Happy New Year!
Best wishes for health and happiness.



The Year in Review:
2021 in Brief
 
This past year has brought major changes for the InterFaith Leadership Council, as it has for many organizations. Despite COVID’s challenges, the InterFaith Leadership Council’s impact in metro Detroit continues to be strongly felt by many--through multiple opportunities for interfaith education for students and adults, educational podcasts, the Religious Leaders Forum, and the new Community Interfaith Values Project.
         When COVID led to the closure of schools and houses of worship during the 2019-20 school year, Religious Diversity Journeys was completely redesigned as a virtual program—becoming “RDJ Anywhere.” A new online curriculum was developed in conjunction with WTVS/Detroit Public Television and implemented for the 2020-21 school year. Seventh graders from 30 local schools in 10 districts participated online from their homes and in classroom settings. While students were unable to personally visit houses of worship, Religious Diversity Journeys successfully brought five religious traditions to students through online interviews, videos, filmed visits to houses of worship, and additional multi-media resource material.
         Religious Diversity Journeys continues to be a powerful tool to engage students in talking with and learning about those who may be unfamiliar to them—individuals who might otherwise be stereotyped as “the other.” It provides a way to teach tolerance and understanding to young people who bring these ideas home and to their larger community.
         The InterFaith Leadership Council held several events that were open to the larger community in a safe way. These activities included its first online awards ceremony and fundraiser held in February. While personal interactions were missed, this was a safer way to honor community leaders and raise more than $45,000 to support the InterFaith Leadership Council. Imam Steve Mustafa Elturk is pictured above left, receiving the 2021 Interfaith Leader Award from Robert A. Bruttell, vice chair, following the virtual awards presentation.
         Other events that welcomed the general community included:
·       An online panel presentation about Spirituality in Solitude—how religious observances have changed in the COVID era.
·       A presentation about Art and Faith with a video featuring local artists whose work expresses their religious and ethnic traditions.
·       An in-person program about the Hindu philosophy and traditions, at the Bharatiya Temple in Troy.
·       A hybrid (in-person and virtual) stakeholders meeting updating members of the faith community and others about the new Interfaith Community Values Project and other InterFaith Leadership Council activities.
         Faith & Works—a series of podcasts about issues relating to religion in America was introduced during 2021. A broad spectrum of presenters provides interesting perspectives on such topics as “What is the function of religion?” and “Is there a conflict between religion and vaccination?”
         Our Religious Leaders Forum continued to meet regularly via Zoom—discussing religious issues and sharing best practices for clergy of multiple faiths. Members continue to be concerned about the need for affordable water for all and plan to bring that to the attention of public officials again.
         The Health and Healthcare Committee developed a partnership with the Institute for Faith and Resilience to conduct a survey about how faith affects the ability of religious leaders to cope in stressful times. Health promotion programs for diabetes prevention and faith community nursing have been supported as well.
         The Interfaith Community Values Project was introduced late in the year and several meaningful pilot discussions were held with diverse community members. This project will reinvigorate and expand our community’s commitment to the values that are essential for harmony and caring for all.

Rabbi Dr. Yanklowitz
Save the Date:
Glazer Institute Will Feature “Transforming the World from the Inside-Out” on January 27, 2022

       The 80th Glazer Institute for Judaism, the longest running interfaith institute in the U.S., will feature Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz (right) on Thursday, January 27 in both in-person (at Temple Beth El in Bloomfield Hills) and virtual programs. Rabbi Yanklowitz, a prolific author and coalition builder, will explore how self-transformation can help transform society. Details and registration information are available at:
       This year’s Glazer Institute theme is very relevant to the InterFaith Leadership Council’s Community Values project. The next newsletter will include an interview with Rabbi Yanklowitz and Rabbi Mark Miller, senior rabbi at Temple Beth El. The InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit is a co-sponsor of the Glazer Institute.

InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit | P.O. Box 252271, West Bloomfield, MI 48325
Phone: [313.338.9777] Email contact: detroit.interfaith.council@gmail.com