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University of Detroit Mercy teaches Aramaic (Chaldean)
By John Thomas :: Sunday, January 11, 2009 :: 80345 Views :: Career & Education, Community & Culture

For thousands of years the language of Aramaic has existed, descended from Sumerian and Akkadian roots.  The language is still spoken by the Chaldean Assyrian Syriac people today, and is one of the four recognized languages in the Iraqi constitution under Syriac (Eastern dialect of Aramaic). 

The University of Detroit Mercy has recently established an Aramaic course teaching how to speak, read and write Aramaic, as well as studies pertaining to culture and history. The class starts January 17th and is taught by Mahir Awrahem, who is also a professor at Baker College. 
 
The 15-week is an introductory course  open to all college and high school students.  Prof. Awrahem is excited for the start of the program, “When I lived in Iraq, there was no such thing as learning Aramaic in schools; I am excited to be teaching the language of Christ especially at the University level.

According to Lawrence Mansour, Director of Ishtar Cultural Center, “The establishment of the Aramaic class is only the first step to promoting awareness of the language and history of the indigenous people of Iraq.” Mansour also stated that before the establishment of the course no other opportunities existed for students to learn their own language and receive college credit. “Students before were forced to take other languages for college credit; now they can take Aramaic.”  
  
Back in 2001, Prof. Awrahem traveled back to Iraq where he was astonished to see the development of Syriac teaching schools in the Northern part of Iraq.  “The level at which the students were reading was amazing; it motivated me to want to come back and teach the Syriac language to people in America.” 

Prof. Awrahem was approached by Mansour to establish the course but found many hardships in the beginning. “To establish a course at a University level is one thing, but to establish the curriculum of a rare language like Aramaic is another,” says Mansour. “We wanted to show that Aramaic is alive, and it even contains words for technology, physics, chemistry - the list is endless.” 

Depending on which university the student attends, the credits are transferable up to 6 credits.   Recently, other Universities have acknowledged the class to provide for easier transfers of credits between them and UDM.  The list range from U of M, MSU, Wayne State University, Oakland University, the list goes on. 

The course is taught at the Ishtar Cultural Center which is located on 15 Mile rd just southeast of Dequindre rd. as a convenience to students who might not  be able to attend classes at University of Detroit Mercy.

The course consists of two parts: the language portion and history and culture, allowing students to also receive history credit, as well as satisfy general education requirements. The Aramaic language was recently added to the official roster of the University, and has been evaluated by numerous doctorial professors around the country.  For more information visit www.Aramaicstudies.com

comment @ Sunday, June 17, 2012 7:43 PM
Comments from the following blog entry: http://zxr12.yoursexualaids.net/2012/06/18/chaldean-aramaic/

St. Joseph, MI USA

St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church
2442 E. Big Beaver Rd.
Troy, MI 48083
Tel: (248) 528-3676
Fax: (248) 524-1957

Congregation Organizer:
Rev. Michael J. Bazzi

Church Constructing Pastor:
Rev. Sarhad Y. Jammo

Current Pastor:
Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Ayad Hanna

 Current Pastor: Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Msgr. Zouhair Toma (Kejbou) was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1947.  He was ordained a priest in Baghdad, Iraq in 1968, and accepted his first assignment to serve the community of Baquba.  The Monsignor’s leadership skills and organizational talents along with his mastery of theology were immediately evident.  He later assisted Sts. Peter and Paul in Al-Salehia, and St. George in New Baghdad.

In August, 1978 Monsignor Toma was called to serve the growing community of persecuted Chaldeans finding refuge in Australia.   Being the fist Chaldean priest to arrive in Australia he quickly established a parish for the Chaldeans in Sydney to serve their social and spiritual needs.  The parish was named after St. Thomas the Apostle and built a rectory. 

In 1989, for his incredible work he was granted the title of Monsignor, Chaldean Patriarchal Vicar for Australia and New Zealand.  Continuing his passionate work to serve the Chaldean community the Monsignor moved the Parish Center to a more accessible location and built a large church campus featuring a modern community center, residence quarters, and administrative offices in 1995. 

In 2003, Monsignor Toma added a magnificent church to replace the previous one in order to serve the fast growing community and also opened two other centers.  The first was Our Lady Guardian of Plants in Melbourne, and the second was Mar Addai the Apostle in Auckland, New Zealand.  Mar Addai in New Zealand included two very large churches along with rectories and community centers.  Overseeing the Patriarchal Vicariate for 28 years, he managed to inspire six more priests to help minister to the fast growing Chaldean community. 

In August 2006, Monsignor chose to assist the St. Thomas the Apostle Diocese in the U.S. as more Catholic churches were being built in America and address the growing need.  On October 2006, Monsignor was incardinated and appointed Pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Troy.