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JULY 2019

6/20/19 11:50 AM






FOUNDATION 16th Annual Community Golf Outing J U LY 1 1 AT S H E N A N D O A H C O U N T RY C L U B

You Don’t Have to Golf to Help! This annual fundraising event supports the Chaldean Community Foundation (CCF), raising nearly $900,000 for a variety of programs since its inception a decade ago. Join nearly 150 golfers at this casual event on July 11. The event offers participants a fun-filled day while raising awareness and critical funding for a variety of services many of us take for granted. The CCF provides services to more than 31,000 annually. With your support the CCF can serve more.

BUY DINNER TICKETS Tickets for the 6:00 PM dinner at Shenandoah Country Club are $50 each or $500 for a table of 10 and include cocktails, networking (beginning at 5:00 PM), and an opportunity to participate in a raffle and live auction.

BUY RAFFLE TICKETS A $100 ticket for the 50/50 raffle could score some serious cash! You could win thousands!

CONTACT INFO To purchase tickets for dinner (dinner is casual attire) or 50/50 raffle tickets, call 248-851-1200 or visit

We hope to see you July 11th. This event is supported by:




departments 6


Filling up the day or having fun? 8


on the cover


The Chaldean Community Foundation’s historic housing development


In memoriam











Chaldeans in the armed forces







Summer Days

Reviewing the importance of obtaining citizenship and the new laws and regulations affecting the process

ECONOMICS AND ENTERPISE The sky’s the limit ONE ON ONE A conversation on Mackinac Island with Sly Sandiha






JULY 2019





Life-long networking skills learned at the Mackinac Policy Conference



JULY 2019


from the EDITOR


The Chaldean News, LLC


Vanessa Denha Garmo MANAGING EDITORS

Denha Media Group Writers CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Ashourina Slewo Halim Sheena Lisa Cipriano Monique Mansour Paul Natinsky M. Lapham Claudine Denha Chloe Kilano


Alex Lumelsky with SKY Creative GRAPHIC DESIGNER


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OPERATIONS Interlink Media



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Vanessa Denha Garmo Martin Manna Michael Sarafa SUBSCRIPTIONS: $25 PER YEAR THE CHALDEAN NEWS 30095 NORTHWESTERN HWY, SUITE 101 FARMINGTON HILLS, MI 48334 WWW.CHALDEANNEWS.COM PHONE: (248) 851-8600 Publication: The Chaldean News (P-6); Published monthly; Issue Date: July 2018 Subscriptions: 12 months, $25. Publication Address: 30095 Northwestern Hwy., Suite 101, Farmington Hills, MI 48334; Application to Mail at Periodicals Postage Rates is Pending at Farmington Hills Post Office Postmaster: Send address changes to “The Chaldean News 30095 Northwestern Hwy., Suite 101, Farmington Hills, MI 48334”

Filling up the day or having fun?


hen I was younger, I attended camp played “coffee shop.” They spent nearly two maybe a couple of times in my childhours in the front yard making up games to play. hood. I did one overnight and one day These summer days shouldn’t be wasted in camp when I was about 12-years-old. I had six sisdoors. The world is ours to explore, even if that ters and a neighborhood filled with kids. My parworld at 12-years-old is your neighborhood. In ents didn’t need to figure out how to keep us enteraddition to finding outdoor activities for my tained while off from school – we had each other. daughter, she also spends about an hour a day We rode bikes for hours around the neighborpreparing for the next school year. She reads and hood. We went fishing in the nearby pond. We has a workbook with math problems and gramVANESSA formed kickball games and played on the front mar assignments. And when she is “bored” she yard. We put on dance performances and talent DENHA-GARMO figures it out. shows. We swam in the neighbor’s pool and used EDITOR IN CHIEF Our kids are also blessed to have Our Lady of CO-PUBLISHER chalk to make Hopscotch designs on the drivethe Fields Camp right here in Metropolitan Deway. Of course, we did all of this after our daily troit. I have written about this in previous issues chores were done and then we were gone for hours. and I am writing about it again. There are many opporWe were having “old fashioned” fun! tunities for boys, girls and families to enjoy time canoeOnce a week, each of us young siblings had to go to the family store to work a few hours. My older sisters actually had a work schedule. I am sure getting us out of the house was a way to give my mom a break. The experience, however, taught me a great deal that carried me through my adult life. I learned discipline, math skills, a work ethic and responsibility. On those rainy days or when our friends in the neighborhood were not home, we were bored but never lamented about it. We just found something to do. I liked to read. I read a lot. My mom would drop me off at the local library for the weekly book challenge and I would try to read more books than all the other kids. My sister Stephanie loved to play hairstylist and makeup artist with our dolls and even experimenting on us; I had some funky ing, kayaking, on the ropes course, playing GaGa ball or haircuts at times. My sister Vera searched for worms and participating in a variety of camp activities. And because frogs in the backyard. We kept busy and found ways to stay it is a Catholic camp, they attend mass and mediate in entertained. adoration. What a true blessing. Today, parents are frantically trying to figure out how The summer is supposed to be about having fun not to keep our kids occupied, often over scheduling them. filling up the day. So, get outside and explore! We are fortunate to have some very sophisticated camps around town. My own daughter has participated in theater camps, STEAM camps, sewing camps, cooking camps, golf camps and cheer camps. Alaha Imid Koullen Why do we feel the need to fill up the day? I have no (God Be With Us All) idea. Vanessa Denha-Garmo If we let them, kids will use their imagination. Just recently, my daughter had a school friend over. They Follow her on Twitter @vanessadenha got tired of hanging out inside so they went outside and Follow Chaldean News on Twitter @chaldeannews SPECIALIZING IN COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE & BUSINESS FINANCING


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CHALDEAN 6/18/19 NEWS 12:40 PM7

the LITTLE things

In memoriam


Prelate visits he community and Chaldean Diocese the Shenandoah Cardinal Leonardo Sanfamily in particudri visited Michigan for lar were shocked by the three days in June. Carsudden death of Kays dinal Sandri has been a “Kenny” Zair last month. senior advisor to Pope Kenny was a loving husFrancis and Pope beneband, father and grandfadict before him. He is ther. Over the years, he MICHAEL G. currently the Prefect of was a fixture at Southfield SARAFA the Congregation of OriManor and then ShenanSPECIAL TO THE ental Churches which indoah. He also was a past CHALDEAN NEWS cludes the Chaldean Rite President of the Chaldean of the Catholic Church. In this Iraqi Association of Michigan. He role, Cardinal Sandri is the main was known for his light-hearted contact in Rome for the Chaldean good cheer and friendliness. It is Catholic Church. The Cardinal not without notice that Kenny had a series of meetings with Bishpassed away at his second home, the op Francis Kalabat, co-celebrated Shenandoah Country Club. Kenny Mass at Mother of God Cathedral will be greatly missed by his family and enjoyed a first-rate dinner at and friends. The loss of his presence Shenandoah Country Club, among at Shenandoah will be felt by many. other meetings held during his Kenny was the ultimate Nadee’ visit. (Club) man.


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Moral ambiguity One of the more clairvoyant candidates for the democratic nomination for President is Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the Mayor of South Bend Indiana.

their more open attitudes towards homosexuals. For many in our community, his lifestyle and personal choices will prove to be a non-starter. Others

For many in our community, Pete Buttigieg’s lifestyle and personal choices will prove to be a non-starter. Others might say his family life is more appropriate and admirable than the current President, Donald Trump. His common-sense policy prescriptions, well-reasoned responses and pro-business leanings have helped jump into the top tier of candidates. Buttigieg is gay and married. He is also a practicing Christian. He was raised Catholic but switched to the Episcopalian Church because of

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JULY 2019






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

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

JULY 2019




Swearing In Judge Polly Haisha had the unique opportunity to swear in a young Chaldean attorney alongside another woman attorney, Susan Tomina.



100 Questions and Answers About Chaldeans 4





1. Associate Director Steve Raymond leads Dedicated Giving. 2. Dinner Seating. 3. Banquet guests visit the Chaldean Cultural Center. 4. Balsaam Hanna; Keynote Speaker Fr. Bernie Owens, SJ; Isaac Hanna. 5. Fr. Steve Hurd, SJ; Melissa Khalil; Dr. Jad Khalil. 6. Nawal Shallal, Max Shayota, Dave Nona. 7. Fr. Bernie Owens, SJ gives keynote address. 8. John and Marie Osborne, Keller and Debra McGaffey.

Guests had the distinct opportunity to attend the launch of professor and author Joe Grimm’s latest cultural guide, 100 Questions and Answers About Chaldeans, on Wednesday, May 22. This guide about Chaldeans was written by Grimm, with the help of his Michigan State University students. The book launch was hosted at the Shenandoah Country Club in West Bloomfield.

Spirit of Manresa Manresa Jesuit Retreat House welcomed 325 guests to its Spirit of Manresa Banquet on Thursday, May 2, at the Shenandoah Country Club in West Bloomfield. The evening began with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres to piano accompaniment as guests began bidding on the silent auction items and toured the Chaldean Cultural Center. Dinner seating took place at 7:00 PM, when Mistress of Ceremonies Marie Osborne of WJR Radio greeted the guests and introduced Manresa’s Executive Director, Fr. Fran Daly, SJ, who offered remarks and a brief video. After dinner, Dedicated Giving was led by Associate Director Steve Raymond, and this was followed by keynote speaker Fr. Bernie Owens, SJ, who described his five-year mission in Kenya. He gave an overview of the terrain, climate, wildlife and people there and offered four personal stories of healing and reconciliation. The program concluded with a raffle drawing.

Performing for a Cause Steve Acho performed at the West Bloomfield Food Truck Rally on Friday, June 7 to raise money for the Youth Assistance Program.

JBACH Scholarship Luncheon

Cardinal Leonardo Sandria

Several Chaldean students received scholarships at the Midwest Independent Retailers Association’s (MIRA) 2019 Scholarship Luncheon where Detroit NBA Champion and legend Isiah Thomas served as the keynote speaker.

During his visit to Michigan, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri took the time to visit Shenandoah Country Club as well as celebrate Holy Mass at Mother of God Church.



JULY 2019

Jonathan Bach has recently released his debut single, “Old Me.” His second single “Taste” was released on June 28. Jonathan has completely rebranded himself into JBACH, but has still kept his Chaldean roots and continues to represent his heritage in the music industry. 


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CHAI time

CHALDEANS CONNECTING Sunday, July 7 Gourmet Market Festa: Come out and celebrate the sixth annual Vince & Joe’s Gourmet Market Festa Buon Appetito from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Sunday, July 7, on the “piazza” at Vince & Joe’s Gourmet Market in Shelby Township. The daylong family festivities are filled with a list of market-fresh, signature Italian street food specialties, from spiedini and arancini to panelle, pizza and pasta stations, and authentic house made gelato. Enjoy pop and classic live Italian favorites onstage from international father-daughter sensations Rennie and Esther Kaufmann. Prize drawings are held throughout the day. Kids will enjoy mascots Pinocchio and clowns and face-painting along with Kids’ Tent activities. See high-performance vehicles on display from Alfa Romeo and Fiat of Lakeside. Meet former NFL kicker Eddie Murray, who will be on hand to share information about Michigan’s Hope Network Center for Autism. A portion of all proceeds will benefit Hope Network Center for Autism and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (ALSAC). For more information, visit Saturday, July 13 Home and Garden Tour: Enjoy a summer weekend in Detroit’s 104-yearold Palmer Woods neighborhood on Saturday and Sunday, July 13-14. An evening preview soiree with live music, food, and libations will kick off the weekend at 5:00 p.m. Saturday at one of the neighborhood’s fabulous Tudors, a 6,300-square-foot home surrounded by a garden paradise—including a greenhouse, pools, fountains, raised garden beds, and more—designed by Deborah Silver of Detroit Garden Works. A shuttle will provide transportation to all the other homes and gardens throughout the evening, and soiree guests will have free entry to the Sunday tour the following day. On Sunday, we bring back the traditional tour with this one-day viewing of some of the most magnificent homes and gardens in the neighborhood. Palmer Woods is located just west of Woodward Avenue and north of Seven Mile Road in northwest Detroit. For more information, visit Saturday, July 13 Gardens, Wine and Alpacas: Join the LACASA Center and relax in lush surroundings as they host two of Livingston County’s most anticipated summer fundraising events. Garden Tour Weekend, set for Saturday and Sunday, July 13 and 14, featuring nearly a dozen spectacular gardens. Explore the grounds of private homes and independent horticulturists from 9:00 12


JULY 2019

COMMUNITY EVENTS IN AND AROUND METRO DETROIT JULY 2019 and must be booked online at For more information, call 586-778-9060.

a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily. Get inspiration for your own urban and suburban gardens. Drive on your own or take a bus tour. Join the scavenger hunt, enter the blooming raffle, and win great prizes! Twilight in the Garden is slated for 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. Saturday, July 20. Roam the grounds of the Triple Diamonds Alpaca Ranch in Howell. Sample wines from around the world, try local craft beers, nibble on gourmet hors d’oeuvres, and listen to live jazz. Shop the Twilight Treats market. Chill out at the cigar and spirits bar. Dance the night away for a good cause. Proceeds from these annual events benefit local victims of child abuse and interpersonal violence. For more information or to purchase tickets, call LACASA at 517-548-1350 or visit Saturday, July 13 Michigan Philharmonic: Join the Michigan Philharmonic at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 13, at Kensington Metropark on Maple Beach for a free summer concert under the stars. Enjoy music from The Greatest Showman, Mary Poppins Returns, Titanic, and more as well as vocalist Taylor Haring. Bring a picnic and come early to enjoy all that the metro park has to offer, from hiking and biking to canoeing and kayaking. For more information, visit Monday, July 15 Annual Golf and Tennis Classic: The Angels’ Place Annual Golf and Tennis Classic is quickly approaching! This signature, all-inclusive fundraiser, presented by Joliat Ventures, LLC and Medwest Associates, will take place on Monday, July 15th at Pine Lake Country Club. The Angels’ Place Annual Golf and Tennis Classic is one of the central reasons the philanthropic organization can continue to provide homes and services for persons with developmental disabilities. Angels’ Place has provided people-centered services, as well as homes and professional support for adults with developmental disabilities since 1992. This non-profit organization currently has twenty homes, servicing more than

150 individuals throughout southeast Michigan. For more information, visit Monday, July 22 Taste Fest: Eat and drink your way through Taste Fest, presented by the Ascension St. John Foundation. The 2019 Taste Fest provides an opportunity for more than 600 guests to enjoy the samplings of local restaurants and food trucks at a new venue: Jimmy John’s Field! Each restaurant will highlight and showcase their culinary talents for the chance to win Best Entrée, Best Casual Entrée, Best Dessert, Best Food Truck, and Best Presentation. Proceeds will benefit the renovation and expansion of the Webber Cancer Center at Ascension Macomb-Oakland Hospital, which will update the chemotherapy hood to the most current standard, expand clinical space, and bring a new medical oncology practice into the center. To purchase tickets, visit or call 313-343-4530. Wednesday, July 24 Cruise for a Cause: The Parade Company is decking the Ovation’s hull with Christmas bling, and whipping up a strolling festive feast with merry cocktails, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 24, for the annual “Christmas in July” celebration. Get ready to mix, munch, mingle, and rock around the Christmas tree; Collision Six, one of Detroit’s favorite party bands, provides the musical backdrop for the occasion! A portion of the proceeds from every ticket purchased for this Summer Cruise Series event benefits The Parade Co.’s charity partner. You’ll be contributing much-needed funds to help preserve and restore the Big Heads, the world’s largest papiermache head collection, housed right here in Detroit. In its historic 12th year, Big Heads Corps hosts events and activities throughout the year in metro Detroit and marches in America’s Thanksgiving Parade presented by Art Van. Boarding begins at 6:30 p.m. sharp at The Port Authority Dock in downtown Detroit. Tickets are $105 per person

Thursday, July 25 313 in the D: Celebrate Detroit and one of its most impactful nonprofits, Matrix Human Services, while enjoying one of the best views of the city’s iconic skyline! Matrix Human Services’ sixth annual event is taking place on Thursday, July 25, at 3Fifty Terrace in downtown Detroit. Those in attendance will enjoy heavy appetizers, a complimentary welcome drink (cash bar throughout the evening), entertainment, dancing, raffles, and much, much more! This signature event is one of the most fun ways that you can give back to the city. All of the proceeds of this sell-out event benefit The Matrix Center, a thriving community center that’s changing lives by educating children, tangibly supporting families, and rebuilding Detroit’s most impoverished neighborhoods. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit Saturday, July 27 Lobsterfest: The MI Hope Foundation, a nonprofit organization, presents the 20th annual Lobsterfest starting at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 27, at 47820 Seven Mile Rd. in Northville. Dinner will be served at 7:30 p.m. Guests will enjoy a fresh lobster, flown in from Maine just hours before the event; raffle; and silent auction. Reservations will be accepted through July 20. Tickets are $55 each and include dinner, drinks, live band, dancing, and a whole lot of fun! For more information, email MIHOPE74@gmail. com or Proceeds from Lobsterfest support Donate Life Coalition of Michigan, the Gary Sinise Foundation, and breast cancer research. Sunday, July 28 Give and Get Fit: The Rhonda Walker Foundation hosts the ninth annual Give and Get Fit health and fitness event starting at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, July 28, on the Detroit riverfront. Give and Get Fit brings together more than 500 health-conscious metro Detroiters for a fun-filled morning of exercise with your choice of a 5K/10K run/ walk or a fusion of three fitness classes. Enjoy amazing health fair exhibits with the latest in fitness, food, and wellness. All 5K/10K run/walk participants receive a performance shirt, medal, and gift bag. Proceeds benefit Rhonda Walker Foundation’s award-winning health and wellness youth programming through its five-year Girls into Women career, personal development, college prep and mentoring program for inner-city teen girls. Register today at

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ECRC corner


Congratulations Alden! Alden Kajy graduated from Walled Lake Central with highest honors!! He was the President of the Spanish Club and the Captain of the hockey varsity team. He was also a member of the National Honors Society. Alden is planning to go to medical school!! 

The journey to heaven


f I asked a question toLarry Richards, we have two day about what kind of choices: you could become journey this life is taksaints or go to hell! That ing you on or where are you sounds harsh, but it’s true, headed to, what kind of anthe definition of becoming a swers do you think I would saint is making it to heaven. get? I’m sure the answers Jesus says it in his own would be very interesting words in John 14:2; “In my depending on what life is Father’s house are many throwing at people. So, rerooms; if it were not so, gardless of where life is takwould I have told you that JEFF KASSAB ing you or what you have SPECIAL TO THE I go to prepare a place for been through in your own CHALDEAN NEWS you? 3 And when I go and journey, our ultimate jourprepare a place for you, I will ney should be the journey to heaven, come again and will take you to mywhich is perfect eternal union with self, that where I am you may be also. God that is the definition of heaven! This promise from Jesus gives us hope Our home is not Earth; we are here and, in this day and age, hope is all as pilgrims. Compare it to when you we have. We can be assured that there go on vacation to a different country, is more this to this life we are living, it is not your home, you’re just visiting this life of false hope, false happiness. there until you get back home. Our What does Jesus mean when he says whole life is a journey to our final des“I go on prepare I’ll place for you?” tination. The Lord promises us heaven Think about that for a minute. Back if we walk in the path of righteousness, in first century Judaism the groom just as he promised Moses many times: would leave the bride at her parents’ Numbers 10:29 “And Moses said to house until her home was ready to be Hobab the son of Reuel the Midianite, moved in, he would usually add on to Moses’ father-in-law, “We are setting his father’s house or build a new house out for the place of which the Lord somewhere close. The house would be said, ‘I will give it to you” God created ready for the bride to move-in, Full of us in his likeness and image, so we have furniture, all her clothes and personal that desire in our heart to be with him belongings. When the house was forever. He wants no one to be sepadone, he would go and get her and rated from him unless one chooses to bring her to the new home. Jesus does be separated from him and that’s what the same thing for us, he goes and prewe call free will. According to Father pares our home and when the time is 14


JULY 2019

ready, he comes back and brings us to a beautiful home that we will be in for all eternity. So, prepare yourself because you never know when the groom is coming; you may have a long time to prepare yourself or a short time to prepare yourself like the thief on the cross did. Is this journey to heaven easy? No. Pray, hope, and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer...said St. Padre Pio. But all this that we go through on this journey God gives us the graces to endure these, He is on this journey with us if we allow him to be. Saint Francis de Sales reminds us: “It is right that we should begin again every day. There is no better way to complete the spiritual life than to be ever beginning it over again.” The gift of a new day is the gift given to us by God and we should make use of it very well and prepare ourselves for eternal life. Live every day as if it were your last day. If you knew today would be your last day, how would you live this day differently, what would you do? How would you prepare yourself to see God whom nothing can be hidden from? If you ask yourself this question every day, it will give you something to meditate on and prepare yourself during this journey. At the end of life, when the journey is over, when the curtains close,

when the lights go out, when every last tear shall be wiped away and you come before our Lord and Savior and He will say one of two things to you: “34 Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. (Mat 25:3136) or he will say to you: “41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me. (Mat 25:41-43). My brothers and sisters, the choice is yours! Jeff Kassab is a board member of ECRC with a BA in Catholic Theology. 1. The Holy Bible. (2006). (Revised Standard Version; Second Catholic Edition, Nu 10:29). San Francisco: Ignatius Press


Father Yousif Attisha

Madlien Khami



n behalf of the Attisha family, we lost a servant of God, an uncle, a passionate apostle of the church, when Father Yousif Attisha passed on Sunday, June 2, 2019.   He was born in the Telkaif, Iraq, on June 27, 1929, and when others dreamed of marriage and starting a family, Yousif dreamed of his true calling and entered the seminary in Mosul in 1944. He was ordained a priest in 1954 in Mosul, and was assigned to his first church in Basra from 195456.  Later, he returned to Baghdad where he was a pastor at Mother of All Sorrows. In 1959, he had a spiritual calling and travelled to the Dominican headquarters in France and took an oath to become a Dominican Monk adhering to a life of poverty, chastity, and obedience.  He studied theology and philosophy, and fluently spoke Arabic, Aramaic, English, French, and Latin.   He was passionate about his duties as a priest and focused time recruiting and educating the next generation of Dominican seminary students. He was an avid teacher (Babel University), writer, and scholar, publishing articles for five different religious newspapers. In his career, he authored more than a dozen books on Jesus, the church, and education for the preparation of Holy Communion. Through the generosity of Chaldeans from extended family both Detroit and San Diego, he was able to help thousands of struggling Iraqi Christians during difficult times.  In 2015, after the strain of ISIS encroaching into the Nineveh plains and with deteriorating health, he retired to a convalescent home for the religious order in Paris. He lived by the pillars of the Dominican life: poverty, chastity and obedience, and he added to those no hatred, no jealousy, and equal brotherhood. May God shower him with his mercy and eternal love.

adlien Khami, Mother of ten Children and wife of David Khami. Born July 15, 1927 – Passed away, June 2, 2019. Our Mother was a Class Lady filled with charity and solid faith in God. Mom died in her sleep, in her bed and in her home – with dignity and courage. Madlien Khami is survived by her ten children-- Michael, James, John, Irene, Roger, Diane, Carol, Theresa, Christine, Robert, along with 16 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

Hanni (Denha) Seman


anni (Denha) Seman, known as Nana to her family, was born in TalKeppe, Iraq in 1925. She was the second oldest of seven children born to Mansour and Jamila Denha. Her brother Thomas passed away in 2011 and her younger brother Sabri passed in 2002. She is survived by her older brother Yousif and sisters Julie, Najiba and Samira. In 1938, she married Jahad Seman and they had 12 children, 9 surviving: Mary, Najib, Basim, Basima, John, Peter, Lamia, Mike and Ann.  Jahad passed away in 1997. The two had 38 grandchildren and 48 great grandchildren. They lived in the same Southfield home for more than 50 years where family and friends were always welcome. Her front door was a revolving one - open to all who came over for fellowship and a meal. Hanni Seman was also a businesswoman. She owned and operated businesses both in Iraq and America.  She emigrated to the United States in 1965 not knowing how to read and write, and barely spoke the English language. How-

ever, her tenacity and work ethic made her not only a survival but a success story. The family owned a liquor store in Detroit and owned a restaurant where Hanni cooked and served customers. She had many wonderful memories including a trip to the Holy Land with her late husband. She experienced back problems that caused her to use a walker. The last few month she had mini strokes and her memory started to suffer. However, she lived an into her 90s seeing her children and many grandchildren marry and have kids of their own.

Abdulahad Toma Jabiro March 14, 1940 – June 15, 2019 God will love you and be with you, until we meet again someday. We love you and miss you dearly. Rest in peace. Love your wife, Fatin, kids Brigitte, Khaled, Dena, Lurr and grandchild Christian.

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Fadhilla Ramo July 1, 1929 June 16, 2019

Joseph Toma Hindo July 1, 1926 June 16, 2019

Habib Sagmani April 15, 1949 June 16, 2019

Abdulahad Jabiro March 14, 1940 June 15, 2019

Ihsan Bajju Dec. 30, 1961 June 14, 2019

Habeeb Moshi July 1, 1943 June 12, 2019

Richard Jack Najor July 17, 1935 June 11, 2019

Morris Barnet July 6, 1937 June 9, 2019

Zakia (Zakke) Dado July 1, 1926 June 8, 2019

Latif Saffo July 1, 1940 June 6, 2019

George Zetouna July 1, 1941 June 6, 2019

Usam Toma Shaouni January 9, 1949 June 6, 2019

Ghazala (Najiba) Kakoz July 1, 1940 June 5, 2019

Dalila Daoud Nov. 24, 1952 June 5, 2019

Mary Grandley February 2, 1932 - June 3, 2019

Razzoki Kishmish Pattah July 1, 1921 June 3, 2019

Madlien Khami July 15, 1927 June 2, 2019

Robert Manuel Qasguargis February 1, 1962 - June 1, 2019

Sabah Elias Talia February 2, 1934 - May 29, 2019

Eman Naami February 2, 1961 - May 26, 2019

Akram Eliya July 1, 1934 May 25, 2019

Sameera Kappota Feb. 25, 1955 May 25, 2019

Adnan Rassam July 1, 1944 May 23, 2019



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In Memoriam

Sabah Nisan Yaldoo October 14, 1935 - March 07, 2019

Family Man – Leader – Bridge Builder – Friend & Mentor Entrepreneur – Lifelong Conservative – Devout Catholic We Miss You




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SATURDAY • JULY 27 • 9 A.M. – 6 P.M. Day On The Town is the biggest shopping day of the year in downtown Birmingham, and it draws thousands from near and far. This event is for people on the hunt for a good deal, and there are many deals to be found. Attendees will find discounted high-end merchandise throughout downtown Birmingham. Whether you’re looking for clothing, jewelry, artwork, antiques, dishes, vases or toys, Birmingham is the place to be on July 27!



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Van Dyke Apartments

Project Development Team Owner/Sponsor The Chaldean Community Foundation President Martin Manna

Chaldean Town 2.0

Housing Project Manager Bassam Salman City of Sterling Heights Luke Bonner, Economic Development Macomb County John Paul Rea, Director of Economic Development Architect Berardi Partners, Columbus, OH Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing Engineering Berardi Partners, Detroit, MI

The Chaldean Community Foundation’s historic housing development

Civil Engineering Giffels-Webster, Birmingham, MI


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he Chaldean Community Foundation (CCF), the nonprofit arm of the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce, has been hyper focused on providing a plethora of resources to the community for the last several years. The CCF boasts programs that provide social, educational and family development opportunities to its clients. Case work, advocacy, linkage, and client-centered planning for long-term success are keys to their work and client success. Through their extensive work with the community, the foundation has noticed a prevalent need for long term housing. “The CCF serves more than 31,000 individuals annually and realized there was a housing shortage for our New Americans,” explained CCF President, Martin Manna. “The CCF currently has more than 1,000 families in need of long-term housing.” On par with the foundation’s work, this project is more than just an apartment complex – it is another means of aiding the community. “It will help alleviate the current housing shortage for our new Americans and provide subsidized housing for those that qualify,” said Manna. According to an executive summary by the CCF regarding the housing development, “suburban poverty is on the rise in metro Detroit.” Crain’s Detroit Business has examined suburban poverty in October 2017 and then again in January 2018. “While foundations are focusing their grants in Detroit, poverty is 18


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quietly growing in the suburbs…the needs and issues spurred by poverty don’t respect city or county limits.” According to the summary, there are more than 600,000 families living under the poverty level in the metro Detroit area. Only 235,000 are living in Detroit, meaning “nearly 60 percent of poverty alleviation is needed in the suburbs.” Affordable housing for families at or below the federal poverty line is a critical need in metro Detroit. Through this development, the CCF is seeking to alleviate this issue while also bringing economic stimulation and investment to the area. Working with the City of Sterling Heights, the foundation has identified land along the VanDyke and 19 Mile Corridor where the historic housing development will be taking residence. “…we are working on creating a cultural destination,” said Manna. “The area will be transformed and become “Chaldean Town” with retail, restaurants and art to complement the housing.” The 135-unit mixed-income and mixed-use development in Sterling Heights will feature 63 one bedroom units and 72 two bedroom units in addition to surface parking for 185 vehicles in a courtyard. According to the foundation, approximately 60 of the units will be affordable at 60 percent of Area Median Income (AMI) and 75 of the units will be available at market rate. The development will be complete with an outdoor recreation area and a 7-acre parkland, all of which

Legal Counsel Varnum Law, Novi, MI

will be located east of the surface lot. “We are hoping to break ground this fall or at the latest, next Spring,” explained Manna. “We expect a twelve-month construction timeline.” As the sponsor of this mixed-use development, the CCF has put together a project development team that will include Berardi Partners and GiffelsWebster, who will be coordinating all design and engineering on the project. MHT Housing of Beverly Hills will be handling property management, G Fisher Construction will serve as the general contractor, and Varnum Law will serve as the legal counsel. Overall, the broad based project development team includes architects, engineers, grant makers, lenders, tax credit syndicators, officials, public entities, and supporters. At $25 million, the foundation’s development comes with a hefty price tag. Once completed, the development will be open for families and individuals alike. The family friendly project will “seek to create and build community and connectivity among and between residents.” According to the executive summary, the space will include a Wi-Fi lounge, exercise areas, outdoor assembly areas and trails, a community kitchen and community room, and a leasing office and maintenance shop. In addition to apartments and various amenities for residents, the development will include 9,000 square feet of retail space for lease. These spaces will be partially finished, or “white boxed”, ahead of tenant im-

Structural Engineering Pinnacle Engineering, Troy, MI Environmental Engineers PM Environmental, Berkley, MI Consulting Engineers Wetlands/Natural Features – ASTI Environmental, Brighton, MI General Contractor G Fisher Construction, Farmington Hills, MI Property Manager MHT Housing, Beverly Hills, MI

provements or adjustments. While providing a space for housing and retail, the hope is to also make this development a cultural destination. Thus far, the response to this massive undertaking has been positive. “The response has been overwhelmingly positive,” explained Manna. “The City Council recently unanimously approved the development.” In addition to approval from city officials, the project has piqued the interest of business owners who are itching to move in already. According to the summary, “There has been interest from a food retailer, café and also health services providers. There may be 2 or 3 distinct retail units on the first floor depending on tenancy and their needs.” Benefitting the community at large, more than $100 million in new investments and streetscape will be invested in this new corridor. “The nearby residents and businesses will benefit tremendously from the investment,” explained Manna.

From left: Sara Sarigiannis, Attra Shamoon, Samuel Youkhana, Andrew Youkhana, Anita Youkhana and Athina Sarigiannis. Sara Murphy; Jennifer Zakaria.

Strength, perseverance, and perspective Chaldeans in the Armed Forces BY MONIQUE MANSOUR


rom a young age, Sara Murphy knew that she wanted to be independent. “I wanted to go to college, and I was determined to find a way to pay for it,” said Murphy. Murphy enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2009, and served until 2013, earning the rank and title of Sergeant. She ultimately went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in Health Administration from Baker College in Auburn Hills. She graduated in June of 2016. While serving in the Marine Corps, Murphy was involved in various humanitarian efforts. One was in Okinawa, Japan, where she was stationed for two years. She assisted with Japan Tsunami relief in 2011 with Operation Tomodachi. It was also there, in Japan, where she met her future husband, Cody Murphy, who was also serving in the Marine Corps at the time. Murphy also aided with humanitarian efforts in the Philippines and Thailand. She helped to build desks, bookshelves, and provided school supplies to teachers and students. “There is so much poverty in the world that we’re unaware of as Americans,” said Murphy. “It was an eye-opening experience, for sure.” Murphy amassed many awards, recognitions, and honors during her time in the Marine Corps, such as the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Hu-

manitarian Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award Navy, and the Marine Corps Achievement Medal. “My time in the Marine Corps taught me that nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it. You can start anywhere and work your way up. I also learned that you can find family anywhere…it’s not something that you’re just born into,” said Murphy. Murphy and her husband welcomed their son, Cody Murphy Jr. in January 2017. “He is such a blessing,” said Murphy. They happily reside in Sterling Heights. Murphy is one of three Chaldean women being profiled for their service to this country. Jennifer Zakaria served in the Air Force from 2008 until 2011. She was born in Detroit, and raised in Sterling Heights. “Joining the Air Force was the best decision I ever made,” said Zakaria. The armed forces had always been of interest to her since childhood. “I loved the idea of helping people and serving my country while doing it. It seemed like such a strong thing to do.” Zakaria joined the branch as a Commission Officer, as she had obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from St. Xavier University in Chicago prior to joining. Soon after, she participated in Commissioner Officer training in Montgomery, Alabama. “The people I was with there and the people I met…it immediately felt like family. Every-

one welcomed me with open arms.” After training, she was stationed in Las Vegas, Nevada. “I listed Las Vegas as my number one choice, as I knew there was a Chaldean community there and a Chaldean Church there. I thought it would be a comfort to know that I could go back to my roots in a new environment.” At first, her family wasn’t exactly sure what she was getting into. “It was an adjustment for everyone,” said Zakaria. “But ultimately, my family became very supportive and proud of me.” Zakaria was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 for seven months. “You receive a lot of training before deployment, but let me just tell you…no amount of training can prepare you for that kind of experience,” said Zakaria. Though there were many trying times during her deployment and although there were many human atrocities that she witnessed, there was one particular momentous occasion that Zakaria will never forget. “President Obama came to my hospital in Afghanistan. I shook hands with him and heard him speak. It was a wonderful memory that I’ll always hold onto.” Zakaria worked her way up to the rank of Captain before leaving the Air Force after three years on Honorable Discharge. “After leaving, I knew I wanted to continue in the nursing field, and my Afghanistan experience motivated me to continuing working to serve veterans.” Zakaria served as a nurse at the Portland VA Hospital for two years be-

fore moving to Colorado. She currently works as an Intensive Care Nurse at the Denver VA Hospital, and has been in her current position for four years. “I’m really happy with the way things have turned out,” said Zakaria. “And I love what I do.” Athina Sarigiannis grew up in Sterling Heights and enlisted as a sailor in the Navy straight away at 18 years old. She’s 19 at the moment. “I wanted to push myself to do something outside of my comfort zone, and I also found the college benefits to be very attractive,” said Sarigiannis. “I’m really excited to enroll in college in the future.” Sarigiannis, who is half Chaldean and half Greek, completed boot camp in Chicago and completed two rounds of schooling there before being stationed to Virginia since this past January, where she is completing more training. “Boot camp was a really difficult experience for me, but I’m grateful for it. It taught me that life is all about what you make of it. Perspective is really important; as are the people you surround yourself with. I’ve met some incredible people since I’ve enlisted.” Sarigiannis has had nothing but support from her family. “They’re really proud of me and it’s nice because my cousin, who is also Chaldean, enlisted at the same time as me, although I didn’t know it at the time. We now have this experience to bond over, too.” JULY 2019


CCF hosts citizenship summit Reviewing the importance of obtaining citizenship and the new laws and regulations affecting the process BY ASHOURINA SLEWO


he Chaldean Community Foundation (CCF) hosted a citizenship summit in Sterling Heights on Thursday, May 23. As the path to citizenship can sometimes be a confusing one, the CCF hosted this event and invited community leaders in an effort to share knowledge and provide some clarity and guidance regarding the process. “Citizenship is a great way for communities to empower themselves and gain economic and social mobility, but many immigrants face barriers to citizenship, including a lack of knowledge about the process and inadequate resources,” explained Sharon Hannawa, CCF program manager. The citizenship summit drew leaders from a variety of communities across Michigan. Here, they were offered support and guidance they need in order to provide the tools and resources needed to ensure that all communities can achieve citizenship. Joining the Detroit New Americans Campaign (DNAC), the CCF is joining various organizations in the regional collaborative effort to foster U.S. citizenship in Michigan immigrant communities. “The work of the Detroit New Americans Campaign is important in terms of encouraging people to apply for naturalization and to provide, or connect, people with resources they need in order to apply or to get the schooling necessary to be able to pass the test,” explained Diego Bonesatti, Legal Services Director at Michigan United. “The largest number of people have worries about the test.” Addressing people’s concerns about the test or their ability to pass the test, citizenship classes are offered at organizations like the CCF and the National Institute. In addition, DNAC has begun to train volunteers to help teach courses. The test is not the only component of the naturalization process, though. Individuals must not have any criminal charges on their record when applying for citizenship.



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America's Largest Exterior Remodeler write, and understand English if they do no qualify for an exemption.” While the process remains the same, there have been a couple minor changes to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) policies. The first change, made just weeks prior to the summit, was in regards to the use of controlled substances. While the use of medical marijuana is not illegal in Michigan, and several other states, using it would make an ineligible for naturalization. “It’s not just the use of marijuana for medical purposes, even participating in the state licensing scheme in states where there is permissible use of medical marijuana or recreational marijuana,” explained Robinson. Any involvement in the marijuana business will lead to ineligibility. AN individual is deemed ineligible even if they are not selling the marijuana itself, but are serving in positions like security or accounting for a marijuana business. “Possession of marijuana, use of marijuana (especially during the previous five years before an applicant applies for naturalization) is going to be a no no,” said Robinson. “Being on the business side of a business that is in any way affiliated with marijuana is, for lack of better word, considered trafficking in drugs.” The other change that has not occurred, but may occur in the near future is about the use of fee waivers. For folks who are below a certain income level, they may apply for a fee waiver. One way for applicants to prove their income is below 150 percent is through the receipt of public benefits. USCIS is seeking to eliminate this method of applying for a fee waiver. According to Robinson, this change has not yet occurred, but may in the near future. Robinson suggests individuals consult with their individual attorneys during the naturalization process to ensure they are eligible before applying.

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Individuals applying for citizenship must show “that they are of good moral character,” explained Bonesatti. “Usually this is the absence of trouble. For instance, you file your taxes or if you have a driver’s license, you didn’t lose it because you have 17 unpaid parking tickets.” Good moral character is the main focus. Individuals must show they have complied with the law as best as they can. In addition, individuals applying for citizenship must show that they have physically been in the country for more than half of the past five years. “We are constantly informing people that if you have a green card currently, or once you get a green card, in general you want to keep in the country for seven months, out of the country for five months,” explained Bonesatti. Being outside of the U.S. for more than 180 days will lead to scrutiny when going through the naturalization process. “Generally, if you are outside the U.S. for 180 days or more, you are subject to proving you are admissible in a way that you are not subject to if you are gone for 179 days or less,” explained Bonesatti. “That includes an inspecting officer asking if you have abandoned your residence. To avoid this, we often times say don’t go beyond five months out of the year overseas.” According to Ruby Robinson, Managing Attorney at the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, there have not been any changes, major or otherwise since the mid-2000’s to the requirements or the process of naturalization. “There actually have not been any statutory changes in terms of any of the eligibility requirements to become a citizen since 2005,” explained Robinson. “The requirements continue that an individual must have a legal presence in the United States, they must demonstrate good moral character, and they must demonstrate that they can read,




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Firing up the camp season BY VANESSA DENHA GARMO


lthough the stormy day put a damper on the official Open House at Our Lady of the Fields Camp in Brighton last month, they entered the camp season ready for all kinds of guests. “We hope to host another open house so the community can get a clear view of what we truly have to offer,” said Mike Hickey, executive director. “Despite the rainy spring season, we have been hosting several groups and families are signing up for a variety of camps.” Just this past month, Chaldean Youth Camp (CYC) hosted their annual week-long camping event. “This year, the participants were able to use the new Ropes Course,” said Hickey. “This new adventurous activity along with our newly designed beach front equipped with canoes have truly enhanced the camping experience here at Our Lady of the Fields.” “I love CYC because it plants a seed not only for our youth but for our leaders to grow and start a foundation with their relationships with Jesus,” said one camp counselor. Among the many activities, the campers kayaked, did both high ropes and low ropes courses. The campers also participated in GaGa Ball, “which was a big hit,” said Hickey. 22


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“Another big highlight was Fr. John celebrating mass and the campers participated in adoration. The camping experience is like a ministry.” One CYC camp counselor explained that camp is not just about the kids having fun, the leaders really set the tone. “If a camper was down, leaders always put a smile on their face and get the kids up and we also did this through prayer, so it is was fun,” she said. “At CYC, we truly see the innocence in every child,” said one counselor. “No matter what we did, the kids were always having fun. They were comfortable and often just chilling out and doing everything with a smile on their face.” Since last year there have been several updates to the campsite. “Last year was my first-year volunteering and to see the improvements over the year, made a huge impact on the kids,” noted one camp counselor. “You can really start seeing the camp vibe with the kayaks and the ropes course. That is going to pay dividends down the road. The kids really enjoyed it and so did the volunteers. The camps are really heading in the right direction.” Our Lady of the Fields 2019 Chaldean Family Camps have been launched. They are designed for

parents and guardians to enjoy a Catholic camp experience with their children. These camps are for campers 6 years of age and older. The cost is $30 per person for the first two attending per family with each additional camper costing $20 each. These costs include lunch and supplies. Located in Brighton, Michigan, the 164 acres offers the feel of up north living surrounded by trees and with a serene waterfront. Camp activities include: • A new high and low ropes course. • Numerous sports such as football, basketball, soccer, ultimate frisbee. • Waterfront activities such as canoeing, kayaking, swimming and fishing. • Camping activities such as, outdoor cooking, wilderness survival and nature and wildlife awareness. • Arts and crafts, and teambuilding initiatives. • Activities that focus on the Chaldean culture such as: cooking, baking, gardening and learning the language and songs. Register online at Contact us at 248-379-0943

CAMPS DATES AND TIMES Mother Daughter Camp Wednesday July 10 9am to 3pm Parent Child Camp Monday July 15 9am to 3pm Mother Son Camp Wednesday July 17 9am to 3pm Father son Camp Saturday July 20 9am to 4pm Mother Child Camp Monday July 22 9am to 3pm Mother Child Camp Wednesday July 24 9am to 3pm Father son Camp Saturday July 27 9am to 4pm Mother Son Camp Monday July 29 9am to 3pm Parent Child Camp Wednesday July 31 9am to 3pm Mother Daughter Camp Saturday August 9am to 4pm

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Connect, communicate and collaborate Life-long networking skills learned at the Mackinac Policy Conference BY VANESSA DENHA GARMO


he Mackinac Policy Conference is the premier networking event of Michigan. It is not only a place for newbie networkers to get their feet wet but it is the platform for veteran connectors to collaborate and communicate. These networking skills you learn at the Mackinac Policy Conference can be used in other events you attend throughout the year. After attending for nearly two decades, you notice patterns and 24


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personalities. There are the people who just want to party on the island and treat the conference like a vacation. I once had a former fellow reporter not believe me when I explained how exhausting the three days on the island are actually. She didn’t believe I worked while attending until she attended one year and was shocked on what the job on the Island entailed. For many people, especially reporters, it’s work. It’s why the Detroit

Regional Chamber of Commerce sets up a media center equipped with tables, chairs, WIFI, printers and all the other amenities needed in a traveling newsroom. Others may not be not working as hard as the journalists on deadline, but they attend the conference with specific agendas. They set up meetings and sit in on specific talks and sessions that pertain to their industry. Then there are the passive attendees, the ones who just walk

about observing but don’t really get involved. They may pop into a keynote address or have lunch on the porch but they don’t have a plan in place to accomplish anything in particular while on the island. They watch the Governor work the porch, shaking hands but are not really paying attention to what is being said or talked about on the island. There are political candidates, politicians, spouses of attendees, community activists, non-profit

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leaders, CEO’s, bankers, developers and entrepreneurs among others who attend. Strategize before you go and when you get there be sure to have a plan in place. Decide the sessions you want to attend and people you want to meet on the porch or at the cafe. You can best do this by using the Conference APP. This is imperative. The sessions and attendees are on this app. Read it as soon as it is LIVE. Many conferences have APPs, use them when possible. Regardless of what your business card says or what your agenda entails, you need to first remember to appreciate where you are at the moment. Take in the smell of the lilacs, the sound of the horses and the site

of the Grand Hotel. My favorite moment is getting a peek of the bridge just as you make the last steps up the hill to the Grand Hotel steps. There really is no view like the one from the historic porch of the Grand Hotel. Seek out people you met the year prior. I bumped into someone from the Ilitch Business School at Wayne State University and we continued a previous conversation. There are people you may only see at the conference. Some people live in other parts of the states so this is a good opportunity to meet them in a casual environment. You can continue getting to know them via email or



following them on social media. You should also engage the conference on social media. Tweet news stories reporters are covering or soundbites from sessions you attend. Be part of the overall conversation at the conference. Find out the hashtag for the Policy Conference

and others you attend, and use it in your social media posts. Follow up with people after the conference. I always send notes to people I meet on the Island or have had conversations with about work. Make more of your conversation or continue what started on the island. Maybe follow up with materials that could enhance a conversation you started during your time at the conference. This is important to building a relationship with people. It’s not just about meeting people, it’s about getting to know people and hopefully collaborating and connecting with them. JULY 2019


Discussing unplanned pregnancies, abortion BY CHLOE KILANO


om to Mom, a well-known talk show on the Chaldean Moms of Metro Detroit Facebook page, recently premiered an episode discussing one of today’s most controversial topics: abortion. Host Lisa Denha sat down with Adora Ibrahim, Josephine Attisha, and Christina Marchetti, three Chaldean women who play prominent roles throughout the pro-life movement, to discuss how abortion has affected them. Mom of three Adora Ibrahim is deeply involved not only in the church, but in the pro-life movement. Ibrahim herself spared a Chaldean life from abortion many years ago. When asked to talk to a young Chaldean woman who was facing an unplanned pregnancy and felt pressured to have an abortion, she was hesitant, being well-aware of the negative stigma surrounding unplanned pregnancies in the Chaldean community. “It takes a lot of courage to be able to move through an unplanned pregnancy and be Chaldean, truthfully,” Ibrahim acknowledges. Ultimately, they met and spent hours talking. Ibrahim developed a relationship with the mom and her family, and provided her with the support and resources that she needed in order to feel comfortable enough to carry out her pregnancy and raise her child. Despite the young woman’s decision not to abort with support from Ibrahim to continue her pregnancy, she was not on speaking terms with her parents, who had an incredibly difficult time handling the shame and embarrassment of their daughter’s pregnancy. 26


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In the end, the grandparents redeveloped a relationship with their daughter and fell in love with their granddaughter. Ibrahim believes that the Chaldean community as a whole must demolish the shameful stigma surrounding unplanned pregnancies in order to empower women to choose life, and to decrease the number of abortions in the Chaldean community. She wishes to further educate Chaldean youth on the theology of the body, and on the resources at their disposal if they find themselves facing an unplanned pregnancy. “There are other options in this day and age… people don’t have to take the lies, and just feel like there’s no other options,” she affirms. Similarly, Josephine Attisha, author of Before There Were Borders, found herself facing an unplanned pregnancy. As a church leader and a well-regarded woman in the Chaldean community of San Diego, she was terrified, and decided to confess her sins to a priest. She received a positive response, and was told she would be a great mother; however, motherhood wasn’t something she was planning on pursuing. “I didn’t see myself being a mom,” Attisha recalls, “I was a career woman.” Attisha knew that abortion would make the situation at hand disappear, but continue her cycle of sin and cause a lifetime of suffering. Although keeping her baby meant that she would lose her reputation and potentially her family, she chose life. Her decision was not an easy one. Attisha’s relationship with her parents was severely damaged, resulting in her moving in with her sister. Her

boyfriend then proposed that the two get married, and in doing so, she was forced to leave behind the life she knew in California and start fresh in Michigan. Today, she is a proud mom of two little boys, and says she can’t imagine her life being any other way. Had she not had encouragement from her priest and sister, the situation might have had a drastically different ending. “I just want people to understand that abortion is not just this quick fix,” Attisha said. “There are so many emotional and physical implications associated with it.” She goes on to describe how abortion, which is promoted as empowering, is actually disempowering. She claims that providing women with life-affirming and protecting options is what truly empowers women, and that abortion is done out of fear. Christina Marchetti, Director of Client Services at Mother and Unborn Baby Care Southfield, does exactly so. Her Catholic, pro-life crisis pregnancy center provides women with free ultrasounds, pregnancy tests, prenatal care, and other information and resources that are needed in order to carry a pregnancy to term and raise a baby. Marchetti revealed that an extremely large number of Chaldean women come to the pregnancy center for the free ultrasound, not expecting the immense amount of resources and support provided. “The unmarried, pregnant, Chaldean clients that we get are the most difficult to counsel,” Marchetti explained. “They, among all of our patients that we see, are under the greatest amount of pressure to have

an abortion, and most of the time, they aren’t wanting to at all.” In some situations, Marchetti and her coworkers are able to counsel women away from abortion. She describes these women to be resilient despite the obstacles and hardships that come with having a baby. She also claims that often times, families come around after birth and are able to rebuild a strong and loving relationship with their child and grandchild. However, in many situations, women feel forced to have an abortion, and will return to the pregnancy center for post-abortive healing. In some cases, minors have come to the pregnancy center, and are told by their families that abortion is their only option. Marchetti then goes on to discuss her pro-life viewpoint, informing the audience that rape and incest are not excuses to abort, how women describe an abortion after rape to be just as violating as the rape itself, and how babies are a part of the healing process. Marchetti also asserts that a threat to the life of a mother does not justify late-term abortion. “There’s no need to kill the baby,” Marchetti asserts. “That doesn’t make it safer for the woman… and in many cases, if it’s really life-threatening, that’s a c-section.” These three women have all encountered unplanned pregnancies in one form or another, and have all reached the same conclusion: abortion takes the life of a child and harms a woman simultaneously. Their dedication to women and children and their involvement in the pro-life movement has saved numerous lives, and will save lives in the future.

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ittle did I know that a simple text I received in January 2019, would change my life. I was asked to join a small group of people traveling to Iraq during Easter. In my mind the answer was yes, but I wanted to run it by my parents first. I was nervous telling them for fear they would be completely against the idea. My nervousness was for nothing; they wanted me to go to Iraq, to be the first of their six children to see where they grew up, where it all began. On my birthday, April 11, we began our journey to the homeland. Nothing could prepare me for the feelings I had when I stepped onto the land of my ancestors; not the endless stories I had been told by my dad, or the pictures and videos from “the days”, even the cram session we had before I left. “Wow” is all I can say. I was speechless, and if you know me, that doesn’t happen very often. Each day I posted a diary of our journey on Facebook. I would like



JULY 2019

“Breathtaking! Is the best word to describe Iraq. I know that seems surprising considering what the country and people have gone through over the years.  Our time in Iraq was everything I imagined it to be and more.  Seeing the villages, the land of our ancient Suraye, everything of our faith and culture all made sense.  I pray every day that it becomes a stable country long enough for everyone to go back and visit.” – JANELLE RABBAN to share it with all of you as well. I hope seeing where we have been will invoke feelings of desire to see Iraq and possibly nostalgia of your home country. God Bless. When I got the invite to travel to Iraq and Jordan for a couple weeks, I thought why not? The north of Iraq is safe and I have always dreamed of seeing my dad’s house in Telkeppe. This dream turning into a reality was a life changer for me. Never have I felt more connected to my people and my heritage. Never have I watched someone do something in Iraq and chuckled cause my dad does exactly the same thing. Never have I appreciated the love and sacrifice my parents made for me and my siblings than I did in Iraq. Never have I been prouder to be Chaldean. Thank you to my parents for encouraging me to come, to Father Pierre for leading us on this journey, and to my new Iraqi sisters who have made this even more enjoyable. Below is my travel diary.

Day 1: Anakawa/Erbil After a very long flight we were greeted by Father Pierre, our trusty guide, and Adnan, our fearless driver. With very little sleep, we visited the Chaldean Seminary, toured the Syriac Heritage Museum, enjoyed some awesome kabob in Erbil, witnessed and participated in the most amazing Palm Sunday procession, avoided a spider attack in the van, had dinner and fell into bed! What a great start to our trip! Day 2: Duhok, Alqosh, and Tesqopa Alqosh did NOT disappoint! After a beautiful Palm Sunday procession, we explored Alqosh, saw the Bishop’s home, ate lunch in a welcoming home, saw a movie set, spent time at St. Anne’s Monastery, visited Rabban Hourmizd’s Monestery and had dinner in Tesqopa in a seminarian’s home.

Day 3: Duhok and Zakho We started off the day with mass at Mar Gorgis, headed to one of the seminarians homes, visited the Denha Tahni Store (yes these are my cousins!), and went to the Zakho bridge aka Dalali bridge, visited the Sharanish Shalalat (waterfalls) and caves, saw the Sultan Makdoht, and ate Masgouf (fish) old style! Day 4: Telkeppe and Mar Matti Nothing can describe the feeling of walking the grounds of my ancestors and seeing where my dad grew up. Thank you to Uncle Manu for showing us around and Father Pierre for helping me to FaceTime my parents so they could see Telkeppe after 43 years. Seeing the courtyard where my dad was baptized, the area where the terrible flood took place, and walking the town as if I truly belonged there was breathtaking. Standing in front of my dad’s house where he

grew up was one of the greatest gifts of all. Also, thanks again to my crew for encouraging me to jump outside my comfort zone and basically walk down the side of a mountain at Mar Matti. Day 5: Baghdad Baghdad wasn’t on the original itinerary, but after some deliberation we made a decision to head to Baghdad and I am so grateful we did. I am so happy to have walked and visited places my mom grew up walking and seeing. We saw the Tigris River, Baghdad College, many beautiful famous statues, visited the Chaldean Sisters, and prayed at Our Lady of Salvation Church where many lost their lives in 2010 from a terrorist attack; St. Joseph Chaldean Church, and the National Museum of Iraq where we saw the famous Lion of Babylon. To round out the day, we celebrated Father Pierre! JULY 2019


“I know a lot of Chaldeans and Suraye who were born in America or immigrated when they were very young, thus have no memories of their homeland. I was so happy and honored to help this group experience their motherland’s beauty and still thriving and surviving Christian community. I hope and pray that others take an opportunity to visit the land of their ancestry and take pride in the land, villages, and cities that will always be a part of their identity” – FATHER PIERRE KONJA Day 6: Erbil/Ankawa Today was a day of visiting friends, shopping at the bazaar, visiting the Citadel and just exploring the city. Super cool and chill day followed by Holy Thursday mass celebrated at Mar Eleia Church. Day 7: Karamlesh, Baghdida, and Ankawa We started our day visiting Mar Addai church in Karamlesh that was rebuilt after the ISIS bombing in 2014. There we saw Father Ragid’s grave and heard personal stories from those who were in town when the raid began. We then went to Saint Barbara where we got to explore the chapel, grounds, and walk through an ISIS tunnel that lead to the top of the property. After that, we drove through Baghdida and back to Karamlesh for lunch at our driver Adnan’s house. After that eventful day, we attended Good Friday prayers and visited churches in the area. Good Friday took on a whole new meaning for me after seeing it through the eyes of our neighbors. Never will I take for granted the freedom I have to express my beliefs and love for God. Day 8: Bikhal and Gali Ali Bag Shalalat (waterfalls), Shaklawa, and Ankawa We started off the rainy, cold day visiting waterfalls, enjoying breathtaking views, visiting the vacation town of Shaklawa, and back to Ankawa for a visit to the Sisters of the Sacred Heart which house Sr. Cecelia’s remains. Sr. Cecelia is a martyr who was raped and beheaded and the church is working on canonizing her for sainthood. We spent the evening packing and relaxing because our flight to Amman was at 4am. We attended midnight mass at Mar Elia and enjoyed pacha made by one of our seminarians’ family. This was the last day of my Iraqi journey, but definitely not my last time visiting! I cannot tell you how amazing this journey has been for me. The people I’ve met, the generosity and hospitality of the people here, and the pride they have. this was my once in a lifetime trip and I’m so very grateful that I got to be here. God is great! 30


JULY 2019

chaldean on the STREET


Michigan’s weather may not have gotten the memo, but summer is officially here! Whether celebrating the end of the school year or travelling, we wanted to ask members of the community how they plan on spending their summer.

I am taking summer classes and working! I plan to spend my free time hanging out with my friends. Whenever I am available, I plan on going up north as often as possible. – Noor Seba, 19, Farmington Hills

This summer I plan on studying for my GRE and EMT certification. I am also going to be working full time and applying to physician assistant schools. I also would like to travel to at least one place this summer. Mexico or Florida are my top choices! – Sandra Habbo, Sterling Heights, 23

This summer I plan on playing volleyball and soccer. By staying busy and being productive I will continue to volunteer for a few organizations that I’m involved in. My goal is to apply for internships to gain experience for my future career. – Matthew Kattula, Sterling Heights, 22

Summer 2019 is the last summer I will have before starting my new career, so I plan to make it the best one yet. I am currently preparing for a long-awaited Europe trip to Spain, France, and Italy. Afterwards, I plan on visiting Montreal in late July and Atlanta in early August. Its hard planning trips in the summer as a Chaldean, because of the amount of crazy fun weddings we have. – Daniel Shiqwana, 23, Sterling Heights

Besides work and school I’ll be spending my summer with family and friends. Summer is the best time to go on mini road trips and explore all that Michigan has to offer. Also, I’m looking forward to going to the pool, getting a tan, and having bonfires! There’s just nothing like spending summer nights with the people you love the most! Have a great summer, everyone! – Christine Sokana, 24, Oak Park

I will be spending my summer completing my first semester of graduate school. After being out of school for some time, it will be an adjustment, but I still plan on enjoying my summer along the way. You can never say no to the beach, bonfires, and boat rides regardless of how busy you are. Happy Summer, Everyone! – Angela Gabbara, 25, Southfield

JULY 2019


ECONOMICS & enterprise

The sky’s the limit BY LISA CIPRIANO


affles aren’t just for breakfast anymore. One young, Chaldean entrepreneur has taken them to the next level as a sweet or savory comfort food that can be enjoyed any time of day. The Waffle Way started in the summer of 2018 with one commercial waffle iron, some toppings and 23-year-old Rana Gulli’s creativity, drive and desire to help a friend. “I just ordered it to see what I could do with it. I did one event for free for a friend and ended up getting a lot of referrals from it,” explained Gulli. “It kind of blew up from that one event,” she added. The business-minded young woman from West Bloomfield quickly came up with a name for her business and even prepared a stack of business cards ahead of that first event. “I had a table, used that one machine and bought some toppings like sprinkles, cereals, nuts, berries and chocolate. I just thought how I would like it and everyone really seemed to like it too,” Gulli said. Word spread about Gulli’s deliciously customized and decadent creations with the help of those business cards and the broad outreach and multimedia capabilities of social media. “There happened to be a lot of influential people there, bloggers and people with a lot of Instagram followers. They were posting about it, promoting it and it just took off from there. I ended up getting really busy from it,” she explained. Now, Gulli also advertises The Waffle Way on her own through Instagram and, of course, the supportive network of the Chaldean community has done its part to help keep her catering business busy. “Obviously, Chaldeans all know each other. Friends and family have really helped through word of mouth. Sharing about me on social media, speaking highly of my business and letting me advertise through their companies has really helped. I’m really shocked at how much business and inquiries I’ve gotten from just the help of the community,” she said. Gulli got so busy with bookings for weddings, birthday and graduation parties that she needed to take it to 32


JULY 2019

the next level and find a commercial kitchen space to give herself a little more room to make bigger batches of batter and food prep. Her cousin, Sam Gulli, came to the rescue by offering her a space to work in his kitchen at Mr. Kabob Xpress in Troy. She also took her unique waffle creations up a notch by taking the traditionally sweet breakfast food and developing them into savory creations that can be enjoyed as a brunch, lunch or dinner meal. “They’re very versatile. I came up with a corndog batter with a hot dog inside,” she said. “We also have a garlicy pizza dough that we put a cheese stick inside with marinara sauce, pepperoni and mushrooms if you like. We also make chicken and waffles! You can do a lot with them.” The next, natural step for Gulli in paving her waffle way was to invest in her own storefront to have a permanent place where customers can come, sit, relax and enjoy her delicious sweet and savory creations as well as a variety of other comfort foods and beverages. “I want it to be an enjoyable, comfortable place to go, like a lounge, where you can even come and study. I’m also going to offer milkshakes, lattes, ice cream and different types of desserts. We’re even going to have Arabic desserts like baklava,” explained Gulli. “Once the storefront is up, the sky’s the limit,” she added. In fact, she’s already purchased a storefront location in the Rainbow Plaza at 131 S. Telegraph Road in Pontiac. But first, there’s plenty of

work to be done which only motivates Gulli to succeed. “I’m renovating the entire place, new floors and everything. It needs a lot of cosmetic work. So, it’s going to take a few months before we’re up and running there,” she said. Gulli is no stranger to entrepreneurialism and the restaurant business, in fact, you could say it’s in her DNA. “My uncle, Walid Gulli, owns Mr. Kabob and Café Kabob with my cousins. I worked there for years and it taught me a lot of what I know. I learned so much about how to work with food from watching how they do things,” she explained. “I have a good foundation from that and am very grateful for it. Now, I’ve just taken all of that and made it my own.” The young entrepreneur has supplemented her experience with knowledge by taking food safety and preparation classes as well. Starting with one waffle iron, toppings, a dream and some business cards, Gulli now employs 11 people.

But, she needs much more help with her new storefront opening soon. “I’m looking for fun, motivated people to help me prep and serve. We make it like a presentation. I want to put the word out that I really need people to help me take The Waffle Way to the next level and make this dream come true,” she said. Gulli, who attributes her drive to and work ethic to being 100 percent Chaldean, is not content with having one storefront location. She has big plans for the future that include making The Waffle Way a household name. “I want to be on billboards, franchise across the country and be in every big city and every mall. Again, the sky is the limit,” she concluded. You can follow Gulli and The Waffle Way on various social media platforms including Instagram. If you’re interested in having The Waffle Way cater your event or to become part of Gulli’s team and dream, contact Rana Gulli at: 248-219-2765.



A conversation on Mackinac Island with Sly Sandiha


osted by the Detroit Regional Chamber, the Mackinac Policy Conference is 3-daylong conference and is attended by elected officials and other top leadership. This year’s policy conference focused on uniting Michigan under the three pillars: prepare, grow, and love. Attending the policy conference for the first time, we caught up with Sly Sandiha, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce (CACC), who told us about his first time on the island with MPC alum and CACC president, Martin Manna. CN: What did you think of this year’s conference? SS: This was my first year attending the policy conference. It was nice to meet so many of our state’s influential political, business, and community leaders. It highlighted the many achievements our state has made over the past year, as well as a vision for the future. CN: Why is it important for the Chaldean Chamber to attend? SS: Attending the conference is so critical in helping our chamber and foundation advance our mission of service. The ability to meet policymakers face to face and discuss all aspects of our community’s needs is priceless. We had the opportunity to cover a range of topics such as our Chaldean community’s economic contributions, the needs of our newly immigrated Chaldean Americans, and our goals for the future. CN: What have been some of successes for the Chamber over the

years regarding this event? MM: Gaining new contacts and having the opportunity to promote the contributions Chaldeans are making in Michigan to many of the State’s leadership. CN: What sessions stood out for you or interested you? SS: I enjoyed hearing Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan speak about executing his plan to revitalize the city. The founder of Ann Arbor based, Zingerman’s Deli, also provided a glimpse into how he built a great culture within his company. Great insights to learn from and apply to any organization.

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CN: How important is it for you to follow up with people you meet on the island? SS: All great relationships require communication and cultivation. It is important to stay in touch with so many people who want to hear our story and who really want to be engaged with our community. CN: Do real news, real business deals and real relationships transpire on the Island?  SS: Yes. Being “sequestered” on the island gave us the opportunity to run into individuals multiple times per day. It really helped to foster our relationships. Much gets accomplished in only a few days. That’s the power of this gathering.  CN: What tips do you have for people who have never attended?  SS: Have an agenda and be ready to shake hands, network, and take in beautiful Mackinac. • 800.LAFATA.1 Shelby Township • West Bloomfield JULY 2019


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The Right to Life Michigan hosted their fifth annual Min Sharetha Benefit Dinner on Thursday, June 6. Hosted at the Shenandoah Country Club of West Bloomfield, Min Sharetha is an event in support of the Right to Life of Michigan’s pro-life outreach efforts within the Chaldean community. This year’s special guest speaker was Pam Tebow, a pro life and women’s ministry speaker and mother of Tim Tebow, quarterback for the Florida Gators. Fr. Bryan Kassa served as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies. 36


JULY 2019

Our Lady of the Fields Open House PHOTOS BY RAZIK TOMINA

As the weather warmed up, Our Lady of the Fields Camp and Retreat Center in Brighton opened their doors for a special open house on Saturday, June 1. Guests were invited to take a tour of the campgrounds and retreat center to learn more about all that the camp has to offer. The open house was concluded with a Holy Mass with Bishop Francis. JULY 2019




St. Thomas the Apostle Chaldean Catholic Eparchy presented a teaching and exposition of Sacred Relics on Wednesday, May 22 at the Mother of God Cathedral. Fr. Carlos Martins of the Companions of the Cross presented a special Vatican collection of more than 150 relics, some as old as 2000 years.  Among the treasures were relics of St. Maria Goretti, St. Therese of Lisieux (the “Little Flower”), St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Faustina Kowalska, and a portion of the veil of Our Lady, as well as one of the largest remaining pieces of the True Cross in the world. 38


JULY 2019

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Profile for The Chaldean News

Chaldean News – July 2019  

Chaldean News – July 2019