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VOL. 13 ISSUE III

METRO DETROIT CHALDEAN COMMUNITY APRIL 2017 $

3

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BEHIND THE MOSQUE STERLING HEIGHTS CONTROVERSY PROMPTS CONVERSATIONS ABOUT CHALDEANS AND MUSLIMS CO-EXISTING IN THE UNITED STATES

INSIDE GETTING DOWN IN D’TOWN RESCINDING THE ‘HALF-MILE RULE’ PRSRT STD US POSTAGE PAID PERMIT NO. 179 FARMINGTON HILLS, MI

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CONTENTS THE CHALDEAN NEWS

APRIL 2017

VOLUME 13 ISSUE III

on the cover

26 BEHIND THE MOSQUE BY VANESSA DENHA GARMO

Sterling Heights controversy prompts conversations about Chaldeans and Muslims co-existing in the United States

20

features 20 CHRISTIAN LOVE BY WEAM NAMOU

Bishop Basilio Yaldo leads the way with a patch of peace

departments 6

FROM THE EDITOR

22 LIBERATING TELKAIF BY WEAM NAMOU

Chaldean Diocese serving the community and reconstructing the village

BY VANESSA DENHA GARMO

A Land of the Free… 7

YOUR LETTERS

8

IN MY VIEW BY MICHAEL SARAFA

Michigan Governor’s race taking shape 9

WHERE DO YOU STAND BY MICHAEL SARAFA

The rule of law does not know religion

24 SEX SLAVE MARKET BY WEAM NAMOU

Local event honors award-winning poet

28 HEALING WITH OTHERS BY KRIS HARRIS

Grieving with Hope and Faith group supports those in need

29 RESCINDING THE RULE

12

NOTEWORTHY

BY KRIS HARRIS

14

CHAI TIME

16

RELIGION

AFPD challenges Liquor Control effort to end ‘half-mile’ requirement

17

OBITUARIES

34

CHALDEANS ON THE STREET BY HALIM SHEENA

What does Easter mean to you? 36

ART AND ENTERTAINMENT

30 BRINGING PEACE BY AVERY MCGOWAN

Shlama Foundation was born out of the ISIS invasion

32 INDUSTRY IMPRINT

BY LISA CIPRIANO

BY VANESSA DENHA GARMO

Back in time with d’town rewind

An outlook on successful women in the community

38

DOCTOR IS IN

40

CLASSIFIED LISTING

42

KIDS CORNER

APRIL 2017

CHALDEAN NEWS 5


from the EDITOR

PUBLISHED BY

The Chaldean News, LLC

EDITORIAL EDITOR IN CHIEF

Vanessa Denha-Garmo MANAGING EDITORS

Denha Media Group CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Halim Sheena Weam Namou Lisa Cipriano Avery McGowan Kris Harris

ART & PRODUCTION CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Alex Lumelsky with SKY Creative GRAPHIC DESIGNERS

Zina Lumelsky with SKY Creative PHOTOGRAPHERS

Halim Sheena Carolin Hormis

OPERATIONS Interlink Media

DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS

Martin Manna CLASSIFIEDS

Kris Harris

SALES

Interlink Media SALES REPRESENTATIVES

Interlink Media Sana Navarrette MANAGERS

Vanessa Denha-Garmo Martin Manna Michael Sarafa SUBSCRIPTIONS: $25 PER YEAR THE CHALDEAN NEWS 30850 TELEGRAPH ROAD, SUITE 220 BINGHAM FARMS, MI 48025 WWW.CHALDEANNEWS.COM PHONE: (248) 996-8360

Publication: The Chaldean News (P-6); Published monthly; Issue Date: APRIL 2017 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”

A Land of the Free…

W

hile in college, emotions are intense both I hung out with here and in Iraq. The fear a girl from my created by the persecutions neighborhood who was have become a real factor in getting an undergraduate the Sterling Heights mosque degree from Wayne State story that has developed University. We often drove over the last two years. We to classes together in the wanted to cover this story summer and even took a from that perspective, adVANESSA couple of psychology classes dressing questions many together. She was Muslim DENHA-GARMO people are thinking about, and I, of course, am Catho- EDITOR IN CHIEF but don’t want to answer. CO-PUBLISHER lic. Religion was never an You have read, watched issue. We rarely discussed it. and heard the news in local She asked questions on occasion and media, but there are underlying and offered very little information about deeply rooted concerns that have not her religion. been discussed. We wanted to share We were friends around the same that angle of the story. Our cover age facing very similar issues- school, piece this month is a report on the work, friend drama and dating dilemSterling Heights mosque. mas. I would love to go back to that Her brother, too, was my friend. care-fee time in college when beHe was afraid of flying and he once ing friends with someone was based asked me for a Rosary to take on the on your commonalities and loyalties plane having heard from many of his and not religion or race. There are Catholic friends the significance of such strong beliefs on both sides of the prayer. He had no idea how to the issue — can Christians and Muspray it, but was impressed with the lims co-exist in the United States? faith of others. He believed it would I believe so. bring him peace on the plane, so I Yet, when you engage in this disgave him one. cussion with some people, they get There was a big group of us who enraged. It’s the same divisiveness used to hang out — Chaldeans, Musyou often seen between the Trump lims, Indians, and Christians from supporters and anti-Trump team. other ethnicities. Our backgrounds There is no middle ground anywere never an issue. We were all just more. college kids, studying, working and The reality is, we need to figure having a fun. out how to be respectful, peaceful and We exemplified living in the land accepting, regardless of our differencof the free. es. I know, it’s easier said than done. Growing up, I heard stories about You can’t find peace with someone the discrimination against Christians who wants to kill you because of your in Iraq, but never at the level we faith. Those are extremists. There is have experienced in recent years. The no negotiating with them. As Fr. Boji

appropriately noted in this month’s cover story, Christians should be awarded the same freedom of religion in Iraq, as they are here in America. But for the point of this editor’s note, I am not talking about the extremists. Have I come across hateful people over the years? Absolutely. I have worked with non-Christians including some Muslims who made a concerted effort to hide their disdain for Christians but truly struggled. I have also worked with proclaimed Christians who were hateful, deceptive, and undermined me every chance they got. I also have had friends, colleagues and clients of the Muslim faith who have been kind, respectful and peaceful. There are truly good and bad in all groups. These issues are about what is at the core of a human being. What lives in your soul and proceeds from your heart. The Sterling Heights issue serves as an example of what lies at the heart. We need to solve problems through communication, mutual respect and finding common ground. You can’t shout and spit at people any more than you can strong arm someone into what you want. That is a lose/lose for everyone. There are valid concerns with the actual structure and location of the building. However, the tensions between the religions and persecutions in Iraq have bled through and the real conversations that need to be had, are now muted. EDITOR continued on page 9

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your LETTERS

Younger Views Reading the statements of some of our youth in your March 2017 edition about President Trump executive order filled me with pride for how mature and wise their analysis was. Yes; we all want to be safe from terrorism, want our families back home to live, work and pray in peace without fear, and want to avoid those who do not share the American values from arriving here. But, we need to reach those goals in an intelligent manner, without creating new enemies, without giving ammunition to ISIS to recruit more, and without staining our traditional values of compassion and liberty. I felt some of our youth’s statements are more eloquent than some of those uttered by our President himself.  – N. Peter Antone

Created Equal Timothy McVeigh was not a Muslim. Remember. Remember Orlando? Remember Columbine?

We protect your Home, Auto, Business and your Loved ones. Remember Sandy Hook? All Terrorist acts committed on U.S. soil by home born citizens. By referencing the often stated Judeo-Christian values that Americans live by you negate the many Asian religions who also share common American values. I agree that Iraqi Christians have and are continuing to suffer. So are the Syrian Christians. So are the Kurdish Christians living in Iraq and Afghanistan. So are the many innocent Muslims in the Middle East and throughout the world who are being blamed and victimized for the actions of a radicalized terrorist group known as ISIS. The Jewish community has been the victim of hate crime across the United States and throughout Europe, and the Palestinians, along with the Israelis, are also continuing to live with daily bombings and innocent deaths. You speak of fairness and equity but only for Iraqi Christians. Ethnocentrism.? So who should decide the value of one life over another. You. Me. God. – Rita Lossia (as posted on Facebook)

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in my VIEW

Michigan Governor’s race taking shape

A

lthough still more be a lot of turmoil in “Trump than a year away, land” but it is mostly inside the race to become the beltway politics and not the next Michigan Goverof a major concern to a manor has begun. There are jority of Americans. several overarching issues The second issue is that will play into who will Governor Snyder. Unforbe the nominees of the two tunately, what looked to parties, and ultimately, who be an extremely successMICHAEL G. is elected. ful reign as governor, with SARAFA One issue is President the opportunity to set a SPECIAL TO THE Trump. I don’t know exnew modus operandi for CHALDEAN NEWS actly how it will play out, the Office of Governor, has but candidates from both parties will be been upended by the Flint water criforced to weigh in on his policies. They sis. Snyder has been largely sidelined will be expected to pick sides on certain as a political player, and his ability to issues framed by Trump, and choose to influence the people’s choice for the either align or distance themselves from next Governor will be limited. That him and his administration. Where the big negative accrues mostly to his Trump Administration stands in the Lieutenant Governor, Brian Calley, coming months, remains to be seen. who is well-liked and well respected. For now, the stock market is at a reKnown as a consensus builder and cord high, job creation is robust and seeker, Michigan political watchers Trump’s Supreme Court nominee has are not sure Calley is battle ready to been widely lauded. There appears to lead a statewide ticket.

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APRIL 2017

On the Republican side, that leaves Attorney General Bill Schuette. Schuette, a career politician who has served in the state legislature and in Congress, comes across as mostly concerned about his next political office landing spot in the age of term limits. He has also been roundly criticized for what some have called “politicizing” the Flint water crisis. It’s too early to tell, but some legal experts have called some of the criminal charges he has filed against public sector employees involved with the Flint public health crisis “flimsy.” Even a Federal Judge accused him of “superficial posturing.” Whatever Schuette’s motives, it doesn’t appear he can turn his action on the Flint case into a positive and that’s probably the way it should be. While the residents of Flint deserve accountability and answers, political play will further roil the situation rather than help. On the Democratic side, former Democratic Senate Leader Gretchen

Whitmer has already filed to run for Governor. Serving in the minority party throughout her legislative career, made it difficult for her to notch many legislative victories. While the memories of the Granholm years have largely faded (Granholm served during the last recession), the comparison of Whitmer to Granholm will not play favorably with Trump voters. It appears Whitmore hails from the Identity Politics wing of the Democratic Party of which this last national election was a resounding repudiation. Still, Whitmer should garner lots of traditional support and could be formidable in a primary and general election. The other Democrat making the rounds is Congressman Dan Kildee. Most of us would remember his father better, former Congressman Dale Kildee who was widely respected throughout his time in Congress, but was also a IN MY VIEW continued on page 9


IN MY VIEW continued from page 8

EDITOR continued from page 6

liberal firebrand on most issues. One generation later, Dan is cut from a more moderate cloth and has a better chance to appeal to the Democrats who voted for Trump in the presidential election. Kildee comes from the Flint area, which will give him the most natural perch from which to address that issue. He also comes across as a regular guy and has a decent handle of policy issues, at least at the federal level. Other Democrats include Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Westland Mayor William R. Wild. It’s too early to handicap these candidates and only one has formally made her intentions clear. Others could still emerge. With Trump in the White House and a wounded Governor Snyder, many are giving a leg up to whomever is the Democratic nominee. That may or may not be an accurate assessment. If we learned anything from the Trump election, things can change very quickly.

To speak truth takes bravery. Some people are trying to instill fear in others so they won’t talk. As the story explains, the issue isn’t over in Sterling Heights. We will continue to cover it as it unfolds. We must also look at this story beyond face value and delve deep into the root of the issue. Can all religions peacefully exist in the land of the free and the home of the brave? Alaha Imid Koullen (God Be With Us All)

Vanessa Denha-Garmo vanessa@denhamedia.com Follow her on Twitter @ vanessadenha Follow Chaldean News on Twitter @chaldeannews

APRIL 2017

CHALDEAN NEWS 9


where do you STAND?

The rule of law does not know religion BY MIKE SARAFA

W

hen ISIS soldiers attacked the Village of Telkaif, Iraq near Mosul a couple of years ago, they found a town where Christians and Muslims have lived side-by-side for generations. Although Telkaif was once an exclusively Christian enclave, it became very much a mixed city as the Christian exodus to the big cities and other countries, sped up over the last 40 years. The Muslims in this town are primarily from the Sunni sect. What happened next is what was happening all around Iraq at that time. For the Christian population it was convert to Islam, leave, or die. The response for most families was to leave. That tragic saga has been well documented in the Chaldean News and other places. ISIS soldiers absconded the one Chaldean Church in the town and converted it to their headquarters. They removed the

crucifixes and all other Christian symbols and hoisted and ISIS flag on the roof. This behavior was not a shock to anyone familiar with the methodologies and tactics of this terrorist organization. But what happened next was a surprise to many—and a huge disappointment. The now abandoned homes of the Christians who fled, were ransacked and looted. Personal property was stolen and some domiciles were simply taken over. This occurred not at the hands of ISIS soldiers, but of the Sunni Muslim community in Telkaif who had been neighbors to these people for decades. Fast forward to Sterling Heights, Michigan today. After a proposal for a mosque was shot down by city officials a year ago, they recently were forced by a federal government lawsuit to allow the mosque to be built.

This Muslim group happens to be Shiite, which is beside the point. We live in the most pluralistic society in the history of the world. Our country was founded on several core principles that starts with all men (people) being created equal and includes freedom of the press and freedom of religion. It is difficult to put oneself in the shoes of our Christian brothers and sisters whose lives have been upended by the turmoil in Iraq and other places. But it is not difficult to understand how they feel. Still, Sterling Heights is a legal entity formed under the laws of the State of Michigan, one of the 50 great united states in America. There, like everywhere across the U.S., people are afforded the full rights and protections and advantages under the U.S. Constitution. This includes the right to worship in your choice of house of worship, subject to zoning

laws and other reasonable state and local statutes. This is a tough pill to swallow for the recent Iraqi Christian immigrants who have suffered and lost much. These losses include attacks on their religion, on their dignity, on their wives and daughters and on their own unalienable rights. In Iraq, these things are not protected very well, especially for Christians. These people have come to the United States for a better life for themselves and their families. On balance, that will be achieved. But these rights are not exclusive to any one race, community or religion. We live in a society governed by the rule of law. Now is the time to respect that rule of law for all, and to begin to develop ways that can heal the very real wounds between these two sets of Iraqi immigrants with different religions.

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BOND PROPOSAL

WITH REDUCTION IN CURRENT TAX RATE

On May 2nd, West Bloomfield School District residents will vote on a school bond proposal. If voters approve the bond proposal,

the current tax rate will be reduced by one-half mill.

What will the bond do?

The bond will provide funding to right-size, re-imagine, renovate and refresh the school district. If approved by voters, the bond proposal will positively impact every WBSD student, school and school facility and it will position the school district to serve current and future generations.

Why is the bond proposal necessary?

To ensure that our facilities operate efficiently and that they match current and projected student enrollment. More than 100 bond proposal projects fall into eight basic categories:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Consolidation of Abbott and Orchard Lake Middle Schools into a new 21st Century middle school. Transform outdated spaces at WBHS to better accommodate STEAM, Fine Arts, CTE, Health & Wellness, and Athletics. Add an auxiliary gym to WBHS, remodel fine arts facilities, the auditorium, the pool area, and bathrooms. Redesign elementary iCenters, common areas, and classrooms to create flexible learning spaces for student instruction. Continue enhancements that improve student safety and school security. Continue upgrading and replacing instructional technology. Close the Administration and Community Services building and relocate Central Office to an existing school. Replace school buses as they reach the end of their useful life.

A complete list of all projects in the bond proposal appears on the district website at www.wbsd.org/bond Questions or need more information?

Go to www.wbsd.org/bond Contact Supt. Gerald Hill at 248-865-6485 or gerald.hill@wbsd.org Go to www.wbsd.org and click on Talk to us, 24/7/365 APRIL 2017

CHALDEAN NEWS 11


noteworthy

Expanding its Range

Hello, hello, hello = goodbye

T-Mobile, located at 7675 Wayne Rd, is their second location in the city of Westland. Because of Westland growth, T-Mobile chose to open another store within the Shop and Dine District. Wireless Vision/T-Mobile has more than 24 stores in Michigan, and 270 nationwide. T- Mobile will employ more than 10 employees within both Westland stores. The store manager is Farideh Girgis, who has been a Westland resident her entire life.

On the bottom of the front page of the March 22, 2017 Wall Street Journal was an article titled “Iraqis Don’t Know Why You Say Goodbye, They Say Hello.” We all have seen this and many of us do it. The article goes on to say that “hello (usually as a declining crescendo) has been entrenched in the parting Iraqi protocol for some time” but causes a great deal of confusion for visitors. The Journal quotes a couple of experts on how this developed. One theory is that Iraqi’ simply like to elaborate a lot and are verbally animated; yet another is that Iraqi’s are big on hospitality and that “hello, hello, hello” is “like they never want to say goodbye or like see you soon.” Another little tidbit from the same article—the source of the word “temmen” meaning rice? During World War 1, the Iraqi’s from Basra would deliver rations of rice to the British troops marked RICE FOR TEN MEN. Somehow temmen became part of the vernacular. Hello hello, hello.

A Warm Welcome

Archbishop Vigneron has appointed Monsignor Timothy D. Hogan to become the next pastor of St. Fabian Parish, effective July 1, 2017.  Msgr. Hogan has wide range of skills and experiences, having served as a chaplain to the U.S. Navy Reserve, a ministry during which he was deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, Europe and Japan. He also has served as regional moderator for the Northeast Region of the Archdiocese of Detroit and on the Archdiocesan Presbyteral Council. His last pastorate prior to becoming Vicar for Clergy was at Holy Family Parish in Novi.  He is very involved and active as a chaplain with the Knights of Columbus, and was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Detroit in December 1982. He has been saying Mass each Wednesday morning at 8:30 am at St. Fabian for the past several months, and has gotten familiar with the parish in this way. 

Communicating Careers A group of leaders in their respective industries shared their stories with Middle School Students from Orchard Lake Middle School in West Bloomfield at the 28th Annual Career Day Event. Simon Jonna is a national market leader in net-leased retail and shopping centers within the investment brokerage industry. Mike Palmer is the owner of Premier Pet Supply in Beverly Hills, which has been a staple in the community since 1992. Jay Dallo is a lawyer who started his own law practice in 2009 shortly after he passed the bar exam.  He is also a martial arts instructor with a martial arts school, Dallo Martial Arts in Southfield. As a lawyer, his main practice areas are criminal justice defense and immigration. Vanessa Denha Garmo spoke as the Copublisher and Editor in Chief of the Chaldean News. She is also the founder of Denha Media Group where she serves her clients as a communications strategist. Judge Diane Dickow D›Agostini has served as District Judge for more

The Art of a Photo Matthew Piziali, a student at U of D High School won two gold medals, a silver medal and an honorable mention for this photograph.  He won a gold medal for the photo and for his entire portfolio. The photo of his grandfather, Sam Yono, was taken for Piziali’s AP Art class as part of the Scholastic Art Competition. The gold medal photographs will be sent in for judging on the National Level and if he wins anything at that level, he goes to Carnegie Hall in NY to receive his award and scholarships. 

Prayer for Business Owners In recent weeks, the Chaldean seminarians having been going door-todoor evangelizing the faith to Chaldean business owners.  Every week they have spent about two hours going around Detroit and walking into various liquor and grocery stores around the seminary. They walk in, introduce themselves, hand the owner a rosary, ask them if they need any prayers, encourage them to go to Mass and challenge them to grow deeper in their faith. “Many hearts 12

CHALDEAN NEWS

APRIL 2017

than 11 years handling criminal, civil, landlord/tenant and traffic cases. She was appointed Chief Judge by the Michigan Supreme Court. Derek Dickow is the founder of the Metro-Detroit based PR and consulting firm, Steward Media. He is power-connector and leader in fundraising. Chantel Bahoura is an attorney at Garan Lucow Miller, PC in Detroit where she focuses on civil litigation, primarily personal injury defense.

have been open and there have been great faith discussions,” said Perrin Attisha, seminarian.  “In our encounters and experiences, many have asked how they can come and see the seminary so we came up with the idea to have a mass and gathering at the seminary for all Chaldean business owners.” The First Annual Mass for Chaldean Business Owners will take place at Sacred Heart Major Seminary with a gathering to follow on April 18.

Congratulations Derek Dickow has been selected as a member of the 2017 Oakland County Executive’s Elite 40 Under 40 class, one of 40 individuals. L. Brooks Patterson recognizes individuals for their innovation, talent and leadership. Nearly 400 applications and nominations were reviewed by an independent panel of judges, looking for the top 40 young professionals and thought leaders who live or work in Oakland County.


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CHALDEAN NEWS 13


CHAI time

CHALDEANS CONNECTING Saturday, April 1 Festival: In Farmington Hills, it’s a wonderful celebration of the arts in our community! Interactive art and fun for families - see more than 200 pieces of artwork, hands-on activities for children, live entertainment and artist demonstrations. 1-3 p.m. Art of the Matter - A free workshop and interactive forum including a panel discussion for middle and high school students to explore diverse, art-focused educational and career opportunities. Free 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Call 248-473-1848, email shayman@fhgov. com, or visit www.farmingtonarts.org. Sunday, April 2 Performance: It’s Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat. At last, that fun-loving cat in the redand-white-hat is here! Experience all the wacky, zany joy that has made this one of the most treasured rhyming books of all time. Join us as the Dallas Children’s Theater presents this special theatrical event. Our 2016-2017 Family Theatre Series is sponsored by Lear Corporation. The event is from 4-6 p.m. Call 313887-8500, email dasanm@musichall. org, or visit www.musichall.org/events/ Dr.-Seuss-Cat-in-the-Hat. Mondays, April 3, 10, 17, 24 Class: Join Jeff Kassab for Theology 101 at ECRC starting at 7:00 p.m. The class will meet you where you are in your faith. Whether you are a beginner, advanced in your faith, or if you simply just want to know what Catholicism is about, this class is for you. Jeff will cover basic doctrines of the faith such as God and creation, Jesus Christ his Humanity/divinity, the Holy Spirit, Mary the Mother of God, the Catholic Church, the Papacy, the Holy Eucharist, Death and Judgment, and Heaven and Hell. At the end of every class we will have Question & Answer session. Tuesdays, April 4, 11, 18, 25 Performance Art: It’s Open Mic Night at Joey’s Comedy Shop in Plymouth. top by, “the world’s greatest open mic.” New comics are welcome, just call 734-261-0555 to sign up. $589:30 p.m. Tuesdays, April 4, 11, 18, 25 Class: Join His Excellency Bishop Francis at ECRC for his Weekly Bible Study in English starting at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 5 Event: Fikra Wa Nagma at ECRC is a monthly Arabic Program with Karam Bahnam. The event is at 7:00 p.m. This program allows us to come together to give praise to God through live music and songs, as well as to meditate on one thought from many perspective with the goal of learning our faith and nourishing our souls. 14

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COMMUNITY EVENTS IN AND AROUND METRO DETROIT APRIL 2017

Thursdays, April 6, 13, 20, 27 Event: Join us at Holy Martyrs Church for a Theology course with Hubert Sanders.  Come early for Mass at 7:00 p.m.

diocesans across the nation including the Archdiocese of Detroit for parish catechists, Catholic school teachers, and facilitators of adult faith formation.

Friday, April 7 at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 8 at 3 & 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 9 at 3 p.m. Performance: Audition Awakening an ambitious dancer, a shy singer, a confident rapper. Three Detroit teens want nothing more than to perform at their high school talent show. As they each work to prepare their auditions, problems at home and school threaten to derail them from achieving their dreams. Will these young artists overcome their challenges in time for their auditions, or will the barriers they face stand in the way of their success? Directed by Amy Thomas and Megan Wright Adults: $12 Students, seniors, active military, and veterans: Cost is $8 $8-$12. Call 313.967.0599, email info@matrixtheatre.org, or visit www.matrixtheatre.org/ school-of-theatre-productions

Tuesday, April 18 Event: A Prayer for Business Owners. In recent weeks, the Chaldean seminarians having been going door-to-door evangelizing the faith to Chaldean business owners.  Every week they have spent about two hours going around Detroit and walking into various liquor and grocery stores around the seminary. They walk in, introduce themselves, hand the owner a rosary, ask them if they need any prayers, encourage them to go to Mass and challenge them to grow deeper in their faith. “In our encounters and experiences, many have asked how they can come and see the seminary so we came up with the idea to have a mass and gathering at the seminary for all Chaldean business owners,” said Perrin Attisha, seminarian.   The First Annual Mass for Chaldean Business Owners will take place at Sacred Heart Major Seminary at 7 p.m. with a gathering to follow. Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP to chaldeanseminariansdetroit@gmail.com

Sunday, April 9 Performance art, Musical, Live/Concert: Peter and the Wolf will be a fun live performance of Prokofiev’s masterpiece. There will be pre-show activities from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Concert begins at 4:00p.m. Cost is $15 Venue is the Michigan Theater locates at 603 E. Liberty Downtown Ann Arbor. Call (734) 668-8480. Tuesday, April 11 Event: The Art of an Interview: WHAT’S YOUR STORY? Do you know how to get an interview and how to be interviewed? You have to first know your story before you learn how to tell it! Vanessa Denha Garmo, founder of Denha Media Group is hosting a complimentary Media Training Seminar open to Livonia Chamber of Commerce members and non-members interested in learning about the Livonia Chamber. This training session will give participants an overview on how to identify stories and how to tell them. It will take place at the Livonia Chamber office from 9:30 to 11 a.m. RSVP by emailing to info@denhamedia.com Subject Line Media Training. Wednesday, April 12 Class: Formation Class at ECRC is a program for certification and formation of Catechism & Communion teachers in the Chaldean diocese of St. Thomas the Apostle in Detroit, MI. Class begins at 6:00 p.m. The catechists view DVDs, completes companion booklets, and participate in a small group setting with a facilitator. ECRC has certified 6 Master Catechists that are contracted to teach & facilitate each session. This video-assisted process of formation is used by many

Tuesday, April 18 Class: Formation Class at Holy Martyrs is a program for certification and formation of Catechism & Communion teachers in the Chaldean diocese of St. Thomas the Apostle in Detroit, MI. Class begins at 6:00 p.m. The catechists view DVDs, completes companion booklets, and participate in a small group setting with a facilitator. This video-assisted process of formation is used by many diocesans across the nation including the Archdiocese of Detroit for parish catechists, Catholic school teachers, and facilitators of adult faith formation. Friday, April 21 Dinner Event: 40th Annual Celebrity Chefs Dinner. Join Community Living Centers at the Detroit Athletic Club for its milestone 40th Annual Celebrity Chefs Dinner at 6:00 p.m. Fifteen top chefs from metro Detroit will prepare and serve a five-course meal while guests and sponsors enjoy entertainment, a silent auction, and raffle. CLC serves metro Detroit adults and children with developmental disabilities. Event being held at the Detroit Athletic Club. Saturday, April 22 Conference: Surviving the Social Jungle (501c3) is a conference that takes a fresh approach to managing unfriendly peer behavior and preventing bullying, with specialized tracks for kids, adults and professional educators. At the conference, kids will learn practical skills

and strategies for dealing with mean behavior before it turns into a bullying situation, and the “do’s and don’ts” of being a friendly classmate and standing up for themselves. Also, the kids’ tracks are engaging stations in which the kids learn the lessons. They will participate in fun activities like Verbal Judo, Judo Moves, Mindfulness, a photo booth and games. Adults including, parents, teachers, school administrators, and camp counselors will learn the latest research on social rejection, practical advice on how to recognize and help kids manage mean behavior and bullying in school, extracurricular activities, as well as techniques to empower students and advice on how to best intervene when needed. Seaholm High School, located at 2436 West Lincoln Birmingham, MI. Visit www.survivingthesocialjungle.com Monday, April 24 Performance Art: Homemade Stories Live are held on the Last Monday of every month, 7 p.m. at Cliff’s Bell in Detroit located at 2030 Park Ave. Homemade Stories Live is a storytelling show where top local and national storytellers share entertaining stories all themed around good music. PLUS an open mic where brave audience members can take the stage to share a slice of their own lives. Come be a part of this storytelling experience. Each show features 2 guest storytellers and 3 open mic storytellers where names will be drawn for audience members to share a 3-minute story. (18+) $15 ADV - $20 DOS http://www.shannoncason.com/ Friday, April 28 Event: The Chaldean Chamber is nearing a sell out for the Chamber’s Annual Awards Dinner. Join more than 900 dignitaries, community leaders and business people on Friday, April 28 at Shenandoah Country Club in West Bloomfield beginning at 6:00pm. Reserve your seat today by contacting Mary at 248-996-8340 or mkirma@ chaldeanchamber.com. Mondays-Fridays, 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Guided Tours: They are free factory tours at Morley Candy/Sanders located on Hall Road. Visit us for a free factory tour today. Your experience begins with a video sharing the story of chocolate and how Sanders and Morley Candy Makers got their start in Detroit. Next you’ll watch our expert candy makers create luscious treats like Sea Salt Caramels and Honeycomb Chips as you make your way down our 180 foot observation walkway. Then indulge in a free sample before visiting our unique candy and gift shop. Tours are from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Visit www.sanderscandy.com/factory-tours-a/250.htm, or call (586) 468-4300.


PRESENTS

CHALDEAN AMERICAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

14TH ANNUAL AWARDS DINNER FRIDAY, APRIL 28, 2017 6:00 PM - 11:00 PM SHENANDOAH COUNTRY CLUB

5600 WALNUT LAKE ROAD, WEST BLOOMFIELD, MICHIGAN 48323 HONORING Humanitarian of the Year St. John Providence Business Person of the Year Victor Saroki President of Saroki Architecture Special Tribute Almanhal Al Safi Consulate General of the Republic of Iraq in Detroit Victor Saroki

SPECIAL GUESTS

Almanhal Al Safi

Ambassador Fareed Yasseen, Embassy of the Republic of Iraq along with several other local, national and international dignitaries.

HONORARY CHAIR William R. Wild Mayor of Westland, 2017 SEMCOG Regional Ambassador, US Conference of Mayors Michigan Ambassador and Board of Directors for the Michigan Municipal Risk Authority

EVENT TICKETS $175 per person $1,500 for a table of 10 Several sponsorship opportunities

DINNER COMMITTEE CHAIRS Dr. Nahid Elyas St. John Providence Paul Jonna The Taubman Company Mark Sarafa Pop Daddy Popcorn

HOST COMMITTEE Jason Abro Ian Bolton Eman Jajonie-Daman Matt Loria Vanessa Mona

SPONSORED BY

For sponsorship information contact Mary at 248-996-8340 or mkirma@chaldeanchamber.com


religion

PLACES OF PRAYER

CHALDEAN CHURCHES IN AND AROUND METRO DETROIT

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 info@chaldeannews.com, or through the mail at 30850 Telegraph Road, Suite 220, Bingham Farms, MI 48025.

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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. 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

Easter

E

aster commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the most important Christian festival, and the one celebrated with the greatest joy. Without Easter there would be no Christianity. Without Jesus’ suffering, his execution and subsequent resurrection there would be no Christianity, for however terrible the suffering was, it was part of God’s plan for the salvation of humankind. Easter marks the end of Lent, a period of fasting and penitence in preparation for Easter. The week before Easter, known as Holy Week, is very special in the Christian tradition. The Sunday before Easter is Palm Sunday and the last three days before Easter are Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday (sometimes referred to as Silent Saturday). Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday respectively commemorate Jesus’ entry in Jerusalem, the Last Supper and the Crucifixion.

Easter Sunday Morning Prayer O Lord, Risen, alive and full of grace. You paid such a price that we may live in freedom today. We worship your holy name and give thanks for your redeeming grace. Heavenly Father, May we drink in your tender love so that we can pour this love out to others. Come reign in our hearts, minds and spirits. Holy Spirit, We welcome you to blow through our every word, action and thought. Come transform us on the inside so that each day we become more like our risen Lord. Amen.


obituaries A MINISTRY

Sami Iskander Marouf, 11/1/43-3/6/17.  Son of the late Iskander Marouf and Ghazala Farida Marouf.  He was a man of great character, integrity and selflessness.  His love for his wife, children, brothers and sisters, and friends was always felt. He loved and took great pride in watching his grandchildren grow up.  He was there for every step of the way, at every milestone and the love his grandkids had for him was so beautiful to watch.  He loved his family and friends more than anything.  He was always there for anyone who needed help or just a listening ear.  He will be missed by all who knew and loved him.  His smile was infectious and he lit up a room when

Afifa “Mama Afifa” Arabo Afifa “Mama Afifa” Arabo (maiden name, Talia) was born on March 17th, 1927, died on March 10th, 2017, a week shy of almost 90 years. She was born in Baghdad, Iraq where she was a talented dressmaker having sewed her own wedding dress and has sewed dresses modeled in magazines. She was close to all her nieces and nephews, par-

he walked in.  He was a great man whose love of life will always be remembered. The heavens have gained a great man in so many ways, but his loss will felt for an eternity.  We know he will be watching over us and protecting us, even from above.  He will forever be our angel.  He is survived by his wife Balsam Esshaki Marouf and his three daughters, Yasmeen Marouf, Samia Ruddy, and Nadia Vassanji.  Brother of Saad Marouf, Salam Marouf, Suad Salmo, Samira Saffo, Suham Salmo, and the late Bernadette Bahoura.  His Grandchildren, London Ruddy, Dylan Ruddy, and Mila Vassanji.  Rest in peace Jiddou, we love you.  “And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”  Revelation 14:13

ticularly her recently deceased sister, Salima Talia who lived in Windsor, Canada, and spoke with her every day until the time of her death. Mama Afifa is survived by her loving husband Jamil Arabo, having been married for 58 years, her children Janan (Salam) Arabo, Ban (Wissam) Kassab, Salwan (Nadia) Arabo, Wujdan (Bassam) Shamoon, Nashwan (Patricia) Arabo, and 15 grandchildren. Mama Afifa was loved dearly by all those who came across her path with her loving and passionate presence and sincere smile. She is greatly loved and missed by her family and friends.​​

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APRIL 2017

CHALDEAN NEWS 17


obituaries

RECENTLY DECEASED COMMUNITY MEMBERS

Julit Betrus Daoud July 1, 1928 March 6, 2017

Sliwa Jajo Kaskorkis Nov. 11, 1929 March 22, 2017

Zuhair Sleewa Kas-Shamoon Oct. 5, 1937 March 17, 2017

Mathew Mark Kesto Jan. 3, 1992 March 14, 2017

Suham Slewa Yono March 12, 1961 March 14, 2017

Hayat Shallal Akkam May 13, 1933 March 12, 2017

Alphonse Mandia Jr. July 31, 1949 March 6, 2017

Philip Yousif Youkhanna Feb. 10, 1947 March 4, 2017

Abdi Malki Abdulnoor July 1, 1921 March 3, 2017

Michael Issac Istephan Rayis April 9, 1969 March 1, 2017

Thamer Mikho Youno Jan. 27, 1951 Feb. 26, 2017

Daoud Mansour July 1st, 1934 March 7th, 2017

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CHALDEAN NEWS

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7th Annual Tulip Festival & Photo Contest Picture yourself among over 50,000 blooms, including some rare and exotic varieties Bring your family camera or smart phone, and you could also win one of these prizes: 1st Prize: $500 gift card & White Chapel credit voucher

2nd Prize: $200 gift card & White Chapel credit voucher 3rd Prize: $100 gift card & White Chapel credit voucher

BEST SELFIE: $200 credit for the App Store of your choice

Check www.WhiteChapelCemetery.com for bloom date, contest details and helpful Tulip guide map

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APRIL 2017

CHALDEAN NEWS 19


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christian love Bishop Basilio Yaldo leads the way with a path of peace BY WEAM NAMOU

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nly 1 percent of Iraq’s Christian population remains in the homeland. For that reason, says Bishop Basil Yaldo, the presence of that 1 percent is very important, adding, “That one percent is showing the other 99 percent what Christianity really is.” In an effort to display the positive side of Iraq, to instill hope and happiness into his people and to spread the message of Christians’ peaceful and loving ways, Bishop Yaldo has taken a very active and lively role in the Chaldean Diocese in Iraq. This role includes taking large tour groups to Babylon and Najaf. “Why don’t we show the world the good face of Iraq?” he asks. “Why do we always show the dark face? Despite terrorism, there’s still love and com20

CHALDEAN NEWS

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passion here.” The author of numerous articles and 15 books, most recently Peace, Bishop Yaldo was born in Telkaif on May 23, 1970 and entered the Patriarch Seminary at Dora, Baghdad in 1994. Two years later, he was sent to Rome to complete his theological studies at the Urban College (Propaganda Fide) where he received a bachelor’s degree in Theology. On November 23, 2002, he was ordained a priest by Bishop Ibrahim Ibrahim. Over the years, he taught at Babel College, was the personal secretary to Patriarch Emanuel III Delly, and received a Ph.D. in theology from Urbaniana University in Rome. After being kidnapped for three days, he was transferred in 2007 to St. George Chaldean Catholic Church in Shelby

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Township, Michigan. In February 2015, he was ordained a bishop and assigned to serve in Baghdad. “My family is all in Michigan,” he said. “Some people asked me, ‘How are you going to leave everyone and go to Iraq?’ I replied, ‘When I went into the seminary, I didn’t ask where I was going to serve. I will serve wherever they send me. I’m very happy with my stay in Iraq.’” He feels needed in Iraq where the Chaldean Diocese provides humanitarian services not only to Christians, but anyone in need. “We serve everyone without saying this person is this or that,” he said. “We’ve gone into the worst of places to help Muslims living in tents. This is done for humanitarian purposes and also to show them who we are as Christians.” Knowing the hardships his people have endured, he creates fun activities to lessen their sadness, help them forget their troubles, and make them feel loved and that someone cares. Nearly 700 Christians accompanied him to Babylon to see historical sites such as the Ishtar Gate and the Lion of Babylon statue. He said this was the first time the people of Babylon saw this many Christians in their city. “The trip was intended to make our people


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happy, but it was also a message for the Muslim people,” he said. “That we are the natives of this land, of Babylon. They were happy to see us there, to witness our peaceful ways and our love for Iraq.” Journalists and major media outlets flocked around them to cover the event. “The few Christians left here are the salt that makes the taste in the food,” he said. “This is the flavor of Christianity.” Their trip to Najaf, a Shia city, was also a pleasant experience. “This town, in the 5th century, was all Christian,” said the Bishop. “There used to be 33 churches and convents.” Excavation in 2008 showed that Najaf is one of the oldest Christian cities in the world. Story has it that King Al-Numan ibn al-Mundhir converted to Christianity and built a convent there for his daughter who became a nun. Bishop Yaldo’s positive activities are endless. On New Year’s Eve, he walked with a large crowd down Mansour Street and went to Al-Zarwa Park, where the tallest Christmas tree stood, donated by a Muslim businessman. In January, he marched with other Christians to celebrate the liberation of Telkaif, where a cross was placed over the church

dome. In February, the church hosted a Valentine’s Day Party, which had a famous Muslim musician and 450 Muslim and Christian guests attended. “When I see children in other countries laugh and play, I cry for the children of Iraq,” he said. “Why don’t they have the same opportunities as other children? They still lack electricity and other services. When it rains, their homes are sunk in mud.” In March, the Bishop went to Egypt for the Al-Azhar Conference on Freedom and Citizenship: Diversity and Complementarity. Some 260 religious, academic, and political leaders from 60 Arab and Muslim countries attended, in an effort to combat extremist ideologies and emphasize the exceptional importance of Islamic-Christian relations. There, he met with the Coptic Pope Tawadros II and with the Egyptian president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. Later that month, youths from the Shia city of Najaf, wearing their headscarves, attended the Stations of the Cross devotion at St. George Church in Baghdad. “Tension does not serve us,” he said. “At the end of the day, we’re all humans. God is Love. Nothing will be left but love. All the violence and terrorism will be gone. Our mission is to show people that we are loving and peaceful.”

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1. Bishop Yaldo’s visit to Babylon city 2. Bishop Yaldo’s visit to Najaf city 3. Bishop Yaldo serving mass with Pope John Pall II  4. Trip to Babylon city 5. Visit to Babylon city 6. Trip to Babylon with 700 people 7. Bishop Yaldo meets Pope John Paul II 8. Bishop Yaldo meets Pope Benedict XVI 9. Bishop Yaldo meets Pope Francis 10. Visit to Najaf city 11. Trip to Najaf city

APRIL 2017

CHALDEAN NEWS 21


liberating telkaif Chaldean Diocese serving the community and reconstructing the village BY WEAM NAMOU

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week after the liberation of Telkaif, on January 26, 2017, Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako and Bishop Basilo Yaldo visited the town to have a close look at its current situation. They were accompanied by a large crowd that included Christian families who requested for the Chaldean Diocese to help provide services to the town, as well as reconstruct the church, houses, and administration destroyed by the Islamic State. Even though the streets were mainly rubble, the families were overjoyed to set foot on their ancestral land where they had lived before ISIL forced them out in 2014. They were also happy to witness the Chaldean Patriarch re-open Sacred Heart Chaldean Church. ISIL had changed the name of this church to “Abu Talha Al-Ansari” and had used it as a military base to train the Caliphate’s children. The highlight of the day was when, to the sound of bells ringing, a young man named Sufian Jarbo held a large cross and led the group toward the church. They ascended the steps, reached the church dome, and standing at the very top of the church, Jarbo raised the Chaldean flag and placed the cross over the dome. The crowd clapped and cheered with women making the traditional Middle Eastern mirth and throwing small wrapped candy into the air. For Jarbo, this day signified bringing back part of the Chaldean peoples’ dignity. “What they did 22

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to our cemeteries is a big insult to us,” he said. It was an emotional day for everyone there, but after they returned to their temporary homes in neighboring villages, Jarbo and others want to know, what’s next? “Liberation is not just about placing a flag and cross over the church,” Jarbo said. Jarbo claims that, two days after the church opened, the main road that connects Telkaif to Alquosh, was closed off. “The church is open, but empty,” said Jarbo. “The gravesites are still closed with dogs digging up the bones of the deceased and eating them.” Jarbo was saddened to see his family’s two homes in Telkaif pillaged and abandoned. One was burnt. Same with their business, a gas station, it too has been destroyed. Others, including his friend Bashar Kisto were just as disheartened at the sight of Telkaif’s deteriorated state. Kisto wrote a poem expressing his sorrow and frustration at the fact that, although Telkaif is now labeled liberated, its gates remain locked to its original people, that the “The Great Wall of China is open but the wall of Telkaif is shut tight.” “Our homes are in disarray, their doors still unhinged,” Kisto said. “The cats, dogs, and mice go between the windows’ shattered glass.” While the people of Telkaif are eager to return and rebuild their town, where Christians lived for thousands of years, they can’t do so quite yet. “The

Clockwise from top right: Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako and Bishop Basilo Yaldo visit Telkief following the city’s liberation from ISIS. Flags and crosses are being restored to churches and buildings.

problem is that families are afraid to return,” said Bishop Yaldo, “because the majority of the residents in Telkaif are now Muslims, and some were loyal to the Islamic State.” The Bishop added that the Chaldean Diocese has begun the renovation of the Christian towns and villages, starting with the more stable areas such as Tesqopa and Baqofa, because of their proximity to Alquosh and the presence of services. As for Telkaif, they are waiting for the liberation of Mosul in its entirety so they can rebuild the church and appoint a permanent priest. Only then can they encourage families to return. “Without the liberation of Mosul, the dangers of the Islamic State will continue to threaten the families because Mosul is near Telkaif,” the Bishop said. Jarbo says that the Christian Iraqis want pressure placed on the Iraqi government to force anyone who formerly sympathized with the Islamic State to leave Telkaif. “If we return, we would need protection by an international force and an administrative unit,” Jarbo said. “We also have to have constitutional rights. Otherwise, Telkaif was liberated without actually being liberated.” Although the Christians, who have taken shelter in Alquosh and other areas that offered them safety, will not be able to celebrate this Easter in Telkaif, the ultimate goal is for them to return to the Nineveh Plains.


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sex slave market Local event honors award-winning poet BY WEAM NAMOU

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s a tribute to Baghdad booksellers, the Mesopotamian Forum for Arts and Culture hosted an event Friday, February 24 at Ryan Palace, entitled Al Mutanabbi Street Starts Here. This ongoing yearly project was started in 2014 by several nationwide nonprofit organizations. Over the years, the event has drawn hundreds of artists, writers, and poets who pay individual tribute in memory of the victims of the car-bombing in the terrorist attack against the literary district of Mutanabbi Street in 2007. The event honored award-winning poet Dunya Mikhail, who recently published her fourth book, The Sex Slave Market. The book is about a Yazidi beekeeper, AbdAllah, who helped rescue women captured by the Islamic State. This is Mikhail’s first nonfiction book. The idea for the story came to her while she was teaching an Arabic class at Oakland University, where she is a lecturer. “The day the Arabic letter ‘nun’ came up, I remembered seeing it written on peoples’ doors where they had lived more than 1400 years ago and where they had to leave their houses within 24-hours,” she said. “I wondered whether I should tell the students about this letter or not.” For Mikhail, this letter brought forth images of the Islamic State destroying the land of her Chaldean ancestors, important historical monuments, and even the graves. “I felt I wanted to do more about this subject,” she said. She considered doing a long poem but when she saw the Yazidi women and their families flee from the Islamic State as if it was “The day of resurrection,” she suddenly wanted to speak to someone Yazidi. She contacted a friend and eventually attained a list of phone numbers. The first number she called, she received no answer. The second number she called, someone answered in Kurdish and then the line got disconnected. The third number she called, a man 24

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Above: Baha Al Yaqoubi presents a portrait to Dunya Mikhail. Right: Abd-Allah with orphan children he’s adopted

answered in Arabic. Mikhail asked to talk to Nadia. He said, “She’s not here, but you can call her later.” When Mikhail got a hold of her, the man she had talked to, translated Nadia’s story. Through the conversation, Nadia told Mikhail, “AbdAllah rescued me.” “Who’s Abd-Allah?” Mikhail asked. “The man you’re speaking to,” she said, triggering Mikhail’s journalism background. She became curious to learn more about this man and discovered that Abd-Allah, a beekeeper by trade, had lost 56 people to the Islamic State. In an attempt to rescue his own niece, he ended up rescuing a number of women who were Yazidi, Christian, and even Muslim. When she first spoke to him two years ago, he had saved 70 women. Now, the number is 312. “Every time I save a woman, I save a sister,” he told Mikhail. For a year, they talked on the phone, and with each call, the line

would cut off 10 to 20 times. “With every phone ring coming through, I knew it was a woman seeking help,” said Mikhail. His phone rings nonstop, even during sleeping hours. Someone once asked him, “Why don’t you turn off your phone so you can sleep?” “How can I sleep if I turn off my phone?” he responded. Mikhail ended up going to Iraq in the summer and met Abd-Allah in person. She learned that not only did he save women, but he also adopted a number of children whose parents were killed by the Islamic State. “I wondered, how did this man go from looking after beehives to rescuing women?” she said. He told her that, looking back,

the foundational skills as a beekeeper helped him with his new work which he’d never imagined he’d be doing. Mikhail also met with some of the women who Abd-Allah rescued, like Tarween, sold at a low price because she was mute and, therefore, considered handicap. Tarween described the awful conditions she lived under, where everyone including the kidnappers’ wives wore black, and how she was raped, beaten and sold ten times. In her book, Mikhail also includes accounts of how the men – fathers, brothers, husbands – of these women were victimized as a result of the Islamic State’s cruelty. During the event, three literary critics discussed Mikhail’s book. Dr. Aziz Al-Tamimi felt that Mikhail leaped over her poetry and, using multi-genre – narrative, reportage, and storytelling – did a fantastic job in describing the atrocities happening in Mesopotamia. Hatam Al-Sager, an author and award-winning literary critic who wrote an essay about The Sex Slave Market in Al-Hayat newspaper, joined the event through a live video. He said, “Dunya pours her heart, blood, sadness, and compassion into these stories.” Ala Faik noted how the author, through beautiful and humanitarian language, tells the story of a beekeeper that feels he needs to protect and take care of women, treating them like queens. “The Islamic State is the bees and the honey is the women who are taken away in horrific ways,” said Faik. “The beekeeper is trying to collect the honey for the welfare of the country.” He used this as a metaphor, that bees sting and can hurt people. They stung the sweetness of Iraq. After the lecture, activist Kamal Al-Saedi stood and asked, “Who are the bees?” Another audience member responded, “The Saudis.” Mikhail reminded everyone that she wrote the book as a literary project, not a political statement.  As with Mikhail’s other three books, this book was first published in Arabic for the Middle East market and next year will be published by her New York publisher, New Directions.


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behind the mosque The Sterling Heights Controversy prompts the conversations about Chaldeans and Muslims co-existing in the United States BY VANESSA DENHA GARMO

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he residents in Sterling Heights opposing the mosque being built come from diverse backgrounds and all are not Chaldeans. However, the story that has garnered media attention for nearly two years has prompted the discussion about Chaldeans and Muslims co-existing in the United States. Many of the residents in Sterling Heights are new Americans who have recently resettled from Iraq after escaping persecution as Christians. Some may view this as the reason many oppose the building of a mosque in the city. “There are some deep wounds that have to be healed and it will take time,” said Martin Manna, president of the Chaldean Community Foundation. “For many of them, whenever a new mosque was built in Iraq, it meant displacement, demographic shifts and often discrimination against Christians. Given the history, it is highly insensitive to build in this neighborhood.” The violence against Christians and other minorities committed by ISIS and other radical Islamic groups continue. “However, I am hopeful the building of a mosque will lead to broader discussions about inclusiveness here in America,” said Manna. “We are working to schedule meetings with the Arab and Muslim leaders to continue the dialogue and begin the process of healing.” Long-time Sterling Heights resident Youel Isho noted that for the Christians who immigrated to the United States decades ago, it was easier for them to assimilate compared to the recent arrivals who came under refugee status and left Iraq because of religious persecution. “For the people who have had dealt with religious persecution in recent years, it does affect their mental status,” said Isho, from the Assyrian Universal Alliance. “They think the same violence and attacks that hap26

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pened in their homeland will happen here, but for people who settled in the United States 30 or 40 years ago, they understand the freedom of religion here in this country.” Like many people who opposed the mosque, Isho doesn’t site religion. “For me, this issue is about the mosque being in the wrong location. There are already three mosques in Sterling Heights. This particular one is in the center of a neighborhood surrounded by Christians. It is a residential area. The opposition is about the location.” Many who oppose the structure have been vocal about their reasons. “The building itself does not make sense for the location,” said Amira Bajoka business owner in Sterling Heights and community activist.

“It is too big for the area. It is in the middle of neighborhood. There is no room for parking. This is a logistical issue.” Bajoka has spoken several times in the city at public meetings. “This mosque is just 70-feet from homes,” said Bajoka. “There will be cars in and out for Ramadan for example. They will use it as a school and funeral home and for kids’ activities. The noise will be unbearable.” In terms of needing a fourth mosque, not all agree it’s an issue. “It is not up to me to decide that question,” said Nasser Beydoun, chairman of the Arab American Civil Rights League. “The Muslim community in Sterling Heights, which many have lived in the area before the influx of the Chaldean community, decided

to expand an existing mosque in the area and that is their right.”  It’s a proposed 20,000-square-foot facility. Sterling Heights City Council voted unanimously to approve building a mosque after a heated meeting in February. The proposal, which involves the land at 15 Mile and Mound, was rejected in 2015 but two federal lawsuits against the city have forced the council to reconsider. The city has also agreed to settle those lawsuits, saying it will keep Sterling Heights out of costly litigation.  Jazmine Early, who also opposes the mosque, is originally from Columbia and is an architect by trade. “I saw the plans, and they do not fit the area,” she said. “The building itself is too big. Something that was not mentioned to the planning commission was the basement. This is not the right area to build such a building of its magnitude — in the middle of a residential area.” Early is not only an architect, but she is a Sterling Heights resident running for city council and has been very vocal about her opinions. “When you are designing, you have to take into consideration every aspect including the physical aspect, the social aspect and the zoning aspect,” she said. “Everything has to work before you design a project. This is not the place for this structure.” The city council decision followed months of emotional protests and commentary in and outside of City Hall. “I think it is ignorance and lack of leadership in the Chaldean community,” said Beydoun.  “The Chaldean Church’s silence on the matter speaks volumes.  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.”


Fr. Maneul Boji, Vicar General, first spoke about this issue publicly on the Chaldean Voice. “I discussed this issue when they first didn’t approve the mosque and I addressed it when they did this last time and I had the same thing to say,” explained Fr. Boji. “We must address our differences in a civilized manner. We cannot allow our emotions to control us. Our religion is built on acceptance of others. God created us to respect our brothers and sisters. And, whether you are Christian, Muslim or Jewish, we are called to live in peace, love and to have respect for each other.” Fr. Boji also met with some Muslim leaders who are involved with the mosque project. “I explained that I don’t think handling this in the court was the right thing to do, is not the right way to ease the coexistence of people from different religious backgrounds.” The meeting last month was designed to help resolve the differences. “I explained that there should be mutual respect for each other and not this coercive approach. That will create animosity and ill feeling of the many Christians from the Middle East who recently fled persecution led by extreme Muslims.” The question becomes can Chaldeans and Muslims co-exist peacefully in the United States? “We have always co-existed,” said Bajoka. “Some of my closest friends in Iraq are Muslim. 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 deep wounds and some fears that exist because of the on-going persecution.” “In the business arena, there is a great working relationship between our communities,” said Beydoun. “I think that the communities must learn to co-exist as other communities do in the US.  We need to put the past and what happened in Iraq behind us and work to build a better future not only here in the US, but help build a message of co-existence and harmony in the Middle East.” There is a historical relationship between Christians and Muslims in the Middle East, specifically in Iraq. “I am a strong proponent for a vibrant and thriving Christian community in the Middle East,” said Beydoun. “We should not let the current upheaval destroy the diversity that has existed for a thousand years.” Citing religious freedom in the

United States as a great privilege, Fr. Boji noted it is not a freedom given to Christians in other countries. “In America, we can co-exist peacefully and we should live in peace with each other. As Christians, we are called to accept all people and to call for a mutual respect among all of them. Yes, we can co-exist and should with peace and respect. However, the same religious freedoms given to us in the United States should also be given in the Middle East. An adult should be able to choose his religion and practice it freely.” The story is not over. Last month, Sterling Heights residents sued the city to stop the construction of the mosque. The American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) filed a civil rights lawsuit against Sterling Heights and its Mayor Michael C. Taylor, alleging violations of federal and state law. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of seven residents of the City who oppose the construction of a mosque. The City decided not to defend against the claims made by the American Islamic Community Center (AICC) in its lawsuit filed against the city in 2016, but instead to enter into a Consent Judgment that granted AICC permission to build the mosque even though doing so violated the City’s zoning ordinance. The Consent Judgment agreement was made during a council meeting in February. During this meeting, the City Mayor engaged in conduct that AFLC alleges in its lawsuit violated the U.S. Constitution and Michigan Open Meetings Act. Meanwhile, on March 10, the district court judge presiding over the AICC’s federal lawsuit signed the Consent Judgment and closed the case. By doing so, the judge authorized the City to violate its zoning ordinance by allowing the construction of the mosque, according to the report. The AFLC’s lawsuit alleges that this was improper and is asking in its lawsuit that the court declare the Consent Judgement in valid and unenforceable. “The City’s decision to enter into the Consent Judgement was a fait accompli,” said Robert Muise, AFLC co-founder and senior counsel. “The City Council meeting was a complete sham. Indeed, this meeting was not an example of democracy in action; it was an example of naked abuse of government power.”

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healing with others Grieving with Hope and Faith group supports those in need BY KRIS HARRIS

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xperiencing the loss of a loved one, whether family or friend, is never easy and the grieving process can be difficult. Feeling you have no one to talk to, can make it even more difficult. However, you don’t have to go through the process alone; there is help in the community. Formed on August 20th 2016, the Grieving with Hope and Faith group has been providing support to those in need. The group came together when John Mansour approached Sr. Christine Foumia and Fr. Pierre Konja, to start a group to provide spiritual support and professional guidance to those who are going through the grieving process. “Fr. Pierre and I agreed that there was a need, but we weren’t sure how to make it come about,” said Sr. Foumia. “I was torn because I wanted to start something, but didn’t know what to do. John came into the picture and we were talking about and he said, ‘you know what, we just have to start by picking a date, and we’ll see how it works out.’” The group’s first meeting was very open and without structure. “Fr. Pierre had his bible and said, ‘okay, 28

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let’s just start like this, everyone is going to introduce themselves, tell everyone your loss, and your background,’” explained Sr. Foumia. “There were about 20 people there. Everyone shared their story and they saw that they were on the same page. They saw that they could relate to one another.” The group’s mission is to trust in the Holy Spirit for guidance and to build life-long friendships and a strong support system. It seeks to find avenues to transform grief through prayer, learning from others and yourself, and through glorifying God. The group meets every second Friday of the month at the Chaldean

Sisters/Daughters of Mary House of Formation on Middlebelt Road in Farmington Hills. The meetings are two-hours long and start at 7:00 p.m. Grieving with Hope and Faith helps all grievers from those who are struggling with a recent loss, to those who have not properly mourned the loss of someone in their past. “It’s an open-door policy,” said Mansour, a founding member who lost two children in 2013. “I would say the majority of our members are those that have suffered a recent loss, but there are members who have had losses 15, 20 years ago that may not have had help at that time, or a group like this to turn to, that realize there’s still a need.” Over the last year, the group has grown from 10 families to nearly 30 with no formal advertisement. “It has grown by word of mouth up to this point,” said Mansour. “The mindset was to first see the direction this initiative take us in. We wanted to make sure we were organized and that we had a good blueprint, to prepare ourselves to open up to the rest of the community.” A typical meeting begins with meeting as an entire group to share

personal reflections since the last time they met, followed by small group breakout sessions, which allow member to discuss personal goals. Finally, the members come together again, as a whole, to develop future sessions to meet the member’s needs. The group often invites guest speakers, from various backgrounds, who offer different perspectives in the healing process. “The speaker selection is typically faith-based, like a priest, or professionally-based, like a counselor or social worker, that has a little more expertise with counseling those who have lost a loved one,” said Mansour. “It could also be individuals who have lost a family member, that have gone on to publish their own book and come to tell their story, how they’ve been able heal, and share their advice to the group.” For those who are interested in joining the group, but may not yet feel comfortable sharing their story, there isn’t any pressure to open up right away. “There’s no mandate to come into this group and have to say much,” Mansour said. “You can come and simply listen. We have all kinds of profiles in this group, so it’s a unique mix, and a great mix. There’s no pressure and no attendance, so people can come and go.” Healing from the loss of a loved is a journey that takes time and having support from others, can make the journey easier to travel. “When you find someone who can understand where you’re coming from, it strengthens you,” said Sr. Foumia. “You walk together in it.”


rescinding the rule AFPD challenges liquor control effort to end ‘half-mile’ requirement BY KRIS HARRIS

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he Associated Food and Petroleum Dealers (AFPD) filed a lawsuit on Wednesday, March 22nd, in the Court of Claims asserting that the Liquor Control Commission (LCC) violated the Administrative Procedures Act when it took only five weeks, from the time it submitted draft rules to the Office of Regulatory Reinvention rescinding the half-mile requirement, until filing the rule as complete with the Department of State. The LCC proposed to eliminate the half-mile rule, which has been around since 1979, that prohibits off premise retailers selling liquor from obtaining a permit to do so unless they are located at least a half-mile from a similarly permitted retailer, had prompted the lawsuit charging the action could decimate existing businesses. Usually, it takes many months, sometimes years, for a rule to move through the process, which generally involves a substantial public comment period. However, the MLCC did not want to hear from the general public, or even the licensees it governs, and wanted to rescind this almost 40-year-old rule under the darkness of night so it could take effect immediately. “The lawsuit explains that the mere rescinding of the rule does not violate the law,” said Auday Arabo, president and CEO of the AFPD. “The problem was the process the Liquor Control Commission used to expedite without proper notice or public hearings, which violated due process rights of all offpremise liquor license holders in the State of Michigan.” AFPD contends that this ruling has taken away any recourse licensees have regarding their concerns. “If we don’t fight this, it could result in the complete annihilation of the small liquor retailer,” said Arabo. “We don’t want a liquor store at every comer. There is great value to the public with this half-mile rule. All we are asking for

is that the MLCC, which is a government agency, follow the process which they have been called to do since 1933. We are simply asking for a public hearing and transparency in government.” This case seeks a ruling that the MLCC and ORR must follow the notice, publication and public comment provisions of the (Administrative Procedures Act Section 41 and 42) to properly rescind the rule. As explained in the suit, the halfmile rule provides current licensees security to operate under a strict regulatory scheme in a highly-regulated industry. The sudden and swift abolishment of this long-standing rule — accomplished in direct violation of the APA — now allows a new licensee to literally set up shop next door to an existing licensee.

Since 1979, retailers have received the benefits and privileges of this rule, which prohibits the approval of a specially designated distributor license if an existing specially designated distributor license is located within 2,640 feet of the proposed site. This rule, enacted for almost 40 years, has offered licensed retailers of liquor, security from an already over-saturated market. The rule has protected communities from having four liquor retailers on every busy corner in the State of Michigan. “The commission is using a section of law allowing it to bypass the

usual rule-making procedures by claiming it is rescinding a rule in conflict with existing law,” said Arabo. “The commission has no grounds to invoke this exception.” “Thousands of retailers who have invested their life savings into their businesses, and have lived and abided under (the half-mile rule), will risk losing their livelihood for which no amount of damages could compensate,” said Arabo. “Hundreds of new applicants will receive licenses and immediately jeopardize, annul and nullify the value and benefit that existing licensees have enjoyed.” “It is more of what you would see in a dictatorship than a democracy,” said Arabo. “We will fight this every step of the way. We will work with the legislature to address this blatant abuse of power by the MLCC. By rescinding a rule that has been around since 1979 without public testimony and public scrutiny, demonstrates they have total abused their powers.”

APRIL 2017

CHALDEAN NEWS 29


bringing peace Shlama Foundation was born out of the ISIS invasion BY AVERY MCGOWAN

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hlama, meaning peace in Aramaic, is just what Noor Matti and his five founding board members of the Shlama Foundation are hoping to bring back to Iraq. The fall of Mosul had just taken place, and an ultimatum was given to the residents. On July 18, 2014 the residents were given the options to convert to Islam, pay a jizya (non-Muslim tax), leave the city entirely, or die. Nearly everyone had evacuated Mosul before the day’s end.  When the Nineveh Plains fell into the hands of ISIS, more than 200,000 community members became displaced. It was clear that the needs of the displaced civilians were dire, and thus, the Shlama Foundation was born.  Based in Erbil, Iraq, the goal of the foundation is to provide humanitarian aid to Christian families facing persecution, war and other life-threatening conditions in Iraq. Emergency response resources, medicine, housing and community development are just a few of the many aids that the foundation provides. Founder Noor Matti leads projects in Iraq, while board members Ranna Abro, Chris Sesi, Evette Shahara and John David coordinate efforts throughout the United States and Canada.  John David, a Shlama Foundation board member from Michigan, said, “We wanted to create an organization that eliminated the distance between the homeland and the diaspora. It gives our people a feeling of connection back to our roots. Through the act of giving, we show them they are not alone.”  Their efforts have brought hundreds of families back to their homelands and have given them a new sense of normalcy.  Providing a better quality of life and a feeling of connection are two of the foundation’s strongest values. The foundation also prides itself on its donation transparency. The process is simple: every gift received is displayed on the foundation’s website through receipts, photos, videos, 30

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Above: School kids look at donated items Left: Opening boxes of donated items

personal video mentions and public donation listings. “We knew that the key to successful humanitarian aid was transparency,” David said. “Donors will know exactly who they’re helping and how they’re helping.” Since 2014, the Shlama Foundation has raised more than $90,000 for the displaced Iraqi Christians.  Recently, the foundation was able to build a youth community center in

Alfaf, which is part of the historical Mar Matti Monastary. The community center serves four surrounding villages. They have also furnished schools, provided toys and learning materials and promote cultural preservation by supporting cultural projects in Iraq. “We’re trying to preserve our culture, our language and traditions that have thrived for thousands of years,”

said David. “We’re a resilient people. We’ve survived through so much. Immigration is not a long-term solution; it is a short-term solution. We can not lose our generations.” Some goals that the foundation has for 2017 is to contribute infrastructure and economic sustainability to Iraq. Their long term vision is to provide schools, hospitals, and churches to the communities. The foundation is always seeking new donors and volunteers to help make these goals a reality. Patrons can sign up for newsletters, become monthly donors, and follow along with the foundation on social media.  For more information on the Shlama foundation: visit shlama.org.


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Vanessa Denha Garmo engages the audience to ask questions of the panel.

industry imprint An outlook on successful women in the community BY VANESSA DENHA GARMO

E

arly last month, the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce hosted an Industry Outlook event with four women making a mark in their respective fields. I had the pleasure of moderating the panel discussion. After a brief introduction, each woman had an opportunity to share her experiences. Sitting inside the banquet room of the Bird & the Basket restaurant in Birmingham, the panelist spoke to a crowd of more than 100 people. The restaurant on South Old Woodward is owned by Kristen Jonna who grew up in the Merchant of Vino businesses co-owned by her father John Jonna. She, too, has a success story as an owner of three restaurants and as a certified Somalia. Here we give you a brief synopsis of the panel discussion. Christine Jonna Piligian joined Jonna Construction Company in 1972 and the again in 1981; early in her career, she saw an opportunity to expand the family business into real estate.  Since the formation of Jonna Realty Ventures, Inc., the company has evolved into a full-service real estate development and property management company.  “We were in real estate well before the curve,” said Piligian. “It was a dream of mine to see a building and say we could own it. It was conceptional at the time, but others were 32

CHALDEAN NEWS

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doing it and I figured we could do it too. That is how you learn. If you don’t have the confidence at first, you move forward anyway. I got involved in a business that Chaldean women just didn’t do at the time and that Chaldeans weren’t involved in.” Her relentless attitude kept her going. “Even today there are challenges that I don’t have the answers for at the moment but I know we will figure out,” she said. Marisa Abbo, D.O. received her Bachelors in Psychology from Wayne State University and her Masters in Social Work from the University of Michigan.  She changed career path to pursue her childhood dream of becoming a doctor. Today, she works for a faith-based federally qualified health center in Royal Oak that cares for the uninsured and underinsured. “Our mission is on our wall and it is to show and share the love of God in seeing the Good News of Jesus Christ by providing affordable, quality and integrated care to those who need it most. As a doctor, I am in a unique position because I can pray with my patients and it is just awesome. I couldn’t imagine practicing medicine without faith,” said Abbo as the audience applauded. Not only does she pray with her patients, the office prays as a group before they start their day. “As a physician, I try to be the hands and feet

of Christ in everything I do and that is to serve,” she said. “We can lose our joy in whatever we do if we forget that we are here to serve.” Renee Lossia Acho emerged quickly as an industry leader using her skillful, creative, and consultative approach to marketing and sales.  Renee ranks in the top 1 percent of realtors nationally and was the 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year for the Women’s Council of Realtors as well as being named a 2016 Esteemed Women of Michigan Honoree.  She got into the business at one of the toughest times – in 2008 when the economy was tanking and others were leaving the real estate business to pursue other careers. “When you learn the business at the lowest point, it makes it that much better when the market improves,” she said. “The reality about the economy is that it fluctuates. The Real Estate market fluctuates the same way. Interest rates do affect the market because of the bond power.” She recommends that when you are looking for a specific area to live in, you don’t just need a realtor but one that truly knows the community in which you want to live. “Having specialist in those areas will benefit you.” She also gave an audience a tip. “Michigan is usually ahead of the national market,” said Acho. “Watch

our economy first before you look to national trends.” Judge Hala Jarbou graduated from Wayne State University Law School and was appointed as an Oakland County Circuit Court Judge in October 2015.  She was assigned to the Civil/Criminal Division. Although well prepared for her appointed position, she did experience some surprises. “I was surprised to see how few attorneys actually make it to the court room,” she said. “You can assess quickly what attorneys have had trial experience and those who don’t. It was surprising to see the number of attorneys who don’t actually have trial experience.” Although everyone faces failures, the group of leading women offer a different perspective. “It’s not as much a failure as it is an opportunity,” said Acho. “You can look at something as a failure and let it take you down or you can learn from it and move on.” Acho once had a partner who she looked to as a mentor but overnight, as Acho explained, her mentor took thousands of dollars and her listings from her. “I could have looked at that situation as an opportunity to close the door and leave the business. In the Chaldean community, we are fortunate to surround ourselves with a strong support system so when life creates a failure, there are people around you who create opportunities and help you succeed. If you go into a career with an expectation of never falling down, then go home. Lighting strikes and that is the beauty of figuring out where you can go.” Piligian added to the conversation as she addressed perceived failures many women face. “When you are at the office, you think you should be home with the children and when you are at home with the children, you think you should be at the office,” she said, describing the scenario. “I used to think that every day I failed. I didn’t finish what I needed to at work and I didn’t do all the things I want to do for my family. So, every day I felt like I failed. There is that constant conflict between the two.” Now that she has raised her kids and can look back at her life and career she offers advice to other women. “That so-called failure, you will realize will become your success. You can raise good kids and have a healthy family and run a successful business.”


From a loud applause to a short silence from the panelist, Piligian ended her comments that led me into my next question: Is it harder for Chaldean women to succeed in business given the culture of the community and impact on the family? “It has been a transition” said Piligian. “When I first started in the business, it was really hard. My dad used to say go home. You are ultimately going to get married,” recalled Piligian. “He would say, ‘don’t get too educated. No one will want to marry you.’ It was hard because the perception was that this was not what you are supposed to be doing. As the years went by, you realize you, too, have gifts, different from men. Sometimes you become better because it wasn’t always accepted by the community

Regardless of the community, you have to decide you are going to succeed, no one will dictate that to you.” As leaders in their fields, each woman has her own definition of it. “It starts with character,” said Jarbou. “It is by doing and not telling. You don’t call yourself a leader, you need to act like one. It is your morals and values that truly define your leadership.” “You are a leader to only those who want to follow you,” said Acho. “If people are drawn to you by who you are and they respect you, then you are leading. Perhaps you are someone others admire. I think we all have leaders in our lives. Leaders carry themselves in a way that draws people to follow.” “Humility is important for a leader,” said Abbo. “Just when you think

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Help Wanted! Please consider hiring one of our many new Americans. More than 30,000 Chaldean refugees have migrated to Michigan since 2007. Many possess the skills and determination to work hard for you and your organization. The Chaldean Community Foundation (CCF) has a bank of resumes of candidates qualified to do a variety of jobs. To inquire about hiring a New American, call or email Elias at 586-722-7253 or elias.kattoula@ chaldeanfoundation.org. Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce and Chaldean Community Foundation 30850 Telegraph Road, Suite 200 Bingham Farms, MI 48025 248-996-8340

Audience members asking questions.

www.chaldeanchamber.com for you to be in the business. You tend to work harder. It is much better today.” There are still some barriers women face, but Piligian believes they will eventually disappear. “In any ethnic community, there is that perception about women,” said Jarbou. “It is true in every profession because everyone pretty much started out in what was once a male-dominated profession. Instead of having a chip on your shoulder, you accept it and set out to prove yourself.” When Jarbou was in school, she was among two Chaldeans in Law. “Now, I think everyone I talk to is becoming a lawyer or doctor in our community. Seriously, whatever it is you strive for, you need to set out to be the best you can be in your field.

you got it down, you realize you still need to learn. It keeps you level headed, if you are humble. A good leader treats their team members as if they are integral to everything they are doing. And, you guide them along the way.” “A leader gives people confidence,” said Piligian. “Leaders are people others believe in. You can’t lead if your team doesn’t think you can resolve problems. Leaders have to have faith in themselves that they can lead and have faith in the ultimate outcome.” The panel discussion ended with audience questions and the request by many, to invite younger generations, who need mentors, to another event such as this industry outlook. Stay tuned.

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

APRIL 2017

CHALDEAN NEWS 33


chaldean on the STREET

“What does Easter mean to you?” As the Lenten season prepares us for the Easter celebration, we reflect and sacrifice, which is why we asked members of the community what they feel is the true meaning of Easter. BY HALIM SHEENA

Alyssa Rasho, 21, Shelby Township:  Easter Sunday means a lot to me. It’s celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter to me means going to church, spending time with my family, coloring Easter eggs and just being thankful for everything and everyone around me. It has been celebrated for centuries and I look forward to the joy Easter Sunday brings me every year!

Brenda Bakkal, 20, West Bloomfield:  To me, Easter is beyond candy or a bunny; it is the celebration of Christ’s victory over death. If Jesus had merely died without rising on the third day, He would be just another man and Christianity would cease to exist. The resurrection gave undeniable proof that He is really the Son of God and that He had conquered death once and for all. There is no meaning to Easter without the resurrection!

Jonathon Azer, 18, Farmington Hills:  Easter is the time where we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and to remember his pain and suffering for us, but to also to take that and rejoice in it. It reminds me to be thankful for the gift of life everyday and to show my brothers and sisters the love and mercy of God the father. What did we do to deserve such reward? Nothing, that’s what makes it so great. 

Mark Zakar, 28, Troy:  Easter is a time that God reminds His people of Hope! Hope that the TRUTH of a Loving God decided to become one of us to be born of a Virgin, experience suffering, tears humiliation and even death! Easter is the reality of that man Jesus Christ RESURRECTING from the dead and leaving us an empty tomb to smile upon! If one decides to follow Jesus all the way to the Cross on Good Friday, they will also follow Jesus to the Resurrection that is promised to all those who carry and embrace the Cross of Christ! Happy Easter and enjoy the pacha!

Donovan Khamoro, 21, West Bloomfield:  It’s a time of celebration and gratitude for our savior Jesus Christ. As tradition and glory to his praise, we try to emulate his suffering during the lent season by giving up things most dear and fond to our hearts, adding to our prayer regiment, and practicing alms giving Our souls are pardoned through his sacrifice and it allows us to give thanks to him by being with friends and family. Easter to me means that I have been blessed with a chance to improve my faith and person in the image granted by God.

Hillary Adam, 23, Washington Township:  Easter, with bunnies, baby chicks, and eggs amidst the resurrection of Jesus Christ - what do they have to do with each other? It’s the most important and oldest festival of the Christian Church, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ and held between March 21 and April 25, on the first Sunday after the first full moon . Since Easter represents the fulfillment of God’s promises to mankind, it is the most important holiday on the Christian calendar.. Not only that, you can finally have what was given up for lent!!! Enjoy!!!!

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CHALDEAN NEWS 35


ARTS & entertainment

Back in time with d’town rewind BY LISA CIPRIANO

S

tart with the Motown years, add some Mariah Carey, a dash of Whitney Houston and a helping of Elton John, mix it up and you have D’Town Rewind. D’Town Rewind is a self-described, “charismatic and energetic 80’s and Motown cover band” that will take you back to a time when life seemed more simple and fun. It consists of two professionally trained musicians: singer and dancer, Jenelle Faranso and keyboardist and producer, Omar Binno. The D in D’Town stands for Detroit (of course) and that’s where the band’s founder Binno was born, during the era of the timeless tunes that he now plays. He started playing music at just 5-years-old. “I started out on one of those little electric pianos that you could get for like $50 at K-Mart,” Binno explained. “I was able to hear songs on commercials, Christmas songs and simple songs from school, and play the melody.” Born blind, his natural talent surprised his parents. However, they eventually decided to enroll him in formal piano lessons, where teachers discovered Binno had what is considered a rare ability — perfect pitch. It’s described as the ability to hear, instantly recognize, and recreate the pitch of any note. His skill impressed, and sometimes concerned, his friends. “They were in awe,” said Binno. “I could identify the tones of the numbers that people were pressing on the phone. My friends started becoming more cautious when they typed in their voicemail passwords, because I could recognize the numbers.” Jenelle Faranso, his musical partner and vocalist, also discovered her talent at a young age. She started singing, dancing and entertaining the family as a toddler. “Since I can remember, I’ve always had this in my blood and part of my soul,” Faranso said. “I was the entertainer of the family. It was my thing. I’ve always been very passionate when it comes to music.” So much so that Souriya Denha, Faranso’s grandmother, immediately recognized her talent and encouraged Faranso’s mother to enroll her in voice lessons at the age of six. Tap, jazz and ballet lessons soon followed. Not long after that, Souriya suggested that Faranso get involved in professional plays where she would discover her love of musicals. At the young age of 11, she sang at her first wedding ceremony. In her early 20’s, Faranso auditioned for and was accepted to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) located in Broadway, New York. It was a decision her late father Robert encouraged. Musical powerhouses Faranso and Binno connected about 13 years ago and they both credit the Chaldean News. In one of the very first issues, Binno wrote an article about Middle Eastern music that struck a chord with Faranso. “I was so moved and inspired by his article that I thought, I 36

CHALDEAN NEWS

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have to get ahold of this guy,” said Faranso. She knew right away that they were kindred spirits when it came to their passion and love of music. “He was somebody in the Chaldean community that I could connect with,” Faranso added. She called the Chaldean News, got his number, and contacted Binno immediately. The two teamed-up and began writing and composing together. Eventually, they started performing at wedding ceremonies, receptions and other events prior to Faranso going away to attend the AMDA. While Faranso was away, Binno continued on with his with original work and performed live with various other musicians before taking a hiatus. Their mutual love of Motown and 70’s, 80s pop music eventually brought Binno and Faransco back together for good in 2016. For a while, Binno had the idea to perform his beloved 70’s and 80s music mixed with current hits. In order to attract an even larger audience, he thought it would also be a good idea to include dinner music from artists like Sinatra. He knew of just the perfect singer, dancer and all-around performer to fulfill his vision — Jenelle Faranso. And, that’s when D’Town Rewind was born. “The name of the band is really catchy,” explained Binno. “A lot of people like it.” Their first gig as D’Town Rewind was at this year’s Chaldean American Ladies of Charity event and it was a smash hit. The onstage fun and nostalgia of D’Town Rewind is so contagious that future

shows are often booked by word-of-mouth. “We’ve gotten a couple of shows from people who have previously seen us and they know that we’re very good,” said Binno. “Our friends have also been promoting us. They know what we’re capable of.” Like just about everything these days, D’Town Rewind is customizable. “We start as a two-piece band, but we can provide more musicians depending on the type of event and the client’s requests,” added Binno. And the rest is history in the making. For more information on how you can get down with D’Town Rewind for your event, go to: https://www.facebook.com/dtownrewind/


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CHALDEAN NEWS 37


DOCTOR is in

Understanding and managing everyday stress DR. IMAD MANSOOR

C

hronic stress can be a catalyst for depression, anxiety and mood disorders—all of which are ranked number one among the top five national health conditions contributing to poor health in nearly every county of every state in the U.S. Though often unpleasant, stress is a signal to the brain and body that helps identify physiological and psychological issues. In order to effectively manage stress, it’s important to understand what causes it, common symptoms and the lifestyle changes required to reduce the risk of more serious, longterm conditions down the road. What is Stress? Stress occurs when there is a perceived threat in the environment. It is often referred to as the “fight or flight” response, meaning the body prepares to flee from the threat or shifts all energy towards facing it. Stressors, or the stimulus that causes stress, can be any big or small life change such as the birth of a child, loss of employment or illness. Positive Stress: Stress is considered beneficial when it provides a burst of energy that can heighten awareness, lock memories and be a motivator to accomplish tasks more efficiently. Negative Stress: This form of stress is usually long-lasting, less manageable and decreases performance. Signs of negative stress include appetite changes, dizziness, changes in sleeping patterns, fatigue, headache, lack of energy, nervousness and/or upset stomach. Understanding the Risk Negative stress can lead to other more serious, long-term issues for a variety of reasons. It is best to seek help when the symptoms of stress persistently interfere with day-to-day life or lead to dangerous thoughts and behaviors. Some of the risks of untreated chronic stress include: • Depression/Anxiety • Diabetes • Gastrointestinal Issues • Heart Disease • Obesity 38

CHALDEAN NEWS

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Tips to Reduce Stress Balanced Meals: Preparing healthy meals throughout the day boosts mental power and can combat feelings of anxiety and stress at home and work. Be sure to incorporate foods rich with antioxidants and vitamins to naturally reduce stress. Some of these include: • Avocado • Blueberries • Crisp Vegetables (celery, carrots, peppers, etc.) • Dark Chocolate • Milk • Nuts and Seeds • Oatmeal • Salmon • Spinach • Sweet Potatoes Regular, Moderate Exercise: Sedentariness for long periods of time has been linked to higher levels of anxiety. Dedicating at least 30 minutes a

day to some form of physical activtask or setting a time log to record ity can boost self-confidence, lower how much time is spent on daily acblood pressure and improve sleep. tivities and modifying it based on the Exercise releases serotonin, a moodresults, there are a variety of tactics stabilizing hormone, and allows the to manage time efficiently. body and mind to destress. Positive Psychology: Training Routine Rest: The chemicals the brain to practice positive thinkin the brain that lead to ing can be difficult, esdeep sleep are the same pecially in situations of April is that control the producstress. However, being National Stress tion of stress hormones, cognizant of negative Awareness Month which is exactly why thoughts and actively reinsufficient rest and inplacing them with more creased stress go hand in positive thoughts can hand. Setting an alarm to start a bedmodify the habit over time. time routine each night can allow time to step away from screens and Dr. Imad Mansoor is an internist get ready for sleep to ensure seven to and Blue Cross Blue Shield of eight hours of shut-eye, which can Michigan provider. For more health reduce daytime agitation. and stress management tips, visit Time Management: Managing AHealthierMichigan.org. commitments, avoiding procrastination and categorizing tasks effectively reduces stress. Whether it’s prioritizing a to-do list and setting quantifiable goals to achieve each


JOIN OUR GROWING TEAM. The Chaldean News is looking for motivated candidates to fill full-time salaried sales positions. Qualified candidates should email a resume to info@chaldeannews.com.

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CHALDEAN NEWS 39


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Tell them you saw it in the Chaldean News! 30850 TELEGRAPH ROAD, SUITE 200 BINGHAM FARMS, MI 48025 TEL: (248) 996-8340 CELL: (248) 925-7773 FAX: (248) 996-8342 snavarrette@chaldeanchamber.com www.chaldeanchamber.com www.chaldeanfoundation.org Twitter: @ChaldeanChamber Instagram: @ChaldeanAmericanChamber


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MAKE YOUR OWN EGG COLORING MATERIALS

HINTS FOR COLORING EASTER EGG

Water White Vinegar Food Coloring White Eggs

Always let hard boiled eggs cool before starting any of the craft techniques. For multi-color eggs, start in the lightest color first.  Be sure the children let the eggs dry before putting the egg in a 2nd color.

Hard boil the eggs and let cool. For each color, measure 1/2 cup water into separate bowls add 1 tbsp vinegar to each bowl.  

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Mix in the food coloring until you get the shade you want.

Jesus Christian Lent Fasting Holy

Put the cooled eggs in the coloring dye until they are the color the children want (a few minutes).  You may need to roll the eggs to make sure they color evenly.

Cross Crown Mass Good Friday Passion

Tomb Resurrection Lamb Spring Flowers

Eggs Chicks Basket Chocolate Bunny

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Use masking tape to block off sections you want to be a specific color. 

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Use rubber bands to create a pattern on the egg.  Some color will seep under the band, but it won’t be the as dark as the area around it.  Let the egg dry, then put the bands on in a different pattern and dye a second color.

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Use stickers to keep the egg shell from absorbing color in some spots.  Remove some stickers and then move on to the next color.

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IDEAS FOR FANCY EGGS Use a white crayon to make a design on the egg before you start dyeing.  The dye won’t color that section of the Easter Eggs.

Create a marble or tie-dyed effect by using small pieces of cheese cloth or cotton.  Cut a piece 6-8 inches square.  Put the fabric in the dye, them move it to a disposable tray or dish.  Crumple or bunch up the cloth.  Gently place the egg on the cloth.  The crumpled ridges is where the dye will transfer to the egg.  You can place a second crumpled cloth on the top of the egg.  Let dry.  Repeat 2-3 times until the whole egg is covered. 42

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