Chaldean News - October 2019

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Chaldean News has been the voice of the Southeast Michigan Chaldean community since 2004.

VOL. 16 ISSUE IX

METRO DETROIT CHALDEAN COMMUNITY OCTOBER 2019

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3

www.chaldeannews.com

FIGHTING TO HEAL

WAEL “BULL” ABBOUD HELPS PUT THE BRAKES

ON PARKINSON’S DISEASE

INSIDE

OUR BURIED HISTORY

DECEPTION, PROMISES AND BETRAYAL

FUN AND SAFE HALLOWEEN


2 CHALDEAN NEWS OCTOBER 2019


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OCTOBER 2019 CHALDEAN NEWS 3


4 CHALDEAN NEWS OCTOBER 2019


OCTOBER 2019 CHALDEAN NEWS 5


CHALDEAN COMMUNITY

FOUNDATION

BENEFITING THE

CHALDEAN

COMMUNITY

FOUNDATION

VINCENT OSHANA

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CONTENTS OCTOBER 2019

THE CHALDEAN NEWS VOLUME 12 ISSUE XII

45

departments

8 FROM THE EDITOR

BY PAUL JONNA

Back to work

24

on the cover

24 FIGHTING TO HEAL

BY PAUL NATINSKY

‘Bull’ helps put the brakes on Parkinson’s Disease

features

26 OUR BURIED HISTORY

BY CHRISTOPHER SALEM

Meet the Assyrian Jews

28 CHALDEANS BRING DIFFERENT

VIEWS IN APPOINTED POSITIONS

BY M. LAPHAM

30 FUNNY IS FUNNY

BY SARAH KITTLE

32 DECEPTION, PROMISES

AND BETRAYAL

BY ADHID MIRI, PHD

34 MARVIN AMMORI CONTINUES TO

SUPPORT THE ‘LITTLE GUY’

BY PAUL NATINSKY

10 FOUNDATION UPDATE

11 IRAQ TODAY

BY CARDINAL LOUIS RAPHAEL SAKO

Christians OF Iraq, where to?

12 NOTEWWORTHY

13 CHALDEAN DIGEST

14 WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

BY ASHOURINA SLEWO

In service to the community

16 FAMILY TIME

BY DANIELLE ALEXANDER

Tips for a fun, safe Halloween

18 CHAI TIME

20 RELIGION

BY FR. PIERRE KONJA

Look beyond the distractions

22 IN MEMORIAM

36 CHALDEAN ON THE STREET

BY HALIM SHEENA

Being Chaldean

38 DOCTOR IS IN

BY JANICE KIZY

Facing mental illness

39 ECONOMICS AND ENTERPRISE

BY LISA CIPRIANO

A sweet labor of love

40 CLASSIFIEDS

42 EVENTS

OCTOBER 2019 CHALDEAN NEWS 7


from the EDITOR

PUBLISHED BY

Chaldean News, LLC

Chaldean Community Foundation

Martin Manna

Back to work

EDITORIAL

ACTING EDITOR IN CHIEF

Paul Jonna

MANAGING EDITOR

Ashourina Slewo

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Ashourina Slewo

Halim Sheena

Paul Natinsky

Sarah Kittle

Janice Kizy

Christopher Salem

Dr. Adhid Miri

M. Lapham

Danielle Alexander

Fr. Pierre Konja

Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako

ART & PRODUCTION

CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Alex Lumelsky with SKY Creative

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Chaldean News

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Phone: (248) 851-8600

Publication: The Chaldean News (P-6); Published

monthly; Issue Date: October 2019 Subscriptions:

12 months, $35.

Publication Address:

30095 Northwestern Hwy., Suite 101,

Farmington Hills, MI 48334;

Permit to mail at periodicals postage rates

is on file at Farmington Hills Post Office

Postmaster: Send address changes to

“The Chaldean News 30095 Northwestern Hwy.,

Suite 101, Farmington Hills, MI 48334”

PAUL JONNA

ACTING EDITOR

IN CHIEF

StoryWalk ® in Stering Heights features braille assistance.

In the last issue, we reintroduced

the Chaldean

News (CN) to you, our

readers, under the ownership

of the Chaldean Community

Foundation (CCF).

We outlined our vision and

direction of the future of

this publication with new

columns while refining others.

Each issue will also include

sections dedicated to

the numerous happenings of

the Chaldean American Chamber of

Commerce and the unbelievable community

services provided at the CCF.

Another new section that you

may have noticed in the October

issue is the “Chaldean Digest.”

While the biggest concentration of

Chaldeans is here in Michigan, our

community is making news in all

parts of the world, across a variety of

platforms. So, with this new section,

we aim to provide you with as many

stories from across the world that are

relevant to our community.

Taking readers on a journey

through the past, we will also be including

a “Where Are They Now?”

section, in which we will be catching

up with prominent and influential

members of the community. We’re

talking to Saad Marouf this month.

Who do you think we should catch

up with next?

We are also proud to introduce a

new column this month that focuses

on informative information relating

to Chaldean families, parents, and

children. Be sure to read how Detroit

Mom blog writer, Danielle Alexander,

recommends how parents

can ensure their children enjoy Halloween

without sacrificing

safety or peace of mind.

As we continue to revise

our content to provide

relevant, in-depth and informative

stories that affect

your lives, it’s no secret

that our faith continues to

guide our community. Now,

more than ever, we need to

hear from our Church, our

priests and our Bishop on

a wide range of issues. This

past month, I had the unbelievable

honor of baptizing my nephew, Matthew.

During the baptism, Father

Bryan was quick to remind each

God parent of the responsibility that

comes with such honor. Just as quick,

was a much-needed reminder that we

too, as God parents, must first follow

the teaching of Jesus before leading

another soul to salvation. With that

said, it only makes sense that the

CN’s “Religion” section serve as an

opportunity for the Chaldean clergy

to directly speak to our readers about

topics surrounding the Church.

We are honored that Fr. Pierre

Konja has taken the lead by penning

the first piece in the new and improved

CN “Religion” section. As rumors and

distractions take a hold of the community,

Fr. Pierre stresses the importance

of focusing on the task at hand.

We will continue to cover topics

that are within your home, that

matter to you and that are relevant

to the health and wellness of your

family. With the unprecedented rise

of food allergies, next month’s issue

will include an article focusing on

the dangers of food allergies. Please

send us your stories, fears and coping

measures in dealing with your child’s

allergies.

Please always feel free to E-mail

edit@chaldeannews.com to us what

is important to you.

Paul Jonna

Acting Editor in Chief

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OCTOBER 2019 CHALDEAN 9/20/19 NEWS 2:23 PM9


FOUNDATION update

Cutting Cake to Celebrate Citizenship Day

New Americans packed the classroom

at the Chaldean Community

Foundation to celebrate Citizenship

Day on Tuesday, September 17.

Speaking to the crowd of new

Americans was Sterling Heights

Mayor Michael Taylor, Judy McHale

from the Sterling Heights Clerk’s

Office, Joe Miszcak from Congresswoman

Brenda Lawrence’s office and

CCF Citizenship Program Manager

Sam McLaren-Fahey.

The speakers congratulated those

in attendance on completing the citizenship

process while stressing the

importance of registering and taking

the time to vote.

During the past year, more than 400

clients at the Chaldean Community

Foundation became new Americans

through the citizenship process, with

even more applications filed on behalf

Census Day is April 1, 2020!

Thanks to the generosity of w3r

Consulting, the Nona Family and

Drs. Nathima and Peter Atchoo

Family Foundation, 10 students will

be awarded with scholarships totaling

$30,000 this year.

Candidates can download the

application and learn more at chaldeanfoundation.org/scholarships.

The deadline to apply is Friday,

October 4 at 5 p.m.

All applicants must meet certain

qualifications and submit the

required documents. Any omissions

result in immediate disqualification

from consideration.

Awardees will be honored at the

Chaldean Community Foundation’s

2nd Annual Awards Dinner Gala on

Thursday, November 14, 2019 at the

of those looking to become citizens.

Attendees at the program had the

opportunity to register to vote onsite

through the Sterling Heights Clerk’s

Office and CCF’s Hey U Vote initiative,

which is available to CCF clients

during business hours. The clerk’s office

also provided information related

to Census 2020 to the new Americans,

stressing the importance of an

accurate count to the community.

The Census is a physical count of all people living in the United States that takes places every 10 years. Census participation

is required by law and it is incredibly important that all members of our community are counted correctly

in the upcoming census. The Chaldean community is currently very underrepresented in all levels of government.

Unfortunately, the United States classification of Middle-Eastern and North African (MENA) people as “White”

on census forms, school forms, and professional admission exams create an invisible gap of racial equity for MENAs.

Without a complete and accurate count, we stand to lose community funding, congressional representation, and

much more. Households should expect to receive a postcard with instructions to participate in the Census online

beginning in mid-March 2020. Households will also have the option to respond via phone or mail. If you have questions

regarding the Census, please visit the Chaldean Community Foundation in Sterling Heights.

You Still Have Time to Apply to the Chaldean Community

Foundation 2019 Academic Scholarship Program

w3r Consulting, Yvonne E. Nona and Drs. Nathima and Peter Atchoo

Palazzo Grande in Shelby Township.

For questions, please contact Stacy

Bahri or Ashley Attisha at (586)

722-7253.

Sterling Heights

Library Introduces

Inclusive StoryWalk ®

With Braille Feature

The city of Sterling Heights and the

Sterling Heights Public Library have

created an inclusive way to enjoy the

great outdoors with their StoryWalk ®

at Beaver Creek Park.

Currently featuring “The Way

Back Home” by Oliver Jeffers, the

StoryWalk ® installation includes a

Braille version of the story on each

marker for blind individuals to be

able to participate. The inclusion

of Braille on the walk was inspired

by the Chaldean Community Foundation’s

Blind, ESL, Acculturation

and Mobility project. Part of CCF’s

Breaking Barriers program, the

BEAM project helps blind students

learn Braille and English, along with

skills to help them live an independent

life in America.

Coming Up At CCF

Sterling Heights

Police and Fire

officials are coming

to CCF on

Thursday, October

10 for a town

hall on the Safe

Streets Renewal proposal on the ballot

for November 5. The proposal

would extend the current millage

for another 10 years. Attendees can

also register to vote for the upcoming

elections on November 5 through

CCF’s Hey U Vote initiative.

State Farm and the Chaldean

Community Foundation are hosting

a Lunch and Learn Financial Foundations

Workshop from 2:30 to 4:30

p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 9. The presentation

will focus on developing

and sticking to good financial habits.

10 CHALDEAN NEWS OCTOBER 2019


IRAQ today

Supporters of Iraqi

Christinals protest at

Hart Plaza, Detroit

in 2014.

Christians of Iraq, where to?

BY CARDINAL LOUIS RAPHAEL SAKO

The declining Christians represent

an essential component of

Iraq. From the dawn of Christianity

until the fall of Saddam Hussein’s

regime in 2003, they defended

the values of citizenship and human

fraternity; formed an effective model

for that; and preserved their towns,

churches and monasteries. They were

attacked by terrorists, abducted, killed

and their Churches were blown away

after 2003. Such is the case of the

Syriac Catholic Church of Our Lady

of Deliverance in 2010.

In 2014, ISIS occupied Mosul and

the Nineveh Plain towns. Christians

were driven away from their homes

and their burned churches which

dated back to the 4th, 5th, 6th, and

7th Centuries. These churches reflected

a deep-rooted and prosperous

Christian presence in this region. Today,

despite the liberation of their areas,

Christians have not received any

support from the Iraqi Government

for the reconstruction of their homes

and rehabilitation of infrastructure.

Moreover, the conflict has been intensified

on their land to change its

demographic, causing escalation of

their worries and fears.

What is Going on?

Currently, Iraqi Christians are represented

by 14 Churches, of which the

Chaldean Catholic Church is the

largest and most important. Christians

have formed political parties

and organizations that have done

nothing useful for them. The population

of Iraqi Christians has decreased

dramatically after the fall of the regime

in 2003, as a result of the deterioration

of the security situation;

the emergence of religious extremism

such as al-Qaeda; the start of a

series of threats, abductions and killings

even among clerics.

The domination of corruption,

bribes and sectarianism within state

institutions, the exclusion of national

competencies, and the emergence

of weak Governments that fail to enforce

the law and the prestige of the

state hinders Iraqi Christians. Subsequently,

the roles of Christians were

marginalized, and unfair laws were

endorsed against them.

However, the peak of injustice

was the occupation of Mosul and

the towns of Nineveh Plain by ISIS.

This resulted in the displacement of

Christians, acquisition of their properties,

loss of confidence, shortage of

employability that even the ministerial

order for compensatory jobs was

not carried out, as well as emigration

in order to ensure good education for

their children and a better future. It

is estimated that about half a million

Christians remained in Iraq so far,

out of 1.5 million before 2003.

Worries and Hope

Government officials, as well as Muslim

religious authorities and political

parties, should take Christians’ fears

and concerns seriously, reassure and

encourage them to stay in their land,

and continue living with their citizens

confidently and peacefully aiming

for fruitful cooperation.

The concern of Christians is

to lift unfairness and suffering, to

achieve law and equality for them

and for all citizens; and to restore

their confidence. Hence, they will be

able to contribute with others to raise

awareness among Iraqis about the

values of citizenship, human rights,

tolerance and respect, and consolidation

of harmonious coexistence, to

believe that there is a possibility to

have a safe and better future for them

PHOTO BY SAHER YALDO

and their children on this Earth.

To achieve this, there should be

a vision of the future national state,

based on democracy, law, equality and

respect for diversity to prevail peace

and prosperity throughout Iraq.

In the meantime, Iraqi politicians

are required to rise up to the

level of responsibility, in maintaining

the achievements that have

been made so far. In particular, to

avoid slipping into a “proxy” war,

by facing the current crisis between

the Islamic Republic of Iran and the

United States of America. Such a

war will cost the entire region more

casualties, destruction, division, and

would certainly drive people to emigrate

as refugees.

Therefore, I call on all Iraqis to

open a courageous political dialogue,

for developing a clear and agreed upon

strategy by all political parties that

would be considered as a “National

Covenant.” Such document, if implemented,

will help Iraqis to get out of

the successive crises and devastation.

Iraqis must trust themselves, their

abilities and appreciate the value of

their unity, through which they will

be able to challenge the painful reality,

since unity, action and hope will

enable them to accomplish great and

lasting things for their country and

their citizens.

OCTOBER 2019 CHALDEAN NEWS 11


noteworthy

Syriac Catholic Church

reestablishes diocese in

northern Iraq

The Syriac Catholic Church has reestablished a

diocese for the Kurdistan region of Iraq in an effort

to support the faithful in the region and encourage

them to remain in their homeland.

Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III

Younan celebrated the new diocese at a Mass at

Queen of Peace Syriac Catholic Church in Irbil,

Iraq, on August 24.

Archbishop Nathaniel Nizar Semaan will head

the new Diocese of Hadiab-Irbil and all Kurdistan.

Previously, the area was under the Mosul archdiocese’s

jurisdiction.

Photo Caption: Cardinal Bechara Rai, patriarch

of the Maronite Catholic Church, and Syriac

Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan in

Bkerke, Lebanon (CNS)

Chaldean Man

Murdered in

Detroit

Lewis Putrus, 77, was shot

and killed Saturday, September

21. Putrus was

leaving his brother’s store,

D&D, in Detroit at around

11:00 p.m. when he was approached by a suspect

demanding money. Reports cite a second suspect.

A $10,000 reward is being offered by the

Midwest Independent Retailers Foundation for

any information leading to an arrest.

Since 1970, more than 100 Chaldeans have

been killed in their place of work.

Longtime

California

State Legislator,

Wadie Deddeh,

dies at 98

Wadie Deddeh passed away

Tuesday, August 27 in

Poway, California, just nine days before his 99th

birthday. With 16 years in the Assembly and 11

in the Senate, Deddeh built a strong reputation

for his bipartisan leadership.

Born in Baghdad in 1920, Deddeh came to

the United States in 1947.

Recognized

by Crain’s

John Haji, 32, has been

selected as one of Crain’s

Business’ 40 Under 40. The

founder of The Gentleman’s

Box, Haji takes serious pride

in providing the best products

possible to his customers.

Pilgrimage with Fr. Jeff Day

Fr. Jeff Day is leading a pilgrimage to the Holy Land! This 9 day pilgrimage is open to all. From

the Sea of Galilee and Nazareth to The Old City and Garden of Gethsemane, the pilgrimage

will take you to key locations within the Holy Land. For more information or to reserve your

spot, contact Corporate Travel Service, Inc. at (866) 468-1420.

12 CHALDEAN NEWS OCTOBER 2019


chaldean DIGEST

What others are saying about Chaldeans

The Plains of Nineveh: The Purging of Christians Continues

FSSPX.NEWS

BY FSSPX.NEWS

The Patriarch of the Chaldean

Catholic Church has once again

publicly intervened to denounce the

living conditions of Christians in the

Nineveh plains. These are the costs

of the Shiite Muslims’ stranglehold

and the appearance of Protestant

sects in the region.

US Sends Additional Financial Assistance to Victims in Iraq

ALLONGEORGIA

BY ALLONGEORGIA

Additional funding has been appropriated for victims

in northern Iraq.

The administrator for the U.S. Agency for International

Development (USAID), Mark Green, recently

announced that the new financial assistance is part of

the effort by the U.S. Government, announced by Vice

President Mike Pence, to support ethnic and religious

minorities displaced by the genocide perpetrated by the

so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). USAID

awarded this funding to Catholic Relief Services (CRS)

and The Solidarity Fund Poland.

USAID made an award of $6.8 million to CRS,

which is working in partnership with the Chaldean

Catholic Archdiocese of Erbil, to assist vulnerable families

with their immediate household needs and to ease

their return home when possible.

A separate award under USAID’s Memorandum of Understanding

with the Government of Poland will provide

$528,500 to a multi-donor project to deliver high-quality

health care to communities affected by the persecution of

ISIS. Beneficiaries will include displaced people who are

living in camps and non-camp locations in Northern Iraq,

as well as disadvantaged members of host com

ASIANEWS

BY ASIANEWS

Cardinal Louis Raphaël Sako

holds the primate office of the

Chaldean Catholic Church in

Iraq. His concerns are at odds

with those of the rich Church of

Germany, which, in its next “synodal

path,” is preparing to legitimize

a deadly moral relativism,

aligned with triumphant secularism

in the West.

For the Chaldean primate,

Mosul (AsiaNews) – The new message

by “caliph” Abou Bakr al-

Baghdadi, posted yesterday online

by the Islamic State (IS) has not

yet had “a vast echo” in the territories

the group once controlled, this

according to Fr Paul Thabit Mekko.

The Chaldean priest in Karamles,

Nineveh Plain (northern Iraq),

spoke to AsiaNews about the

30-minute audio in which the Jihadi

leader calls on his most loyal supporters

to “redouble efforts: preaching,

media, military, security.”

For now, this has not yet caused

any alarm among the people of Mosul

and the Plain, still engaged in

the slow and painstaking work of

reconstruction.

the urgency is of an order much

higher: it is a question of saving

the presence of Christianity in

the East, especially in the plains

of Nineveh. On September 12,

2019, Archbishop Sako signed

an opinion piece on “decisionmakers

and Iraqi citizens” on

Saint-Adday, the official site of

the Patriarchate. See page ___ for

opinion piece.

An Iraqi Christian prays during a Mass on Christmas at an

Orthodox church in the town of Bashiqa, east of Mosul,

Iraq, in 2016.

Chaldean priest: Mosul focused on work and

reconstruction, not al-Baghdadi’s messages

© KHALID AL MOUSILY/REUTERS

After months of silence, al-

Baghdadi’s last message was in

late April, the self-styled caliph

urges his loyalists to fight on despite

the group’s latest military

defeats.

Titled “Do deeds!” the audio is a

real call to arms, urging fighters not

to give up, to help those who are in

prison and their families in shelters

for displaced persons (IDP).

‘How Can I Close the

House of God?’

CHURCHMILLITANT.COM

BY WILLIAM MAHONEY, PH. D

Three subdeacons accompanied Fr.

Ragheed Aziz Ganni, a Chaldean

Catholic priest ministering to the faithful

in Mosul, Iraq, to the Sunday evening

Mass at Holy Spirit Chaldean Church in

Mosul for Trinity Sunday in 2007.

The subdeacons, Basman Yousef

Daud (Fr. Ganni’s cousin), Wahid

Hanna Isho and Gassan Isam Bidawed,

went with Fr. Ganni since he had been

receiving death threats from some demanding

he close down the church.

After the Mass, Fr. Ganni, the

three subdeacons and Isho’s wife were

confronted by four Islamists wearing

masked black suits and armed with Kalashnikov

rifles.

One of the armed men yelled at Fr.

Ganni, asking why the priest did not

heed the warnings to shut down the

church. Father Ganni then said the last

words he would utter this side of the veil:

“How can I close the house of God?”

Refugee who died

after being deported

to Iraq laid to rest in

Michigan

THE DETROIT NEWS

BY SARAH RAHAL

Southfield — As Jimmy Aldaoud, a Detroit

refugee found dead in Iraq after his

deportation, was laid to rest Friday back

in Michigan, family members gathered

and dressed in black had no words to

describe their grief.

“I can’t fathom what has happened,”

Rita Aldaoud, sister of the refugee, told

The Detroit News earlier this week.

“Imagine they just picked you up and

threw you into a country you’ve never

been and in the most dangerous part.”

His three sisters, Nagham Shamoon,

Mary Bolis and Rita Aldaoud,

gazed at his light brown wooden casket

as it was lowered Friday into a plot at

Holy Sepulchre Catholic Cemetery,

where he was buried beside his mother

and beneath his father.

The siblings were quiet during a

Mass at Mother of God Chaldean

Catholic Church and at his burial, contemplating

how their family found itself

in these unforeseen circumstances.

OCTOBER 2019 CHALDEAN NEWS 13


WHERE are they now?

In service to the community

BY ASHOURINA SLEWO


Service is about community,”

says Saad Marouf, 68, former

chairman of the Chaldean

Federation of America. Truly serving

any community, he says, is about

serving and doing what you can for

someone without expecting anything

in return.

Born in Iraq, Marouf learned

much about service from his own

father, who even in the face of opposition

and naysayers, did what he

believed was right for his community.

Iskander Marouf taught his son

the importance of serving his community,

says Marouf.

As a journalist and newspaper

owner in Iraq, Marouf’s father faced

much scrutiny, especially as he did

not shy away from speaking on the

politics that dominated the region.

On one occasion, Marouf’s father

criticized an elected official, which lead

to the shutting down of his newspaper.

Without hesitation, he started another

one. Over the course of his life, Iskander

started a total of newspapers, each

time more eager than the last to write

about the plight of his community.

“The government shut down his

paper, but that did not stop him,” said

Marouf. “I can’t remember the name

of them all, but he had four newspapers

total. A Christian writing and

speaking out, it was unheard of.”

Beyond his writings and his work

within the church, Marouf’s father

ran for a seat on Iraq’s Parliament in

the 1940s.

“A shamasha running for Parliament,”

Marouf says in awe. “People

thought he was crazy; crazy that a

Christian wanted to run for Parliament.

But he was doing it to give our

people a voice, so we could be represented

by one of our own.”

With the political landscape of

Iraq, Marouf felt that much of his father’s

activism and work in the community

directly put him in the line

of fire. Well aware of the potential

danger he faced, Iskander moved forward,

willing to sacrifice himself for

his people.

Marouf feels similarly about his

own work within the community. If

he can help just one person, it will all

be worth it, he says.

The two-time Chaldean Federation

Chairman became active within

his community long before he came

to the United States. He worked with

church and youth groups; the Legion

of Mary being one of the main groups

he worked with. The Legion of Mary

would eventually extend into the

states through Marouf’s encouragement

among the youth.

Coming to the U.S. as a young

adult in November 1973, Marouf

focused on his studies as a full-time

Clockwise from above: Saad Marouf with

Senator Carl Levin and Congressman

Sander Levin. On vacation with family.

Showing the name of his father’s newspaper.

student at University of Detroit Mercy,

while simultaneously balancing

a full-time job with his community

engagement.

“At that time, the emphasis was

not on education,” he explained. “I

remember my classmates and I would

go to a café to study and the older

men, who we respected very much

of course, would tell us that we were

wasting our time.”

While the perception around

pursuing higher education was not

the most positive or encouraging,

Marouf persisted.

Recognizing his business acumen

in addition to his persistence when

it came to higher education, Marouf

established a business alongside his

family.

In the midst of all of this, he

maintained his presence within the

community. The fervor to serve intensified

during Marouf’s time in Oak

Park. With his children attending

Oak Park Schools, he noticed a gap in

representation between students.

“There was no one in the administration

or on the Oak Park School

Board that understood what our kids

needed,” he explained. “How are

they supposed to know what Chaldean

kids from Iraq need. They don’t

even speak the same language.”

Thus came the decision to run for

Oak Park School Board.

“I won that election by a landslide,”

Marouf proclaimed proudly.

At this point, Marouf had been

in the country for just 13 years, but

had developed a strong enough connection

with his community that

they entrusted him with their vote,

electing him to the Oak Park School

Board.

Taking his service to the Oak

Park community one step further

Marouf ran for Oak Park City Council.

While the race was unsuccessful,

he is proud of the work he put in as

he lost by just over 10 votes.

His work in the Oak Park community

and with the Chaldean Federation

of America is just the tip of

the iceberg. Marouf’s work across

communities span across several

years as the father and grandfather

has dedicated the majority of his life

to his community.

In recent years, the community

advocate has slowed down, taking

extra time to be with his children,

Amelia, 38, and Alex, 33, and their

children.

Speaking of her father’s work,

Amelia recalls her father dedicating

as much time to her and her brother

as he did to his outreach.

“I don’t know how, but he was always

there for us,” she recalled fondly.

“It didn’t matter what was happening

or how tired he was, he always made

sure he was there for us.”

For Marouf, service is in his

blood; he serves his community, relentlessly

advocating for the progress

and betterment of the whole. Even as

he has slowed down over the years,

he is dedicated to serving as voice for

those who need it.

“If my community needs me, I

will be there, no matter what,” he

says with gusto. “I cannot see people

be deprived of their rights. I have to

rise up and help them. I have to fight

for them.”

14 CHALDEAN NEWS OCTOBER 2019


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OCTOBER 2019 CHALDEAN NEWS 15


FAMILY time

Tips for a fun, safe Halloween

BY DANIELLE ALEXANDER

When the back-to-school

aisles at Target have

turned into shelves full of

candy, spooky decorations and costumes,

we know Halloween is upon

us. Whether that excites you or not,

the children in our lives cannot wait.

(Mine have been asking about it for

months!).

As parents and guardians, there are

several steps we need to take to not

only make this night fun but also safe:

Smart ways to prepare for

Halloween

While costume shopping (or costume

making if you’re my hero), be sure to

keep in mind that tighter, well-fitted

costumes can prevent tripping injuries

and possible flame contact and

also that brighter colors are easier to

spot at night.

Orchard Lake Village sergeant

and crime prevention officer Larry

Hailo said to try to have some sort of

reflective material on the costumes.

“If not on the costumes, buy some

reflective tape and add a couple of

strips to the costumes,” Hailo said.

“It may sound overboard, but really,

when it gets dark, that tape is going

to show up.”

As for pumpkin carving, ensure

that children are not holding the

knife. Perhaps allow them to draw

out their design first and then hand

the pumpkin over to you to do the

carving. When it comes time to display

their cultivar of a squash plant

for the neighborhood-world to see,

consider using a flashlight or glow

stick to light it instead of a candle;

if you do use a candle, make sure it’s

a votive.

During the treat selection process,

consider purchasing non-food

items like coloring books and crayons,

stickers, etc. to pass out in case of food

allergies; most of the popular Halloween

candies include potential lifethreatening

allergens like peanuts,

tree nuts, milk, egg, soy and/or wheat,

which is why some areas in metro

Detroit like downtown Clawson are

holding pre-Halloween events like

Trick or Treasure, an afternoon where

kids in costume will travel through

the downtown businesses and collect

treasures and allergy-free treats.

In order to best prepare your own

home for trick-or-treaters, make sure

to have a well-lit path to the front

door (or wherever treats will be passed

out) and remove anything a child

could trip over or get hurt from, especially

any candle-lit pumpkins or pets.

Safe trick-or-treating tips

While accompanying children on

their trick-or-treating adventures,

make sure you have your phone in

case of an emergency but do your best

to stay off it, so you can focus your attention

on the safety of your children.

“I’d also say to go as close as

possible to the door with the kids,”

Hailo said. “In most cases, people are

good, but they may think twice about

doing or saying something inappropriate,

knowing that the parents are

right there on top of things instead

of screwing around on their phone at

the end of the driveway. Focus those

two or three hours you’re out there

with them and give your kids your

full attention.”

If your older children are heading

out alone, remind them that the sidewalk

is always the safest, but in case

there is no sidewalk, walk as close to

the grass as possible, facing traffic just

in case. Also, discuss in advance the

path you suggest they follow and set

up an expected return time.

“Remind kids not to approach dark

homes,” Hailo added. “There have

been some cases where people will

say, ‘Come on in and get some candy!’

I don’t advise that either. It could be

100 percent fine, but you don’t want

to take a risk. Talk about these things

before everyone heads out.

When the kids ask to have a piece

of candy, do not allow any consumption

until after you’ve had a chance

to sort and check for anything that’s

home-baked, spoiled, unwrapped or

looks at all tampered with.

Hailo agreed: “Unfortunately,

this is the society we live in. People

do bad stuff, and it happens every

year, so inspect the candy carefully

before the kids eat it.”

Post-Halloween health

suggestions

Consider introducing the “Treat

Fairy” if rationing candy isn’t working

for your little sweet tooth: have

children write a note to the “Treat

Fairy” that asks her to swap their

candy with a prize.

Another option is to encourage

your children to participate in a

“Candy Buy Back Program.” Any of

the Bright Side Dental & Orthodontics

locations in metro Detroit, for example,

will give children a raffle ticket

for every pound of candy they bring;

the more raffle tickets they have, the

better their chances of winning a prize.

“We donate it to the troops overseas

with Operation Gratitude,”

Dr. Bianca Toma Boji, DDS at the

Bloomfield Hills location said about

the candy they collect. “It’s a great

way to prevent your child from eating

too much candy!”

Danielle Alexander is a freelance

writer and managing editor of

Detroit Moms Blog; she wishes the

Chaldean community a happy and safe

Halloween.

Teal Pumpkin

Project

As you prepare your home and

children for Halloween, you may

notice a spin on the traditionally

orange pumpkin or jack o lantern.

Teal pumpkins are popping

up on porch steps everywhere

and the reason for this goes way

beyond the pretty teal color.

The Teal Pumpkin Project

is an effort by the Food Allergy

Research & Education (FARE)

organization to raise awareness

of food allergies and promote

inclusion of all trick-or-treaters

during the Halloween season.

This project started as a local activity

by the Food Allergy Community

of East Tennessee and

has since become a worldwide

event. According to FARE,

teal is the color for food allergy

awareness and has been used to

raise awareness about food-related

medical conditions for 20

years. Those who participate in

the project place a teal painted

pumpkin outside their door and

provide non-food treats to trickor-treaters

on Halloween.

According to FARE, one in

13 children has a food allergy.

Even tiny amounts of allergens

can cause serious, if not lifethreatening,

reactions in those

affected by food allergies. Halloween

candy and other traditionally

popular treats have or

have come into contact with

common food allergens, including

ingredients derived from

wheat, eggs, soy, nuts and milk.

Participating in the Teal Pumpkin

Project allows children who

are affected by food allergies to

still participate in Halloween activities

without worrying about a

life threatening incident.

Participating in the Teal

Pumpkin Project is as easy as

painting your pumpkin teal

and placing it on your doorstep.

Have a safe and fun Halloween!

16 CHALDEAN NEWS OCTOBER 2019


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OCTOBER 2019 CHALDEAN NEWS 17


CHAI time

CHALDEANS CONNECTING

COMMUNITY EVENTS IN AND AROUND METRO DETROIT OCTOBER 2019

Thursday, October 3

Women’s Harvest Lunch: Join the

Women’s Harvest Luncheon starting

at 11 a.m. Thursday, October 3, at the

Royal Oak Farmers Market! The Women’s

Harvest Lunch brings together

nearly 300 women who are leaders in

their businesses and communities and

are committed to alleviating hunger and

reducing food waste in metro Detroit.

This event includes excellent networking

opportunities with women from all

different backgrounds and industries.

This year’s lunch will include a coursed

luncheon prepared by multiple local female

chefs. Each course will highlight

a different produce item grown on our

Forgotten Harvest farm, allowing the

meal to tell the incredible story of the difference

our farm makes in the lives of

hungry families in our community. For

more information, please contact Rebecca

Gade-Sawicki at 248-864-7527.

Friday, October 4

Dancing with Survivors: Join The Pink

Fund for Dancing With The Survivors

on Friday, October 4, at Silver Garden

Events Center. Dancing with the Survivors

celebrates breast cancer survivors

thriving in their recovery and making a

difference in the lives of breast cancer

patients in treatment. This event features

local survivors paired with professional

dancers from Fred Astaire

Dance Studios – Bloomfield Hills performing

ballroom-style dances while

raising money for The Pink Fund’s

mission to provide financial support to

breast cancer patients in active treatment.

The Pink Fund meets patients’

basic needs, decreases stress levels,

and allows breast cancer patients to focus

on healing. The funds raised from

Dancing With The Survivors stays in

Michigan to help local breast cancer

patients in active treatment. Join us for

a night of celebration with dancing, music,

cocktails, and delicious food. For

additional information or to purchase

tickets, please visit ThePinkFund.org.

Saturday, October 5

Eclectic & Electric: The Michigan Philharmonic

presents an opening night dazzler

from the electrifying sounds of Stravinsky’s

Firebird Suite and Tchaikovsky’s

Violin Concerto to the eclectic rhythms

of Miguel del Águila’s, Caribeña and Islamorada.

Full of impactful music, this

eclectic mixture of electrictrifying sound

will rock the house. Guest violinist Kevin

Miura (16) is a young rising star who was

awarded 2nd prize in the 2016 Menuhin

International Violin Competition. Kevin

performs on an 1849 Giuseppe Rocca

violin on generous loan from The Mandell

Collection of Southern California. Rounding

out this dazzling evening, Composer

Miguel del Águila explores Latin rhythms

with an orchestration resembling Latin

Jazz and 1940’s big band sound. For

tickets and information go to www.michiganphil.org

or call 734 451-2112.

Saturday, October 12

Wish Ball: Join Make-A-Wish® Michigan

on Saturday, October 12, for

an incredible evening at Wish Ball –

Southeast Michigan featuring special

performances by Martha Reeves and

the Vandellas and artist David Garibaldi.

The black-tie gala, with presenting

sponsor TEAM Schostak Family

Restaurants and lead sponsor Trinity

Health, will be held at the Detroit Marriott

at the Renaissance Center. Cochaired

by Chris and Jennifer Granger,

Wish Ball offers a mission-rich program

that highlights the organization’s

35th anniversary, a cocktail reception,

dinner, an energetic live auction and

dancing. Celebrate 35 years of wish

granting with your ticket of $300. You

can help make transformational wishes

come true for Michigan children facing

critical illnesses. For more information,

sponsorship opportunities or to purchase

tickets, visit WishBallMI.org.

Saturday, October 12

A Night to R.E.M.ember: Join local nonprofit

Sweet Dreamzzz Inc. and Sponsor

Michigan Medicine for an evening at the

historic Detroit Athletic Club in downtown

Detroit. This event will take place

from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. on Saturday,

October 12. Proceeds from A Night to

R.E.M.ember will go towards funding

Sweet Dreamzzz sleep education programs

including the Early Childhood

Sleep Education Program and the Parent

Sleep Education Workshop. Tickets

are $125 each and can be purchased

by calling the office at 248-478-3242 or

online at sweetdreamzzz.org. Sponsorship

opportunities are still available.

Thursday, October 17

Taste of Auburn Hills: Join the Auburn

Hills Chamber of Commerce for the annual

Taste of Auburn Hills event to be

held Thursday, October 17, from 5:00

to 7:30 p.m. at The HUB Stadium. With

20 participating vendors, you can enjoy

a fun night out tasting your way through

Auburn Hills and mingling with other

members of the business community.

Taste delicious food samplings from area

restaurants, mingle with 500+ business

community leaders, experience BOM-

BOWLING, hit the networking bulls-eye

with axe-throwing, and open play with

The HUB Stadium’s newly renovated

arcade, featuring modernized classics

and multiplayer entertainment. Two beer/

wine drink tickets will be distributed by

The HUB Stadium. This event is 21-andover.

A portion of the proceeds from this

year’s event will benefit the Auburn Hills

Community Foundation in support of the

Senior Services Meals program. To participate

as a sponsor, register, or receive

more information, visit auburnhillschamber.com

or call 248-853-7862.

Saturday, October 19

Phantom Philharmonic: The Michigan

Philharmonic presents “Phantom Philharmonic,”

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct.

19, 2019, at the Marquis Theatre in

Northville. Spooky tunes, a great setting,

and a movie music feast describe

the Michigan Philharmonic’s “spooktacular”

Halloween concert. The Phantom

opens the concert with some scary

classics, and the great music continues

with tracks from The Dark Knight, Black

Panther, Wonder Woman, Psycho and

more. Get into the spirit of the Northville

Skeleton Fest and come to the

Marquis Theatre in Northville. Dress up

in your best Halloween costume, meet

up with your fun, music-loving friends,

and enjoy a great night out! For tickets

and information, call 734-451-2112 or

visit michiganphil.org.

Thursday, October 24

Giving Hearts: Join Giving Hearts as

they host their 7th annual fundraiser

to benefit Chaldean women in need

who are dealing with breast cancer. In

memory of Vivian Esshaki Shouneyia,

this annual event will be hosted at Bay

Pointe Golf Club in West Bloomfield

from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. The evening will

include wine, appetizers, and dessert.

Tickets can be purchased in advance

for $40. For more information, email

givinghearts36@gmail.com

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18 CHALDEAN NEWS OCTOBER 2019


CHALDEAN AMERICAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

14th Annual Business Luncheon

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2019

Join us and several congressional leaders as we discuss the state of business in the state of Michigan.

Charlie Langton

Moderator

Fox 2 News

Legal Analyst

Brenda Lawrence

Congressional

Representative

Andy Levin

Congressional

Representative

Paul Mitchell

Congressional

Representative

John Moolenaar

Congressional

Representative

Haley Stevens

Congressional

Representative

11:00 a.m. Check-in & Networking

Noon - 1:00 p.m.

Lunch & Discussion

Cost: Gold Sponsor: $10,000

Includes branding, exhibit space, twenty tickets with premium seating, mention in the

Chamber newsletter and Chamber website and opportunity to speak at the event and

provide attendees with promotional item(s)

Silver Sponsor: $5,000

Includes branding, exhibit space, ten tickets with premium seating, mention in the Chamber

newsletter and Chamber website and opportunity to provide attendees with promotional item(s)

Bronze Sponsor: $1,500

Includes branding, exhibit space, ten tickets with premium seating, mention in Chamber

newsletter and Chamber website

Individual Tickets

Members:

Non-Members:

$60 each or $600 for table of ten

$75 each or $750 for table of ten

Location:

Reservations:

Sound Board at MotorCity Casino Hotel

2901 Grand River Avenue, Detroit MI 48323

To reserve your seat or for sponsorship opportunities please contact

Sarah Kittle at 248-851-1200 or skittle@chaldeanchamber.com.

Sponsored by:

OCTOBER 2019 CHALDEAN NEWS 19


RELIGION

Look beyond the distractions

Distraction comes

quite easy to me.

It lingers in all

shapes and at all times.

Even when in quiet

prayer, it finds me. Sometimes

it hides under the

guise of a ticking clock on

the wall. While I should

be focusing on my prayer,

all I hear is “tick, tick,

tick.” Distraction can

even manifest itself in social

settings. While in the

middle of a meal with friends, I feel

my gaze shift off them and onto the

TV playing highlights from a game.

Even if it was a team I had zero interest

in (say one with a Wolverine

mascot), I’ll still pay attention

to the replays instead of

my friends. In these instances,

I lose out on a fruitful conversations

and the chance to

delve deeper into friendships.

I can’t help but feel that

many of us are battling with

this vice. This constant need

to satisfy our senses and keep

our minds occupied. It seems

like this is a recurring theme

in this era of distraction.

Pause. Take a moment to

reflect on your own life and

the relationships you’ve built.

Challenge yourself to observe

your habits and monitor how

much time you spend on

meaningful relationships. How quick

do you reach for your phone when

you see a notification? How easy is it

for your eyes to shift from a friend to

a TV screen? How often do you push

all electronics aside to truly focus on

the person in front of you?

As a priest, my deep desire is to

help guide people into a sincere relationship

with God. Yet, we are all

easily distracted. Sometimes these

diversions can be as simple as a text

or fantasy football. Other times, it

is laden with hurt and betrayal, like

that of a public scandal involving the

Church or its members.

Over the past fifteen years, I, too

have been scandalized and hurt by

news stories of the individuals in the

Church. Specifically, I’m speaking of

those who have victimized the vulnerable

or their superiors who have

poorly handled their situations. I

have had to process the betrayal and

FR. PIERRE

KONJA

SPECIAL TO THE

CHALDEAN NEWS

mourn the loss of my innocent

assumption — that everyone

who serves the Church is perfect

and striving for holiness.

Then, the Lord reminded

me: “I will build my church,

and the gates of Hell will not

prevail against it” (Matthew

16:18).

God was calling me not

to get distracted even in the

midst of a storm of scandal and

hurt. He reminded me of my

calling, which is to be a disciple

of Jesus and His Holy Church.

I found myself reflecting and praying

with the Apostles, Judas and Peter:

“While he was still speaking, Judas,

one of the twelve, arrived; with him

was a large crowd with swords and

clubs, from the chief priests and the

elders of the people. Now the betrayer

had given them a sign, saying,

‘The one I will kiss is the man; arrest

him’” (Matthew 26: 47-48).

It’s easy to look at Judas as “the

enemy” of Jesus. However, the Gospels

are clear that Jesus called Judas

to be an Apostle, just like he called

the other eleven. Judas walked with

Jesus for many years but temptation

lured him into scandal and betrayal.

Not only did he betray Jesus, he did

it through a symbol of friendship and

love: a kiss.

There were many others who

were close to Jesus and abandoned

or denied him. Peter, my namesake

and patron saint, was called by Jesus

to be the rock on which the Church

was to be built. He was chosen as the

leader of the Apostles and the first

Pope. However, he too denied Jesus,

not once in a time of weakness, or

twice because he was scared, but on

three occasions. Peter had multiple

opportunities to align himself with

Jesus and acknowledge that he was

a disciple. Instead, he took all three

opportunities to deny his Lord.

It is important to note that Peter

was remorseful of his denials and the

scandals of sin among the leaders of

the Church. “The Lord turned and

looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered

the word of the Lord, how he

had said to him, ‘Before the cock

crows today, you will deny me three

times.’ And he went out and wept

bitterly” (Luke 22:61-62).

Today, dwelling with us are a myriad

of distractions and scandals. We

are living in a time when it has become

far too easy to throw our hands

up and say “this is too much” or “why

should I follow the Church?”

Why you ask? Because, Jesus. Because

He is the resurrection. He is

the focal point of the Church. We

cannot allow these hurtful distractions

to be the center of our faith.

Deception will rear its ugly head in

times of trouble. It is in difficult circumstances

like those we face today,

when negativity echoes louder than

positivity. We tend to overlook the

overwhelming amount of good occurring.

This type of goodness is not

loud, it does not boast but it is there.

There are hundreds upon thousands

of men and women in the Church

who live every day to help others attain

peace and happiness. They accomplish

this by spreading the love

of God. These are the Church’s humble

and holy servants, the ones that

are often overlooked. Looking at past

centuries we can see examples of this

goodness through the holy saints.

Many of our saints gave their lives

defending their fellow man, and the

truth of Jesus and his holy Church.

Within our own Chaldean culture,

tracing back no more than fifteen

years ago, you’ll find martyrs of faith.

Those who continued to defend the

Church and serve their people even

to their last breath.

Thus my prayer for all of you is

this: be aware, be more conscious,

and make meaningful decisions. You

can either let yourself get lost in distraction,

gossip and negativity, or you

can choose not to indulge it. Think

of those distractions and scandals that

affected your faith. Can you

recall moments when you felt

a similar form of discord in

your spiritual life? Maybe it

was invoked when you were

reading about Judas and Peter’s

denials of Jesus. Or when

you reviewed the imperfect

history of past actions carried

out by individuals in the

Church. Maybe you are troubled

by the negative news articles

regarding recent scandals

in the Church. Or possibly

you were personally hurt or offended

by certain individuals

in the Church.

In any of these cases, I

urge you to acknowledge your

feelings. Contemplate your hurt and

sadness, don’t run away from it or

turn it into gossip. Pause. Give time

to reflect. Most importantly, allow

God to heal your faith with his precious

blood and “let us rid ourselves

of every burden and sin that clings to

us and persevere in running the race

that lies before us while keeping our

eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and

perfecter of faith. For the sake of the

joy that lay before him he endured

the cross, despising its shame, and

has taken his seat at the right of the

throne of God. Consider how he endured

such opposition from sinners,

in order that you may not grow weary

and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Fr. Pierre Konja was ordained a priest

in 2011 and is the associate of Holy

Cross Chaldean Catholic Church in

Farmington Hills, MI.

Konja.Pierre@gmail.com

20 CHALDEAN NEWS OCTOBER 2019


CHALDEAN COMMUNITY

FOUNDATION

Help Wanted!

Please consider hiring one of

our many new Americans.

More than 30,000 Chaldean refugees have migrated to Michigan since 2007. Many

possess the skills and determination to work hard for you and your organization.

The Chaldean Community Foundation (CCF) has a bank of resumes

of candidates qualified to do a variety of jobs. To inquire about hiring a

New American, call or email Elias at 586-722-7253 or

elias.kattoula@chaldeanfoundation.org.

Chaldean Community Foundation

Sterling Heights Office

3601 15 Mile Road

Sterling Heights, MI 48310

586-722-7253

www.chaldeanfoundation.org

OCTOBER 2019 CHALDEAN NEWS 21


in MEMORIAM

RECENTLY DECEASED COMMUNITY MEMBERS

Hasina Deckhou

June 7, 1930 - Aug.

23, 2019

Athraa Qarchw

June 15, 2003 -

Sept. 18, 2019

Admon Elias

Yaldah

June 26, 1949 -

Sept. 18, 2019

Salam Al-Maleh

Feb. 21, 1953 -

Sept. 16, 2019

George Mikhail

Denha

March 8, 1950 -

Sept. 16, 2019

Faraj Rashou

Hallowa

July 1, 1930 - Sept.

16, 2019

Atheer Ghazy Aziz

Kamposh

May 1, 1971 - Sept.

14, 2019

Petrus Shikwana

June 18, 1938 -

Sept. 11, 2019

Ghada Haddad

July 1, 1956 - Sept.

11, 2019

Salim Khamo

Yaldo

June 1, 1926 -

Sept. 11, 2019

Niami Hanna Jajou

Shayoka

July 1, 1931 - Sept.

10, 2019

Fr. Hanna Sullaka

Sept. 6, 1949 -

Sept. 10, 2019

Nuri Shakouri

July 1, 1929 -

Sept. 9, 2019

Adnan Abbud

June 7, 1957 -

Sept. 7, 2019

Faiz (Frank) Salmu

Aug. 9, 1959 -

Sept. 7, 2019

Juliet Thomas

July 1, 1925 - Sept.

6, 2019

Janan Hamama

January 27, 1947 -

Sept. 6, 2019

Georgette Najjar

April 16, 1936 -

Sept. 5, 2019

Fehima Youkhana

July 1, 1931 - Sept.

1, 2019

Emanuel Gorguis

July 1, 1951 - Sept.

1, 2019

Layla Jajo Zora

Aug. 13, 1936 -

Sept. 1, 2019

Badri Elias Jamil

June 20, 1949 -

Aug. 31, 2019

Shamo

Hannakachal

July 1, 1934 - Aug.

30, 2019

Yalda Youkhanna

Kozel

Dec. 28, 1933 -

Aug. 30, 2019

Daisy Attalah

July 1, 1922 - Aug.

27, 2019

Louis Mary

Jan. 8, 1936 - Aug.

27, 2019

Layla Salman

May 3, 1958 - Aug.

25, 2019

Buls Soso

July 1, 1933 - Aug.

25, 2019

22 CHALDEAN NEWS OCTOBER 2019


PROJECT LIGHT

Providing access to professional mental health counseling

and advocacy services in a therapeutic environment.

Common life experiences can cause individuals and families

to seek help. Some of these experiences include:

Life Stress

Anxiety

Depression

Relationships

Loss/Grief

Family Concern

Self-Esteem

Sexual Assault

Body Image

Work Concerns

CONTACT BAN OR IVA FOR MORE INFORMATION

OR TO SCHEDULE A THERAPY SESSION:

PHONE:(586)722-7253 • EMAIL: THERAPY@CHALDEANFOUNDATION.ORG

3601 15 MILE ROAD • STERLING HEIGHTS, MI 48310

CONFIDENTIALITY AND PRIVACY

The CCF and Project Light is committed to your privacy and confidentiality and are sensitive to the stigma and stress that come with seeking

mental health support. Therefore, all counseling records are kept strictly confidential. Information is not shared without client’s written consent.

Exceptions to confidentiality are rare and include persons who threaten safety of themselves others or in circumstances of a court order.

OCTOBER 2019 CHALDEAN NEWS 23


‘Bull’ helps put the brakes

on Parkinson’s Disease

BY PAUL NATINSKY

For Wael “Bull” Abboud, teen

years spent watching Muhammad

Ali, Bruce Lee and Evel

Knievel ply their trades led to a boxing

and kickboxing career, which

took a surprise twist a few years ago.

“I went from that to jumping into

karate, to kickboxing. Won an amateur

kickboxing title in 1991,” Abboud

said.

He became impassioned with

boxing in 1989 and worked out at

the legendary Kronk gym in Detroit.

In 1992, Abboud won his pro debut,

a unanimous decision.

He tried to become the first Iraqiborn

Chaldean to win a title, but

“God had other plans for me,” he

said. Abboud fought an uphill battle

as an undersized middleweight, a

weight class where he said it is hard

to make a living. He fought three

or four times as a pro, often against

slimmed-down heavyweights, before

turning his talents to teaching.

Abboud, now 54, has owned boxing

gyms his whole career dating back

to 1991. He opened Bullz Boxing in

2013. “It’s more of a family friendly

gym. We’re not looking for the next

million dollar baby,” he said.

Bullz Boxing is located in a

200,000 square-foot building in Oxford

called Legacy 925. It features

a number of entertainment and activities

businesses such as an arcade,

archery tag, go-carts, a gym, restaurants

and athletic fields. It was upon

opening at Legacy 925 that Abboud

turned the first page of his life’s next

chapter.

When he opened his gym in Oxford,

a man named Jim Rice visited

and asked him if he had ever heard of

a program originated in Indianapolis,

called Rock Steady Boxing, boxing

for people with Parkinson’s disease.

At first, Abboud said he was a little

uncomfortable dealing with Parkinson’s

patients and pointed out that

boxing possibly caused Parkinson’s in

his hero, Muhammad Ali.

Rice was persistent, but the

clincher was when Abboud saw an

HBO special on Rock Steady. Seeing

was believing. After observing the

program in action, he and wife Marie

made the drive down to Indianapolis

to get certified.

According to RockSteady.org,

“Rock Steady Boxing, the first boxing

program of its kind in the country,

was founded in 2006 by former

Marion County (Indiana) Prosecutor,

Scott C. Newman, who is living

with Parkinson’s.”

Rock Steady Boxing initially began

through the friendship of two

men, Scott Newman and Vince

Perez, after Newman had been diagnosed

with early-onset Parkinson’s

at the age of 40. Refusing to let his

friend go down without a fight, Vince

turned to his experience as a Golden

Gloves boxer to design a program

that attacks Parkinson’s at its vulnerable

neurological points. His intuitive

insight is now proven to have

24 CHALDEAN NEWS OCTOBER 2019


merit through an increasing body of

medical research.

Realizing that their experience

might be replicated for others, Scott

and Vince founded Rock Steady

Boxing as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization.

As word of this unique

program spread and the demand for

the classes increased, Rock Steady

Boxing created classes to meet the

fitness levels at all stages of Parkinson’s

– from the newly diagnosed to

those who had been living with it for

decades plus.

“When we were down there, I

really didn’t want to leave,” said

Abboud. “I just felt like this is a really

cool program and this is the plan

God had for me. I wanted to be the

world champ, but God was like this

thing here you are doing to help

these people with Parkinson’s is an

extremely significant thing to do

with (your) boxing skills.”

The participants feel Abboud’s

passion and that he is there to help

them, he said. Marie said many participants

feel a sense of empowerment

through the program. About

80 percent male, participants weakened

by Parkinson’s gain a sense of

renewed strength through Rock

Steady.

Studies from the 1980s and ‘90s

demonstrated that intense physical

exercise helps lessen the disease

symptoms, and, well boxing is nothing

if not intense physical exercise.

“I tell them all the time—and the

guys get a kick out of it—that I train

them just like a pro fighter. The only

difference is there is no contact,” said

Abboud.

He said Rock Steady clients skip

rope, work the heavy and speed bags

and perform other boxing related

activities, but there is no contact directed

at them and certainly no sparring.

In keeping with Abboud’s family

gym mission, none of Bullz’ classes

require sparring.

For those who want a little contact

and are healthy enough for it,

Bullz uses what Abboud calls “big

gloves” that contain about twice

the padding that professionals use in

matches.

Abboud’s experience with Parkinson’s

patients is expanding as he

develops programs such as the newly

launched “over 50” program and

classes working with children and

schools, bringing the mental and

physical confidence from boxing to

those who need a boost.

OCTOBER 2019 CHALDEAN NEWS 25


Our buried history

Meet the Assyrian Jews

BY CHRISTOPHER SALEM

Imagine a random person just

showed up to your home unannounced

and knocked on your

door.

You open the door, and the

stranger introduces himself, at which

point you realize you’ve never met

him.

He’s got a familiar face though.

You also start to notice that he walks,

talks, and carries himself with a demeanor

that appears to be naturally

like yours for some reason.

He even looks like you and begins

to speak to you in his native language

that, coincidentally, sounds nearly

identical to your own.

A few minutes into the conversation,

the visitor abruptly reveals he is

your long-lost relative and knocked

on your door to reconnect with you

and the rest of his immediate family.

You react, first, by trying to wrap

your head around the fact that you

never even knew this person existed

a few minutes ago.

Neurons fire from every corner of

your mind, and a trillion questions

rush to the front of your head until

you suddenly realize you both share

the same DNA.

Your emotions begin to escalate;

they are heightened, mixed, and will

probably shock your conscience.

Imagine the intensity of such a

feeling.

Now multiply this intensity by

about half a million—and brace

yourself—because that’s how many

Aramaic-speaking Jews exist in the

world today.

After finding a group of Assyrian

Jews on Facebook, I knocked on

their metaphorical door and introduced

myself. Even though I knew

no one, I immediately recognized

several familiar faces.

One of those faces belongs to Dr.

Yaacov Maoz who, I later learned, is

on a mission to revive the Aramaic

language worldwide.

We spoke in our native tongue for

a few minutes and abruptly shifted

the conversation to discuss historical

and religious connections, along

Committee for the Revival of the Aramaic Language

with our common lineage, beginning

with Abraham.

Drawing a Connection

Multiple generations of Abraham’s

descendants traveled from Canaan

to Aram-Naharaim when they wanted

to get married, according to the

Old Testament.

As a result, Dr. Maoz describes

Abraham as an Aramaic-speaking

son of Assyria born in “Ur, Land of

the Chaldeans” and eventually became

the father of the Jewish people

when he settled in Aram-Naharaim

for many years.

Dr. Maoz’s father is from Duhok.

His mother is from the northern

Iraqi village of Zakho, which consisted

of a robust Jewish population

until 1951 when virtually all of them

migrated to Israel in Operations Nehemiah

and Ezra.

He self-identifies as a descendant

of Jewish migrants of ancient Assyria

or just “Jewish Assyrian.”

The Jews of Zakho speak a dialect

of Sureth (modern Aramaic) that

is nearly identical to our own. It is

called Lishana Deni, according to Dr.

Yaacov Maoz.

Lishana Deni translates into “Our

Language” or quite literally “Our

Tongue” and, according to Dr. Maoz,

is one of three main “identity components”

of this group of people. The

other two are “religion and nationality,”

he said.

“As the world’s only speakers of

Aramaic,” Dr. Maoz intends to preserve

the language Jesus spoke by

reconnecting the dots between the

overlapping identities of the Jews

and Christians of Assyria.

More specifically, his mission begins

with the formation of a digital

collection of shared historical and religious

texts, forming a vital cultural

bridge between past and present.

Historical Connections

Around 800 B.C., the Prophet Jonah

was swallowed up by a giant fish and

reluctantly taken to the Assyrian city

of Nineveh. He reached his destination

in 72 hours, where he found the

ancient Ninevites.

Jonah announced to the Ninevites

that there was only one way to

avoid total destruction of their nation

and all of its inhabitants. He

said they must repent to what they

Dr. Yaacov Maoz, an Assyrian Jew, with Remon

Lazar, an Assyiran Christian

perceived as the God of the Jews.

Assyrian King Ashur-dan III,

who was desperate to end a disastrous

plague and constant rebellions

in Nineveh, took Jonah’s warning

seriously.

The rest of the inhabitants of this

land, our pre-Christian ancestors,

reacted by abstaining from eating a

variety of dairy and meat foods for

the same length of time Jonah spent

traveling inside of the whale—72

hours—in an ancient ritual called

‎, which phonetically

translates into “Baoutha’d Ninwaya”

or Petition of the Ninevites.

The ancient people who practiced

this fast are the forefathers of

today’s Baoutha-practicing Chaldeans,

Assyrians, Syriacs, Maronites,

and Arameans.

Marutha of Tikrit enforced it as

a way to unite all eastern churches

when another plague broke out in

the ancient homeland right before

his death in 649 A.D., according to

a bulletin posted on St. Thomas’s

website.

This story is worth mentioning

because it illustrates a definitive

connection between the religious

26 CHALDEAN NEWS OCTOBER 2019


The Committee for the Revival of the Aramaic Language

Aramaic singers, Shaked and Eden

Liat Itzkhaki singing in Aramaic

Dr. Yaacov Maoz

holiday of Baoutha and the Jewish

holiday of Yom Kippur, according to

Dr. Maoz.

Part of Yom Kippur is dedicated

to reading the Book of Jonah, he said.

What’s more, the Babylonian Talmud

was written in Aramaic, and it

is the foundation for Jewish law and

theology. However, generations of

sages who studied the Talmud never

heard of the Aramaic language, according

to Dr. Maoz.

This lack of familiarity with

Aramaic in a Talmudic context is a

problem for Jews because, according

to Dr. Maoz, they are responsible for

“safeguarding this asset within us.”

The foundation of the Nation of

Israel rests squarely on the Aramaic

language, from which Hebrew descended,

according to Dr. Maoz.

Some of the most “dramatic moments”

in Israeli prayer originated

with Aramaic, “such as the Qadish,”

he said.

Assyrian Jews still identify as Assyrian,

presumably because their national

identity wasn’t tampered with

by Eastern and Western Churches

during many centuries of religious

schisms.

These schisms are the same ones

that divided Chaldeans, Assyrians,

Syriacs, Maronites, and Arameans

into different religious denominations

and national identities.

Inadvertently or otherwise,

modern-day adherents of a divided

church ironically self-identify under

the banner of a single kingdom,

Nineveh, when they practice

Baoutha’d Nineveh.

One encouraging sign is the almost

universal intrigue and willingness

to engage with our shared history

and ancestry, which helps us

define and defend a set of values we

want to live by together.

The Assyrian Embassy in Jerusalem

Dr. Maoz intends to fulfill his role

with a strategy that integrates our

Aramaic language into all levels of

Israeli curriculum, but that’s only the

beginning. Another objective of Dr.

Maoz is to launch The Assyrian Embassy

in Jerusalem.

“The good relations between the

world’s Assyrian communities and

Israel deserve to be expressed both

physically and symbolically by the

establishment of an Assyrian embassy

in Jerusalem,” Dr. Maoz declared.

He described it as a place that

will “provide a home base for the

cultivation of creative expression in

Assyrian Aramaic, and function as a

meeting place for Israeli and Assyrian

creative artists that will draw Assyrian

pilgrims visiting the holy sites

in the Land of Israel.”

To sum it up, Dr. Maoz said the

Assyrian Embassy in Jerusalem would

“embody Israeli society’s declaration

of support of the Assyrian nation, its

cultural heritage and its national aspirations.”

A Massive Highway Built Across

the Entire Middle East

The entirety of Dr. Maoz’s plan will

be released in a 20-page plan when

he visits Toronto in November.

Most notably, it ends with a

quote from an unfulfilled prophecy

from the Book of Isaiah 19:23-25:

23 In that day there will be a

highway from Egypt to Assyria.

The Assyrians will go to Egypt

and the Egyptians to Assyria. The

Egyptians and Assyrians will worship

together.

24 In that day Israel will be the

third, along with Egypt and Assyria,

a blessing on the Earth.

25 The Lord Almighty will bless

them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my

people, Assyria my handiwork, and

Israel my inheritance.”

Many, including Dr. Maoz, believe

the prophecy above amounts

to the revival of our ancient kingdom

in a land that most people today

call Iraq.

OCTOBER 2019 CHALDEAN NEWS 27


Chaldeans bring different

views in appointed

positions

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Southeastern Michigan has the

largest Chaldean population in

the country, and the largest outside

of Iraq. The second largest region,

San Diego, is a distant second. This

translates to an increased weight in

how the community is represented in

the State of Michigan’s government.

“Making sure the Chaldean community

engaged is a priority,” says Ghida

Dagher, Director of Appointments

for Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Currently, in the administration

two Chaldeans have been appointed

to key positions – Nadine Yousif Kalasho

and Grace Sesi.

Kalasho was appointed to the

Commission on Middle Eastern

American Affairs.

Housed in the Department of Licensing

and Regulatory Affairs, the

15-member Commission monitors,

evaluates, and provides recommendations

to the Governor and department

regarding issues facing the Middle-Eastern

American Community.

The Commission also works to enhance

economic opportunity, prevent

discrimination, and spread awareness

of Middle Eastern American culture.

An attorney, Kalasho is the president

and chief executive officer of

CODE Legal Aid, a nonprofit that

helps immigrants with legal counsel.

Putting herself on the frontlines of

the battle with ICE, she took on the

responsibility of trying to keep hundreds

of immigrants in the country. In

2017, she represented some Iraqi detainees

in their fight to avoid deportation

and helped win an extended stay.

Her appointment is an especially

important contribution given her experience

with the mass deportations.

Until recently, many people outside

Michigan were unaware of the mass

Chaldean detentions in Detroit. The

death of Jimmy Aldaoud, who was deported

to Iraqi and died there, made

national news, pushing Michigan into

the spotlight on the issue. The 41-yearold,

who had diabetes and severe mental

illness, had spent nearly his whole

life in Detroit until being deported. His

family said he died from lack of insulin.

Dagher says the deportation issue

is important to Governor Whitmer

and factored into the appointment.

Earlier this year the governor stopped

the sale of a state prison to the federal

government, which would have

acted as a detention center. At the

time CODE commented positively.

Kalasho succeeded Abe Munfakh

at the Commission.

Sesi was appointed to the Michigan

Board of Pharmacy. A licensed pharmacist,

the Troy native is the Greater

Detroit Area district leader for CVS

Health. She succeeded Nicole Penny,

whose term expired this past June.

These two appointments are part

of larger goal, for all groups in the

state to feel represented, according to

Dagher. She says the governor wants

“I would like to see

more diversity in

our appointments,

including Chaldeans.”

– GHIDA DAGHER, DIRECTOR

OF APPOINTMENTS

FOR GOVERNOR

GRETCHEN WHITMER

as many viewpoints as possible to

best reflect the state’s unique makeup.

This commitment sits well with the

woman in charge of appointments for

the Whitmer Administration.

“I would like to see more diversity

in our appointments, including

Chaldeans,” says Dagher. She says

more appointments may come in the

future, especially given Whitmer’s

history of working with the Arab

American Chaldean Council.

There are currently an estimated

160,000 Chaldeans in metro Detroit,

according to the Chaldean American

Chamber of Commerce, which

points out nearly two-thirds of Chaldean

households own one business

and 39 percent own two or more.

According to a March 2016 dBusiness

article, Chaldeans contribute

more than $10.7 billion annually to

Michigan’s economy.

28 CHALDEAN NEWS OCTOBER 2019


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OCTOBER 2019 CHALDEAN NEWS 29


Funny is funny

BY SARAH KITTLE

If you can’t laugh at yourself, you

have no business laughing at anyone

else. That is the heart of comedy.

“I’m allowed to make fun of who

I am,” says comic Eric D’Alessandro,

“and what I know.”

Comedian Vincent Oshana says

about himself and his colleagues,

“We are modern day philosophers.”

Both funny men will star in a comedy

show benefiting the Chaldean Community

Foundation (CCF) on Friday,

October 4 at the MotorCity Casino

Hotel’s Sound Board Theater.

Almost three-fourths of the way

through an $8 million campaign, the

CCF is raising money to complete the

construction of a 19,000 square foot

expansion to their center in Sterling

Heights, and begin construction on

a planned community a few miles to

the north on Van Dyke Avenue.

For almost 14 years, the Chaldean

Community Foundation has

been supporting the immigrant community

in southeast Michigan. Since

2006, they have been teaching English

as a second language, helping

with paperwork, and providing pro

bono legal assistance, medical care

and auto loans to new Americans,

mostly refugees from Iraq fleeing religious

persecution.

The brainchild of Paul Jonna and

Carlo Koza, this fundraiser hopes

to have the audience rolling in the

aisles and building funds. Ticket prices

range from $50 for a single ticket

to $7,500 for presenting sponsor,

which includes a suite with 20 meet

and greet tickets.

Oshana, the event headliner, has

his own special on Comedy Central

presented by Kevin Hart and has

been featured on HBO’s Def Comedy

Jam. He began his career in the family

living room in Yonkers, imitating cartoon

characters and TV personalities.

Raising money for the Foundation

is important to Oshana. Of

Assyrian descent, he is proud of his

Middle Eastern heritage and likes to

use his medium to poke fun at stereotypes.

“Any Middle Easterners in the

house? Yeah? SECURITY! Security,

right over here…”

Excited to return to Detroit –

where he had his best show in memory

– Oshana passed up a chance to do

a show in Dubai. Such is the power

of Carlo Koza that one phone call

persuaded Vincent to come to the

Motor City and headline the benefit.

Chaldeans love to laugh, love

to give, love to get. It feels good to

prepare a show for them.”

There is no need to prepare material,

however. Oshana has plenty. He

is creating it in his head all the time.

It takes real talent to look at life unfiltered

and ask yourself, “How can

I make this funny?” Each day brings

new material.

Like the fact that he is Assyrian.

People don’t know what that is.

“Does that mean you’re from Syria?”

he is often asked. The subtle nuances

between Assyrian, Syriac, and

Chaldean are hard to explain, but

none of them come from Syria. A

friend told him Chaldeans were “like

the Armenians, but richer.” The differences

don’t matter to Oshana. It’s

all sand, he says.

Comedy is a calling. Jokes may be

learned and timing perfected, but true

comedy is genuine. Oshana has been

doing stand-up comedy for almost

15 years and says it is “1,000 percent

harder than it used to be. Everyone is

so easily offended nowadays.”

He likes to open with recent events,

and sometimes making that funny is

hard work. How does he make a situation

where he is busting the so-tospeak

doors down as an Air Force Staff

Sergeant in Iraq funny? By imagining

that it’s his uncle’s house and that he

gets a good dressing-down.

He has heard his share of gasps

and groans. Influenced by comedic

genius such as Dave Chappelle, Oshana

just likes to keep it real. A true

storyteller, he has found his voice.

Also lending his voice and his

own authentic, organic version of humor

for the benefit is D’Alessandro.

D’Alessandro became an internet

sensation by posting videos of himself

poking fun, doing impressions

and calling attention to the absurdity

of everyday life.

His Italian American heritage

bred a culture not unlike that of Chaldeans,

centered on faith, food, and

family. He’s relatable, personable and

Vincent Oshana

Eric D’Alessandro

personal, posting photos of his own

life on Instagram. Everything he sees

becomes fodder for his comedy.

Influenced by talent such as Jim

Carrey, D’Alessandro is a physical

comedian. His impressions are scarily

spot-on while utterly ridiculous at

the same time. He grew up with a

video camera “the size of my head” in

his hands. He always knew he wanted

to perform and thought he might

one day make a living as a musician.

Like most comedians,

D’Alessandro is a writer at heart. He

jokes about things he notices every

day, things like pop culture and materialism.

Comments on Instagram

Live told Eric there was a huge audience

in Detroit for his jokes.

The CCF is hoping that is true –

they have 1,000 seats to fill in MotorCity

Casino’s Sound Board Theater.

30 CHALDEAN NEWS OCTOBER 2019


What is Integrative Medicine?

Integrative Medicine is a philosophical approach to the health care

of an individual that melds together alternative medical practices

and interventions with the conventional evidence-based western

allopathic medicine utilized by the majority of the United States. This

approach places the patient at the center of the health care model,

expanding the perimeters of health to include physical, mental,

spiritual, and environmental well-being. Integrative medicine allows

for involvement of homeopathics, mental counseling, exercise,

dietary approaches, and lifestyle changes to address root causes of

health risks, rather than just looking for a “magic bullet,” and taking

pharmaceutical medication.

“I love working in an integrative clinic because it allows me to offer

a variety of options to my patients instead of just a western based

approach,” states Dr. Heather Koza, MD.

Care can be personalized to address each individual’s needs, using both

conventional and alternative approaches when necessary. Our mission

at Comprehensive Integrative Health Care is to offer quality medical

services, regardless of age and needs, and we are open to coordinating

care with alternative forms of treatments which our patients may want to

include in their health care, including homeopathics, chiropractic, energy

balancing, and mental health practitioners. With the knowledge that we

have gained from both alternative and conventional medicine, we feel

that we can expand the options available to our patients. Our approach

is guided by an appreciation for ancient medical practices that have

been utilized in other cultures for centuries, while utilizing the advances

of western modern medicine, a unique blend of philosophies and care

which allows for individualized compassionate care to our patients.

Comprehensive Integrative Health Care is located in Novi:

30880 Beck Rd. Novi, MI 48377. Website: www.cihc248.com.

Heather Koza, MD and Sung Park-Davis, MD: Specialties

in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and Family Medicine

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OCTOBER 2019 CHALDEAN NEWS 31


Deception, promises and betrayal

BY ADHID MIRI, PHD

The Iraqi community in the

United States and more specifically,

the Chaldean American

community in Michigan, opened their

homes and hearts to many Iraqi political

leaders that visited our community

organizations and churches over the

years.

Every politician knows that the

key to winning the hearts and mind of

our community is to make great promises

on Christian and minority issues as

well as promoting business and political

collaboration. A classic promise is

building bridges with the community,

attracting investment and defending

Christian rights.

On issue after issue, most visitors

have made sweeping promises, and

all have blatantly betrayed them. In

many ways, Iraqi Chaldeans are eternal

optimists who can’t learn from

experience. We want to believe politicians

will improve our people’s lives

back home, then reality strikes and we

are left wondering why we believed

that somehow, this time, the outcome

would be different.

Regrettably behind each visit and

visitor lies just an illusion of a better

future for Iraqi Christians and

a false promise.

“When enough people make false

promises, words stop meaning anything.”

The frequent visits are usually

marked with the same promises by almost

all Iraqi politicians. The ranking

of the elected official seems correlated

with the size of the promise.

There is no need here to detail the

many broken promises that have accumulated

throughout history. With

constant change and lack of political

and administrative continuity in Iraq,

this problem reoccurs with new faces

and new political figures. Visiting politicians

attempt to extract additional

support to their agendas by promising

to improve a specific problem that is

near and dear to our hearts.

Christians represent an essential

component of Iraq. From the dawn of

Christianity until the fall of the regime

in 2003, they defended the values of

citizenship, formed an effective model

for democracy, and preserved their

towns, churches and monasteries.

After the fall of Saddam Hussein’s

regime in 2003, Christians were attacked

by terrorists, abducted, killed

and their churches were blown away.

In 2014, Christians were driven away

from their homes when ISIS occupied

Mosul and the Nineveh Plain towns.

ISIS burned historic churches which

reflected a deep-rooted and prosperous

Christian presence in this region. Today,

despite the liberation of these areas,

Christians have not received any

support from the Iraqi Government for

the reconstruction of their homes and

rehabilitation of infrastructure. Moreover,

the conflict has been intensified

on this land to change its demography,

causing escalation of Christian worries

and fears.

The tendency to hope for a better

future through politics and politicians

is nothing new. Promises of change

abound, yet little seems to change.

What is the problem?

Although we realize this deep

down, we continue to fall for lies

again and again. We think this time

will be different. So, we lay out the

money, spend the time, become parts

of an endless treadmill and continually

allow these political characters to

seduce us into believing there will be

change. But can such hope ever be fulfilled?

Or is it merely part of a cycle, a

cynical exploitation of short memories

and emotional partisanship? In the

end, this leads to nothing!

A recent visit by the Iraqi parliament

speaker to the U.S. and the load

of promises displayed classic examples

of failure to engage the community.

The outcome was nothing more than

a conference room on WhatsApp!

Basically, a rosy wish list without real

mechanisms or effective procedures.

Iraqi politicians run their power

engine on the fuel supply of fake

praises and false promises. This kind of

governance can do nothing good for

the country, its citizens or democracy.

They promise to do all they can to

cure the ills of society including persecution,

religious rights, freedom of

expression, property rights, etc. and

upon their return they will bring about

vast improvements in equal rights, education,

employment, infrastructure,

and the economy.

For well over 15 years, the Iraqi

government and legislative body have

used their power in the wrong way and

would bend public policy to suit their

purposes and profits. They have done

nothing to protect the Christians or

ethnic minorities. They make heroic

statements in the USA and hide away

in Baghdad.

To sum up, our community members

have lost patience and are determined

not to be fooled by any further

false promises. Now, all that is left are

feelings of distrust and betrayal towards

politicians and all whom are associated

with these pretenders.

These politicians fail to see the

available success stories and model

contributions of other communities in

the USA to their homeland. They fail

to understand the magnificent contribution

of other ex-pats like the Irish,

Indian, Italian, Israeli, Lebanese communities

and their remarkable contributions

to their ancestral homeland.

Iraqi Americans are a precious asset.

We have strength in every sector:

education, health, law, business administration,

banking, and engineering.

We have thousands of talented

specialists willing and ready to help. It

takes 30 years to produce a single PhD

recipient. We have hundreds of able

scholars and candidates. Some would

be willing investors and economic developers

in Iraq if the government was

not corrupt and deceptive.

It would be easy to blame all of this

on politicians, who will say anything

to be accepted and supported. But

we, the people, are at fault also. We

continue to embrace politicians who

make outrageous promises, fail to deliver

on them, and then allow them to

use the same promises to get another

invitation to visit or join our events.

Are we to believe today’s promises

any more than we should have

believed the false promises that were

given in the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and

beyond?

There are two fundamental problems

with our thinking system.

First, we tend idolize politicians

because they tell us they will fix the

problem for the Christians in Iraq.

These officials are merely civil servants.

It is their job to support their

citizens. They work for the people and

should be treated as such.

Second, politicians that make

promises that are either too vague to

measure or so unrealistic must be held

accountable.

We can’t expect the politicians to

change the system that brought them

to power. We need to drive change

ourselves, change our thinking and

our level of cooperation.

A major correction is needed in

the course of Iraq if it is to survive

as a multiethnic nation. It is needed

first and foremost in the composition

of the Parliament and Supreme

Court. Now is the time for truth and

courage. Now is the time for all Iraqis

to stand up to the powerful on behalf

of the people. The choice, not just in

rhetoric, but in reality. Applying the

principles of pressure politics might

be just what Iraqi politicians need.

We are very concerned about

laws that have been enacted in the

Iraqi parliament that hurt minorities,

specifically Christians. The new Iraqi

parliament developed unfair laws

that infringe on civil rights, property

rights, citizenship rights, cultural,

educational rights, religion choices

for the young newborn from mixed

marriages to religious freedom.

The demographic changes that

are taking place in the Nineveh

plain region and all around our villages

are tragic. The constitutional

role of majority in defending minorities

is a standard in all emerging democracies.

We should fight for “the forgotten

Christians and minorities of Iraq’’

against the powerful forces of greed

and corruption. Standing up for “vulnerable

people against the powerful’’

should be our community meaning

and mission in the United States. The

suggestion from some in our community

that we should cut all cooperation

and abandon the relationships is

wrong in principle and in practice.

We must have a process we can

believe in and measure. From now on

we will no longer ask, “What will you

do for the Christians?” but the question

will be, “What have you done?”

if they dare to ride our coat tails to

meet with U.S. politicians to further

their agenda. We will keep a balanced

perspective on an effective relationship

process for the sake of the next

generation in the U.S. and protect

our unfortunate people in Iraq.

We need to express our opinions

in favor of reasonable laws and actions.

We must demand that Christians

be treated with dignity and

given equal rights to Muslims and

all other citizens in Iraq. The fate of

our people is hanging by a thread and

future generations will not forgive or

forget our failure to act.

32 CHALDEAN NEWS OCTOBER 2019


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OCTOBER 2019 CHALDEAN NEWS 33


Marvin

Ammori

continues to

support the

‘little guy’

BY PAUL NATINSKY

In an era characterized by corporate

greed and dominated by giant

companies, Marvin Ammori

has struck one up for the little guy.

An attorney by trade, the 41-yearold

has spent much of his career

trying to keep the internet fair and

open for small, entrepreneurial

companies like the ones he grew up

around in the Chaldean community.

The key issue is “network neutrality”

and it means preventing

large companies that control access

to the internet from playing favorites.

For example, making some

companies easier to search for or

helping some companies’ websites

load faster than other companies’

websites.

“The idea was to keep the internet

more democratic and full

of economic innovation for small

businesses and big businesses alike,”

Ammori explained. “ As someone

who is the son of a small business

owner—like almost every other

Chaldean—the idea is for both economic

innovation and free speech,

to not let the big cable and phone

companies control the internet.”

Graduating in three years from

the University of Michigan before

matriculating at Harvard Law

School, Ammori had a plethora of

opportunities and right out of the

gate grabbed one, landing a job at

a prestigious Chicago law firm. He

acknowledges, “There is definitely a

lot more money had I stayed a law

firm partner…for 15 years.”

Instead, Ammori opened his

own Washington, DC firm in 2011

and got in on the ground floor of

the net neutrality fight, managing

the battle for five years for cuttingedge

innovators Google, Apple and

Dropbox.

“When I had that firm, I got to

work on all of the most fun and interesting

telecom and internet policy

issue,” said Ammori. He quarterbacked

a major net neutrality fight

in 2014-15, represented Google in

an antitrust investigation and was

involved in Wikipedia’s daylong

“blackout” to pressure Congress to

kill a bill.

The net neutrality fight is hardly

over, but Ammori is handing over

most of that challenge to younger

people who are now in leadership positions

at telecom and communications

companies. Ammori said the Trump

administration has stripped away

Obama-era net neutrality policy, an issue

that is working its way through the

courts. “I think this administration just

wanted to get rid of everything Obama

that they could,” he said.

States are picking up some of the

slack. California passed a very strong

net neutrality law, which will go to

court as well, said Ammori. He said

that state has the fifth largest economy

in the world, so its policy decisions

will have international impact.

Always drawn to issues that he

thinks will transform society, Ammori

is now working for a company

called Protocol Labs, which is trying

to create internet protocols that

make the internet less centralized.

Protocols are the vehicles computers

use to communicate with one

another. A common one is the

ubiquitous “http,” or hypertext

transfer protocol. The way Ammori

describes it, decentralizing the protocols

gives small companies a fair

shake in the data storage game; a

little bit like Airbnb being able to

compete with Hilton or Marriott.

“One of reasons I work for this

company, we may or may not succeed,

but we’re trying to do things

to make it more possible for smaller

companies to compete with bigger

companies,” said Ammori.

“I was always on the side of the

upstart, always on the side of the

little guy, or the person who, even

if they were big, they could help the

little guy. Even when it came to the

net neutrality fight, I was primarily

working for non-profits or alongside

the smaller start-ups.”

Ammori very much lives in the

now. When he reluctantly turns his

head toward the future, he sees biotech

as a likely transformative issue as

gene editing and other innovations

take hold. He sees autonomous vehicles

as an interesting game changer.

It seems obvious that there is a

book in all of this somewhere for

Ammori. In fact, he has already

written one called “On Internet

Freedom,” which was published on

a small scale and from which he donated

the proceeds.

Ammori sees a second book on

the near horizon focusing on the

intersection between technology

and politics. He has strong concerns

about “Rightwing populism, electoral

interference, fake Twitter accounts

and fake news,” worrying

that these developments will allow

tampering with Democracy around

the world.

34 CHALDEAN NEWS OCTOBER 2019


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OCTOBER 2019 CHALDEAN NEWS 35

full assortment of


chaldean on the STREET

Being Chaldean

BY HALIM SHEENA

Being Chaldean can mean a variety of things and it surely means something different for each

individual. That’s why we asked the community what being Chaldean means to them.

A culture that can turn dirt into money and would

do anything to support their family. We have a lot of

hate and jealousy but we also have a lot of love and

compassion. We strive for success but are impatient

and stubborn. We use every emotion in the human

body. We have gone through trauma and difficulties

but can still feel the most blessed inside. It’s a love

hate culture. The fact that we speak the same language

as Jesus is so amazing to me, the fact that we

are a culture that’s been around for so long but has

never been heard of.

– Merna Yaldo, 19, Sterling Heights

A few hundred years after most people die, it’s likely

that no one will know they even existed in the first place.

It’s a scary thought, but at least most people can take

comfort in the fact that their identity will live on for eternity,

even if their personal legacy gradually fades out of

existence over time. I can’t say the same for Chaldeans.

For over a thousand years, we’ve been murdered, tortured,

and raped out of existence. We are on the brink

of extinction. So while others are scrambling to figure

out how they’re going to afford the best car or the nicest

house, I’m busy insisting on the existence of our people

so that the world will know us long after our generation

passes. To me, that’s what it means to be Chaldean.

– Chris Salem, 29, Farmington Hills

To me, being Chaldean is a reminder that our roots

can be traced back to the ancient Assyrian and

Babylonian empires. The two empires that can be

credited with multiple things, but not limited to- the

first written language, 360-degree circle, Hammurabi’s

code of law as well as military, artistic, and

architectural achievements. Our ancestors have

contributed a lot to society, which still influences

modern day society. Throughout the millennia, many

ethnic groups have become extinct, yet we continued

to survive despite enduring multiple religious

and ethnic massacres and genocides.

– John Hirmiz, 30, Shelby Township

Being Chaldean means three things to me: faith, food,

and family! These three things define a few of the many

characteristics that make us an ethnic-religious group

that is unlike any other. We are rooted in rich history

and have grown and evolved into a distinct community

with specific, linguistic, religious, and ancestral heritage.

It can’t get better than that!

– Nataly Salman, 22, Sterling Heights

Being Chaldean means being part of a powerful faith

community, and it also means being part of a larger

multi-faith community of “Sooraye.” It is extremely

important to me and my inner circle to preserve our

language, foods, dances, artifacts and history. Strong

roots are one of the most valuable and empowering

things we all can give to future generations.

– Ranna Abro, 31, Rochester Hills

Being Chaldean to me is making sure our culture and

traditions stay alive and doing whatever I can to help

my people progress and work together. We have a

duty to protect and connect with our community

whether they’re in Iraq, where I was born, or anywhere

else in the world.

– Ron Babbie, 32, West Bloomfield

36 CHALDEAN NEWS OCTOBER 2019


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OCTOBER 2019 CHALDEAN NEWS 37


DOCTOR is in

Facing mental illness

As we are bombarded

by media sensationalism

daily, we

can easily think of therapy

as lying on a couch while

telling our personal story

to someone who is insincerely

nodding, taking

notes and asking, “how does

that make you feel?” The

more extreme portrayal is

someone in a straightjacket

thrashing around on a bed

with restraints or perhaps rocking

themselves in a corner. Exaggeration

of mental illness in the media and

movies has made society afraid to address

their mental health needs. Allow

me to address this exaggeration.

For many years the Chaldean

community has been acculturating

in the United States. In the beginning,

the important things were to

learn the language, laws, regulations,

education, employment, and social

life styles. As we progress there has

been a great need to focus on health

and wellness. History shows that our

community is connected spiritually.

In Iraq the church was and still is

the hub where people seek help and

refuge. Today we continue to see our

leaders work endlessly to ensure the

spiritual needs of the people are met.

We have many programs, bible studies,

retreats, and youth groups at our

local parishes that encourage personal

growth and self-reflection. In

addition, endless hours of meetings

and spiritual direction are offered

to those who need guidance. These

interactions can be therapeutic and

healing. However, there may be situations

when a spiritual leader may

help redirect a person/family by providing

them resources and programs

within the community.

Growing up, I remember that going

to the doctor was a taboo subject.

I would hear people say, “What if

someone sees me?” or “I don’t want

people to know that I’m sick.” Even

today people are afraid to identify

illnesses by their names and tell others

that they are suffering. There is

an idea that saying the name makes

the illness more real. Recently, with

social media and technology people

have been more open to asking for

help and support. Talking about illness

has become more normalized

and helps to bring hope and healing.

JANICE KIZY

SPECIAL TO THE

CHALDEAN NEWS

For generations, mental

illness has been viewed

as something that we don’t

talk about. Yet, in my years

of practice, I see many people

that struggle with the

effects of mental illness.

Confidentiality is usually

the most important topic

addressed. Many times the

fear is that someone may be

looked at as “weak” or “crazy.”

Clients express concern

that they may bring shame to their

family. Unfortunately, the impact of

untreated mental illness has proven

to be detrimental to the wellbeing

of clients, families, and the community.

The recent epidemics of drug

use, overdose and suicide rates in our

community are examples of this.

Mental illness refers to a wide

range of conditions that affect your

mood, thinking and behavior. Many

factors contribute to mental health

problems. These factors include: brain

chemistry, physical illness, biological

inheritance, and life experiences such

as trauma, abuse or loss. Mental health

concerns may be long or short term

and can be treated with or without

medication. Therapy is the first step

to treating mental illness. The main

goal is to build a therapeutic relationship

(rapport) and identify goals that

the client wants to work towards. In

building rapport, a safe non-judgmental

environment is created, allowing

clients to express feelings and be open

about situations they can’t share with

their family or social circle.

Clients have expressed that coming

to therapy gives them a place to

find their voice and helps them develop

tools to navigate daily stress in

a healthier manner. Communication

skills can be developed, allowing individuals

and families to build stronger

bonds and loving relationships.

The healing process begins with acknowledging

traumas that may have

occurred as early as childhood and

into adulthood. Until they are addressed,

these traumas often hold a

person back, causing them issues in

different areas of life.

There is a misconception that the

therapist is supposed to give advice

and fix problems. Our role is to support

clients, help them reflect, find

their own inner strength, focus on

best parts of themselves, and build

confidence and healthy relationships.

Therapy is not only for people

with severe conditions. Therapy has

proven to be helpful with positive

life changes that may cause stress

such as: marriage, having a child, and

getting a new job or promotion.

Individual and family therapy

are common types of therapy. Some

people may benefit from group therapy,

which can build a support system

and help clients recognize they are

not alone in their distress. Therapy

is for all ages. Children who experience

socialization issues, behavior

concerns at home/school, bullying,

or family stressors can benefit by

developing healthy ways to identify

feelings, manage, and cope.

Medications for mental health

conditions can be used to improve

quality of life. Some client concerns

include developing addictions or

becoming dependent on medications.

These questions are best answered

on an individual basis with

your physician. It’s always recommended

to consult your prescribing

physician before taking new

medications or making changes to

your prescriptions. The majority of

doctors encourage someone with a

mental health concern to participate

in outpatient therapy and will

prescribe only after the patient has

started therapy.

As a social worker, my hope is to

work with clients to improve their

health and wellness: mind, body, and

spirit. I work with the client to get

an all-encompassing view of where

they are and where they want to be.

The most important and rewarding

aspect of my work is witnessing

clients grow and make progress towards

their goals. Every therapist

has their own style and every client

has to find the right person for their

needs. Whether goals are to manage

anger, find their voice, decrease depression

and anxiety symptoms, clear

their minds, navigate life changes,

grieve a loss, work through family issues,

manage behavior, work through

traumatic life events, or increase

self-care, self-love, and awareness, I

am always honored that my clients

choose to trust me and allow me to

take this journey with them. To find

more information about therapists in

your area you can visit psychologytoday.com.

Have you considered who

you will trust to take the journey

with you?

Janice Kizy is a masters level licensed

clinical social worker LMSW. She

obtained obtained her master’s degree

from Wayne State University School

of Social Work in 2006 and bachelor’s

degree from U of M - Flint School

of Social Work in 2002. Kizy’s

work experiences over the past 15

years include child welfare, homeless

shelters, outpatient clinics and refugee

services. She currently has a private

practice Mind and Spirit Counseling

in Sterling Heights.

38 CHALDEAN NEWS OCTOBER 2019


ECONOMICS & enterprise

A sweet

labor of love

BY LISA CIPRIANO

Sometimes we all need to take a

little time out and enjoy some

of the sweeter things in life.

One Chaldean entrepreneur has

dedicated her life’s work to helping

us do just that.

Lauren Roumayah started

her Ferndale-based Detroit

Cookie Co. in 2015 out of a

need to be creative and a love

for baking.

Prior to that, she was on a

completely different career path

which she found to be less than

inspiring for her. Roumayah

was studying fashion merchandising

at Wayne State University

and already had a job in her

field. But she just wasn’t happy

and it showed.

“My husband, Anthony

Sevy, who was my then fiancé

asked me, ‘In a perfect would,

what would you want to do?’”

explained Roumayah. “I looked

at him and simply said, ‘I just

want to make cookies.’ And he

said, ‘Then, let’s do it.’”

And, that’s how the sweet idea

for Detroit Cookie Co. was born.

Roumayah’s love of baking came

from fond memories of precious time

in the kitchen with her beloved

mother.

“I grew up baking with my mom.

We always baked around the holidays.

And, one of the first things that

I ever made was cookies. Being from a

Chaldean family, we gathered around

food. It’s the way that everyone shows

their love,” said Roumayah. “It’s my

therapy. It’s my happiness. It’s my love

language,” she continued.

The couple found a shared use

kitchen space in Southfield, with the

help of Roumayah’s father, Steven,

who owns a commercial refrigeration

company, and began baking the

night away.

“I was working full-time, so we

would bake all night long and sell

them online and through wholesale

catering. We literally worked

around-the-clock to try to get our

cookies out to people,” Roumayah

explained.

As a determined Chaldean business

woman, Roumayah didn’t stop

there! She wanted her own Detroit

Cookie Co. storefront and one eventually

found her.

The couple had their sights sets on

a specific Ferndale location, but it was

not available as the owners had passed

away and the building was in probate.

After a year of calling for updates,

Roumayah finally got a call back informing

her that the building had

been purchased by an investor and

was available for lease. When she and

her then fiancé walked through, they

found that the kitchen contained all

of the large and small baking appliances

and work tables that they needed

to take their next step.

“Without the exact building that

we have now, we literally would not

have been able to open. We didn’t

have a ton of money for renovation,”

said Roumayah.

With some cosmetic renovation,

the couple eventually was able

to turn 23421 Woodward Ave. into

a sweet looking — and smelling —

oasis of “Cookies, Coffee and Carbs”

that now employs 20 people.

Detroit Cookie Co. also offers

ice cream, croissants, brownies and

more as well as vegan and glutenfree

options so those with dietary restrictions

can also enjoy the sweeter

things in life.

In fact, just about all of her original

recipes came from her bonding

time with her mother in the kitchen.

“We would take bits and pieces

from different recipes and make a

batch. If we liked something, we’d

keep the recipe. Over time, we

evolved all of these different recipes

that we have now,” Roumayah explained.

“I always try to think what

the kid in me would like,” she added.

Detroit Cookie Co. offers 25

cookie flavors and Roumayah is always

developing new, gourmet recipes

that incorporate Detroit and

Michigan-made products that many

of us know and love and some that

we may have never heard of before.

“We do a lot of collaboration. We

like to partner with local businesses

and small businesses just starting

out and release three different Detroit/Michigan

inspired flavors every

month,” explained Roumayah.

She even developed a sweet and

salty cookie with her favorite Better

Made potato chips! Detroit Cookie

Co. also sells some of those locally

made products at its Ferndale store.

Some of Roumayah’s cookies,

meant to be a temporary flavor of the

month, are so addictively delicious

that customers have requested they

be made standards.

“One of our best-sellers is a raspberry,

Oreo, cheesecake cookie. We

actually take an entire cheesecake

and put it in our cookie dough with

fresh raspberries and chunks of Oreo

cookies. People love that cookie so

much that when they found out that

we were going to take it off of the

menu, they started stocking up, freezing

them and kept asking us when

we’d offer it again,” said Roumayah.

We decided that we can’t take that

away from them,” she added.

Detroit Cookie Co. now produces

anywhere from 50,000 to 65,000 cookies

per month and Roumayah’s quest to

make the world a little bit sweeter has

her looking for a bigger, commissary

kitchen space to allow for even more

dough production in order to increase

online offerings and open two or three

more local stores next year.

“We’re going to continue to expand

our online ordering by offering

care packages and more gift baskets

for the holidays. We’re even going

have a food truck that will be in service

sometime next year,” Roumayah

explained. “We’ll eventually look

into franchising. But first, our goal is

to take on Michigan!” she concluded.

To feast your eyes on the latest

delicacies that Detroit Cookie Company

has to offer both online and

at its Ferndale location, visit them

online or follow their social media

pages.

OCTOBER 2019 CHALDEAN NEWS 39


classified listings

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40 CHALDEAN NEWS OCTOBER 2019


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event

1

2

3

4

5 6 7

Stride for Seminarians

PHOTOS BY RAZIK TOMINA

On Sunday, September 23, the Alexander and Gabrielle Mansour Memorial Fund hosted

their sixth annual Stride for Seminarians charity walk in memory of Alex and Gabby

Mansour. Hosted at the Detroit Zoo, many showed up to support the memorial fund and

participate in an array of activities, including crafts, face painting and rose petal intentions.

Eventgoers settled under the zoo’s pavilion for Mass following the walk.

1. Hannah Konja,

Madison Kajy

& Lana Kinaya.

2. Kayla Kamposh

& Klara Kamposh.

3. Jack Abbo.

4. Kyle Kamposh.

5. Reta Kakos

& Soad Kakos.

6. Brenda Bakkal

& Val Natso.

7. Sanya Jabero, Wiran

Shina, Summer Satam

& Washam Attisha.

42 CHALDEAN NEWS OCTOBER 2019


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OCTOBER 2019 CHALDEAN NEWS 43


events

Honoring Matthew

PHOTOS SUPPLIED BY SHOUNIA FAMILY

In an effort to honor their late son Matthew, who passed away from a form

of children’s kidney cancer, Maher and Evon Shounia hosted a golf outing to

benefit refugee children dealing with cancer. Created as a way to help others,

this event has allowed the Shounia family to heal while they help others.

44 CHALDEAN NEWS OCTOBER 2019


Awake My Soul

PHOTOS BY MAJD DENHA

The Eastern Catholic Re-evangelization Center hosted their annual spiritual conference

on Saturday, September 7. The annual event was hosted at Holy Martyrs

Church in Sterling Heights. With an English and Arabic program, speakers

included Fr. Joe Krupp, Fr. Pierre Konja, Fr. Niaz Toma, and Raymond Nader.

OCTOBER 2019 CHALDEAN NEWS 45


event

1

2 3

Introduction of the

Blessed Solanus

Casey Section

PHOTOS BY RAZIK TOMINA

The Holy Sepulchre Cemetery invited guests to join in the introduction

of the Blessed Solanus Casey Section and Endowment Fund on Friday,

September 13. Hosted at the cemetery, guests enjoyed wine tasting and

a reception that included special guests Most Rev. Donald Hanchon,

Capuchin Friars, and the Capuchin Soup Kitchen Choir.

1. Bishop Don Hanchon.

2. Veanna Cortese.

3. Capuchin Soup Kitchen Choir.

46 CHALDEAN NEWS OCTOBER 2019


SECOND ANNUAL

AWARDS GALA

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THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2019 • 6 PM

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