Beheejah Shakoor learned from a rabbi that the yarmulke is worn as a reminder of a higher power, something she said she also believes.

“You realize we have more in common than differences,” Shakoor, a Muslim nurse from South Lyon, said. Shakoor was among about 100 women of various faiths who attended Sunday’s “A Day of Learning: Women in Judaism” at Congregation Beth Shalom in Oak Park.

Organizers of the event aimed to foster a mutual understanding and trust among women of all faiths, said chairwoman Fran Hildebrandt, a member of the Sisterhood of Congregation Beth Shalom.

“We believe that if we get to know each other, if we become friends, friends don’t fight with friends. If we start in our own back yard and create peace here, it’s like a pebble thrown in the water,” she said.

The event was presented by the Sisterhood, or women’s group, of Congregation Beth Shalom and a group called WISDOM, which stands for Women’s Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach in Metro Detroit. Last year, “A Day of Learning” was held at a mosque in Bloomfield Hills.

The participants heard from several speakers including Rabbi Dan Wolpe, who gave an overview of Judaism. The lunch menu included salads and traditional Jewish dishes such as kugel, a noodle pudding, and triangle-shaped cookies served during Purim called hamantaschen. Women took a facility tour, which included a stop in the sanctuary, where slim, stained-glass windows and wall panels are ornamented with Hebrew letters.

Six women from the Metro Detroit area representing the three main branches of Judaism – Orthodox, Conservative and Reform – led a panel discussion that ranged from religious practices to views on interfaith marriage.


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