Many Faiths, One Goal
World Sabbath service focuses on misuse of religion
SHELLI LIEBMAN DORFMAN
Members of a meditation class at Temple Beth Emeth in practice at the synagogue.
He spoke about Jewish meditation as
a way to keep Jews connected with
Judaism, including those who might not
find their connection in a traditional set-
Temple Shir Shalom in West
Bloomfield holds a yoga meditation serv-
ice about once a month. Congregation
Shir Tikvah. in Troy offers the opportuni-
ty for meditation both through silence
and niggunim (wordless melodies) each
Shabbat. Members built a labyrinth for
meditative walks and meditation is incor-
porated on Yom Kippur and Shavuot.
"Most congregations are aware or fear-
ful that younger people are not coming
to shul, that they are just not part of
Judaism in any engaged kind of way,"
Davis said. "Mediation practice is just
often more engaging for a certain group
of people whose minds are almost always
in overdrive — including American Jews.
They have to learn a way to release that
pressure into a higher place."
Finding a Jewish context for medita-
tion makes Ann Arbor resident Lynn
Sipher feel she has come home. Sipher
first became involved with the program
at Temple Beth Emeth because of a Yom
Kippur meditation service offered two
years ago. Now she finds Jewish group
mediation provides her with motivation
"I feel like I'm coping better with stress
and stressful situations," she said. "I'm
calmer, I'm more relaxed and more cen-
tered, and I would attribute it to a great
degree to meditating most every day."
Meditation helps people get in touch
with their sense of selves as spiritual
beings and has been a growing program
at Temple Beth Emeth over the last five
or six years, said Rabbi Robert Levy.
Rabbi Levy, who went on a five-day
silent Jewish meditative retreat two years
ago at Elat Chayyim, a Jewish spiritual
retreat center in Accord, N.Y., as part of
his sabbatical, recognized mediation not
as a lost Jewish art but as a "sleeping -
Jewish art," a form of prayerful expres-
sion that has existed for centuries.
In the Amidah (silent prayer), he said,
reference is made to the "words of my
mouth and the meditations of my heart,"
which indicates that people were aware
of the role of meditation. There are also
indications in the Talmud that people
were meditating, he said.
Members of Beth Emeth have been
engaging in various pieces of the medita-
tion process in various different venues
— at High Holidays, on a weekly basis
and with some special programs, Rabbi
He emphasized that Jewish medita-
tion is an attempt toward the concept of
devekut, which refers to attachment, and
said it belongs in the synagogue because
meditative practices are long established
"It's important because it's a legitimate
vehicle of Jewish expression and it needs
to have its place within synagogue com-
munities," he said. "I don't see medita-
tion in the recruitment plans, we don't
see it as something we do because it'll
attract people, we do it because people
find meaning in it." 0
Starting Wednesday, Jan. 28, Judy
Freedman will offer an "Introduction
to Jewish Meditation" class from 7:30-
8:45 p.m. at Temple Beth Emeth in
Meditation and a discussion of
the weekly Torah portion also take
place Fridays at 1 p.m. in the
chapel. For more information, call
oming in an election year,
the annual World Sabbath of
worship service will include
a strong call to participants to oppose
those who use and abuse religion as a
means of gaining political power.
"We are aware that political leaders
in every country can use religion as a
means — or a wedge issue — to gain
greater power," said World Sabbath
founder, the Rev. Rodney Reinhart,
interim ministry specialist with the
Episcopal Diocese of Michigan in
Detroit. 'And the United States is not
immune to this practice."
The issue will be addressed at the 7
p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31, interfaith
World Sabbath service at Christ
Church Cranbrook in Bloomfield
Hills. The service was established in
1999 by the Revs. Reinhart and
'Edward Mullins of Christ Church
"We must be
watchful in this
election year to
keep the issues of
equality faith and a
deep concern for
the needy and the
poor right up front
in the things we say and do," Rev.
"Every religion teaches tolerance,
justice, forgiveness, reconciliation and
peace. The World Sabbath is an inter-
faith holy day of peace established to
set the record
straight about the
true message of all
the great religions
of the world.
"[It] serves as a
reminder that reli-
gious leaders must
always speak out to Mullins
protect the people
of their own faith as well as those who
follow other faiths."
Among the evening's presenters will
be Rabbi Tamara Kolton of the
Birmingham Temple. Her topic focus-
es on "A New Day," a time "when
Christians and Jews find each other in
appreciation, friendship and harmo-
nious community," Rabbi Kolton said.
She also will speak about the power
of story in the Christian church.
the story of
Jew as Christ
speakers at the
the Rev. Carlyle Stewart III of Hope
United Methodist Church in
Southfield; the Rev. John West of Our
Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in
Farmington Hills; and Imam Achmat
Salie of the Islamic Association of
Greater Detroit in Auburn Hills.
Planning committee member Brenda
Naomi Rosenberg of Bloomfield Hills
will showcase her Wings4Peace jewel-
ry collection at the program.
Rosenberg's designs include necklaces,
key chains, lapel pins and belt buck-
les, some highlighted with emblems of
various religions, including the Star of
David. Each features jeweled wings,
included as a symbol of peace.
Rosenberg will donate 50 percent of
the cost of items sold that evening to
help bring the World Sabbath to com-
munities throughout the world.
"There is no task more important
than building bridges of understand-
ing between peOple of faith,"
Rosenberg said. "We must create
peace — first within our own hearts
— and then we must reach out to all
communities in the world."
Performing at the event will be the
Hope United Methodist Church
choir, led by Alvin Waddles, and the
Christ Church Cranbrook choir under
the direction of John Repulski. A
choral reading of a rap poem for peace
will be presented by students from
MANY FAITHS ON PAGE 56