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Chaldeans Find Refuge in East Tennessee
By Rita Abro :: 106201 Views :: Article Rating :: Community & Culture, Chaldean Churches

A group of religious refugees are finding a home in East Tennessee. Chaldean Catholics, native to Iraq, are fleeing their home country to avoid persecution.

Many Chaldeans are tortured, even murdered over their religious beliefs. There are an estimated 150,000 Chaldeans in the United States, including over 100 in East Tennessee. On Saturday, Bishop Ibrahim Ibrahim of the St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Chaldean Diocese, which covers the Eastern US, said mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Knoxville to help teach local Catholics about the Chaldean's plight.

"Usually they believe that all Iraqis are Muslims, but no, we are Christians even from the beginning, before Islam was there, Christians were there," Bishop Ibrahim said.

Joining him are members of the newly formed organization "Iraqi Christians in Need".

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The Chaldean Community Saving Grace While Saying Grace
By Neda Ayar :: 128990 Views :: Article Rating :: Religion & Spirituality, Community & Culture, Chaldean Churches

Michigan, USA –The Chaldean community has seen horrible devastation as Chaldeans are again persecuted for their Christian faith.  Nonetheless, Chaldeans remain unwavering and continue marching towards their faith amidst distressing struggles. 

“The pain we feel is hard,” says Husam Bodia.  “Our people have been ripped apart for believing in Jesus Christ.  Our women and children have been thrown to wolves; the men tortured and killed.  No matter.  We will not turn away from our faith.  Thank God our church remains.  Our Church is saving our people and our way of life. It is a cold glass of water in the desert.”

Bodia, like many other Chaldeans celebrate the Chaldean Church’s leadership in reaching out to the injured and needy.  “Our prayers have been answered.  We have more priests and deacons ordained than at any time in our history,” Bodia adds that the most recent ordination being Fr. Fawa Kako.  

Kako’s ordination marks another example of the Chaldean Churches in America dramatic and bold steps in serving the community.  Chaldean religious leaders across America have been tirelessly working to organize and prepare for the care and comfort of those in need. 

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Chaldean Hot Spots Get Too Hot
By Sam Yousif :: 83314 Views :: Article Rating :: Community & Culture, Business & Finance

Michigan, USA - The Chaldean community in Michigan were stunned to learn two of their favorite shopping locations went up in flames yesterday afternoon.  Both Kashat International Market and New Sahara Restaurant were completely destroyed by fire. 

Firefighters from Oak Park, Ferndale, and Beverly Hills spent all day Wednesday trying to get  the five alarm fire under control.  Early reports indicate the fire started in an international market and spread to the New Sahara Restaurant next door.

Both businesses have been in the community for decades.  “Almost every Chaldean family has eaten or shopped at those places,” says Alex Jabarow of Novi.  “Sahara would often stay open until two or four in the morning as Chaldeans would close their business and visit for a late night meal.  Those places have lots of history and meant a lot to many Chaldeans.  Especially those who fell in love with their house sauce.”

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Where Did all The Small-Business Loans Go?
By Paul Gori :: 95721 Views :: Article Rating :: Community & Culture, Business & Finance

Chaldean business owners know if you want to expand your business, you're going to need some cash.  Money still isn't falling off trees for small businesses, and the lending process can be a challenge to navigate. As a professional loan officer for a large banking company Haisha helps small businesses prepare loan request packages.  He also serves as the corresponding secretary of a private Chaldean investment group in Michigan.  The Chaldean group pulls their financial resources, investor connections, and business expertise together to help fund new Chaldean business ventures. 

Banks have tightened their lending policies, and it is more difficult for a Chaldean entrepreneur to get financing.  “The difficulty in getting a loan from a bank is causing many Chaldean small-business owners to have to get creative with finding sources of capital.”  Haisha adds, “Many Chaldeans have great businesses ideas, but do not have the money, business contacts, or expertise to make a go of it.  Chaldean entrepreneur candidates submit loan or investment requests to our members and we decide as a group, which we will fund.”

The Chaldean venture capitalists group is mostly composed of successful business entrepreneurs, professionals with funds to invest, and businesses able to provide services to new businesses.  The group tend to invest or loan money to Chaldeans who have developed a thorough plan for the success of their business.  Loans are provided with untraditional collateral requirements and terms. 

Chaldeans have received hundreds of thousands in loans by offering gold for collateral, property in Iraq, or agree to equity shares of their business says Haisha.  “Our members each buy shares into a proposed business opportunity.  Shares prices range from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands, depending on the amount needed by the business selected to be funded.”

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The Softer Side of Caring for Chaldean Elders
By Latifa Seeba :: 82046 Views :: Article Rating :: Living & Lifestyle, Community & Culture

Who are the elders in your family? The obvious answer is that they are your parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and eldest cousins -- basically, any relative who's getting up in years. But that doesn't really answer the question, does it? In a Chaldean family, there is a big difference between being elderly and being an elder.

Chaldean Elders are the people we respect and turn to for answers and perspective, thanks to their many years of life. Most of all, they are the people who raised you and your loved ones and helped you grow into the people you are. For several decades, they carried the burden of caring for your family and leading it to better times. Now it's your turn to dote on them. Ensuring the welfare of our elders should come as naturally to us as raising our children.

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Chaldeans Share Their Tips on What Not To Do To Keep Relationships Strong
By Ann Bahri :: 50261 Views :: Article Rating :: Community & Culture

1. Nagging, nagging, nagging.
“We know about the squeaky wheel, but complaining loud and long gets you only short-term gains and builds up discontent,” says Alex Harmiz.  “This also hurts children.  I had a friend who was so embarrassed by his mom’s constant nagging so he used to hang out at our house all the time.  At first he said it was because he loved Chaldean food and wanted to learn more about our culture.  Later, he confided in me he could not stand his mom’s nagging all the time.”

2. Blaming, criticizing, and name-calling.
These tactics belittle the person you promised to love, honor, and cherish; let you play angel to his or her devil; and don't address the responsibility you both share for your marital happiness. 

Angie Allos shares that her college dorm-mate at Michigan State a few years back used to have a boyfriend that was always insulting and mean.  “I tried to tell her that love is shown by actions and words. I really felt sorry and scared for her. They really had issues and those issues eventually broke apart their relationship.”

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An AlQosh Man Struggles to Keep a Promise to an Old Friend
By Amer Hedow :: 125235 Views :: Article Rating :: Community & Culture, World News & Odds 'N' Ends, Chaldean Justice League

AlQosh, IRAQ – Abandoned since 1948 by native Iraqi Jews remains the tomb of the Jewish Prophet Nahum, a minor prophet in the Hebrew Bible.  Nahum wrote about the Assyrian Empire and the plains of Ninevah and prophesized the fall of Assyrian Kingdom for failing to turn from their pagan ways. 

Nahum was written after the fall of Israel in 722 BC but before the fall of Ninevah in 612. It is very likely, based upon the description of the relationship between Assyria and Judah, that Nahum prophesied in the early reign of King Josiah. Assyria was in the last days of its great power. They still controlled most of the Middle East. However, Babylon, Persia, and Egypt were all expanding in strength.

Literary enthusiasts would appreciate the irony that the tomb has been gently cared for and preserved by native Iraqi Christians.  After Iraqi Jews were forced to leave their country over half a century ago due to their religious difference with the prevailing Muslims of the region, Sami Jajouhana was asked to be the keeper of Nahum's tomb. He was handed the iron keys and an old leather ledger by his Jewish friend who left al-Qosh in 1948.  Jajouhana promised his dear friend to care for the sacred site for Jews.   

Beneath one of the few remaining standing synagogues in all of Iraq, Nahum's tomb is at risk.  For over half a century, few Jewish pilgrims have journeyed to the site.  Nonetheless, Jajouhana keeps his promise to his old friend, by recording the few who do tour the tomb or visit the synagogue and to care for their holy place.   Jajouhana has handled the landscaping, cleaned the vandalism that often plaques the monument, and managed repairs the best he can with the minuscule resources his family has in honor of his friendship and his friend’s convictions. 

The building is crumbling and in need of major repairs.  Most of the roof’s supporting beams and some stone walls have deteriorated. The Hebrew scripture is unmistakably visible on the interior walls—square, precisely carved, unobtrusive and definitively Hebrew.  All at risk to be forever lost except for this one man on a mission to rebuild. 

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New Chaldean Priest Ordained in Michigan
By Neda Ayar :: 146134 Views :: Article Rating :: Religion & Spirituality, Community & Culture, Chaldean Churches

Michigan, USA – The Chaldean community welcomes their newest Catholic priest, Fr. Rudy Zoma, 28, of the Chaldean Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle.  On Saturday, July 4th, Chaldeans from all over joined the ordination Mass of the new priest.  Guests, seminarians, and visiting clergy from across the globe participated in the celebration.

Fr. Rudy is the third American Chaldean priest with five other American born seminarians to soon graduate and join the prestigious rank of priestly vocation among Chaldeans. 

“Fr. Rudy is an incredible person,” says Britney Allos.  “He really is involved with the younger generation and is a great speaker.  He can be serious and he can be funny.”  Fr. Rudy Zoma helped establish an English youth bible study at Mother of God Parish and was instrumental in helping the Chaldean parish soccer team repeatedly win the indoor Catholic College classic championship over Ave Maria, St. Mary MTS, and the other college teams.   “The amount of guests who arrived to his ordination celebration is a testament to his leadership and community support,” said Anthony Sako, parishioner of Mother of God parish. 

[Photos at the end of the article]

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Chaldean Symphony at the GSO - Middle East Meets West
By Rita Abro :: 154850 Views :: Article Rating :: Sports, Art, and Entertainment, Community & Culture, Chaldean Churches

California, USA –The Grossmont Symphony Orchestra (GSO) have been invited to play along with world class Chaldean musicians in the presentation of “Middle East Meets West.”   The GSO, under the musical direction of Dr. Randall Tweed, is a seventy-five member orchestral ensemble comprised of music and non-music majors, and talented musicians from the community.

The orchestra, whose musical performance home is El Cajon's own "East County Performing Arts Center" (ECPAC), performs a large variety of concerts from serious classical "arts" performances to lighter "pops" entertainment. Local and nationally reputed performing artists are frequent soloists with the GSO.

The St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Church in El Cajon helped organize the appearance of special guest artist and world class violinisht Luay Yousif. Yousif, born in Baghadad in 1979, has performed with the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. He has lived in the U.S. since 2007.

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Fashion Leaders Help Raise Awareness for ALS
By Vivian Dabbish :: 84598 Views :: Article Rating :: Living & Lifestyle, Community & Culture

Massachusetts, USA – Chaldeans are well known as compassionate fighters against injustice.  Many help feed refugees, run for cancer, care for the sick, and offer aid to the needy.  “It is because of our faith,” says Ann Kajy.  “As Christians we are taught to use our talents to help lift the burden of others.” 

Talented and famous Boston designer Denise Hajjar is helping to lift the burden of those suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.  The disease is a neurodegenerative disease that attacks both upper and lower motor neurons and weakens the brain and spinal cord.

Hajjar showed her spring and summer line at a fashion show benefiting the Massachusetts chapter of the ALS Association. Before the event kicked off, Hajjar said she planned to show 56 different looks in lots of cheerful colors: oranges, yellows, blues, and pinks. "The dress is back in a big, big way," she promised. "Women are embracing it again." And in recognition of the current economic, uh, constraints many shoppers are under, she kept her frocks in the $200 range and created bags for less than $100. "We really worked hard at that," she said.

Hajjar is well known for her elegant styles and custom look.  “She knows exactly how to fit the right fashion to the right person,” says Kajy.  “I have long been a fan of her styles and have a wardrobe filled of her inspired designs.”

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St. Thomas, MI USA

St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church
6900 Maple Rd.
West Bloomfield, MI 48322
Tel: (248) 788-2460
Fax: (248) 788-2153

Founding Pastor:
Rev. Hanna Cheikho

Current Pastor:
Rev. Frank Kalabat

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Jirjis Abrahim

Rev. Emmanuel Rayes, Retired  


Rev. Frank Kalabat
 

Rev. Frank Kalabat was born in 1970 in San Diego, California and entered St. Francis Seminary of San Diego, California.  The admission to the Catholic seminary made him the first born U.S. Chaldean to enter an American seminary.  In 1992, Fr. Kalabat continued his studies at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan.  In July 1995, shortly after graduation he was ordained as priest by His Excellency Bishop Ibrahim N. Ibrahim.  

Fr. Frank chose Mother of God Parish in Southfield, MI. as his first assignment serving the Chaldean community as an associate pastor for half a decade.  In 2001, Fr. Kalabat was elected to serve as Pastor of St. Tomas Parish in West Bloomfield, Michigan where he remains today.   

Rev. Jirjis Abrahim

Rev. Jirjis Abrahim was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1942. Upon graduation Fr. Abrahim was admitted to St. Peter Chaldean Seminary in Baghdad, Iraq.  After a decade of studies and numerous degrees, Fr. Abrhim was ordained a priest in 1967.  He chose to continue ministering in Baghdad, Iraq.  There he was appointed the headmaster of the catechism at Mother of Sorrows Cathedral.  Fr. Abrahim also assisted St. Therese Church in Baghdad until 1978.  Afterward he was asked to assist St. Joseph Church in Baghdad and was appointed Parochial Vicar from 1978-1992. 

In 1992, Fr. Abrahim was called upon to assist the growing Chaldean population in Michigan.  Upon his arrival he was assigned to St. Joseph Church in Tory, Michigan.  Two years later Fr. Abrahim was asked to become the pastor of a Parish community in Windsor, Canada  where he remained the parish pastor until 2001.

Continuing demographic changes in Michigan required Fr. Abrahim to return to St. Joseph Parish in Tory as a Parochial Vicar, where he remained until 2006.  In 2006 he was elected to St. Thomas Parish as Parochial Vicar in West Bloomfield, MI. where he currently serves the Chaldean community.

 

Rev. Emmanuel Rayes

Rev. Emmanuel Rays was born in Araden, Iraq in 1930.  He studied at St. John Dominican Seminary and was ordained to the priesthood in 1954.  The Chaldean catholic ambassador ministered in northern Iraq from 1954-1963, in Syria and Lebanon from 1963-1980, and in the United Stated from 1980 to the present day.
 
Form 1980-1983, he was appointed associate pastor at Mother of God Parish in Southfield, Michigan.  From 1983-1989 he served as pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Detroit, Michigan.  During the early 1990’s he ministered to the Chaldean community in Farmington Hills and was at St. Joseph Parish in Tory where he was Parochial Vicar until 2000.

Although Fr. Rayes retired in 2001, he remains active in serving the community.  He is the author of many articles in Arabic and is the editor-in-chief of the Al Mishal and Al-Tariq magazine.  He has translated and continues to translate many books from French and English into Arabic.