Posts by UAW Ford Joint Programs

Interfaith Insights and Inspiration – Judaism

Interfaith Insights and Inspiration


Interfaith Insights & Inspirations is a monthly series from the Ford Interfaith Network. The timing of this publication is intended to precede the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, celebrating the Sinai revelation and the Giving of The Torah. This year’s observance of Shavuot falls on May 24th and May 25th. The word “Shavuot” literally means “weeks”, implying that the 7 weeks after Passover culminate in the Giving of the Torah, the purpose of Jews’ exodus from Egypt.

For more information about Shavuot, try these links:

Please enjoy the following interesting details written by the Ford Jewish Group about the world's oldest monotheistic religion!

Judaism (from the Hebrew יהודה, Yehudah, "Judah"); encompasses the religion, philosophy, culture and a way of life of the Jewish people. Judaism is an ancient monotheistic religion, with the Torah as its foundational text (part of the larger text known as the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible), and supplemental oral tradition represented by texts such as the Midrashim, the Mishnah, and the Talmud that discusses and analyses the Mishnah.

Judaism focuses on relationships: the relationship between G-d and mankind, between G-d and the Jewish nation, between the Jewish nation and the land of Israel, and the relationship that humans have with each other. The Torah tells the story of the development of these relationships, from the time of creation, through the relationship between G-d and Abraham, between G-d and the Jewish people. The Torah also specifies the mutual obligations created by these relationships. So, what are these actions that Judaism is so concerned about? These actions include 613 commandments given by G-d in the Torah to Moses and the Jewish people as well as laws instituted by the rabbis (based on the Torah) and customs developed over the centuries in many different Jewish communities around the world.

Foundations of Jewish faith

The Jewish faith is based on the revelation at Sinai (3300 years ago), and 10 “utterances” of G-d that Jews experienced during the Sinai revelation, and 613 commandments, that are derived from the 10 “utterances”, which are also translated as commandments.

The 10 Commandments are statements of the relationship that G-d desires between mankind and G-d, and between human beings.  The first 5 commandments deal with the relationship with G-d: they prohibit idol worship and polytheism, misuse of G-d’s name, and institute the Sabbath.  The second 5 commandments deal with mankind: they prohibit murder, theft/kidnapping, lying/perjury, and coveting one’s neighbor’s property.

More broadly, the foundations of Jewish faith have been expressed by a 12th century Jewish leader, Rabbi and  scholar – Moshe Ben Maimon (Maimonides):

1. Belief in the existence of One Creator, who is simultaneously within and beyond everything that exists, and is the Primary Cause of all that exists.

2. The belief in G-d's absolute and unparalleled unity, of which EVERYTHING is part of.

3. The belief in G-d's non-corporeality, nor that He will be affected in any way by any physical occurrences, such as movement, or rest, or dwelling.

4. The belief in G-d's eternity.

5. The imperative to worship G-d exclusively and no foreign false gods.

6. The belief that G-d communicates with man through prophecy.

7. The belief in the primacy of the prophecy of Moses our teacher.

8. The belief in the divine origin of the Torah.

9. The belief in the immutability of the Torah.

10. The belief in G-d's omniscience and providence.

11. The belief in divine reward and retribution.

12. The belief in the arrival of the Messiah and the messianic era.

13. The belief in the resurrection of the dead during the Messianic era.

Major denominations or movements within Judaism:

Orthodox Judaism (0.4 to 1.0 million): To a large extent the Reform Movement is what gave “Orthodox Judaism” its name. Prior to the 1800s, there were no such divisions. Orthodox Jews observe the traditional precepts of Jewish law, as commanded in the Torah, both “written” and “oral” law, codified and further explained by the Rabbis. There are many streams of Orthodox Judaism, including Chassidism, Modern Orthodoxy, Sephardi, among others, which have varying traditions and distinctive religious and social cultures.

Reform Judaism (1.2 to 1.8 million): This movement started in 1819 in Germany; in America it started in 1824 in Charleston. Formal U.S. organization occurred in 1873. By 1880 almost all U.S. synagogues were reform. Considered as liberal Judaism. Reform Judaism focuses on ethics and social justice, while rejecting the primacy of halachah, traditional Jewish law.

Conservative Judaism (1.4 to 2.0 million): With some thinking Reform had gone too far (dropping belief in the Oral tradition, concept of Messiah, among others), in 1913 Conservative Judaism was organized. In general, it is the middle ground between Reform and Orthodox. Conservative Judaism accepts the role of halachah, but is open to significant reinterpretations based on modern ideals.

Who is a Jew?

According to Jewish Law (Halachah), a Jew is anyone who was either born of a Jewish mother or who converted to Judaism in accordance with Jewish Law. All mainstream forms of Judaism today are open to sincere converts, although conversion has traditionally been discouraged since the time of the Talmud (~600 C.E). Traditional Judaism maintains that a Jew, whether by birth or conversion, is a Jew forever. Thus a Jew who claims to be an atheist or converts to another religion is still considered by traditional Judaism to be Jewish.

Interfaith Insights and Inspiration – Buddhism

Interfaith Insights and Inspiration


Interfaith Insights & Inspirations is a monthly series from the Ford Interfaith. The timing of this publication is intended to precede the main Buddhist annual observance of Vesak Day. The actual observance varies depending on culture, geography, and tradition. In 2015 the observances range from May 3 to June 4.

For more information about Vesak, try these links:

Enjoy the following interesting details written by the Ford Buddhist Group about the world's fourth largest religion!

"The Buddha" was born as Siddhartha Gautama about 563 B.C. in modern-day Nepal. He grew up secluded as a prince in his father's palace where he had every luxury at his command. According to the customs of the time, he married his princess cousin at age 16. While his father the king kept him secluded in the palace, he eventually took excursions where he saw that old age, sickness, and death are unavoidable characteristics of life. He then decided to find the solution to this universal suffering. At age 29, soon after the birth of his only child, he left his life of luxury and became an ascetic (comfort-denier).

For six years he wandered about as an ascetic -- meeting religious teachers and submitting himself to rigorous ascetic practices. Not satisfied with the results, he went his own way, abandoning all traditional religions and their methods. On the full moon day of the month of Vesak (May), Gautama attained enlightenment and henceforth was called "The Buddha," which means "The Enlightened One." After enlightenment, he taught his first discourse to five ascetic colleagues. For the rest of his life until age 80, he taught all classes of men and women and gained a large following.

The Buddha did not claim to be anything other than a human being, pure and simple. He attributed all of his realization, attainments, and achievements to human endeavor and human intelligence.

The "Four Noble Truths" are the foundation of Buddhism:
1. Dukkha (means difficult to endure; commonly translated as suffering)
2. The cause of suffering (attachment leading to craving)
3. The cessation of suffering
4. The path to the cessation of suffering
The first three noble truths represent the philosophy of Buddhism: Dukkha should be understood; the cause (craving) should be let go of; and the cessation should be realized. The fourth truth represents the ethics of Buddhism -- the path that should be cultivated. This path is called the "Noble Eightfold Path":
1. Right understanding
2. Right thoughts
3. Right speech
4. Right action
5. Right livelihood
6. Right effort
7. Right mindfulness
8. Right concentration
The first two are grouped as wisdom, the next four as morality, and the last two as concentration.

All Buddhists revere the Tripitaka, which comes in three volumes:
1. Discourses (Sutta) -- teachings of Buddha
2. Discipline (Vinaya) -- hundreds of rules for monks and nuns
3. Higher Teachings (Abhidamma) -- analysis of mind and matter

Buddhism has three main sects:
1. Theravada -- follows original Buddhism closely (practiced in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma)
2. Mahayana -- coalesced 1st century A.D. (practiced in Japan, Korea, Mongolia)
3. Vajrayana -- coalesced 5th century (practiced mostly in Tibet)
The foundations of Buddhism presented above are common to all three sects.

Today Buddhism is found in (listed by descending adherence) Mongolia, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Laos, Vietnam, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, China, and in parts of India. It is gaining in popularity in western countries. Estimates of the worldwide Buddhist population vary from 350 to 500 million.

Shrines will exist in a Buddhist home and at the temple; often a statue of Buddha will be found. The four holiest sites to Buddhists today are where Buddha was born, enlightened, first taught, and died (all in India or Nepal). At one of these sites a 500-foot Buddha is currently being planned.

Occurring on the full moon in May, Visakha Puja means "Buddha Day" and is Buddhism's holiest day. The purpose is to celebrate the birth, life, enlightenment, and death of Buddha. Buddhists spend the day by observing precepts, meditating, and listening to sermons. In the evening they hold candlelight processions, illuminate decorations large and small, and continue celebrations late into the night.

The Diversity Digest – March 2015 Edition

The March 2015 edition of the Diversity Digest is online!

March 2015 Newsletter - Please click the image to view the Diversity Digest.

The Diversity Digest – February 2015 Edition

February 2015 Diversity Digest

The February 2015 edition of the Diversity Digest is online!

February 2015 Newsletter - Please click the image to view the Diversity Digest.

New Inspection Validation System

Louisville Assembly Plant FPS Coordinator Steve Milam and Louisville Assembly Quality Rep. Angela Perronie Runner are demonstrating their commitment to ‘Go Further’ by jointly creating a new process to verify and validate inspection items on base operators. This ‘Inspection Validation’ system was presented to approximately 250 UAW-Ford Delegates at our UAW-Ford NQC Quality conference in Black lake in October 2014. The new inspection model challenges plant leadership to think outside the box, while simultaneously creating synergy on the shop floor. The purpose of this new process is to provide a deeper level of understanding to the operators about the items that they’re tasked to inspect. This system of two-way communication increases the confidence of the operator, and empowers them at their work stations by providing in-depth knowledge of their inspection piece. By implementing this new system, Angie and Steve are proving that quality is a team sport, and helping operators to make informed decisions on what the customers’ expectations are.


Individuals in photo (left to right):  UAW Nick Rutovic, Ford Wilhelmina Allen, Louisville Assembly Plant FPS Coordinator Steve Milam, LAP Quality Rep. Angela Perronie Runner, LAP Plant Chairman Barry Ford, and UAW Andre Green.

The Diversity Digest – January 2015 Edition

DIVERSITY-JAN2015The January 2015 edition of the Diversity Digest is online!

January 2015 Newsletter - Please click the image to view the Diversity Digest.

7 Day Habitat for Humanity Blitz

During August 2014, Habitat for Humanity ended with their challenge of 7 Homes in 7 Days with over 1,000 volunteers from around the country.  Included in those volunteers was the UAW/Ford Community Service Team.  The homes were built for low-income families in the Morningside Commons neighborhood on Detroit’s east side.

Habitat for Humanity Detroit started its community revitalization work in the Morningside neighborhood in 2006 and will complete its 100th house in the community during this year’s build.

The UAW/Ford Community Service Team divided into two groups and helped to build two out of the seven homes.

pictured from left to right:  George Fontana, Steve Ellison, Angelo Sacino, Abdu Eljahmi, Enzo Edangel, Brian Brandvold, Carlos Lemons, Rich Brogan, Jason Schiffman, Tom Kanitz, Joe Lukas

pictured from left to right: George Fontana, Steve Ellison, Angelo Sacino, Abdu Eljahmi, Enzo Edangel, Brian Brandvold, Carlos Lemons, Rich Brogan, Jason Schiffman, Tom Kanitz, Joe Lukas


Rawsonville Ramp

Shirley Simpson is a retiree from Ford Motor Company after 32 years.  She worked at the Rawsonville Plant/ UAW Local 898 and retired from the Sheldon Road Plant/ UAW Local 845.  In June 2014, she experienced an unexpected medical condition and found herself stranded in a wheel chair at a rehabilitation center for 4 months.  She could not return home until she could get a ramp built to get into her home.  “We all know that when we are in familiar surroundings and especially our own home, we feel better and heal faster” says Lori Simpson, Shirley’s daughter.


The UAW/Ford Community Service Team, under the direction of UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles and Bill Dirksen, Vice President of Labor Affairs for Ford Motor Company, went to her home and built Shirley a ramp so she could return home to heal.  Shirley, along with her family, are thankful for this Fall blessing from her Union and to Ford for making it possible for her to return home.


Prior to this unfortunate situation, Shirley was the pianist at the Second Baptist Church in Ypsilanti, MI, and is now working towards being able to go back to church, as well playing her beloved piano for the congregation again.


UAW/Ford Community Service Team Front left to right: Jason Schiffman and Joe Lukas Back left to right: George Fontana, Abdu Eljahmi and Brian Brandvold

UAW/Ford Community Service Team
Front left to right: Jason Schiffman and Joe Lukas
Back left to right: George Fontana, Abdu Eljahmi and Brian Brandvold