VOL. 16 ISSUE IX
METRO DETROIT CHALDEAN COMMUNITY OCTOBER 2019
FIGHTING TO HEAL
WAEL “BULL” ABBOUD HELPS PUT THE BRAKES
ON PARKINSON’S DISEASE
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
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CONTENTS OCTOBER 2019
THE CHALDEAN NEWS VOLUME 12 ISSUE XII
8 FROM THE EDITOR
BY PAUL JONNA
Back to work
on the cover
24 FIGHTING TO HEAL
BY PAUL NATINSKY
‘Bull’ helps put the brakes on Parkinson’s Disease
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
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?
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
BY FR. PIERRE KONJA
Look beyond the distractions
22 IN MEMORIAM
36 CHALDEAN ON THE STREET
BY HALIM SHEENA
38 DOCTOR IS IN
BY JANICE KIZY
Facing mental illness
39 ECONOMICS AND ENTERPRISE
BY LISA CIPRIANO
A sweet labor of love
OCTOBER 2019 CHALDEAN NEWS 7
from the EDITOR
Chaldean News, LLC
Chaldean Community Foundation
Back to work
ACTING EDITOR IN CHIEF
Dr. Adhid Miri
Fr. Pierre Konja
Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako
ART & PRODUCTION
Alex Lumelsky with SKY Creative
Zina Lumelsky with SKY Creative
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Publication: The Chaldean News (P-6); Published
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Suite 101, Farmington Hills, MI 48334”
StoryWalk ® in Stering Heights features braille assistance.
In the last issue, we reintroduced
News (CN) to you, our
readers, under the ownership
of the Chaldean Community
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
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
Please always feel free to E-mail
firstname.lastname@example.org to us what
is important to you.
Acting Editor in Chief
New York Life Congratulates
Gabriel H. Sinawi CLU®, ChFC®
for 40 Years of Service
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through NYLIFE Securities LLC (member FINRA/SIPC). **Products available through one or more carriers not affiliated
with New York Life, dependent on carrier authorization and product availability in your state or locality. SMRU 522091
8 CHALDEAN NEWS OCTOBER 2019
Access to the
quality care your
Count on it.
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Count on Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network to give you the peace of mind that
comes with knowing you’ll have access to health care that’s right for you. For 80 years, Blue Cross has been
doing more to bring you the choices, access and expertise that allow you to move forward with confidence.
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OCTOBER 2019 CHALDEAN 9/20/19 NEWS 2:23 PM9
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
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
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)
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
Police and Fire
officials are coming
to CCF on
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
Supporters of Iraqi
Christinals protest at
Hart Plaza, Detroit
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
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
OCTOBER 2019 CHALDEAN NEWS 11
Syriac Catholic Church
reestablishes diocese in
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
Photo Caption: Cardinal Bechara Rai, patriarch
of the Maronite Catholic Church, and Syriac
Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan in
Bkerke, Lebanon (CNS)
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.
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.
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
What others are saying about Chaldeans
The Plains of Nineveh: The Purging of Christians Continues
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
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
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
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
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
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?’
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
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
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
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,
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
“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
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
“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,
Recognizing his business acumen
in addition to his persistence when
it came to higher education, Marouf
established a business alongside his
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
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
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
14 CHALDEAN NEWS OCTOBER 2019
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OCTOBER 2019 CHALDEAN NEWS 15
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
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
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
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
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.”
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
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
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
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
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
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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.
Fox 2 News
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)
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To reserve your seat or for sponsorship opportunities please contact
Sarah Kittle at 248-851-1200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
OCTOBER 2019 CHALDEAN NEWS 19
Look beyond the distractions
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
SPECIAL TO THE
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
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.
20 CHALDEAN NEWS OCTOBER 2019
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
Chaldean Community Foundation
Sterling Heights Office
3601 15 Mile Road
Sterling Heights, MI 48310
OCTOBER 2019 CHALDEAN NEWS 21
RECENTLY DECEASED COMMUNITY MEMBERS
June 7, 1930 - Aug.
June 15, 2003 -
Sept. 18, 2019
June 26, 1949 -
Sept. 18, 2019
Feb. 21, 1953 -
Sept. 16, 2019
March 8, 1950 -
Sept. 16, 2019
July 1, 1930 - Sept.
Atheer Ghazy Aziz
May 1, 1971 - Sept.
June 18, 1938 -
Sept. 11, 2019
July 1, 1956 - Sept.
June 1, 1926 -
Sept. 11, 2019
Niami Hanna Jajou
July 1, 1931 - Sept.
Fr. Hanna Sullaka
Sept. 6, 1949 -
Sept. 10, 2019
July 1, 1929 -
Sept. 9, 2019
June 7, 1957 -
Sept. 7, 2019
Faiz (Frank) Salmu
Aug. 9, 1959 -
Sept. 7, 2019
July 1, 1925 - Sept.
January 27, 1947 -
Sept. 6, 2019
April 16, 1936 -
Sept. 5, 2019
July 1, 1931 - Sept.
July 1, 1951 - Sept.
Layla Jajo Zora
Aug. 13, 1936 -
Sept. 1, 2019
Badri Elias Jamil
June 20, 1949 -
Aug. 31, 2019
July 1, 1934 - Aug.
Dec. 28, 1933 -
Aug. 30, 2019
July 1, 1922 - Aug.
Jan. 8, 1936 - Aug.
May 3, 1958 - Aug.
July 1, 1933 - Aug.
22 CHALDEAN NEWS OCTOBER 2019
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:
CONTACT BAN OR IVA FOR MORE INFORMATION
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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
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
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
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
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
“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
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
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
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
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
You open the door, and the
stranger introduces himself, at which
point you realize you’ve never met
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
Now multiply this intensity by
about half a million—and brace
yourself—because that’s how many
Aramaic-speaking Jews exist in the
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
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
Drawing a Connection
Multiple generations of Abraham’s
descendants traveled from Canaan
to Aram-Naharaim when they wanted
to get married, according to the
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
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.
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,”
“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.
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
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
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,
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
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
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,”
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
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
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
“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
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
OCTOBER 2019 CHALDEAN NEWS 27
Chaldeans bring different
views in appointed
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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
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
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
– GHIDA DAGHER, DIRECTOR
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
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
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
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
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
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Integrative Medicine is a philosophical approach to the health care
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and interventions with the conventional evidence-based western
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spiritual, and environmental well-being. Integrative medicine allows
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health risks, rather than just looking for a “magic bullet,” and taking
“I love working in an integrative clinic because it allows me to offer
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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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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’
“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
“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
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
34 CHALDEAN NEWS OCTOBER 2019
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OCTOBER 2019 CHALDEAN NEWS 35
full assortment of
chaldean on the STREET
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
can easily think of therapy
as lying on a couch while
telling our personal story
to someone who is insincerely
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.
SPECIAL TO THE
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
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
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
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
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
“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
“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
As a determined Chaldean business
woman, Roumayah didn’t stop
there! She wanted her own Detroit
Cookie Co. storefront and one eventually
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,”
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
OCTOBER 2019 CHALDEAN NEWS 39
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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,
& 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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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
Introduction of the
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
THE PALAZZO GRANDE, SHELBY TOWNSHIP
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2019 • 6 PM