Chaldean News - January 2018

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on the cover


What’s in business for the new year?

features 9



departments 6




Finding the value 7






On a mission 12










Expanding their Buick business 42

EVENT In honor of the Bishop



What’s your resolution? 34



A week of events, open houses and the celebration of the Catholic education



Bawai Soro heads the Eparchy of Mar Addai of the Chaldeans in Toronto


E-Cigarettes are on the rise among teenagers


Chaldeans take on podcasting and Facebook Live




People power the Chaldean Football League

Creating a music career out of his childhood passion




from the EDITOR


The Chaldean News, LLC

Finding the value


Vanessa Denha-Garmo MANAGING EDITORS

Denha Media Group Writers CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

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Publication: The Chaldean News (P-6); Published monthly; Issue Date: January 2018 Subscriptions: 12 months, $25. Publication Address: 30850 Telegraph Road, Suite 220, Bingham Farms, Michigan 48025; Application to Mail at Periodicals Postage Rates is Pending at Farmington Hills Post Office Postmaster: Send address changes to “The Chaldean News 30850 Telegraph Road, Suite 220, Bingham Farms, MI 48025”


sit at my desk inside my There is value in learnhome office looking at ing from those who are my 2017 list of goals. I considered at the top of have created a New Year’s their game. list for at least the last 20 To find great worth in years. Every year I fall short something, we must first list of meeting my goals. Reout what we value most. With gardless, I will make one every passing year, my faith for 2018. Like most recent increases. My value on God VANESSA years, I will create the plan and family deepens. Durto achieve each goal. The DENHA-GARMO ing an Advent Retreat last plan is what has helped me EDITOR IN CHIEF month, Sister Ann Shields CO-PUBLISHER truly execute. told ECRC retreatants about There is value in the list. the importance of prayer life In addition to creating my plans and spending time with God. and hopefully achieving things in the new year and improving myself, I like to reflect on the past year. This is something I started to do “One thing I have recently as well. This looking back enables me to see the mistakes I come to realize is have made as well as to find happiness in my successes. that Chaldeans are There is value in being reflective. How else can we learn? great at reinventing As a journalist, I learn every day. There are great teachers who themselves.” are considered experts in their own professions. It is the reason we share with our readers this cover story. I was truly interested in knowing the As a Christian, there is great valbusiness trends for 2018 or least ue in prayer life. what are top industry investments Perhaps part of that New Year’s for our community. One thing I resolution list you write out is a list have come to realize and have been of what you value most. The list for told is that Chaldeans are great at me is God, family, health and work. reinventing themselves. The late I was talking to a fellow journalist Mike George pointed that out to on the phone earlier on the day I me in an interview a few years ago. was writing this editor’s note and we We will be hosting our annual Enwere talking about this very thing: trepreneur Forum this year and I what do we value. He told me that always look forward to listening to he teaches his kids that life is about the insights of others. relationships. The happiest people

in world are not necessarily the most successful but those who have the best relationships. I take that one a step further. If we start with creating the best relationship with God, then the rest of our relationships become better. There is value in the people who are in our lives. As a journalist, I have always valued the truth and more so as Christian. As a reporter, you are trained to find and report on the facts. This past year we have seen so much negativity come to light, especially as it relates to sexual harassment in the work place. I have always been a firm believer that the truth always comes out. It may take a while but eventually it is revealed. I heard a priest say this past year, don’t waste time trying to take down evil, evil will take down itself. When it comes to truth, there is no other option to value. The reality is that we need to find value in everything we do and how we live our lives. We need to find value in every passing year, in every relationship we have, in the work we do, the words we speak and the time we spend. There is value in life; we all need to find it.

Alaha Imid Koullen (God Be With Us All) Vanessa Denha-Garmo Follow her on Twitter @vanessadenha Follow Chaldean News on Twitter @chaldeannews

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in my VIEW

Dastardly Iraq


young Iraqi wombe expected from that asan is receiving sortment of ideologues. death threats. But here’s what is so disHer family, inside Iraq, is comforting. The Miss Iraq on the run. Iraqi officialorganization itself, under dom is apocalyptic. Why? pressure from Iraqi govBecause Sarah Idan, the ernment officials, asked 2016 Miss Iraq winner, her to remove the photo took a photo (a selfie) from social media and MICHAEL G. with Miss Israel. apologize. Idan refused SARAFA Idan was in Las Ve(though all the bikini SPECIAL TO THE gas recently, representing shots have been wiped CHALDEAN NEWS Iraq in the Miss Universe clean). Pageant for the first time anyone has done that in nearly 50 years. An open letter to At Idan’s suggestion, she and Adar the United States: Gandelsman (Miss Israel), took a selfie and posted it on social media Dear Americans: with the caption “Peace and Love Is this what we fought for in Iraq? from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel.” Tens of thousands of American lives Beyond the photo with Miss Iswere lost or badly injured over the rael was one of Miss Iraq in a bikini. last decade in Iraq. Billions from the Of course, this was an invitation to U.S. Treasury spent on this inane the wacko’s, extremists, Jihadists war in Iraq. ISIS comes. Wreaks and the like to jump all over this havoc. Now they’re gone from Iraq young lady. Unfortunately, that can apparently, which is good.




And what is left – an American sponsored and supported government that is going to allow an Iraqi family to be chased out of Iraq because of a photo taken by their daughter in the United States with a young lady from Israel. We’ve had successive ragtag— stooge governments in Iraq that at their core are anti- American, proIran, anti-Christian, anti-Israel, reactionary, corrupt and anti-democratic. This Miss Iraq story is but one small example of the result of a failed

Iraq policy going on two decades. It is time for the American people to hold our officials responsible for dastardly decision making, especially in matter of war and peace. The Iraq war was not meant to be. It should not have occurred. But it did and it set in motion a series of events that have caused death and destruction, war and famine, dislocation and disease. We must learn from our mistake but also, do what we can as a country to make things better. Sarah Idan competed in the Miss Universe competition last month. She wore a one piece for the bathing suit competition. She didn’t place in the top ten. Her family remains in hiding. Like so many of our Christian brothers and sisters, they are no longer welcome in Iraq. Sincerely, Michael G. Sarafa Disgruntled Iraqi Chaldean American Soon to be just a Chaldean American

On the watch for global trends BY MICHAEL SARAFA


s we head into the New Year, I have come up with five things to watch in business for 2018.

nies that are aligned with who they are and share similar values systems. This trend will continue to grow dramatically in 2018 and beyond.

Automation becomes real Budweiser outfitted a semi-trailer truck with $30,000 of computer ware and sent it 120 miles from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs—without a driver in it. There’s a huge shortage of truck drivers in the U.S. and it may be the trucking industry that leads the way on autonomous vehicles.

The demise of the big boxes This is not really news and happened through 2017. Over 40 large retailers have gone out of business in the last 24 months and many more have shuttered hundreds of stores. There is the Amazon effect, of course, but also these retailers don’t play to the experience economy cited above. It’s only going to get worse.

Authenticity overtakes quality – the Experience Economy Consumers are all about the experience. Emotive ads, storytelling, appeals to the better side of human nature have become game changers to companies trying to grow their market share. People are attracted to compa-

Values, values, values The recreational retailer REI closed all of their retail and distribution centers on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Why? They gave their employers the day off and suggested they spend it outdoors (#OptOut-

side). What happened? According to, the hashtag above received 2.7 billion impressions on the first day, same store sales increased by 7% and digital sales increased by 23%. Customers rewarded REI for this move and people noticed. Bitcoin and Blockchain I don’t know about Bitcoin’s future but it is based on the same theory as Blockchain. Holy cow, watch out for Blockchain. I can’t really explain it but here is Wikipedia’s version. A blockchain, originally block chain, is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography. Each block typically contains a hash pointer as a link to a previous block, a timestamp and transaction data. By design, blockchains are inherently resistant to modification of

the data. The Harvard Business Review describes it as “an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way.” For use as a distributed ledger, a blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for validating new blocks. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks, which requires collusion of the network majority. This technology could be a major disrupter of traditional business models in the future. Don’t get left behind or at least don’t let your kids get left behind. Happy New Year. Information cited from blog on

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GUEST column

On a Mission Seminarian Marcus Shammami with Fr. Fadi Philip about his trips to help displaced Christians


his month, a group Our goal, however, is not of missionaries will just a medical one but also travel to Lebanon a spiritual one, and I want to give medical and spirito bring them the message tual aid to displaced Christhat our Eparchy cares for tians who have been forced them and loves them, that to leave their homes due to we are all one Church and wars and persecution. The that they have brothers and team, led by Fr. Fadi Philip, sisters that care for them MARCUS a Chaldean Catholic priest and want to help them. As SHAMMAMI and the pastor of Our Lady Christians, we are all called SPECIAL TO THE of Perpetual Help in Warto help those who are most CHALDEAN NEWS ren, Michigan, will visit in need and to show them displaced families throughout the Jesus Christ by our words and acregion to give them much needed tions. In addition to praying with the medical and spiritual support. In adfamilies, I will also be holding dition to Fr. Fadi, the team includes Bible studies for them. five medical doctors: Ranin Paolus, Spiritually and practically, M.D.; Maha Bishara, D.M.D.; Sara what are some things that you Alsakka, Michael Haddow, D.M.D.; learned from these trips? and Rand Touma, M.D. who are part They have changed my life of the MERCI project. and the way that I look at my On December 26th last month, vocation as a Christian. Jesus you and a team of volunteers travasks of all Christians to go to eled to Lebanon on a medical and those who are in need and to spiritual mission trip to help our help them in whatever way displaced brothers and sisters. Alyou can: “For I was hungry though you have been on a number and you gave me food, I was of mission trips around the Middle thirsty and you gave me drink, East, this will be the first medical and a stranger and you welcomed spiritual mission trip. How did you me, naked and you clothed me, ill and first get involved in these mission you cared for me, in prison and you trips and what makes this trip differvisited me.’ Then the righteous* will ent than the others before it? answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did There are about 15,000 – 20,000 we see you hungry and feed you, or Christian refugees in Lebanon, so the thirsty and give you drink? When did need there is very great. In Lebanon, we see you a stranger and welcome many of them have been stuck there you, or naked and clothe you? When for the past 3-4 years and are not sure did we see you ill or in prison, and visit when they will even be able to leave. you?’ And the king will say to them in To make matters worse, life in Lebareply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever non is very expensive and people will you did for one of these least brothgenerally focus on providing for food ers of mine, you did for me’ (Matt. 25: and a home for their families. Because 35-40). Jesus is in every one of these of this, there is very little money to people that we serve. It is as Mother spend on other things, like medical Teresa says when she was serving the care, and this is why many will only less fortunate in her own ministry: “I go to the doctor’s only when they get have an opportunity to be with Jesus a health problem, because they can24 hours a day.” She said this because not afford to go to the doctors for a she was truly able to see Jesus in evregular check-up and many cannot aferyone that she met or helped. ford medical care at all. Adopt a Refugee has recently celOur main purpose in this mission ebrated its 10th anniversary. What trip is to help treat the refugees there is Chaldean Catholic Charities (of in whatever way we can help them. which Adopt a Refugee is a branch There will be two physicians and two of) and how have you seen Chaldean dentists travelling with me to help Catholic Charities help our displaced treat those who need medical care. brothers and sisters in need? 10



The Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle seems to be the most involved in helping our brothers and sisters who are refugees. Currently, we are helping about 650 families in Lebanon, 250 families in Jordan, and 200 families in Syria. In Iraq, MERCI has helped to start and fund 6 clinics throughout Iraq, helping to provide prescription drugs and medical care to our refugees and we also have programs, in Jordan and Lebanon as well, that help our refugees with affording medication. MERCI and Help Iraq also support

special cases of people who need a procedure or surgery done because of medical emergencies and cannot afford its great costs. We also have Students 2 Students (S2S), a program started by Help Iraq that involves college students in this Eparchy helping college students in Iraq, helping them with things like supplies, living costs, and transportation costs. We also have St. Jude Iraq, which specifically helps children. All of these organizations have been doing a great job, and they could not do any of it if it wasn’t for our community’s generous support. What seems to be the greatest need of our displaced brothers and sisters? Their physical needs are many… they struggle to make enough to pay for rent, food and medication costs. But what struck me most is how much they hunger for Jesus, especially Jesus in the Mass. Once, I was on a mission trip in Turkey around Christmas time and I saw people crowding outside of a closed church.

They held and kissed the main doors of the church as they said their prayers, praying everything that they knew and remembered, like the Lakhu Maran and the Qadeesha Alaha. During that trip, as we celebrated the Mass with them, many of them began to sob in joy as they received the Eucharist, as many of them had not been able to receive the Eucharist or go to a Mass for a number of years, some having been without Mass for 10 years! Another story that I can remember is that we were celebrating Mass in an apartment building in a room on the 5th floor. Many had heard that Mass was being celebrated and had come to hear it. The entire hall and the stairway all the way down to the first floor was filled with people who simply wanted to hear the Mass. Not expecting the great amount of people who came to the Mass, I had to break each host into multiple pieces for everyone who came to receive. In your estimate, how many displaced Christians are there that Chaldean Catholic Charities is trying to reach? How can one help to support the mission of Chaldean Catholic Charities? In Lebanon, there are currently 650 families that are being helped, but there are still around 2,000 more that need help. One can help by either donating to Chaldean Catholic Charities or by simply praying for our brothers and sisters who are displaced and for the many groups that help to serve them. If you would like to donate specifically to this mission trip, you can either contact Fr. Fadi (email below) or donate through Chaldean Catholic Charities, writing ‘Lebanon Mission’ in the memo. If you are interested in helping with this mission or future missions, or just would like more information, you can reach Fr. Fadi by email at Marcus Shammami is a Theology II seminarian at Sacred Heart Seminary expected to be ordained in 2020.

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Ordination of Rodney Abasso and Perrin Atisha The sub diaconate ordination of Rodney Abasso and Perrin Atisha was held at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chaldean Catholic Church in Warren on Sunday, December 10. Along with the sub diaconate ordination of Rodney and Perrin, was the lector ordination of Kevin and Marcus.

Final Vows On December 12, Mary Teresa Kassab made her final vows to the Lord, officially becoming Sister Mary Teresa Kassab.

Detainee Update On December 20, 2017, protesters once again gathered outside of the Theodore Levin United States Courthouse in support of community members facing deportation. The majority of detainees were picked up in raids conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on June 11, 2017. Since the raids, detainees have been dispersed between facilities in Michigan and Ohio, with the majority in Ohio. Protesters gathered as Judge Mark Goldsmith was set to hear pending motions from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The hope for many families that day was that Judge Goldsmith would rule in their favor and allow the detainees to come home where they would be able to handle their individual cases. The hearing started at 10:00 a.m. and went on for several hours as Judge Goldsmith heard from the ACLU, CODE Legal Aid – who are serving as cocounsel to the ACLU – and the government’s attorney. As of December 20, there has yet to be a written decision and one is not expected for another 24 to 48 hours. According to Margo Schlanger, an attorney representing the Iraqi Nationals cited in the class action lawsuit, the hearing went well and the they hope to hear from the court soon. Without an end in sight, many protesters began to leave around 1:00 p.m., having been there since 9:30 a.m. Before leaving however, the protesters gathered to pray for a favorable decision. 12



How I Met God Following his own encounter with Jesus, Delone Arabo was inspired to launch a website in which anyone could share their own encounters. All are encouraged to share their stories and see the many different encounters that others have experienced. Visit to share your encounter.



CHAI time



Monday, January 1 Art Exhibit: The Detroit Institute of Arts will feature the exhibition, Church: A Painter’s Pilgrimage now through Monday, January 15. This exhibit will feature Frederic Church’s paintings of the Middle East, Athens, and Rome as they explore a major shift in his paintings. Previously, Church’s paintings focused on the wilderness of North and South America, the North Atlantic, and the Caribbean. For ticket information and museum hours, visit Monday, January 8 Festival: The 24th annual Plymouth Ice Festival will run through Monday, January 8 to Wednesday, January 10. This free festival is one of the largest ice festivals in Michigan. The festival will include various activities for attendees of all ages. Each night the Ice Garden is lit at 7 p.m. Festival hours are 3-8 p.m. Jan. 8, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Jan. 9 and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Jan. 10. For more information, visit Saturday, January 13 Auto Show: 2018 marks the eleventh year for The Gallery at the North Ameri-




can International Auto Show. The Gallery will be back in town on Saturday, January 13 at the Cobo Center from 6:30 to 11:00 p.m. Guests will have the opportunity to view a long line of luxury cars including brands such as Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, and Rolls-Royce. Tickets are $250. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit auto-show/the-gallery. Sunday, January 14 Music: Miniature Masterpieces is coming to St. John’s Chapel in Plymouth on Sunday, Januray 14 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. The evening will include big music in miniature form featuring Brahms Symphony No.2 for Chamber Ensemble. Tickets range from $10 to $30. To purchase tickets, visit http://https:// Tuesday, January 16 Beer Week: Discover Kalamazoo is hosting a week of beer centric events aimed at connecting craft breweries with restaurants and retailers throughout

Kalamazoo. This weeklong event series will feature special tastings, dinners, and interactive events. Attendees will get the opportunity to meet the brewers themselves. For more information, visit Friday, January 19 Charity: Join the largest annual, onenight fundraiser in the world on Friday, January 19 at the Cobo Center. The North American International Auto Show’s Charity Preview is a black-tie event meant to raise millions of dollars for Southeast Michigan children’s charities while getting an up-close look at some of the finest vehicles the industry has to offer. The evening will include performances by local musical acts, The Four Tops and Your Generation. For more information, visit or call 888-838-7500. Friday, January 19 Festival: The 11th annual Fire and Ice Festival returns to Downtown Rochester on Friday, January 19 through Sunday, January 21. This free event will include an array of winter activities. Activities include dog sled rides,

a tube sledding hill, ice skating, a figure-skating exhibition, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, ice carvings, marshmallow roasting, and a taste fest/ beer tent. Face painting will be also be available in addition to a collegiate ice carving competition. A firework display is set for 8:00 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday. For more information visit and Friday, January 19 Charity: Sponsored by The Children’s Center and in partnership with Lisa and Bill Ford and Kathy and Jim Hackett, the 2018 Autoglow will be hosted at Ford Field on Friday, January 19. The theme of the charity event is “An Evening in Casablanca” and will feature strolling dinner, drinks and dancing. The Children’s Center is one of eight charities benefiting from the North American International Auto Show Charity Preview. You must be a NAIAS Charity Preview ticket holder in order to purchase tickets for Autoglow. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit




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THE DIOCESE OF ST. THOMAS THE APOSTLE IN THE UNITED STATES St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Diocese 25603 Berg Road, Southfield, MI 48033; (248) 351-0440 Bishop: Francis Kalabat Retired Bishop: Ibrahim N. Ibrahim HOLY CROSS CHALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 32500 Middlebelt Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48334; (248) 626-5055 Rector: Msgr. Zouhair Toma Kejbou Mass Schedule: Weekdays, noon in Chaldean; Saturdays, 4:30 p.m. in English; Sundays, 10 a.m. in Chaldean and Arabic, noon in English, 6 p.m., in Arabic HOLY MARTYRS CHALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 43700 Merrill, Sterling Heights, MI 48312; (586) 803-3114 Rector: Fr. Manuel Boji Parochial Vicar: Fr. Andrew Seba Bible Study: Mondays, 7 p.m. in Chaldean; Thursdays, 8 p.m. Seed of Faith in English; Saturdays, 7 p.m. Witness to Faith in Arabic Youth Groups: Wednesdays, 7 p.m. for High Schoolers Mass Schedule: Weekdays, 9 a.m. in Chaldean; Saturdays, 5 p.m. in English; Sundays: 9 a.m. in Chaldean and Arabic, 10:30 a.m. in English, Morning Prayer at noon, High Mass at 12:30 p.m. in Chaldean; 6 p.m. in English MAR ADDAI CHALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 24010 Coolidge Highway, Oak Park, MI 48237; (248) 547-4648 Pastor: Fr. Stephen Kallabat Retired Priest: Fr. Suleiman Denha Adoration: Last Friday of the month, 4 p.m. Adoration; 5 p.m. Stations of the Cross; 6 p.m. Mass; Wednesdays, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Bible Study: Fridays, 8-10 p.m. in Arabic and Chaldean Youth Groups: Thursdays, 7:30-9 p.m. Jesus Christ University High School and College Mass Schedule: Weekdays, noon; Sundays, 10 a.m. in Chaldean and Arabic, 12:30 p.m. High Mass in Chaldean MOTHER OF GOD CHALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 25585 Berg Road, Southfield, MI 48034; (248) 356-0565 Administrator: Fr. Pierre Konja Retired Priest: Fr. Emanuel Rayes Bible Study: Mondays, 7-9 p.m. in English; Wednesdays, 7 p.m. for college students in English Mass Schedule: Weekdays, 10 a.m.; Tuesdays, 8:45 p.m. in English; Saturdays, 4 p.m. in English; Sundays: 8:30 a.m. in Arabic, 10 a.m. in English, noon in Chaldean, 7 p.m. in English OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP CHALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 11200 12 Mile Road, Warren, MI 48093; (586) 804-2114 Pastor: Fr. Fadi Philip Parochial Vicar: Hermiz Haddad Bible Study: Thursday, 8 p.m. for ages 18-45; Friday, 8 p.m. in Arabic. Teens 4 Mary Youth Group: Saturdays, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Confession: 1 hour before mass or by appointment. Adoration: Thursday, 5-7 p.m. Chapel open 24/7 for adoration. Mass Schedule: Monday-Wednesday, 10 a.m. in Chaldean; Thursday, 1 p.m. in English and 7 p.m. in Chaldean; Friday 7 p.m. in Chaldean; Sunday, 10 a.m. in Arabic and 12:30 p.m. in Chaldean. SACRED HEART CHALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 30590 Dequindre Road, Warren, MI 48092; (586) 393-5809 Pastor: Fr. Sameem Belius Mass Schedule: Sundays, 10 a.m. in Arabic, 12:30 p.m. in Chaldean ST. GEORGE CHALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 45700 Dequindre Road, Shelby Township, MI 48317; (586) 254-7221 Pastor: Fr. Wisam Matti Parochial Vicar: Fr. Matthew Zetouna Youth Groups: Disciples for Christ for teen boys, Tuesdays, 7 p.m.; Circle of Friends for teen girls; Thursdays, 6 p.m.; Bible Study for college students, Wednesdays 8 p.m. Bible Study: Wednesdays, 8 p.m. in English; Fridays, 8 p.m. in Arabic Mass Schedule: Weekdays, 10 a.m. in Chaldean; Wednesdays, 7 p.m. Adoration; 8-10 p.m. Confession; Saturdays, 6:30 p.m. in English (school year); 6:30 p.m. in Chaldean (summer); Sunday: 8:30 a.m. in Chaldean, 10 a.m. in Arabic, 11:30 a.m. in English, 1:15 p.m. in Chaldean; 7:30 p.m. in English Submission Guidelines The Chaldean News welcomes submissions of obituaries. They should include the deceased’s name, date of birth and death, and names of immediate survivors. Please also include some details about the person’s life including career and hobbies. Due to space constraints, obituaries can not exceed 300 words. We reserve the right to edit those that are longer. Send pictures as a high-resolution jpeg attachment. E-mail obits to, or through the mail at 30850 Telegraph Road, Suite 220, Bingham Farms, MI 48025.




ST. JOSEPH CHALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 2442 E. Big Beaver Road, Troy, MI 48083; (248) 528-3676 Pastor: Fr. Rudy Zoma Parochial Vicar: Fr. Bryan Kassa Bible Study: Mondays, 7 p.m. in Arabic; Tuesdays, 7 p.m. in English; Thursdays, 7 p.m. Chaldeans Loving Christ Youth Group for High Schoolers Mass Schedule: Weekdays, 10 a.m. in Chaldean except Wednesdays, 10 a.m. in Arabic Saturdays, 6 p.m. in English and Chaldean; Sundays, 9 a.m. in Arabic, 10:30 a.m. in English, noon in Chaldean, 2 p.m. in Chaldean and Arabic, 7 p.m. in Chaldean Baptisms: 3 p.m. on Sundays. ST. PAUL CHALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 5150 E. Maple Avenue, Grand Blanc, MI 48439; (810) 820-8439 Pastor: Fr. Ayad Hanna Mass Schedule: Weekdays, 6 p.m.; Sundays, 12:30 p.m. ST. THOMAS CHALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 6900 Maple Road, West Bloomfield, MI 48322; (248) 788-2460 Administrator: Fr. Bashar Sitto Parochial Vicars: Fr. Jirgus Abrahim, Fr. Anthony Kathawa Retired Priest: Fr. Emanuel Rayes Bible Study: Wednesdays, 6:30 p.m. in Arabic Youth Groups: Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. Girls Challenge Club for Middle Schoolers; Wednesdays, 7 p.m. Chaldeans Loving Christ for High Schoolers; Thursdays, 6:30 p.m. Boys Conquest Club for Middle Schoolers Other: First Thursday and Friday of each month, 10 a.m. Holy Hour; 11 a.m. Mass in Chaldean; Wednesdays from midnight to Thursdays midnight, adoration in the Baptismal Room; Saturdays 3 p.m. Night Vespers (Ramsha) in Chaldean Mass Schedule: Weekdays, 10 a.m. in Chaldean; Saturdays, 5 p.m. in English; Sundays, 9 a.m. in English, 10:30 a.m. in English, 12:30 p.m. in Chaldean, 2 p.m. in Arabic; 6 p.m. Grotto is open for Adoration 24/7 for prayer and reflection ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ CHALDEAN SISTERS/DAUGHTERS OF MARY OUR LADY OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION ORDER Superior: Benynia Shikwana 5159 Corners Drive West Bloomfield, MI 48322; (248) 615-2951 CHALDEAN SISTERS/DAUGHTERS OF MARY HOUSE OF FORMATION 24900 Middlebelt Road Farmington Hills, MI 48336; (248) 987-6731 ST. GEORGE CONVENT Superior: Mubaraka Garmo 43261 Chardennay Sterling Heights, MI 48314; (586) 203-8846 EASTERN CATHOLIC RE-EVANGELIZATION CENTER (ECRC) 4875 Maple Road, Bloomfield Township, MI 48301; (248) 538-9903 Director: Patrice Abona Daily Mass: Monday-Friday 8 a.m. Thursdays: 5:30 Adoration and 6:30 Mass First Friday of the month: 6:30 p.m. Adoration, Confession and Mass Bible Study in Arabic: Wednesdays 7 p.m. Bible Study in English: Tuesdays 7 p.m.

Happy New Year

Here is a Prayer for 2018


ost Bountiful God, I sincerely and humbly thank Thee for all of Thy many benefits to me during the past year, and for the privilege of beginning a new year. Do Thou mercifully continue Thy gracious help and protection, so that I may not only spend this coming year in Thy service, but also may increase from day to day in fervor and in the perfor-

May all my thoughts, words and actions be for Thy greater honor and glory…

ST. GEORGE SHRINE AT CAMP CHALDEAN 1391 Kellogg Road, Brighton, MI 48114; (888) 822-2267 Campgrounds Manager: Sami Herfy ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ST. MARY HOLY APOSTOLIC CATHOLIC ASSYRIAN CHURCH OF THE EAST 4320 E. 14 Mile Road, Warren, MI 48092; (586) 825-0290 Rector: Fr. Benjamin Benjamin Mass Schedule: Sundays, 9 a.m. in Assyrian; noon in Assyrian and English ST. TOMA SYRIAC CATHOLIC CHURCH 25600 Drake Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48335; (248) 478-0835 Pastor: Fr. Toma Behnama Fr. Safaa Habash Mass Schedule: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 6 p.m.; Sunday 12 p.m. All in Syriac, Arabic and English CHRIST THE KING SYRIAC CATHOLIC CHURCH 2300 John R, Troy, MI 48083; (248) 818-2886

mance of good works. May all my thoughts, words and actions be for Thy greater honor and glory, for my own sanctification and for the good of souls. These favors I ask from Thy goodness through the merits of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who for our salvation first shed His Precious Blood on this day. +Amen COURTESY OF CRUSADERS OF THE IMMACULATE HEART

obituaries A MINISTRY

Our father, Ramzi George, was born in Baghdad on July 2, 1933 and was called to heaven on November 19, 2017. He was loved and respected by his family that appreciated his wisdom and advice. Ramzi is survived by his beloved wife of 55 years, Theresa Yaldoo, his six children Vincent (Donna), Valere, Van, Victor (Saly), Vernon (Suhair), Valiant (Ranya) and 13 grandchildren. As Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus, President of the Chaldean Federation of America, and Chaldean Assyrian Foundation, Ramzi assisted refugees and supported the community. He was a man actively devoted to his faith, serving as President of the Mother of God Parish Council and the St. Thomas Catholic Church Parish Council. Ramzi was a man of integrity and great character. His love and compassion for his wife, children, grandchildren, siblings, and friends will be sorely missed but never forgotten. He will be remembered for his amazing family values, sense of community and devotion to God.





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P L E A SE M A I L T H E F O R M , W I T H A C H E C K PAYA B L E T O : C HA L D E A N N EWS , AT T N : SU B S C R I P T IO N S 3 0 0 9 5 N O RT H W E S T E R N H W Y, SU I T E 1 0 1 FA R M I N G T O N H I L L S , M I 4 8 3 3 4 P HO N E : 2 4 8 - 9 9 6 - 8 3 6 0 FA X : 2 4 8 - 9 9 6 - 8 3 4 2





Georgia Dabish Najor April 10, 1931 Dec. 16, 2017

Jerry Hana Sesi Dec. 09, 1970 Dec. 14, 2017

Michael Hermiz Meram July 01, 1940 Dec. 11, 2017

Potris Namaan Kattoula June 15, 1937 Dec. 06, 2017

Salim Safar June 01, 1939 Dec. 02, 2017

Nazar Sliwa Yono March 10, 1958 Nov. 30, 2017

Hayat Arabo July 05, 1923 Nov. 29, 2017

Ramen Yousif Asdou Oct. 03, 1959 Nov. 28, 2017

Faris Hermiz Kassab Sept. 05, 1946 Nov. 26, 2017

Justin Michael Loussia May 16, 1990 Nov. 22, 2017

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Trending in 2018 What’s in business for the new year? BY VANESSA DENHA GARMO


very year there are trends in various industries with experts projecting outcomes or what to look out for in the coming year. Just like a particular industry, regions or communities have their own market shifts or approaches. The Chaldean community is no different. “We have seen a lot of focus on the food, hospitality, wireless and Marihuana sectors,” said Martin Manna, president of the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce. “Many are looking at franchising and we continue to see many developments, which has always been a significant part of the Chaldean community’s portfolio of business.” Each business sector has people heavily vested and constantly researching what is next. “We have held events focused on the Marihuana discussion,” said Manna. “It is still very fluid with many unknowns but it is here and we will likely see recreational use approved in 2018. There is not only a lot of interest but tremendous investment already happening in this industry and we expect more of both this year.” The Marihuana Business While 2017 was the beginning of the licensing of medical marihuana facilities, 2018 is the start of the next phase. “The medical marihuana industry will be in the initial implementation phase of the Medical Marihuana Facilities licensing act,” said Lin Goetz, Dunaskiss Consulting and Development. “The initial emergency rules will be implemented for phase one while the legislature, licensing board, and local munici20



palities work towards the more finalized rules and clarification of existing facilities licensing act.” Dunaskiss Consulting & Development focuses on finding government solutions for clients and will continue to work with the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Board, Licensing & Regulatory Affairs, United States Congressional Representatives, State of Michigan legislators, business representatives, local governments, caregivers and patients to find real solutions in this area that will work for patients and communities. Although also spelled Marijuana, the Medical Marihuana Licensing Facilities Act uses the spelling Marihuana. There might also be an evolution of other related industries such as the education on the various medical marihuana products and which medical needs are served by particular products may be needed. “The State of Michigan will certainly have an interest in that training being accurate and updated,” she said. “In addition, the November ballot may include a voter initiative to legalize marihuana for recreational use. The voters would then decide if they are interested in expanding the medical Marihuana industry into a recreational option. If so, the State of Michigan would move towards making sure that product is safe for recreational use as they have done with alcohol providers.” Those people interested in investing have been waiting for lawmakers to act. “The legislators and the board will move towards refining terminol-

ogy, the intent behind legislation and rules, and will further refine the emergency rules into a more formalized, more finalized version,” said Goetz. “Laws on related ventures such as educational classes, further research, and product developments, will continue to evolve.” The Licensing & Regulatory Affairs Division for the State of Michigan began its application process for State level licenses last month. The application only starts a very intensive investigation into a potential medical marihuana facility’s applicants. Confirmations from various municipalities will be requested, and that proposed sites comply with local ordinances. There will be extensive financial, as well as criminal background checks. Additional documentation from several of applicants will be required. “All of those materials will be reviewed, and eventually a hearing with the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Board for the applicant(s), facility, and business plan will be held,” said Goetz. “Given the interim actions which will need to take place, the first licenses will not likely be issued before mid to late spring. Once the facilities open, communities will adapt and grow in acceptance of the medical marihuana industry trying to provide a safer product to patients.” She continued to explain that cameras and security for these businesses will help to secure neighboring properties as well as their own. Property values around these businesses will continue to rise. Neighboring communities who were previously

anxious will begin to re-evaluate, and accept the industry. More and more communities will choose to opt into the industry as it provides safer medication to patients and contributes to the economic growth and safety of the areas in which they are located. It will take a couple of years for the medical marihuana facilities industry to find the right balance of ensuring a safe supply to meet medical needs. The caregiver model of providing medical marihuana to patients may largely fall by the sidelines as patients have direct access to tested product, and caregivers gain financial security in facility settings. Goetz also addressed the reality of those interested actually getting a license and staying in the business. In addition to the high capitalization requirements which the Licensing & Regulatory Affairs division for the State of Michigan is requiring (25% of which must be liquid), the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Board will be completing an extensive financial background check including insolvencies, taxes, bankruptcies, litigations, among others. They will be investigating the sources for the capital to ensure the businesses are financed by legal means. “There will also be an extensive criminal history check that looks at arrests, bond forfeitures, record expungements, delayed sentencings, charges, incarcerations, convictions, etc. The investigation will go farther in this area than mere released (formerly incarcerated) felons who have been successful in communities for more than past 10 years, felonies involving controlled substances in the past 10 years, and controlled substance misdemeanors in the past five years. Section 402(3) of the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act indicated the Board may consider the following,” she said. “Integrity, moral character and reputation; personal and business probity; financial ability and experience; and responsibility or means to operate or maintain a marihuana facility.” On the board is Don Bailey, former Michigan State Police who is expected to look at other crimes and behaviors when evaluating a proposed medical marihuana facility license applicant. “In general conversation, the message has been fairly clear that the board wants to keep this industry safe, run with best practices, and legitimate,” she noted.

“Applicants who enter and remain in the industry with need to be financially sound with a seriously thorough business plan, and the right focus on a quality, safe product for the patient. The board intends to thoroughly review applicants to ensure only legitimate applicants are able to enter or remain in the industry.” In terms of medical Marihuana, patients should continue to work with doctors who are educated in the medical marihuana industry. With strong restrictions on advertising of medical Marihuana, patients may need to turn to resources such as Weedmaps – a web based service that gives provisioning center location information – to find the nearest provisioning center. Caregivers and other employees will also be able to find employment with medical marihuana facilities through web based vendors. Property values will continue to rise as buildings are improved and enhanced for the industry. Patients will be able to gain access to safe, tested medical marihuana chosen for their medical needs. “We want our State to ensure Michigan has the most respected and safest medical marihuana industry in the country.” The Food Factor Although trends seem to be popping up daily in the restaurant industry, Andrew Dickow, director of Greenwich Capital Group has his eye on three big ones. • Preparation and Ingredient Transparency – Consumers have been demanding to know exactly what is in their food from large consumer packaged goods companies when they are making their buying decisions at the grocery store. Today, that same scrutiny has moved into the world of restaurants. Customers want to know how their food was prepared, where the food was sourced from, if it is Non-GMO and raised cruelty free, etc. • Food Delivery – Convenience for consumers will always drive innovation and that is no different in the restaurant industry. This year will be the year that food delivery evolves into the main stream with more adoption by restaurants of delivery tools such as Uber Eats, GrubHub and Facebook restaurant delivery. The challenge for restauranteurs will be in how they manage the exorbitant cost of some of these tools. • Smaller Footprint with a Personal Touch – Consumers are looking for an experience when they visit

a restaurant. Many of the larger food chains such as Applebee’s, T.G.I. Fridays and others have been struggling in recent years as consumers are searching for more of a connection with the establishments they visit. Gastro pubs with seasonal menus, craft cocktails, and smaller venues will be the continued themes in 2018. Like each year, 2018 brings with it its own challenges. “We are bracing for all of the aforementioned and increased competition from our competitors,” said Dickow who owns restaurants with his brother Randy Dickow. “Additionally, we need to continue to stay relevant by innovating and

years ago, if a startup food company wanted to grow past a $1 Million in sales, it was an almost impossible task,” said Dickow. “They could not compete with the marketing dollars and grocery store slotting fees large companies were willing to pay. This doesn’t even include the pressure and challenges of getting into a regional or national distributor. Today and moving forward, the landscape has drastically changed primarily for one reason, social media.” He made note of brands such as Kodiak Cakes, Dave’s Sweet Tooth, RXBAR, these are all small brands you can find in your local Kroger

millennials take over, there has been and will continue to be an openness to new brands and products that connect with everyone.” Social media has been a significant driving force new brands wanting to get their messages out to the consumer. “People are getting smarter due to the abundance of information that is now at their fingertips with a click of a button,” said Dickow. “This has led to a significant change in consumer behavior, not just in trying to find healthier products, but also in wanting to know what is in the food they are eating.” What worked a couple of decades

staying abreast of what is going on in the market. We need to stay at the forefront of different food trends such as biodynamic sourcing and new superfoods such as Matcha, Kombucha, Acai’, Kimchi and many more.” This new year just might the year where many things that were believed to be trends will become norms. Consumers continue to evolve, and their expectations continue to increase. “In order to remain relevant restaurants will need to cater to higher expectations from consumers whether it be on sourcing, presentation, technology or anything else,” said Dickow. “In 2018 we will see which restaurants have embraced and prepared for change and those who have ignore it. In the restaurant industry, ignorance is never bliss.” The food industry continues to evolve and becoming a place where startups have a chance not only to find a niche, but to compete. “Fifteen

or Meijer. The relevance is because these brands and thousands of others across the country are going up against the titans of the industry and they are finding success. On social media, new brands can generate identifiable content and distribute information ultimately branding themselves and their products to mass audiences that were once only reserved for traditional media. With social media, the cost is a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing channels, such as radio, print and TV. “These one-to-one marketing connections develop brand loyalty in a way that large consumer packaged goods companies like Nestle and General Mills are just beginning to figure out. They need to think small,” said Dickow. “They need to foster the relationship they have with their consumers, and that doesn’t just mean responding to their tweets. As the baby boomers move out and the

ago is not as affective for large companies with shareholders due to social media platforms small companies are able to capitalize on. “They could bully out all the startups and new brands and pay to get their 7th flavor of frosted square pastries prime placement on the shelves, all while increasing prices, decreasing the package size and reducing the quality of the product,” Dickow said. “Eventually this caught up with these huge companies in the worst way. If you keep taking a little bit of real chocolate out of a brownie and replace it with a cheaper substitute people won’t notice initially. But if you keep doing it over time, they will. The small up and coming brands really began finding success shortly after 2006, because they could take advantage of the lack of quality products in the marketplace with their own branded products with clean inTRENDING continued on page 22 JANUARY 2018


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gredient labels and supported it with mission driven marketing plans that they were able to directly market to consumers with little to no advertising expenses.” “The food industry continues to evolve, with the consumer being the ultimate victor. There are more, smaller branded packaged food companies on grocery shelves than any time in history,” said Dickow. “Their products sit side-by-side with some of the biggest brand names in the world.” Most importantly the continuing threat these brands pose on the larger players has forced large companies to rethink their business models and go back to basics. “Large food companies are cleaning up their brands and their product offering to be able to compete with the new brands on a variety of fronts,” said Dickow. “Whether it is all natural, gluten free, Non-GMO or just an ingredient label where you can identify everything, small brands have forced large brands to evolve. Most importantly, it has given consumers a real choice, a healthier choice.”

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TRENDING continued from page 21

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Diving into Development Those wanting to invest thousands, millions, or billions of dollars in real estate this year are, no doubt, looking for the next best opportunity. “First and foremost, as it relates to specific market growth, I expect a substantial uptick in real estate development in the City of Detroit,” Zaid D. Elia, founder & CEO, The Elia Group. “This has clearly been sparked by the most recent multi-billion-dollar investments of the Gilbert and Ilitch family. Their investments have sparked consumer confidence in market values and will drive developer investments in the City.” While looking at trends, corporate growth continues to rise in the market place, both residential development and occupancy are expecting to hit all-time highs. Elia is specifically referencing the Downtown core, Midtown, Corktown, Jefferson Avenue area and areas surrounding the university and stadiums. “The insatiable appetite for various entertainment and experience driven businesses such as restaurants will ultimately line retail store fronts and drive retail rental rates,” he said. “This continued growth will drive real estate values and be a haven for

investors seeking positive returns.” As it relates to specific real estate market sectors, it is predicted that both the apartment and industrial sectors will continue to grow. “The apartment sector will be driven to new heights as both investor appetite for this type of product seems to grow year over year due to the stability of the income stream and ultimately the final tax bills being currently negotiated by Congress that will push consumers to rent apartments instead of owning a home,” he said. “The industrial sector has seen and will continue to see growth as both manufacturing, technology and warehousing facilities continue to expand.” What could slow down in 2018 is the retail shopping center development. “Rents and shopping center values are at all-time high in this market; more B Sites are being developing and this will oversaturate the market as we experienced in 20082009,” said Elia. “Both land values and construction costs are extremely high, which is forcing developers to ask higher rental rates which will ultimately be borne by the retailers.” What could threaten small retail shopping centers are quick-service restaurants that often lease space in small-retail centers. “They are facing increased competition, food, and labor costs,” noted Elia. “We will see various brands closing up shop as they will not be able to sustain the increased competition and operational costs and slow retail growth in this sector.” However, predicted is an overall continued growth, “but I suspect growth will dip towards the end of 2018 as interest rates continue to rise,” he said. “The development community will certainly be following trends: interest rate fluctuation; construction costs; land costs; and lender activity in the marketplace. These factors will dictate growth in the marketplace.” Regardless of the industry business owners are looking to invest in, it would behoove all to prepare for market downturns. “While market values continue to grow to all-time highs, real estate investors should pay down debt at a faster pace and deleverage total real estate assets,” said Elia. “This will allow for breathing room in the event the market takes a turn in the opposite direction as it most always does, especially considering higher borrowing costs.”



L’ A M O U R B R I D A L

Fighting for a seat at the table BY STEPHEN JONES


Hana Abboud (248) 308-2733 HOURS: Tues – Sat: 10am – 4pm / Sunday & Evenings: By Appointment / Monday: Closed




wo Chaldean candidates are making runs at office in 2018. While they have different backgrounds, both share a burning desire to serve their community. Michael Shallal and Klint Kesto are running for seats on the Michigan State Senate and Congress, respectively. Both are running under the Republican Party. Both Shallal and Kesto are running grassroots, door-to-door campaigns and are relying heavily on the support of their families and the community at large. Michael Shallal Shallal grew up in Iraq. His family immigrated to the United States when he was 17 years old. In 2003, he became a U.S. citizen and began a full-time job with the government. This is his first time running for office. “I grew up Catholic. I’m Chaldean and very proud of my ethnic background, my heritage, my culture,” said Shallal. “I’m very fluent in Aramaic. My native tongue is Aramaic, which is the language of Jesus Christ, and then Arabic is my secondary language, which I learned in Iraq.” In addition to being fluent in multiple dialects of Arabic and Aramaic as well as English, Shallal is a military veteran that can speak Turkish, Persian and a few artificial languages that he learned during his time working for the government to support the intelligence community. “I’ve done a lot of tours across the globe,” said Shallal. “I’ve supported everything from the Defense Intelligence Agency to the CIA, FBI, Homeland Security, State Department, various branches of the Department of Defense.” Shallal’s background gives him a unique perspective on the elements of American life that he believes many people take for granted. “We call the U.S. the land of opportunities,” Shallal said. “It’s a dream country for anyone and every-

one on the planet. I don’t care where they come from. There is a reason why people want to come here. We want to make sure that we do not lose this quality, and honestly everything we enjoy is all paid for by our troops. Our service men and women pay the price for this freedom that we enjoy. I’ve seen it firsthand. I’ve lost numerous best friends that I’ve made in uniform.” Shallal was inspired to run by the opportunity to bring integrity back to office. He believes that there are not enough politicians that put the well-being of their constituents over the advancement of their careers. That is why Shallal’s website emphasizes that he is a career patriot and not a career politician. “Respectful boldness is more powerful than political correctness,” said Shallal. “I don’t care if you’re a successful politician, if you’re a lousy human being then you’re no good. You can get all the support from the establishment, but if you know that when you go to sleep at night you’re doing something wrong, you’re a lousy human being.” Klint Kesto Kesto grew up in Michigan. Prior to completing law school at Wayne State University, he attended the University of Michigan where he received a degree in political science. After graduating from Wayne State Law School, Kesto served as the assistant prosecutor of Wayne County for six years before being elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 2012. Because of term limits, Kesto is unable to run for re-election to the Michigan House of Representatives in 2018 and now has his sights set on Congress. Kesto says he was motivated to run for office by the lack of Chaldean representation in government. “I made a decision in 2012 to run,” said Kesto. “Part of it had to

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do with a lot of my friends leaving the state of Michigan when we had what they called the lost decade because of the recession in Michigan. The other thing is there was a never a Chaldean to be elected. There was never a Chaldean voice, somebody advocating on behalf of the people, even though we’re a large population of this state, especially in southeast Michigan.” For Kesto, that sentiment rings true at the federal level as well. Gearing up for the congressional run in 2018, Kesto is still motivated to by the opportunity to serve as an advocate for the Chaldean community in Washington D.C. “It’s due time now, especially with the amount that we contribute as

Chaldeans to the Michigan economy of more than 11 billion dollars, to have a representative from the community,” said Kesto. “It’s due time now that you get someone who’s good, who has the experience, who has the wherewithal, who’s worked in the church as a volunteer, who’s served as a prosecutor, who’s served the community as a legislator and can actually win this election.” Both candidates are pro-life, understand the importance of family values, recognize the vital role that business owners play in the economy and are grounded in their religion. You can find out more about each candidate’s platform at their websites: and

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Showcasing Catholic Schools A week of events, open houses and the celebration of the Catholic education BY LISA CIPRIANO


t’s an annual week when Catholic schools show their pride to the outside. National Catholic Schools Week is celebrated every year beginning on the last Sunday in January and runs for an entire week. It’s an annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States and it’s been happening since 1974. According to the National Catholic Education Association, it’s a time for schools to focus on the value that Catholic education provides to young people and its contributions to the church, our communities and our nation. This upcoming year, the event will take place from January 28 to February 3 under the theme of: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed. “It’s way to give exposure and highlight what we do with students spiritually and academically to our current families and any new families who may be seeking a different environment for their school-age kids,” explained Robert Pyles, Principal of Our Lady of Refuge School in Orchard Lake. Our Lady of Refuge serves 295 students, both boys and girls, from preschool to grade eight with a more than 50 percent Chaldean student population. “The students want it to be a fun experience,” said Pyles. “It starts with a pep rally for our basketball team the Friday before which is open to families. On Sunday, we open up our building for an open house with our students as tour guides where we highlight what we do for current and interested new families. There is a student appreciation day where they can wear jeans and their favorite sports jerseys, game days, crazy hair and pajama days, a teacher appreciation day, a bake sale, masses, including one at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit that all of the schools can send representatives to participate in and come together.” Sharon Szuba is principal of the 227 student St. Fabian Catholic 26



School in Farmington Hills, which also is preschool through eighth grade with about half of its students being Chaldean. “We promote our school with newspaper ads, radio ads, mailings, lawn signs at the homes of our current families, and closer to home within our own parish,” Szuba explained. “Our Catholic Schools Week celebration begins with an open house on Sunday where we invite anyone in our community to come see what St. Fabian has to offer. We have refreshments, tours, information tables and we open the building to welcome new interested families or anyone who would simply like to see what we are about.” While all are under the doctrine of the Roman Catholic faith and guided by the Archdiocese of Detroit locally, each school is individual and its celebration of Catholic Schools Week represents that individuality.

St. Catherine of Siena Academy is an all-girls college prep high school in Wixom with students grade nine through 12. Karen Ervin is the principal of its 230 students with about a 20 percent Chaldean student population. “Catholic Schools Week, to me, is really an opportunity to show the community and the world what it is what we’re doing here for the girls,” said Ervin. “Each of them gets a webpage where they create a video or write a message about what Catholic school means to them. We also do a sponsorship or fundraiser to help others who want to go to school here and be part of our sisterhood. It’s a way for the girls to educate others and give their testimony on why Catholic schools are important and why it’s important for them to go here. We also do a special mass that week and an open house for the community to come and be a part

of. It is a big deal for us.” There also is Catholic Schools Week fun to be had that week at St. Catherine of Siena. “The girls do mini assemblies every day under the annual theme of the week. So, every year it’s a little different focus. There is also a pep rally to get them all fired up for the week ahead,” Ervin added. The entire essence of the value of a Catholic school education and it’s week of pride and outreach is best summed up by Szuba. “Catholic Schools’ Week showcases the choices that our families make to commit not only to the education of their children, but the commitment to Catholic Education. It is truly a sacrifice for many of our families to send their children to a Catholic school, but a sacrifice that is returned tenfold through the evidence of Jesus’ teachings in our daily interaction at school,” concluded Szuba.

Jane the director BY WEAM NAMOU


ane Dabish, otherwise known as Jane the Director, made her first film in 2005. Family Chaos is a comedy feature about a Chaldean American girl, Rulea, who tries her luck writing movies while her brother Joel wants her to work for the family business. Between all that family chaos, two of her uncles die one day apart. “Family Chaos is a little about my life, but I mostly exaggerated it,” she said. In it, Dabish played a few Chaldean parts, including Rulea’s sister, “Stupid Jane” – even though she’s not interested in acting. All she wants to do is to write and direct. “When I was making Family Chaos I struggled casting Chaldeans so I tried to get Middle Eastern people and that was hard too,” she said. “Middle Eastern actors have more reservations about acting.” Born in Southfield to Joseph and Anahid, Dabish is a sibling to one sister and two brothers. Early on, she had a talent for creativity, whether it was drawing or playing the piano. Her late father was a song writer. “I got my passion for writing from him,” she said. Her love for making films began in 1997 when she started studying animation at William D Ford Tech Center. She did 12 short animation films within two years. That, and getting a B+ in a writing class in college, encouraged her to write scripts. Her sister Josephine, who has published a book, also had a big influence on her career. Since Family Chaos, Dabish has produced 9 more films and is preparing for her 10th film in 2018. Its working title is Laughs. The genre she writes has changed from comedy to drama to romance but she writes in a wide range of topics. She particularly enjoys comedy because she feels she’s naturally funny. People on the street often ask her, “Do you make people laugh?” “As a shy person, being funny is my way of expressing myself,” she said. When she worked with her father at their store, she would joke with the customers, and her father would keep reminding her, “Don’t joke around with strangers, they’ll take you seriously.” So instead she did standup comedy, where she could make people laugh at a professional level without offending them. After a decade of

doing standup comedy, Dabish now wants to focus on filmmaking, although she still has a “regular” job. She’s a professional petitioner who signs people to register to vote. She wakes up before sunlight to write, then goes to work, and after she returns home, does her creative work again. Before going to bed, she makes a to-do list, a practice she learned from her sister. This helps her be more productive the next day. “Making movies is not all fun and games,” she said. “There’s a lot of work that goes into it. It’s not just about grabbing the camera. It’s careful planning.” Her motto is that, “Everything is a dream until you make it a reality.” She strives to make her vision a reality by making films. She gets her inspiration by surrounding herself with people, observing and writing based on what she sees around her. “I like making culture movies,” she said. One of the challenges she faces in this career is dealing with complicated “divas” who are difficult to work with. In her film Off the Rocker, she had to write off an actress from the film because of inappropriate behavior on the set. “I don’t like writing killing scenes,” she said, “but I had to do in this one film because the actress ran off early on.” Dabish will be playing the lead in a talk show in 2018 and streaming it on her YouTube channel, Jane Dabish. She plans to cover a wide range of topics, but as a host, she doesn’t think topics involving people truly getting hurt are funny. These include crimes such as murder, rape, kidnapping, child abuse, animal abuse, or more generally, people taking advantage of others, or simply being mean. She’s looking for unique people who don’t easily get offended by jokes to join her on the show. Dabish’s dream is to work on an ongoing talk show. “I believe that it’s best to do what you love or you’ll never be happy,” she said, “and that you have to have the spirit to keep going no matter what people say to you.” Other than her own projects, Dabish teaches people the art of filmmaking and films their events, including holidays, as well as creates business video presentations. To learn more about her film services, visit




Canada’s new Bishop Bawai Soro heads the Eparchy of Mar Addai of the Chaldeans in Toronto BY WEAM NAMOU


ere I am, Lord,” Bishop Bawai Soro said the words of the Prophet Samuel in response to the Lord’s call. “I repeat them in response to the call of His Beatitude, Mar Louis Sako, the Chaldean Patriarch and the members of the Holy Chaldean Synod who elected me as the third Bishop of the Eparchy of Mar Addai of the Chaldeans in Toronto. Through them I say to the clergy and believers, young and old, and from all walks of life, ‘Here I am, at your service.’” This was the opening instillation remarks of Bishop Soro on November 29, 2017. He added, “I come to Toronto to fulfill a dream, that the Eparchy of Mar Addai may one day soon join hands with her Sister Eparchies, Saint Thomas and Saint Peter in the United States, in matters related to the training of seminarians and promoting of cultural and educational ties among Chaldeans.” Born Ashur Andrius Soro in Kirkuk, Iraq on March 3, 1954 and raised in Baghdad, Ashur entered the Assyrian Seminary in Baghdad in 1973. A year later, he left with his family to immigrate to Australia, through Lebanon. Due to the civil war in Lebanon, in April 1976 he instead settled in Chicago, IL while his family immigrated to Australia. In Chicago, he rejoined a local Assyrian clergy formation house. On February 21, 1982, he was ordained a priest for Saint Mary’s Church in Toronto. Less than two years later, at 30 years of age, Father Ashur Soro was elected a bishop (consecrated Bishop Bawai Soro) by the Assyrian Holy Synod to head a newly established Diocese of Western United States. After more than 20 years of episcopal ministry in the Assyrian Church, in March 2006, Bishop Bawai sought full-communion with Pope Benedict XVI, converting to Catholicism. “When I became aware of the heritage of the theology of our Canon law, I saw that our church fathers 28



have great respect for Rome and the Catholic Church,” he said. That is why he led a movement that brought dozens of his clergy along with nearly 3,000 faithful to leave the Assyrian Church and join the Chaldean Catholic Church. “It was a long journey,” he said. “The history of Assyrians and Chaldeans is a complicated one, but they’re the same people. The Church divided them. The more we read about it, the more we find our common root and a joint history. This should prompt among us a feeling of unity, collaboration and charity.” He explained that Chaldeans and Assyrians come from Iraq as well as Iran, but Iraq is their mother land. When the Church of the East united with Rome in the 16th Century, the first to unite were the Assyrians of Iran. The Chaldeans of Nineveh Plains came to the Catholic faith hundreds of years later. “The Church of Christ should

unite,” he said. “Church unity is not a political alliance. It’s not like the European Union. In the beginning, the Church was one. Jesus created one church. Over time, pride and selfishness and human sinfulness made church divide.” What would be the solution? How could people unite? “We shouldn’t work toward marginalizing the other side, but toward cooperation and allowing the other to have the same rights that you have,” he said. “If you’re a proud Chaldean then let the other guy be a proud Assyrian, and vice versa.” Coming from a background of small towns and provinces, he believes that these communities never had a vision to have a whole continent together. Given the considerable size of the population in those areas, they need to come together to establish a strong force in political lobbying, financial strength and human resources.

“The more power you have, the stronger you feel to push toward attaining your goal,” he said. This in turn would help the new generation have a strong sense of identity, as is the case with other ethnicities such as Italians and the Polish. From his years of experience, observation, and even suffering, he has noticed that the people love to unite but usually the cleric are the ones who insist on their ways and somewhat discourage people from unity. “It’s because unity implies a compromise,” he said, and compared it to marriage where a man and woman, once they combine their lifestyles, undergo a lot of compromises from both sides. “Why? Because each no longer lives solely for themselves, but for each other. When people with authority, like bishops and priests, have to compromise, they must sacrifice something and sometimes that’s not easily applied.” But things are changing. The church is evolving and maturing into an international church. “We are no longer a tribal mentality, but a western, motivated, cosmopolitan culture by which all people are endowed by equal rights by their creators,” he said. “We have different roles but we’re equal in dignity.” The younger bishops will have influence in making this unity possible. “Bishop Kallabat is an excellent man of great faith and has the necessary humility to become a great source of help for Bishop Shalita and myself.” He emphasized there has been much progress since the last century with mutual collaboration and respect. The Assyrian church, for example, has had good open dialogue with the Vatican for the last 35 years. “The better Christian you are, the less you assert your own personal authority because you don’t live for yourself but for Christ,” he said. “In the Church, faithful clerics shouldn’t really live for themselves but for Christ because He is our spouse.”



The dangers of vaping E-Cigarettes are on the rise among teenagers


ccording to research, in 2015, more than a quarter of students in grades 6-12 have tried e-cigarettes. Local schools are warning parents of a growing trend of teens engaging in “vaping,” or the use of e-cigarettes. As the use of traditional cigarettes has fallen, the popularity of other nicotine products, including e-cigarettes has dramatically increased. According to the Surgeon General, adolescent years are times of important brain development. Brain development begins during the growth of the fetus in the womb and continues through childhood and to about age 25. Nicotine exposure during adolescence and young adulthood can cause addiction and harm the developing brain. Here are some things parents need to know. What is an e-cigarette? An e-cigarette is a handheld batteryoperated device that is used to inhale

flavors are menthol, alcohol, candy, fruit, chocolate, and sweets. E-cigarettes are often difficult to detect because the vapor dissipates quickly and there may be no discernible aroma.

an aerosol which often contains nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals. E-cigarette devices vary and may look like a real cigarette, a pen, or a small rectangular device similar to a cigarette lighter. How does an e-cigarette work? E-cigarettes use a battery to heat liquid into a vapor for inhalation. Aside from nicotine, e-cigarettes can be used to deliver cannabinoids such as marijuana, and other substances including alcohol. According to statistics, 85 percent of teen e-cigarette users prefer flavored vaping. The most common

Why are e-cigarettes dangerous? A 2016 study published in the Pediatrics journal reported that teens who never smoked traditional cigarettes but used e-cigarettes are six times more likely to begin smoking combustible cigarettes compared to those who do not use e-cigarettes. More than 60 percent of teens believe that occasional use of e-cigarettes causes only little or some harm. The human brain is still developing until around the age of 25. Therefore, teens who vape are at risk for stronger learned addictive behavior. E-cigarettes may contain nicotine, ultra-fine particles, benzine, and heavy metals. E-cigarette paraphernalia can be used to deliver other dangerous sub-

stances to teens such as marijuana and alcohol. There are known mechanical issues with e-cigarette devices resulting in serious body harm. What can parents do? Educators are encouraging parents to have a conversation with their children about the dangers e-cigarettes pose, as well as familiarizing yourself with such terms as vaping, Suorin, vape juice, and JUUL. Identifying the various types of vaping devices will also help your awareness of this issue. The 2016 Surgeon General’s report on e-cigarette use among youth also provides valuable information. statistics/sgr/e-cigarettes/index.htm Additional Resources features talking points to help facilitate a discussion with teens on the risks of vaping:

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Welcome to the new age Chaldeans take on podcasting and Facebook Live BY MONIQUE MANSOUR


ritics of technology argue that it can hinder interpersonal communication and limit face-to-face interactions. While there may be some validity to these statements, technology can also bring about enhancements to the natural connections we strive to make with one another by making interactions more accessible than ever before. Take Jay Nalu and Omar Binno, for example –two Chaldeans utilizing the advancements of today’s technology to connect to a wider audience of individuals craving insight, wisdom, entertainment, and knowledge. Jay Nalu of West Bloomfield owns Echo Network –a podcast network and studio. Nalu, who studied Advertising and Marketing at Ferris State University, felt that the move to work in this medium came naturally to him. “I had been listening to podcasts since the advent of the medium and I loved the on-demand aspect of it –I could start and finish a show at my leisure. Over the years, podcasts have introduced me to interesting people and ideas that otherwise would’ve never crossed my radar.” Then, it dawned on Nalu, why not create a podcast network and studio? “In the summer of 2014, I offered to produce a friend’s entertainment podcast free of charge in an effort to learn more about the business. After doing the weekly show for 15 months at another podcast studio, I left to launch Echo Network in November 2016.” The rest, as they say, is history. Echo Network produces around 20 shows. “We broadcast live from our recording studio in downtown Royal Oak and air two syndicated shows from Ohio.” One of their most popular podcasts is You’re All Set, which is hosted by the Detroit area rap fusion band Feral Ground. “What’s exciting is that many upand-coming artists from the Chaldean community including filmmaker Shawn Shaman and musicians Alexa Delly and Danielle Bahoora have been featured guests on our shows,” said Nalu. 32



From left, Jay Nalu and Omar Binno

For Nalu, the best part about owning a podcast network and studio is the ability he has to help others. “It’s very rewarding to be able to provide the opportunity for anyone to have their own podcast radio show and have their voice heard across a global platform. Our goal is to create a positive environment where people can flourish and be themselves. I’m always being told by our clients that coming into our studio to record is the best part of their week – that’s a wonderful feeling.” On a day-to-day basis, you can find Nalu doing numerous tasks. “We’re a fairly new company so I’m always busy trying to add new content and interesting sponsorship partners. You can often find me editing shows and audio clips, working as the sound engineer during the recordings, and screening on-air phone calls, among other things,” said Nalu. Nalu believes that with the advent of these new technologies, reaching your goals is now more possible than ever before. “Create your own opportunities. People may try to steer you away from your dreams, but you can’t listen to the negative voices. If you love it, make it happen for yourself,” said Nalu. For more information about Echo Network shows or starting your own podcast, visit Similar to Nalu, the inspiration

for Omar Binno, also of West Bloomfield, to create a Facebook Live show came from the desire to reach a wider range of people. “For years before my show began, I’d post statuses on Facebook that would cause controversy. I’ve always felt that we have too many taboo issues that we refuse to face or that we altogether ignore –both individually and as a community. As long as stereotypes or stigmas remained taboo, unaddressed, or unresolved, they would also remain hurtful to our growth psychologically, socially, and spiritually. I started this show about three years ago via a site called, and it was more of a radio show where people would call in with their thoughts. This year, however, we decided to air the show through Facebook live, because the reality is that we live in a very visual society, and people want see who they’re listening to,” said Binno. The Nadi is the title of Binno’s Facebook Live show. “I decided to call it that because, in a sense, that’s what it resembles. We’re a group of people sitting around chatting openly at a table. The only thing missing are plates of kabob, tika, gus, kari, rice, and chai. I may incorporate those into the show at some point in the future,” said Binno. The show is broadcast biweekly on Tuesdays at 8pm EST and viewers can comment and interact with the

show from their Facebook accounts. “Part of the reason for moving the show to Facebook Live was so that people could express their thoughts, opinions, and concerns on the issues we bring up as we talk about them in real time. The viewers’ comments are essential to the show.” For Binno, a favorite aspect of his show is the open forum that it brings about. “As long as we can talk about pressing issues and do it in a tasteful and respectful manner, we can talk about anything. I think that the Chaldean community needed an outlet like this to address issues that we tend to shy away from. As far as I know, this show is the first of its kind to achieve this,” said Binno. For aspiring show hosts, Binno offers the following advice. “Always try and think outside of the box. We have nearly limitless outlets and avenues to express our thoughts and opinions to share with the world. It takes way more creativity to do that productively and constructively than it does to just attack or bash a person or an issue –anyone can do that. Hosting a show is a form of art: just like producing music, writing poetry, or creating paintings.” With all the noise we find ourselves in during our modern, busy lives, Nalu and Binno remind us to make the time to stop and listen to those around us.

chaldean on the STREET

What’s your resolution? BY HALIM SHEENA

It’s January and that means a BIG Happy New Year to you all. Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? We want to know. Our roaming reporter Halim Sheena caught up with some Chaldeans on the Street to ask them.

I do make New Year’s Resolutions. It’s important to look back at the year and see what went wrong and what went right. There is a fresh year and semester coming up, so there is no better time to really get my life aligned. My New Year’s Resolution this year is to not miss Sunday mass. Rivonda Hirmiz, 21, Sterling Heights

I do not make New Year’s resolutions. I don’t feel that I need to change my life based on the significance of a day. I should not be prolonging me making a healthier way of life, or a new life with Jesus, or to get into good habits etc. New Year or not, there’s no time like the present to make some positive changes. Matthew Bakkal, 18, West Bloomfield

Yes, because a new year comes with so much joy and happiness. With that joy, I like to better myself by having challenges that will help me. I set goals with my family members to better ourselves throughout the whole year. Monica Yono, 18, West Bloomfield

I used to, but I don’t make New Year’s resolutions anymore because whatever I try doing for the new year ends up lasting a month and I go back to my old ways. I don’t think you should have to only wait until the new year to make a resolution. Brooke Rabban, 19, Farmington Hills

New Year’s resolutions are great to have as we start up a new year. It’s a great promise that we make to ourselves to improve our life more and more as we grow. I know it gets hard to remember what those promises were later in the year, but if you stay true to yourself, you’ll be able to accomplish anything life throws at you in 2018! Amanda Yousif, 18, Troy

I make New Year’s resolutions because it’s a promise to better myself through faith. I set many goals to strengthen my relationship with God. Bringing my family and friends closer to our religion is important to me. Alexa Pattah, 18, West Bloomfield

No, I don’t make a New Year’s resolution, because I think you should be working throughout the whole year to improve yourself. If there is a bad habit you want to quit or something you want to better yourself in, you should not wait until the New Year to start. You have 365 days to make a resolution. Sarrah Zeer, 23, West Bloomfield

I make New Years resolutions because I always like to set new goals and expectations for myself. As time goes on, you need to maintain and adjust these personal and life goals. It feels like you’re going on the right path by making a resolution for yourself, and accomplishing it feels even better. As corny as it may sound, it actually helps to use the celebration of a new year to motivate yourself in thoroughly carrying out these expectations! Vanessa Polis, 21, West Bloomfield JANUARY 2018


ECONOMICS & enterprise

Expanding their Buick business BY M. LAPHAM


as and Tanya Robin have expanded their family dealership business in Dearborn to the other side of the state. They have taken their success and given back to the community and around the world through charitable endeavors and their dealerships, Dearborn’s Superior Buick GMC and Superior Buick Cadillac in Battle Creek, which they acquired a few months ago. Automakers typically don’t allow their dealers to add franchises unless they have proven themselves capable and financially strong. With Bas as dealer principal and Tanya as general manager the two have earned a strong reputation and prospered. It started with owning a used-car lot. But Bas decided to try to become a franchised new-car dealer as their future in part because banks look at franchise dealerships more favorably when making loans, Tanya Robin says. The choice to go with GM was no choice at all. “His (Bas’s) mind was made up,” says Tanya. “He had an absolute love of General Motors. He believed they were the best automotive company … the best built.” It may seem foolish to operate a GM dealership in the shadow of Ford Motor Company’s world headquarters, which is just down Michigan Avenue from Superior Buick GMC. But with strong roots in the local Chaldean community and a solid reputation at the used-car store, Bas and Tanya Robin were in good fortune. They built the new-car business for eight years before deciding to expand. After “knocking on doors” across the state, looking for one that matched what they wanted, Tanya found the Lassen Buick-Cadillac dealership in Battle Creek. The Lassen family had owned the business for 80 years. The grandson of the original owners ran the dealership but wanted to move on to other projects. Given the massive investment, carmakers still must approve the sale of a dealership. The weight lies 34



competitive market. The Robins say the best way to deal with it is to surround themselves with good managers and help the technicians enter needed classes GM offers. “If you invest in your people they will invest in you,” says Robin. The good fortune they have received has been sent back into the community with philanthropic donations to Help Iraq, ACCESS, the Chaldean Chamber of Commerce, and even the FIRST Robotics program at Clarkston High School, Tanya Robin’s hometown. Bas got the business involved

entirely on the dealer principal who is buying the business to prove he or she has sufficient capital and can meet the necessary sale goals. With expansion came new opportunities for the Robins. Tanya became the dealer principal in the Battle Creek dealership, which she says may be a massive step itself since female dealer principals are still relatively scarce. “If I had told someone three years ago I would be dealer principal, they wouldn’t have believed me,” she says. But there were also challenges. Her former five-day week has ballooned to six. And often she drives two hours across the state in the middle of the work day for meetings. She splits time between the two dealerships, growing the new business while still managing the original one.

Though her new schedule can be hectic, there have been unexpected benefits, Robin says. For example, customers in the Detroit area are more likely to shop around for various products and services provided by dealerships, given the large number of dealerships. On the west side of the state dealerships are more spread out so it is easier to form more long-lasting relationships with customers. She learned this in the time the Robins have owned their Buick-Cadillac store. Help in managing the new dealership has come from close to home. The Robins’ oldest son Preston, who lives in Battle Creek, helps with administrative work at the dealership there. One of the biggest challenges in dealerships these days is holding onto service technicians in a

philanthropy, she says. He cites both religion and civic responsibility as reasons they should share their good fortune. Their biggest beneficiary organization is St. Jude Iraq, not to be confused with the American based organization St. Jude. St. Jude Iraq is a nonprofit foundation bringing hope to internally displaced children of religious minorities in Iraq and refugees in diaspora. St. Jude Iraq helps orphans in the region with health care, food, and other basic necessities. This may be in part because Bas is from Iraq. The major driving force for the Robins, however, is always family, both providing and setting an example for the next generation. “My being successful is my children succeeding as I do, regardless of their careers,” says Tanya Robin.



Help Wanted! Please consider hiring one of our many new Americans. More than 30,000 Chaldean refugees have migrated to Michigan since 2007. Many possess the skills and determination to work hard for you and your organization. The Chaldean Community Foundation (CCF) has a bank of resumes of candidates qualified to do a variety of jobs. To inquire about hiring a New American, call or email Elias at 586-722-7253 or elias.kattoula@

Chaldean Community Foundation Sterling Heights Office 3601 15 Mile Road Sterling Heights, MI 48310 586-722-7253



That’s a rap Creating a music career out of his childhood passion BY ASHOURINA SLEWO


rawing inspiration from those around him, Faris Haisha II, 23, – who is better known to his fans as 11.11 – found his passion for rapping at the ripe age of 14. Haisha, however, has always had a love for music, recalling the first time he heard a rap song. “The first time I listened to a rap song I was probably 7-years-old, and I vividly remember the experience – the song was Big Poppa by The Notorious B.I.G.,” said Haisha. “The cadences, the vocal flow, the rhythm all those things hit me. I also remember immediately bobbing my head to the song and thinking ‘how does he do that’.” Having discovered his niche at the age of 14, Haisha wasted no time before taking to the studio. “I was 14-years-old and I was only experimenting,” explained Haisha. “However, after that first time it was no longer an experiment. I knew that making music was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.” While Haisha’s career is still in the early stages, he has been able to release four singles, including DreamzZz and Memories, on several major platforms like Spotify, iTunes and Tidal. Through the word of mouth and social media promotion, DreamzZz has reached more than 250,000 streams on Spotify alone. Currently Haisha is working on his debut extended play (EP) record which he hopes to release early 2018. According to Haisha, the response to his music, in and out of the Chaldean community, has been positive. He has however noticed that the response has directly correlated with the time and effort that he put into his music. “During the initial stages I wasn’t very focused, I wasn’t putting forth my best effort,” said Haisha. “With that said, my friends and family were taking me as seriously as I was taking making music. However, as I started to truly dedicate my time and talent to making music everyone also began to believe in me and support me.” With his music, Haisha hopes 36



to inspire others as he continues to be inspired by those around him. Some of his biggest inspirations are his mother and aunt. “I have seen my mother work hard her whole life, and her hard work and support motivates me every day,” said Haisha. “She is the driving force behind everything that I do. I view my mother as more than a mother, she is my best friend, mentor, inspiration, and motivation to never stop doing what I love.” Early on in his career, Haisha decided that his work would not only allow him to creatively express himself, but also pay homage to those that supported him from the start. “The meaning behind my name is directly associated with the date my Aunt passed away. She passed on September 11, 2009,” explained Haisha. “After that date I realized that my stage name needed to be 11.11. I also began to see the number “one” four

times in succession very frequently, and the name gives me the feeling that my aunt will be by my side forever. My aunt played a very important role in my life. She was like a mother figure to me during the times my mother was working two jobs and sacrificing her life for our household.” In the same way that he draws inspiration from others, Haisha hopes to become a source of inspiration

for those that listen to his music. “I truly love music. I want people to be inspired by the passion that I have for music,” said Haisha. “Music is my artistic outlet, although my message through making music is to show people that if they follow whatever their passions are, and have the self-belief that is needed to continue their journey; they will achieve their goals.” Haisha also prides himself on being able to incorporate his Chaldean identity in his career as he emulates the work ethic and love for family that many Chaldeans pride themselves on. “Chaldeans are hardworking people. I incorporate that hardworking mentality into my music,” said Haisha. “Chaldeans are very family oriented, and my family means everything to me.” Looking to the future, Haisha hopes to cultivate his career beyond the singles he has already released, with the 2018 being the year to do it. “I am especially thankful for the support and love I have received from the Chaldean community,” said Haisha. “I have a passion and drive for making content that people will feel emotionally, but also think about mentally and that will be forever lasting in my music. I am proud to be Chaldean and I would love to spread more positivity to the Chaldean community musically.”






Chaldean News year in review BY ASHOURINA SLEWO

The past year has proven to be quite the year for the Chaldean community as it grappled with many highs and lows. From the rounding up of hundreds Iraqi nationals across Metro Detroit to the liberation of Nineveh. In an effort to provide the latest news possible, the Chaldean News has covered an array of events and issues affecting the community. Below are just a few of the most impactful events and stories that the Chaldean News has covered. Here are the 2017 highlights. Fighting to stay Shaking the Chaldean community to its core was the sudden round up of hundreds of Iraqi nationals throughout Southeast Michigan. Lead by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Chaldeans were sought out at their homes, in restaurants, and even churches. The detainees were then dispersed between facilities in Michigan and Ohio, with the majority of detainees being placed in Northeast Ohio Correctional Facility in Youngstown, Ohio. In response to the raids, community leaders – including the Chaldean Community Foundation and CODE Legal Aid – came together with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to bring a class action lawsuit to Judge Mark Goldsmith. While CODE Legal Aid served as co-counsel to the ACLU, they along with the foundation mobilized their efforts in order to ensure that each detainee was able to get an attorney. Nearly seven months later, a handful of detainees have been released, but many continue to be detained. Most recently the foundation and CODE Legal Aid have gone before Judge Goldsmith to ask for the release of the detainees, providing the alternative that they be released under supervision.

tion from Chaldean-Americans. A large portion of residents of Sterling Heights being new Americans who faced persecution for being Christian. Many believed that this was where the majority of the opposition was coming from. Others attributed the opposition to the lack of leadership within the Chaldean community. “The Chaldean church’s silence on the matter speaks volumes,” said Nasser Beydoun, chairman of the Arab American Civil Liberties League. “If the Chaldean community wanted to build a church for their community in a Muslim area, as an Arab/American community leader, I would be the first to support it. If you fan the fire of hate, it will consume you.” Throughout the ordeal, the question remained, could Chaldeans and Muslims co-exist peacefully in the United States? According to Sterling Heights business owner and community activist Amira Bajoka, the answer is ‘yes’. “Some of my closest friends in Iraq are Muslim,” said Bajoka. “In the 70s and 80s before we opened many of our own restaurants and stores, we shopped at their businesses in Dearborn. Yes, we can co-exist, but there are some deep wounds and some fears that exist because of the ongoing persecution.”

Behind the Mosque Controversy surrounding plans to erect a mosque in Sterling Heights had sparked following heavy opposi-

Liberating Nineveh The liberation of Nineveh on January 26 was perhaps one of the most bittersweet stories covered by the

Chaldean News this year. Following the liberation of Nineveh, Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako and Bishop Basilo Yaldo visited the town to truly understand the situation. While the town was left in a state of disarray, the families that joined Patriarch Sako and Bishop Yaldo were overjoyed to be stepping back into their lifelong homes. Lead by Sufian Jarbo the Sacred Heart Chaldean Church was also reopened that day. While there was much to be celebrated, the uncertainty of what the future would hold for Nineveh bore heavily on everyone. With homes torn apart and neglected, there was not much to welcome a return. There is still much work to be done before everyone can return to the Nineveh Plains. “Liberation is not just about placing a flag and a cross over the church,” said Jarbo. “The church is open, but empty, the gravesites are still closed with the dogs digging up the bones of the deceased and eating them.” Chaldean Cultural Center After working to make the Chaldean Cultural Center (CCC) a reality for nearly a decade, the CCC finally opened its doors in January of this year. A gift to the Chaldean Community, the Cultural Center showcases a variety of pieces that were carefully curated. People in and out of the Chaldean community worked to bring the CCC to fruition. Included in the CCC are five galleries, the Ancient

Gallery, Faith and Church Gallery, the Village Gallery, the Journey to America Gallery, and the Today Gallery. Each of the five galleries had its own curator to help design it. “My favorite part is the Journey to America Gallery,” said Executive Director Mary Romaya. “I love seeing all these immigration documents and thinking about the lives of the individuals they represent. Think of all of the emotions that these initial immigrants would have had…” The Cultural Center is located inside the Shenandoah Country Club of West Bloomfield where it serves as a testament to the Chaldeans of the past, present and future. Opioid Epidemic Following several opioid overdoses throughout the community, the Chaldean News sought to understand why this issue was continuing to plague our community and what could be done to help. In a community as tight knit as the Chaldean community, the initial reaction when met with something as taboo as drugs, is to hide the problem. Concealing these issues, however, only allows for the problem to regress and leads to the worst-case scenario. Following the death of his nephew Brandon Kallabat, 26, George Abro addressed this issue in a letter to the community. “Due to fear of shame or embarrassment from our community, most parents maintain their silence,” said Abro. “The only real shame and embarrassment there should be is by not speaking out and helping others to understand that this is real. This is an epidemic. We need to speak out and help others recognize the patterns and signs of addiction.” The community is armed with the resources needed to recognize and tackle these issues. With organizations like Peter’s Angels, community members can both learn to recognize signs of abuse and take action when there is substance abuse. JANUARY 2018



People power the Chaldean Football League Green team wins coveted Chy Cup in double-overtime thriller BY STEVE STEIN


he Chaldean Football League is all about winning the coveted Chy Cup. It’s also about the people who make up the six-team flag football league. People like Karl Dallou, who completed his 30th season last fall. People like Ernest Yaldo, who finally became a league champion in 2017 in his 19th year in the league. People like Andrew Shango, a first-year quarterback who led the Green team to the league title last fall. People like Lance Samona, the Green team player-coach, who admittedly took a gamble when he made Shango, one of the league’s top receivers, the team’s quarterback. Dallou, 47, epitomizes the value of the league’s veteran players. He admits he can no longer keep up physically with younger players, so he uses his smarts and guile to be productive.

He’s been an outstanding quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back. Now he mainly plays wide receiver on offense and occasionally plays linebacker on defense. “I’m just an average player now, but I’ll do anything I can to help my team win. I’ll do my job,” he said. “I’ve learned the game. I know how to get open on pass routes. “I still have the fire to play, and I’m competitive. I’ll keep playing until I’m horrible.” Dallou has been a part of five league championship teams. But he hasn’t won a league title for several years, perhaps as many as nine. “I want to win one more time. Then I’ll probably ride off into the sunset,” he said. Samona, a second-year coach, said his Green team’s rallying cry in 2017 was “Win one for Ernie.” That

would be Yaldo, who had never even played in a league championship game until last season. The Green team achieved its goal for Yaldo, beating the Yellow team 13-0 in the league playoff semifinals and the Blue team 20-13 in a double-overtime title game thriller at West Bloomfield High School to win the Chy Cup. It’s believed to be the first double OT championship game in league history. For Samona, 31, it was his first league title as a player-coach. The wide receiver and cornerback is 4-3 in league championship games in his 11 years in the league. The Green and Blue teams were tied 13-13 going into overtime. Each team has a chance to score from the 10-yard line in overtime, and neither the Green nor Blue team scored in the first overtime.

The Green team had the ball first in the second overtime, and scored on its first play on a pass from Shango to Brandon Nafso. On the Blue team’s third-down play, the Green team’s Mazen Jaddou intercepted a pass in the end zone to end the game. Samona said he’s found coaching to be harder than it looks because of decisions that need to be made each week setting lineups and dealing with players’ personalities. “I’ve gained a tremendous amount of respect for the guys who have coached in the league for a long time,” he said. League teams are formed in a three-year rotation, with a draft of all players held every three years. In the other years, each team can protect three players. The next full draft will be in 2019.


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