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University of Detroit Mercy teaches Aramaic (Chaldean)
By John Thomas :: Sunday, January 11, 2009 :: 61570 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/

Sacred Heart Parish, MI USA

 

Sacred Heart Parish
310 W. Seven Mile. Rd.
Detroit, MI 48203
Tel: (313) 368-6214
Fax: (313) 891-0132

The parish was established by Rev. Jacob Yasso in 1973

Rev. Jacob Yasso

Rev. Jacob Yasso was born in the village of Telkaif, Iraq.  After completing high school he was recruited to Rome and Urbaniana University where he completed his Masters Degree in philosophy and Theology.  Fr. Yasso was ordained a priest in 1960 and served the Diocese of Mosul, where he worked in the public school system. Fr. Yasso was also asked by the Patriarch to teach at the Patriarchal Seminary in Baghdad, where he served as administrator, professor of philosophy and religious life, and rector of the minor seminary. 

In 1964, Fr. Yasso was appointed to the United States to serve the growing Chaldean community in Detroit.  There he served as the 4th Pastor of Mother of God Parish.  .  In 1972, the Patriarch charged Fr. Yasso with building a new parish for the Chaldeans in Detroit.  In taking great pains to care for the community Fr. Yasso accelerated the development of a new church and community center.  In 1975, Fr. Yasso completed the development of Sacred Heart Parish in Detroit and shortly thereafter he added the Chaldean Center of America in 1980, 

A few years later in 1982, Fr. Yasso was asked to assist the late Fr. Kattoula at St. Peter’s Church in San Diego, CA.  Before long, Fr. Yasso was once again recruited to Rome to study new Canon Law of the Church.  While in Rome Fr. Yasso completed his third Masters Degree in Church Law, making him the only Chaldean priest trained in Canon Law. 

In 1988, the Patriarch and Vatican authorities asked Fr. Yasso to travel to Canada and establish a parish and community center.  While there he served as a Tribunal Judge for the Archdiocese of Toronto.  Four years later Fr. Yasso returned to Sacred Heart church in Detroit to help care for the remaining Chaldean community residence in the Detroit area.  To this day, Fr. Yasso continues to serve as the parish pastor creating activities and advising the City of Detroit on community related matters. 

Fr. Yasso is a member of the International WYCLIF Bible translators, since 1975, and has completed the translation of the New Testament from Greek and Aramaic into Arabic and spoken Chaldean.   The publication of his scholarly work is set to be released soon.