed away valuable topsoil. Congregational leadership wanted to stop that. Coston’s interest in farming and biodiversity emerged in the 1970s when she worked as the founding executive director of Network, the Catholic social justice lobby in Washington, and began small-scale vegetable gardening. After working in alternative investing, she co-founded Santuario Sisterfarm in the Texas Hill Country, where she honed her skills in permaculture practices. Congregational leaders asked her to return to Adrian to lead a responsible land use effort. That led to a permaculture plan that she has directed for four years.

Coston told CNS that congregations of women are increasingly becoming aware of the need to incorporate environmentally sustainable practices into daily life and the need to continue them into the future.


“The examples of congregations who’ve gone ahead and set up these places is very much an enrichment for all us wherever we are in the continuum of how we live the legacy of our land and our building when we are no longer around.”



A Coming Together of our Jewish and Chaldean Communities:
Honoring our Senior Citizens
By Gail Katz
Jewish Chaldean Social Action Committee Co-Chair
Wednesday, June 29th was the date of another wonderful interfaith coming together of our Jewish and Chaldean Communities.  It was held at St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church in West Bloomfield.  Close to 100 Jews and Chaldeans of all ages came to honor our senior citizens and celebrate our ongoing friendship and connection with each other.
Father Andrew Seba, priest of St. Thomas, kicked off the evening in the church’s sanctuary with some information about the history of the Chaldean Catholics. He pointed out some of the images in the sanctuary and their importance, and talked about the 180,000 Chaldeans in Metro Detroit and the 12 Chaldean Catholic churches available to them.  He then introduced Rabbi Paul Yedwab from Temple Israel in both English and Arabic.  Rabbi Yedwab gave a short history of Temple Israel in West Bloomfield, which is celebrating its 75 anniversary. He highlighted the similarities between our Jewish and Chaldean communities – emphasizing how both of our languages had their roots in Aramaic, the language of the Jewish prayer for the dead – the Kaddish. Rabbi Yedwab spoke about how both of our communities live together in West Bloomfield and Oakland County.  Gail Katz, Co-chair of this event along with Rula Yono, introduced the two speakers for the evening.  Vanessa Denha Garmo, Chief Editor of the Chaldean News, informed our guests that she grew up in a mostly Jewish neighborhood and went to lots of bar and bat-mitzvahs!  Her grandparents came over from Iraq in the 1960’s, and Vanessa shared humorous stories about her Grandmother’s love of TV shows like General Hospital and the Young and the Restless – shows that seemed like real life episodes to her. Family to Chaldean immigrants is so important, as family members all live together in the same home upon arriving in the United States. Lois Shulman, an ombudsman for the senior Jewish community, spoke about how she volunteers much of her time with Jewish residents in nursing homes.  Lois’s emphasis was on respecting our elders by listening to their stories and learning from their wisdom.
Following the speakers, we all went downstairs to the social hall for some delicious Chaldean appetizers and tasty Jewish desserts!  The social hall was set up for bingo, and Father Andrew Seba and Rabbi Paul Yedwab were an incredible comedy team as they called out the bingo numbers and gave away prizes. Everyone had a fun time watching the clergy entertain the audience!  At the end of the bingo, Arthur Horwitz, editor of the Jewish News, gave some closing remarks and underscored the wonderful feeling of friendship between our Jewish and Chaldean communities. Arthur was proud to see that the Social Action Committee of the Building Community Initiative between the Jewish News and the Chaldean News, which is now about six years old, is still going strong today. We are successfully breaking down myths and stereotypes about each other, and building respect and understanding.
We closed the evening with our social action initiative. Everyone was asked to bring school supplies for needy elementary students in Oakland County and Sterling Heights, and many of our guests packed these supplies into backpacks that were donated by Temple Israel and the Chaldean Foundation.
Gail Katz and Rula Yono, co-chairs of this event, continue to work to bring people together for joint social action projects to benefit both the Jewish and Chaldean communities. Both Rula and Gail believe that bringing both communities together is a major step in bonding with each other as human beings with similar needs, wants, and emotions.

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 .

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!