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Community & Culture

Chaldeans Share Their Tips on What Not To Do To Keep Relationships Strong
By Ann Bahri :: 19312 Views :: 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 :: 49857 Views :: 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 :: 65373 Views :: 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 :: 79741 Views :: 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 :: 32888 Views :: 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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Chaldean Moms Give Great Advice
By Latifa Seeba :: 32811 Views :: Health & Fitness, Community & Culture

“I was scared and worried,” says Ashley Michael.  “My baby would not stop crying.  It was late at night and I was so tired.  He was getting on my nerves.  Thank God we lived with my Mother-in-Law.  She helped keep me calm and made me feel that everything would be fine.  She was so kind and helpful.”

All babies cry. And at about two weeks of age, it is common for babies to develop a fussy period in the evening that can last for as long as two hours.  Fortunately for Mrs. Michael it is a Chaldean tradition for a new mom to stay with her mother or mother-in-law after giving birth for a few months.   

The reassurance, extra set of hands, and experienced advice can make all the difference.  So can a number of these helpful tips given to www.CHALDEAN.org by experienced Chaldean moms on how to soothe a fussy baby.  Try some of the following techniques, or perhaps a combination of them, to soothe your baby.

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Iraqi National Museum Reopens With Christian Art Hidden Away
By Neda Ayar :: 41209 Views :: Sports, Art, and Entertainment, Community & Culture, Government & Society

Baghdad, IRAQ - Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki attended the inaugural re-opening of Iraq’s National Museum.  “The opening is another sign of Iraq’s stabilization,” says Thair Yatooma, of the Iraqi Citizen Council of Art, an advisory group of the National Museum.  “The opening of the National Museum in Baghdad is a message from the government to foreign tourists: you are welcome." 

The Prime Minister cut the ribbon at the official reopening saying, "We have ended the black wind (of violence) and have started the reconstruction process." This morning, the first tourists entered the museum: for now, only guided tours for groups are allowed; it will take time to reopen the museum to private citizens.

However, some say the Museum must bring the Christian history of Iraq back into the light.  The National Museum had a long standing policy of prohibiting any display of Christian art to the general public.  The section dedicated to the Christian community could be visited only by foreign tourists; it was not accessible to Arab Iraqis. “The Christian presence is profound, deeply grounded, setting down roots over centuries; Saddam Hussein may have protected it, he always concealed it from the eyes of ordinary citizens" says Yatooma.

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Understanding Nonverbal Chaldean Communication
By Brenda Hermiz :: 64571 Views :: Community & Culture, Business & Finance

Most of what we learn about human behavior is taught by nonverbal signals. Body language is a powerful but subtle form of communication.  Learning to interpret the clues and indicators of body language will help guide you through delicate situations and help you shape better personal relationships.

Like the spoken language different cultures also have their share of unique nonverbal gestures.  In the Chaldean community various body gestures can help better understand what is being said or how someone feels.  These include gestures, body movements, facial expressions, and even vocal tone and pitch. Much of the nonverbal information we get from people comes from their eyes. This explains why it’s often hard to infer meaning from a telephone call or written words.

Since nonverbal communication—or body language—is such a natural part of our communication life and community, learning to interpret it can really improve our relationships and understanding of other people. Still, it’s an art to be treated with a degree of caution. Misinterpretation does occur and it is always best to ask questions, otherwise acting on your perceptions can have ghastly consequences.

Knowing the art of Chaldean body language or body language in general will improve communications.  Here are some interesting Chaldean body language clues that many of us all share.

Chaldean Body Language 101: Understand the Meanings of Chaldean Gestures

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Iraqi Christian Unity Paradox
By Amer Hedow :: 20880 Views :: Community & Culture

Arbil, IRAQ – Iraqi Christians were not immune to Muslin tribal mentality which divided Iraqis and created factions, all to the benefit of past paranoid Iraqi leaders.  “Dictators and rulers trying to protect their power firmly divide the people so that they can pin one group against another,” says Monir Arafat, a historian of Iraq. 

“Each group is worried about the other group.  It is easy to start conflicts to keep them busy fighting one another rather than the ruler or dictator.  This military strategy of divide and conquer has consequences that have stretched across centuries for the Christians of Iraq.”

What many Chaldeans consider to be a tiresome debate continues to have glowing embers that have now stretched across the world.  Arafat says Christian communities continue to argue over the rightful title of their community name.  “This is a fool’s argument that by its very nature causes the division they claim they are trying to heal.  The wise people ignore the entire debate and allow healing to naturally take place.  It is like picking at a scab, hoping it will heal faster.  When in reality the picking just opens and infects the wound.”

Others, like Iraqi theatre director Georges Hawell aim to help build unity by focusing on the similarities and not the differences.  Hawell is directing a play titled “Bride and Peace” which plays in Arbil to unify Iraqi Christians. 

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University of Detroit Mercy teaches Aramaic (Chaldean)
By John Thomas :: 41481 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.

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Chaldean Christmas Party for Refugees Offers Hope and Peace
By Sam Yousif :: 50931 Views :: Community & Culture, Chaldean Churches

Michigan, USA - The Chaldean Catholic Diocese of the United States of America held a Christmas party for Chaldeans in Michigan.  For many, this was their first Christmas celebration in safety since the war began. 

More than 1,200 guests gathered in the prestigious Bella Hall on Sunday.  All hoping to bring peace to so many who still worry about their loved ones caught in the turmoil and persecution of Iraqi Christians.  Others silently cried as they reflected on the situations of their loved ones trapped in foreign countries as refugees. 

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Chaldean Teens Make A Big Difference in Helping Those in Need
By Brenda Hermiz :: 22287 Views :: Community & Culture

Massachusetts, USA – In a society where consumerism and the “me” driven commercialization of the holidays have driven most teens to think of only themselves.  However,  there still shine beacons of light.  Out in wilderness of the teen jungle there are more teens than Disney and mainstream media give credit to for their maturity, concern, and activism in helping others. 

In Michigan a group of well coordinated Chaldean teens continue to make a big difference to those in need.  Better known as CT-Squared or Chaldean Teens Coming Together the group of teenagers put their faith into practice.  Unlike the stereotypical teens splashed across TV newscasts or written about in belittling terms, this group silently works to help others.  The group of middle and high school aged volunteers serve breakfast, help feed the hungry, collect food donations for food banks, organize family outings, fundraise for those in need, and actively serving the community. 

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Chaldean Thanksgiving is All About Giving
By Rita Abro :: 44593 Views :: Living & Lifestyle, Community & Culture, Government & Society

Michigan, USA – On this day of gratitude, commonly referred to as Thanksgiving, Chaldeans help show the spirit of good will and giving.  Chaldeans throughout the metro-Detroit area are once again out in full force helping their neighbors this thanksgiving.  Chaldean churches, businesses, and Chaldean charity organizations will be giving out well over a thousand turkeys and side foods to needy families.  Chaldean churches and groups like the Chaldean American Ladies of Charity, Chaldean Teens Coming Together, and Chaldean American Professionals plan on distributing thanksgiving meals and turkeys. 

Other Chaldean charity groups like UR of the Chaldees are buying grocery for seniors who live alone. Adopt-A-Refugee-Family is raising funds to help needy refugee families scattered throughout the world.  The Newcomers group is taking underprivileged youth out on field trips.  Chaldean grocery stores and restaurants are also helping. 

Danny Yono, owner of J's Kabob restaurant will provide free Thanksgiving feasts for anyone who can’t afford a meal with the trimmings or doesn’t want to eat alone.  From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, J’s Kabob, 2941 Coolidge, Berkley, will host its second annual free Thanksgiving Day dinner. Anyone can get a carryout of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn and rolls.

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CALC Calls for Comfort for the Community
By Neda Ayar :: 36258 Views :: Community & Culture, Government & Society, CALC

Michigan, USA – These are undoubtedly desperate times.  The economy in the U.S. is on the decline and Michigan’s economy has drifted far to the center of thin ice.  Some are blaming Michigan’s political leaders for their mismanagement and high taxes, others fault the unions for their greedy self-interest.  The rhetoric is tiresome.  Finger pointing does little to help.  So who can we turn to model the leadership we all desperately seek?  The Chaldean American Ladies of Charity, affectionately known as CALC. 

We may think we have it tough, but CACL volunteers will be quick help correct our perceptions should we wallow in self-pity or fictional misery.  CALC has seen some of the most desperate and in need.  Instead of blaming others or complaining, CALC leaders went to work.  They have been diligently working to fill a portable on demand storage (PODS) of common goods to help those in need.  Today and tomorrow (Saturday, Nov 23 and Sunday, Nov 24) are the last two days of a month long campaign of collecting items to help the needy. 

In the parking lot of St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church in West Bloomfield, Michigan a large PODS container sits in the parking lot.  Donors are asked to please help those in need by bringing new or good conditioned blankets, comforters, sheets, pillows, and mattress pads and dropping them into the storage truck.

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Chaldean Scholar Awarded Catholic Woman of the Year
By Rita Abro :: 72973 Views :: Career & Education, Community & Culture, World News & Odds 'N' Ends, Chaldean Churches

London, UK – Chaldean scholar, author, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Dr. Suha Rassam was named as one of the four Catholic Women of the Year at a reception in London this past week.  The founder of the charity Iraqi Christians in Need (ICIN) was honored among an assembly of some of the world’s most notable leaders and in the presence of the Papal Nuncio Archbishop Faustino Munoz.

Dr Rassam is originally from Mosul in northern Iraq. She is a medical doctor and professor of Medicine in the University of Baghdad. Arriving to England in 1990 she worked in London hospitals until her retirement when she took an MA in Eastern Christianity at the school of Oriental and African Studies in the University of London.

Dr. Rassam, author of the book 'Christianity in Iraq' set up ICIN  last year with a group of fellow Iraqis, to provide financial and spiritual support to Iraqi Christians both in Iraq and in countries such as Syria and Jordan, where many are now refugees.

Earlier this year, she visited Iraqi refugee families in Syria to assess how best ICIN could help them. In Aleppo, she met with Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo of the Chaldean Catholic Church and Bishop Yuhanna Ibrahim of the Syrian Orthodox Church.  Since then her impact in helping Iraqi refugee families has been remarkable. 

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