WISDOM Newsletter – October 2013

Written by WISDOM on . Posted in Newsletters



In this issue
Calendar for Wisdom
Face to Faith High School Teen Event
Final Goodbyes!
WISDOM Ethnic Dinner
Native American Documentary
Human Trafficking
Musical Interfaith Service
30 Days of Peace
AOK Detroit
Pope Francis and Dialogue
Pope Francis and a Hebrew Blessing
Dr. Diane Baker is ordained
WISDOM packs backpacks
Jews and Muslims on Yom Kippur
Five Women Five Journeys
Friendship and Faith


Calendar for WISDOM and Other Interfaith Events



Thursday, October 3rd


Face to Faith event for High School Teens – focus on Catholicism at the Manresa Jesuit Retreat house, Bloomfield Hills

6:00 – 9:00 PM

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

Sunday, October 6th


Final Goodbyes: Death, Dying and Mourning Across the Faith Traditions

3:30PM to 6:00 PM

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

We will have Jewish, Muslim, African American Baptist, Sikh, and Native American panelists

Contact Gail Katz for more information, gailkatz@comcast.net and to register!!

$8.00 admission charge can be sent to the Interfaith Leadership Council at 10821 Capital St., Oak Park, MI 48237

or you can pay through paypal on the IFLC website: http://www.detroitinterfaithcouncil.com

Click on the events button on the right side of the webpage –  a form will come up for registration and the paypal button

will be on the bottom of the page

See Flyer below!


Monday, October 7th


7:00 PM

Five Women Five Journeys, Troy Area Interfaith Group

Northminster Presbyterian Church

3633 Big Beaver Rd., Troy, MI 48084

For further info:  troy.interfaith@gmail.com


Thursday, October 17th


6:30 PM

WISDOM Ethnic Dinner in Greektown

See flyer below for details

Monday, October 21

7:00 PM

WISDOM sponsors the one hour documentary on Michigan Native Americans entitled, “Our Fires Still Burn: The Native American Experience.”  Guest speaker is producer Audrey Geyer.

Birmingham Community House, 380 S. Bates, Birmingham, MI 48009

See Flyer Below

Tuesday, October 29


7:00 PM

Five Women Five Journeys

Congregation Bnai Moshe, 6800 Drake Rd. W. Bloomfield. Contact is “Anne Rottman” annerottman@gmail.com 

Thursday, November 7th

6:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Face to Faith event for High School Teens

at the Bharatiya (Hindu) Temple in Troy.

Discussion about Diwali.  Contact Gail Katz, gailkatz@comcast.net

for more information




  Face to Faith High School Interfaith Teen Event
Thursday, October 3rd at Manresa Jesuit Retreat House, 1390 Quarton Road in Bloomfield Hills (North side of Quarton just West of Woordward).
Come into the building that says “Manresa” on it!
$10 donation to help us cover the cost of the dinner!
6:00 PM Mixer and Dinner
6:45 PM Tour of Manresa and discussion of Catholicism
7:30 PM “Reuniting the Children of Abraham”
8:15 PM Small Group Discussion
9:00 PM Conclusion
Contact Gail Katz for registration and questions at gailkatz@comcast.net

 The Interfaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit




(Co-sponsored by WISDOM, Women’s Interfaith Solutions

For Dialogue and Outreach in MetroDetroit)


An interfaith panel will include:


Jewish – David Techner, Ira Kaufman Chapel, Southfield

Muslim – Imam Abdullah El-Amin, Detroit Muslim Center

Christian – Rev. Sandra K. Gordon, Greater New Mt. Moriah, Detroit

Sikh – Raman Singh from the Gurdwara Sahib Hidden Falls, Plymouth

Native American – Kay Givens McGowan, Choctaw-Cherokee heritage


Sunday, October 6     3:30 – 6:00 PM

St. John’s Episcopal Church

26998 Woodward Ave., Royal Oak, MI 48067

(corner of Woodward & 11 Mile Rd.)


$8.00 checks can be sent to the Interfaith Leadership Council at 10821 Capital St., Oak Park, MI 48237 or you can pay through paypal on the IFLC website – www.detroitinterfaithcouncil.com Click on the events button on the right side of the webpage – a form will come up for registration and the paypal button will be on the bottom of the page! Questions? Contact the Rev. Bob Hart at 248-546-1255


You can also pay at the door!! Light refreshments will be served! This discussion is the second part of a series about life cycle events across faith traditions.














(380 S. Bates St. Birmingham)


Join Audrey Geyer, independent video producer, as she talks about the stories featured in this documentary about Native Americans in the Midwest, their past trauma and how they are initiating social change.


There is no charge, but please register

By sending an email to Sheri Schiff




    30 Days of Peace Continues

By DIANE SPEER – News Lifestyles Editor , The Alpena News

 The 30 Days of Peace activities included a Women’s Interfaith Panel that presented Reflections on Peace and Unity Sept. 22 at 3 p.m. at Alpena County Library. The panel was comprised of two members of WISDOM (Women’s Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach in MetroDetroit), who shared their personal responses to their differing faiths, what brought them together and what keeps them working for women’s empowerment, peace and justice.

The two panelists were Gail Katz, who is Jewish, and Dr. Paula Drewek, who is Baha’i. Their appearance in Alpena was sponsored by the Religions Study Committee at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Alpena and LARCC (Lutheran Anglican Roman Catholic Congregational churches of Alpena).

“We are trying to promote peace by studying the different religions, and thought it would be a nice tie-in with the Peace Coalition’s efforts,” said Janice Boboltz, a member of the Religions Study Committee.

Katz is a retired teacher from the Berkley School District where she taught English as a second language to immigrant students and sponsored diversity initiatives in the district. A member of Temple Israel in West Bloomfield, she has been involved in bringing Jewish and Chaldean women together in the Metro Detroit area to get to know one another and form a joint women’s social action initiative.


Drewek is a retired professor of humanities at Macomb Community College and recently served as coordinator of Macomb’s Multicultural and International Initiatives Program. She has been a Baha’i since her teen years and has taught the faith widely in presentations and workshops in the United States, Canada, India and Southern Africa.

The 30 Days of Peace begins each year on Sept. 11 and continues for 30 days with a variety of prayer services, films, discussions and music events, all intended to put the spotlight on issues surrounding the need for peace on a personal level as well as a global level. It is sponsored by the Alpena Peace Coalition.

Check out WISDOM on the Alpena local TV station at


AOK (Acts of Kindness) Detroit

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

Community Service at

Alternatives for Girls

in Southwest Detroit

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Welcoming Michigan kicked off Welcoming Week early by joining partners and volunteers from ACCESS, WISDOM, U of M Dearborn, First Congregational Church of Royal Oak, Interfaith Leadership Council, National Network for Arab American Communities, and Chadsey Condon Community Organization for A-OK Service Day 2013. The mission of Acts of Kindness (A-OK) Detroit is to honor the memory of 9/11 as an opportunity for people to come together and work side by side to make their community a better place. This year 70 volunteers worked at Alternatives For Girls in Chadsey Condon, southwest Detroit. Volunteers from across metro Detroit – Dearborn, Royal Oak, Beverly Hills, Birmingham, Troy and more – helped clean up a vacant overgrown lot across the street. Inside the building volunteers helped clean & tidy the kitchens and childcare room, washed windows, organized the library and arts & crafts room, and packed hygiene kits. Ania Bieciuk from Governor Snyder’s Office issued a special tribute and we were joined by very special guests Oakland County Judge Michael Warren and Rep. Rashida Tlaib. It was a great experience for everyone to give back while getting to know their neighbors!
THANK YOU EVERYONE! Please join us again next year!

Pope Francis to Japanese students:

 ‘Dialogue is what brings peace’

Not wanting to disappoint 200 Japanese junior high school students, Pope Francis held a special audience Wednesday in the San Damaso Courtyard of the apostolic palace. The students from Seibu Gakuen Bunri Junior High School in Tokyo had planned their trip to Rome and the Vatican long before the Vatican announced that Pope Francis would not hold his weekly general audiences in August. The pope told the students that traveling, getting to know people who are different from themselves, learning about other cultures and religions “is good for you. It helps you grow.” Growth, he said, is impossible if a person stays closed in on himself.
“If we go out to encounter other people, other cultures, other religions, we grow and we begin that beautiful adventure called dialogue,” he told the students.
“Dialogue is what brings peace,” the pope told the group, which included Christians and Buddhists. “Peace is impossible without dialogue.
“All wars, conflicts and troubles we encounter with each other are because of a lack of dialogue,” he said.
Pope Francis said there is always a danger that two people with firm identities and an inability to be open to the other will fight instead of dialogue.
“We dialogue to meet each other, not to fight,” he said.
Dialogue involves asking the other, “Why do you think this?” or “Why is that culture this way?” then listening to the response, he said. “First listen, then talk — that’s meekness.” “If you don’t think like I do … and you can’t convince me to think like you do, that’s OK. We can still be friends,” he said.
After the students sang for him, Pope Francis told them that give-and-take is important in dialogue, but he was very sorry that he couldn’t reciprocate with a song of his own. “I don’t know how to sing; I can’t,” he said. A young girl, in correct but halting Italian, thanked the pope for giving the students some of his precious time, and she promised they would try to follow his advice.
“Are you from Naples?” the pope asked her. “Your Italian is so good.”

Pope Francis Flexes His Hebrew, Wishing the World’s Jews Happy New Year.


Pope Francis claims he isn’t much of a polyglot, but apparently he had no problem giving new year’s greetings in Hebrew. In a meeting yesterday with a delegation from the World Jewish Congress, the pope wished its president, Ronald Lauder, and Jews worldwide, “Shana Tova” or “good year” as the Jewish New Year of 5774 begins on Rosh Hashanah, Wednesday evening. The pope also called on world leaders to “do everything to avoid war” and to foster increased dialogue, especially among the world’s religious communities, according to a statement released by the New York-based international organization.


It wasn’t the first time the pope met with an international group of Jewish leaders; in fact, he reiterated the same forceful phrase he pronounced during a June meeting with an international Jewish coalition, in which he said, “Due to our common roots, a Christian cannot be anti-Semitic!” Christians must learn about and understand Jewish history and traditions, the pope added at yesterday’s meeting, according to the WJC.


The group said the pope promised to get his point man on relations with Jews, Cardinal Kurt Koch, to do what he could concerning Poland’s ban on the kosher slaughter of animals. The papal meeting also including discussions about attacks against religious minorities, such as the Coptic Christians in Egypt, and increasing restrictions against male circumcision.


Ronald Lauder praised the church for its work in improving Catholic-Jewish relations and said Pope Francis’ leadership “has not only reinvigorated the Catholic Church, but also given new momentum to relations with Judaism.” As Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, the future pope was close to many Jewish leaders and made numerous inroads to improving inter-religious relations.


As a token of thanks during the meeting, Lauder gave the pope a Kiddush cup, used for the blessing of wine on Jewish holidays, and a traditional Rosh Hashanah dessert of honey cake.

Dr. Diane Baker is Ordained and Installed
at Bethel United Church of Christ Along
with Multi-Faith Presentations
Dr. Diane Baker re-created her ordination and installation on August 25th at the Waterford Bethel United Church of Christ by including prayers from several other faith traditions as well as prayers from other denominations of Christianity. The final moments of Diane’s installation was inclusive of words of welcome from Dr. Charles Mabee, chair of the Institute of Engaged Hospitality followed by prayers in the Baha’i, Hindu, Muslim, Jain, Jewish, and Buddhist faith traditions. After each interfaith blessing and prayer, the representatives of the variety of faith traditions lit a candle to symbolize their unity in faith and their work toward peace and wholeness in and throughout the earth.
  The prayers were offered by John Suggs (Macomb County Baha’i Community), Seema Shah (Bharatiya Temple), Hajj Reyad Mallad (Muslim Chaplain at Oakwood Hospital), Avi Shah (Jain Temple), Gail Katz (Temple Israel), Ven. Bup Mee (Muddy Water Zen).
A group photo of all of the multi-faith partners was taken at the end of Diane’s wonderful service!  Congratulations Diane!!

WISDOM Partners with Greater New Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit to pack backpacks for the church’s school children!
Rev. Sandra Gordon shows one of the backpacks to the children in the church’s sanctuary as they honor the WISDOM board members
who came to the Sunday, September 8th service to help distribute the backpacks!





Article in the Detroit Jewish News

on September 19, 2013


On the evening before Yom Kippur, an astounding 3,000 individuals performed the rite of kapores (symbolic atonement), with its after-effects spilling over into both the Jewish and Muslim communities. The huge Jewish crowd gathered in a white-tented area outside the Chabad House of Farmington Hills on Sept. 12 to participate in the unique custom that includes the recitation of a prayer and the circling of a chicken overhead three times. Participants paid a nominal fee, but do not own the chickens. Many came as families, and one representative would circle a chicken for them all. After the service, the chickens were transported to Halal Live Chicken in Hamtramck, where they were slaughtered according to Jewish law, with most sold to the needy in the Jewish community at deeply discounted prices.


“We brought in a world-class shochet (ritual slaughterer), Avrohom Greenberg from Cleveland,” said Rabbi Herschel Finman of the Jewish Hour radio show, who has been organizing the service for the past 25 years, along with Rabbi Chaim M. Bergstein of the Chabad House. It is done as a community service. Kapores is not to be thought of a sacrifice.  “It is a humbling experience,” Finman said. “We are made to feel the value of life and understand that this animal is going to be losing its life shortly. We do not want that to happen to us.”


More than 200 individuals came to Halal to watch the slaughter the morning after kapores. “They want closure,” Finman said. “Being there brings the realization of the fragility of life.” The chickens were processed at Halal. “The birds must be cleaned, soaked and salted before they can be consumed,” Finman said. “With no kosher markets in the Detroit area set up to process them, we hired Halal, and they did an outstanding job. This was a Jewish project that included members of the Muslim community in an effort to show that the two communities can work together and that the differences between us are small.  “Halal’s proprietor, Tony Islam, is very impressed with the Jewish community and honored to be part of this ceremony,” Finman said. “He saw how we handled the birds and was awed that we distribute the chickens to the Jewish community.”


The chickens were ritually slaughtered on Friday morning and were in freezers by 10:30 a.m. About 200 kosher chickens are still available and may be purchased at a low cost. The processing was done under the supervision of the Council of Orthodox Rabbis of Greater Detroit. “It was their job to ensure that the process was done correctly; a non-Jew may salt kosher chickens under proper supervision,” Finman said.  With no kosher poultry farms in Michigan, the 1,200 chickens used for kapores at the synagogue were purchased from a poultry farm in Indiana. Kapores can also be performed with money – instead of fowl – which is given to charity.


Finman is aware there is much concern about mistreatment of chickens by participants of kapores in some cities. “Here in Michigan, the animals are kept cool and comfortable,” he said. “They are handled with compassion. The shechitah (Jewish ritual slaughter) is the most humane way to slaughter an animal. We are very aware of tzar baalei chayim, the prohibition of causing pain to animals.”


Finman is extremely attentive to the manner in which the custom is fulfilled. “I instruct each person on how to hold the chicken so they cause no harm,” he said. “I make sure they do not grab in an improper way and they do not hurt them. There is no animal cruelty involved in the kapores ritual. “Regardless of religious affiliation, people who attended kapores said they appreciated being able to participate,” Finman said. “They told me it was like connecting with their ancestors in being part of the same rite.”

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.
Email Gail Katz at gailkatz@comcast.net if you have a personal story for the friendshipandfaith.com website!!


 1)  Go to http://www.readthespirit.com/religious-holidays-festivals/ for fascinating information about upcoming Religious holidays that your neighbors of different faith traditions may be celebrating!!

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.

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!