Sunday, April 15
Miss Representation – A documentary film about challenging the media’s limiting protrayals of women and girls, and empowering women to take an equal seat at every table. The goal of the Miss Representation movement is to spark millions of small actions that ultimately lead to a cross-generational movement to eradicate gender stereotypes and create lasting cultural and sociological change. Sponsored by the Jewish Women’s Foundation and supported by WISDOM among others. 3-6 PM at the Sleigman Performing Arts Center, Detroit Country Day School, 22305 W. 13 Mile Rd. Beverly Hills, MI. See Flyer Below!!
Wednesday, April 18
Five Women Five Journeys at the Mercy Education Project, Detroit, 10:00 AM – 11:15 AM
Sunday, April 22
WISDOM visit to the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn. 10:00 AM registration and breakfast (no cost), 11:00 AM meet with Imam Qazwini, 11:45 AM Tour of the mosque and Q and A, 12:30 PM plan a group lunch at a Middle Eastern restaurant in Dearborn. To sign up for this visit, please email Paula Drewek at firstname.lastname@example.org. See Flyer below.
Wednesday, May 9
Five Women Five Journeys at Fox Run in Novi. Afternoon program.
Wednesday, May 16
“Mental Health Issues and Challenges Facing Metro Detroit’s Diverse Faith Traditions” 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM at The Community House in Birmingham (380 S. Bates)
This presentation will focus predominantly on youth of multiple faith groups, the challenges they face, and the stigma attached to dealing with mental illnesses. The panel will include experts in the mental health field representing the Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, and Muslim faith traditions. This program is sponsored by the Family and Youth Institute, the Interfaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit, Kadima, The Race Relations and Diversity Task Force of the Birmingham Community House, and WISDOM (Women’s Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach in MetroDetroit). The event is free! Coffee and cookies will be served. For further information or to register, please contact Sheri Schiff, email@example.com
See Flyer Below!!
Sunday, May 20
Visit to the Bharatiya (Hindu) Temple, 6850 North Adams Road, Troy, MI 48098
9:30 AM – 9:45 AM Arrival
10:00 AM Welcome, Discussion and Tour of the House of Worship
11:00 AM Joining the devotees in the Congregation Hall
Noon Vegetarian lunch
1:00 PM A sharing of stories of Hindus from India about living in America, Q and A
If you are interested please call the Hindu Temple at 248-879-2552 between 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM or 6:00 PM and 9:00 PM.
Thursday, May 24
Five Women Five Journeys Presentation at the United Methodist Church of the Dunes, Grand Haven, MI. More information in the near future.
Wednesday, June 20
House of Worship visit to the Sikh Gurdwara Sahib Hidden Falls, 40600 Schoolcraft Road, Plymouth Township, MI 48170. 6:15 PM to 8:30 PM. Service is followed by the Langar dinner. There will be no charge. See Flyer Below!!
Thursday, June 28
WISDOM Comes to Congregation Beth Ahm, 5075 W. Maple Road, West Bloomfield
6:30 – 7:15 PM Woll Memorial Bible Garden Tour
7:30 – 9:00 PM Five Women Five Journeys
Sunday, September 9
Third annual Acts of Kindness (AOK) Detroit event – kick off at University of Michigan-Dearborn!! 1:00 – 5:00 PM. Contact Gail Katz for more information. firstname.lastname@example.org
(Women’s Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach
is sponsoring a House of Worship Visit to
The Islamic Center of America
19500 Ford Road
Dearborn, MI 48128
Sunday, April 22, 2012
10:00 AM – Registration and Breakfast (no cost)
11:00 AM – Meet with Imam Qazwini
11:45 AM – Tour of the Mosque and Q and A
12:30 PM – Lunch at a Middle Eastern Restaurant in Dearborn (optional)
To sign up for this visit, please email Paula Drewek at email@example.com
(While there is no charge, as a courtesy to our hosts, we would like to let them know how many of us will be attending.)
(Women’s Interfaith Solutions for
Dialogue and Outreach in MetroDetroit)
The InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit
are sponsoring a house of worship visit to
the Sikh Gurdwara Sahib, Hidden Falls
40600 Schoolcraft Rd, Plymouth Township, MI 48170
on Wednesday, June 20, 2012
6:30 – 7:30 PM Religious Service
7:30 – 8:15 PM Langar Dinner
To sign up for this visit, please email Gail Katz
at firstname.lastname@example.org call her at 248-978-6664.
(While there is no charge, free will donations
are appreciated by the Gurdwara!)
“Mental Health Issues and Challenges Facing Metro Detroit’s Diverse Faith Traditions”
Wednesday, May 16th
6:30 PM to 9:00 PM
at The Community House in Birmingham
(380 S. Bates)
The panel will include experts in the mental health field representing the Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist and Muslim faith traditions. The presentation will focus predominately on youth of multiple faith groups, the challenges that they face, and the stigma attached to dealing with mental illnesses. Information will include steps that teachers, parents, family members, and clinicians can take to ensure that mental health issues of youth in specific faith traditions are addressed.
This program is sponsored by the Family and Youth Institute, the Interfaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit, Kadima, The Race Relations and Diversity Task Force of the Birmingham Community House, and WISDOM (Women’s Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach in MetroDetroit).
The event is free! Coffee and cookies will be served. For further information or to register, please contact Sheri Schiff, email@example.com
Beyond Unspoken Words:
Of Sticks, Stones and Bullies
A Poem by PARVINDER MEHTA
(First published in Sikhchic.com)
This poem is a response to numerous real-life incidents of bullying against young minds aspiring to learn in life. The narrator is a young, Sikh teenager boy who comes to terms with his experiences of bullying through affirmation, history and art.
Their taunts and foul looks, hurtful shards of haunting slurs
seek to depress me to non-being.
The barrage of forceful punches, the onslaught of knuckles and
those deliberate toggles to defeat me, aim for my surrender to non-essence.
They attack me and my looks, an unfamiliar Sikh,
a paraphernalia beyond speculation.
Do I dare explain myself to them? Speak to those resounding, deaf ears
make them see their ill-illumined dungeons?
Why don’t they learn to know me?
Why don’t they know to learn me?
I roll my life – a crumpled paper
hidden in a deep pocket, crushed and marked beyond recognition.
Holding onto this useless fragment, I lay it open in privacy.
Caressing its innocent creases, I recall those dangerous moments,
those arrows of hateful glances, and spears of vicious words,
those smirks while chewing meaningless gum,
those gibes at my long cherished hair, and my curly black beard.
They left invisible fault lines on this paper,
ingrained with smudges beyond erasure.
Their onslaught on my being rattled my body yet crushed not its spirit.
Their pouncing on my head to tousle my patka,
exposed my hair to their cruel gaze of mockery and apathy.
My soft silky hair undone, shield my eyes from
their repugnance and repulsive wonderment.
They leave me alone with a puzzled look,
the cracked mirror in the locker show me my reflections disfigured beyond repair.
Somehow, my faith confirms a steadfast refusal to assimilate to their demands
of conformity. I walk the hallways hoping for acceptance and freedom,
like naked feet avaoiding the pierce of a sharp broken glass.
Those glances of scrutiny fail to shake me as my iron bracelet
reminds me of resolve and affirming allegiance.
The teachers simply look at me as a puzzle, a riddle they never can know,
a strange artifact for their gaze, simply a darkness
of a cavernous maze, an intricacy beyond learning.
At home, I hold onto my life – these wasted papers,
my globes of insignificant secrets, collecting every day,
unfolding their crushed fragilities, caressing the wounds of markedness
and then binding them all together.
These shapeless spheres have mingled with each other’s pain and hurt.
The caressing fingers at last found a meaning
in this origami of comfort beyond pain.
New shapes of resolve and firmness appear magically
as I begin to write those hushed words and silent whispers.
Words spilling out of the rims of my heart,
their calm fury reminds me of those other histories
of persecutions, of unknown strangeness,
refusing to give in to tortures, pressures of conversion
and assimilation, finding a way to define themselves
through sacrifice, rebellion, and martyrdom, combat beyond oppression.
Remembering those subjections, conversions, beheadings
and declared deaths, those histories of martyrdom and warriors,
I caress my wounds hidden in these globs of rejection,
patting their tattered folds every day.
Whispering the faint quivering of my heart, I renew it with inner optimism.
A single tear seeps through, percolating the pain of histories,
releasing bottled rage through blotted letters
as blue ink submerged in red anger flows over,
undrawing those marks of miscognition,
creating another art, a calligraphy beyond rejection.
I wonder and hope for the day, when they would value my existence,
know my reasons, my affirmations without boxing me into orthodoxy or insularity. My history of subjugation, meanwhile nourishes my wounded soul,
as words emerge amidst blots of grief and heal my unspoken pain.
Perhaps I am strong and tested, perhaps I will win this battle
or perhaps I will be a martyr beheaded by hate and oppression.
Till then I must go on and follow my inner guidance, cherishing my heritage,
refusing to give in to injunctions and oversights, refusing to submit to recurrent oppression, I will rise instead nobly as a young eagle bravely learning to fly.
I will sing the clarion call to others to shed the cacophony of jarring
hateful words and instead embrace the mellow rhythms and musical strokes
creating a new art and articulation beyond unspoken words.
Dr. Parvinder Mehta is a writer and an educator. She has taught English writing, literature and film courses at University of Toledo, Wayne State University and Davenport University. She has presented at various national and international conferences. Her publications have appeared earlier on sikhchic.com, as well as in Sikh Formations, South Asian Review and South Asian Diaspora.
Parvinder Mehta ©
IFLC director and WISDOM Co-Founder Gail Katz shares passion for Jewish and Interfaith connections
As a director of the Interfaith Leadership Council (IFLC) of Metropolitan Detroit and a Co-Founder of WISDOM, I like to focus on the enrichment that occurs when we move out of our own religious comfort zones. Expanding my own world view and widening my own religious horizons have served as blessings for me. I have strengthened my capacity to learn about the religions of others with empathy and energy that build friendships.
Celebrating Metro Detroit’s religious diversity expands and intensifies our knowledge about each other and dispels myths, stereotypes, prejudices, and fear that predominate everywhere. Otherwise we underscore our differences that separate us and keep us within our confined and safe spaces.
My interest in advocating for the “other” began when I was a youngster. Growing up in the 1950’s as a Jewish child in a predominantly Christian Maryland neighborhood, I said the Lord’s Prayer every morning in my public elementary school classrooms. I knew in my heart that this was not my prayer. I received no formal Jewish education as a child or as an adolescent, and all I knew about being Jewish was Chanukah, Passover, and going to synagogue twice a year for the Jewish High Holidays.
It wasn’t until I moved to Detroit that I had any idea of what a large scale Jewish population looked like. I grew up wary of my Christian friends. I know they looked at me as the “other”–the one who didn’t have a Christmas tree and didn’t go to church on Sunday. I had the idea in my head that a Jew was not welcome in the many churches that surrounded my childhood home. It took many years for me to get past this feeling.
During my career teaching English As a Second Language in Berkley, Michigan to students that were considered “the other,” I spent a lot of time educating my students about diverse faith traditions in Metro Detroit. Now, in my retirement, I have become extremely involved with interfaith organizations like WISDOM (Women’s Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach in MetroDetroit) and the Interfaith Leadership Council, along with the annual World Sabbath, Face to Faith (an interfaith teen initiative) and AOK Detroit–an annual interfaith community service event. I have truly been enriched stepping outside my circle of Jewish family, Jewish friends, and synagogue life, in order to explore an interfaith journey that has cultivated many new relationships along the way to a newly energized life experience.
Because of my interfaith interactions, I have developed a passion to learn more about my own religion, Judaism. I have had the luxury of taking many classes through the Jewish Federation – Torah and Talmud study, three years of Mussar study, and a two-year preparation for my adult bat-mitzvah this coming June at Temple Israel in West Bloomfield. Every December around Christmas time, my Torah professor, Dr. Mitch Parker, gives a lecture on the “Jewish Jesus” and the Jewish Community at the time of Jesus.
I have been fascinated by these lectures. I have become an avid reader of texts that deal with Jesus and Paul as Jews and how their view of Judaism began to diverge from the Judaism of the Pharisees. I have gobbled up Dr. Amy Jill Levine’s book entitled “The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus,” as well as Rabbi Samuel Sandmel’s book “A Jewish Understanding of the New Testament.”
Coordinating Dr. Amy-Jill Levine’s March 30 lecture on on behalf of the IFLC Education Committee has been a great honor for me. I looked forward to her talk at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Royal Oak entitled “Understanding Jesus Means Understanding Judaism: Tips for Preaching and Teaching”. I was impressed with the number of Christian clergy who registered for this presentation. I had the great fortune of sharing a special breakfast with Dr. Levine along with two outstanding Jewish educators who teach through the Jewish Federation, both who are avid students of Dr. Levine’s edited text entitled “The Jewish Annotated New Testament.”
I hope that those of you who attended her lectures the end of March enjoyed it as much as I did.
A Letter to the Editor from a Friend of WISDOM
Dear Editor: (Livingston County Daily Press & Argus)
After reading the articles by Frank Konkel in our local paper (See Article copied below) and the page of readers comments concerning Howell-area Muslim, Judy Lewis’, application to Love INC to volunteer there, I have the following observations. I’m wondering why a group that calls itself, “Love INC” and reaches out to the community wouldn’t have a policy that includes volunteers of any faith or no faith? INC, (which means “in the name of Christ”), if it truly does represent Christ, would not have a pledge/Apostles’ Creed to sign. If I remember correctly, the big rule Jesus lived by was: “Love thy neighbor as yourself,” or words to that effect. Carl Welser in reaching out to Judy Lewis, asking her to help with the Empty Bowls Event to benefit Gleaners is the example of someone who practices what Jesus lived. He treated her like he would like to be treated or anyone of us would like to be treated. If Love INC doesn’t turn down anyone (no rules about their faith/lack of faith) who calls for their assistance, they why would they turn down a volunteer? Couldn’t they change their rules to include this lovely woman who wants to help close by her home-their neighbor?
This letter is not to disparage the good work that Love INC does, because they do, along with many other worthwhile organizations. WISDOM (Women’s Interfaith Solutions For Dialogue and Outreach in MetroDetroit), www.interfaithwisdom.org, includes in their mission statement: “To dispel myths, stereotypes, prejudices, and fear about faith traditions different from our own.” The Executive Board of Directors and the General Board has representatives of the following religions: Jewish, Muslim, Roman Catholic, American Baptist, Jain, United Church of Christ, Episcopalian, African Methodist Episcopal, Baha’I, Baptist, Sikh, Hindu, and Buddhist. Their first mission statement: “To provide concrete modeling of women from different faith traditions working together in harmony for the common good.” In a legal sense, not an INC group, but in the spirit of Christ, a great group of women.
2641 Sun Terrace Drive
Hartland, MI 48353
Judy Lewis, a Howell-area Muslim woman who was not allowed to volunteer for a local Christian charitable organization, has no shortage of new volunteer opportunities.
Several nonprofit organizations reached out to Lewis after the Daily Press & Argus ran an article profiling her story last week.
Lewis, who volunteers one day a week at the Livingston County Department of Public Health, will assist in the Empty Bowls soup dinner fundraiser that raises money for the Livingston County distribution center for Gleaners Community Food Bank.
Lewis was contacted by Carl Welser, who helps organize the fundraiser each year, and said she’ll assist in clerical work beginning Thursday. She is not sure if it will lead to a longtime commitment.
Lewis also received feedback from the Livingston County chapter of the American Red Cross and said she planned to contact the Livingston County United Way, too.
“It feels good for them to reach out to me,” Lewis said. “Except, I feel skittish. I want to volunteer, but I will probably be more selective on what I do.”
In January, Lewis attempted to volunteer for Howell-based Love in the Name of Christ of the Greater Livingston Area, but said she was not allowed to volunteer because she would not agree “to sign a pledge effectively renouncing my Muslim faith,” she said.
Lewis said it was the first time she felt discriminated against because of her religious beliefs, while Love INC leaders defended the organization, stating that there is nothing wrong with requiring volunteers to fulfill certain requirements.
Love INC requires volunteers who serve through its clearinghouse in Howell adhere to the organization’s 10 core values and sign a confidentiality agreement and the Apostles’ Creed, a Christian statement of belief in a triune God.
“We do not discriminate,” Love INC Executive Director Katherine Janego said. “It is difficult for someone who is unable to serve in the name of Jesus Christ and pray in the name of Jesus Christ to be on the phone with those in need and perform those duties.”
Love INC serves as a referral service, matching those in need with service at more than 50 Livingston County churches. Janego said the organization provides services to those in need, regardless of religious affiliation.
Lewis, who attends the American Muslim Center, a mosque in Dearborn, said she probably would not volunteer at an area church following her attempt to volunteer at Love INC and the subsequent community conversation it started, though Lewis did not rule it out.
She does not regret coming out with her story publicly, however.
“I feel sad that it had to be done, but I’m glad it was done,” she said.
Ideally, Lewis said she’d like to commit two full days per week to volunteering now that she is retired.
The One Year Anniversary of Face to Faith:
A High School Teen Interfaith Initiative
March 15, 2012 was the fifth event for the high school teen program called Face to Faith, and the one year anniversary of this wonderful interfaith youth initiative. Face to Faith was the brainstorm of Andover High School Senior Josh Morof, who, after participating on a Chaldean and Jewish Teen Panel at Temple Israel a year ago, decided to form a broader based interfaith teen initiative. On March 24th, 2011 about 70 Muslim, Jewish, and Christian teens met at the West Bloomfield Jewish Community Center for an evening of learning about each other’s faiths and a chance to dialogue with each other to break down myths and stereotypes. The teens continued to meet at the Presbyterian Church of Birmingham in September, 2011, the Muslim Unity Center in November, 2011, Adat Shalom Synagogue in January, 2012 and finally at Andover High School in Bloomfield Hills on March 15th for the grand finale for this year.
When the diverse teens arrived at Andover High School, they broke the ice by participating in a “Find Someone Who” mixer.
They then enjoyed Middle Eastern food purchased from the Muslim Unity Center’s cafe, and had fun breaking bread together.
The teens then divided up into two groups. The first group played a game called “Name That Faith.” Verses from the Koran, the Torah and the New Testament were called out and teams of teens had to identify their sources.
(Name that Faith Activity)
It became evident that many of the verses were quite similar across the three faith traditions. Contributing to this group game were Imam Mohammed Al-Masmari from the Muslim Unity Center in Bloomfield Hills, Rev. James Hamilton from the Trinity Episcopal Church of Farmington Hills, Rev. Amy Morgan, Associate Pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Birmingham, and Marc Silberstein, instructor at the Frankel Jewish Academy in West Bloomfield.
(Rev. James Hamilton, Imam Al-Masmari, Rev. Amy Morgan, and Marc Silberstein)
The second group engaged in a Team Building Activity, led by Andover teen Josh Morof and Frankel Jewish Academy teen Ilana Woronoff. Teens had to build a structure that only selected members of their team were allowed to see. It was clear that team cooperation and accurate verbal instructions were what was needed to win this game.
(Team Building Activity)
At the end of the evening the teens shared what they had learned about each other and the value of Face to Faith in breaking down barriers and stereotypes about diverse faith traditions. Some of the teens who have been very active in this initiative will be going off to college next fall, and will not be part of the program next year. We asked the teens who will be returning next fall what they might like to include in next year’s Face to Faith programming. Some responses included learning how to deal with misconceptions and conflict, and perhaps participating as an interfaith group in doing community service. We look forward to some of our Muslim, Christian, and Jewish teens re-joining us next school year, and to attracting teens of other faith traditions and cultures(such as Chaldean, Sikh, Hindu, Unitarian, Buddhist, and others) who have not yet been part of Face to Faith.
For More Information about Face to Faith,
contact Gail Katz at firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out this new website www.makers.com. This is website produced jointly by PBS and AOL to introduce women who have changed the world by being groundbreakers in the areas of the arts, science & technology, sports, business, organization, politics and education. Through short, very well-done videos, makers provides opportunities for students and adults alike to listen to these amazing women’s autobiographies, as well as additional “Makers Moments” where they discuss their unique experiences on topics such as their first job, family of origin, current family, how they faced particular challenges and adversities, others who play a positive role in their lives, career visions and accomplishments. It’s a very powerful opportunity to be able to see them and hear them tell their own stories. These are a balanced variety of extraordinary women including CEOs, architects, firefighters, authors, entrepreneurs, community developers, editors, activists, painters, athletes and more. This website can be used as an inspiration to learn more about some very amazing women. Why not consider introducing it to your students, family and friends?
PENTECOST: A POEM
BY RABBI DAVID ZASLOW
(What Judaism and Christianity have in common!!)
Passover and Easter: two moon linked sisters
who long ago stopped speaking to one another:
linked to the fullness in our hearts
and the fullness of God’s grace.
The moon of Sister Miriam desires freedom,
to rescue her people from the cruelty of Pharaoh,
by the outstretched, mighty hand of Adonai,
a hand of salvation reaching down from heaven,
and passing through my nation,
and down through yours,
and then to each and every one of us – so may it be!
The moon of Mother Mary desires to give her light
so that each man and woman might know
the power of the resurrection,
and the soil of death that holds the seeds of rebirth within,
a resurrection reaching upward,
passing through all nations and up to God Almighty!
Two celebrations: two wome: Miriam and Mary,
who don’t even know they have the same name,
one in Hebrew and one in Greek
yet inexorably linked to a single full moon.
And then we each begin to count,
we both count to fifty —
beyond the forty days of Moses on Mt. Sinai
and Jesus in the wilderness.
We go beyond, one cycle further:
to fifty, Shavuot, the Pentecost.
Ours to the revelation of Torah at Sinai,
Yours to the revelation of the Holy Spirit.
Freedom and resurrection. Revelation and revelation.
Twelve tribes and twelve disciples.
One moon, two traditions.
Two covenants, One God,
Shavuot and Pentecost: two cousins
who have just begun to speak.
And King David is singing to us
from his tomb today:
“Teach us to count our days
that we may open our hearts to Your Wisdom.”
Some of us, thank God, are listening.
|Five Women Five Journeys: How Different Are We?
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.
Email Gail Katz at email@example.com
if you have a personal story for the friendshipandfaith.com website!!
LINKS THAT YOU CAN USE FOR MORE INFORMATION!!
2) Go to http://www.readthespirit.com/were-making-news/ for a listing of all the articles written about the WISDOM Book Friendship and Faith: the WISDOM of Women Creating Alliances for Peace.
|Go to our WISDOM websites at
Read our interfaith story of the week from our book Friendship and Faith,
and find the link to buy the book at
Gail Katz firstname.lastname@example.org
|BECOME A FRIEND OF WISDOM! Click on this link to go to the WISDOM website (right side of home page) to print out form to support WISDOM.