• N i F A ;S V E
Mikan News itoi
Chaldeans, Jews break bread and the ice.
From left: Don Benyas with Florine Mark, president and CEO of the Farmington Hills-based WW Group, and architect Victor Saroki. Honorary Chair Michael
George. Chaldean Chamber board members Johnny Oram and Sandra Hanna. Honorary Chair Dr. Conrad Giles.
From left: Ron Asmar and James Jonna. Oakland County Commissioner Marcia Gershenson and Rick and Dana Loewenstein. Jewish News Publisher Arthur
Horwitz and Martin Manna, co-publisher of the Chaldean News. Thomas Nestor, senior vice president, Bank of America.
Managing Editor J Chaldean News
elationships were forged and
strengthened at a May 4 din-
ner to celebrate Building
Community, the nine-month-long initia-
tive between the Chaldean News and the
Detroit Jewish News.
More than 250 people gathered at
Shenandoah Country Club in West
Bloomfield at the first of several events
planned throughout the year and hosted
by the two publications. Launched in
April, Building Community consists of
identical articles running in both pub-
lications; the content explores the many
similarities of Metro Detroit's Chaldeans
"Many friendships have been renewed
and hopefully some started:' said JN
Publisher Arthur Horwitz in his opening
remarks. "When we narrow the gap, it's all
for the better, all for the good."
Chaldean News Co-Publisher Martin
Manna noted that Building Community,
the brainchild of Horwitz, has been in the
works for years. Manna introduced Dr.
Conrad Giles, honorary chair represent-
ing the Jewish community. The pediatric
ophthalmologist is chair of the national
Jewish Council for Public Affairs and past
president of the North American Council
of Jewish Federations and the Jewish
Federation of Metropolitan Detroit (JFMD).
"We face enormous challenges in this
state, community and country:' Giles said.
"Together, we can provide an enormous
force of good and tremendous growth!"
The other honorary chair, Michael
George, represented the Chaldean com-
munity. The former owner of Melody
Farms and past chair of the Chaldean
Federation of America recalled how there
were "preconceived notions" and occa-
sional animosity between ethnic groups
at Southfield schools. "We all communi-
cated; there was understanding; there was
peace George said. "Coming together like
this is so important!'
The evening included video excerpts
from "County Comm" a television inter-
view show hosted by Oakland County
Commissioner Marcia Gershenson, D-
Beverly Hills. She discussed Building
Community with Horwitz and Manna.
Also screened were segments from two
documentaries that aired on local TV
about the Jewish and Chaldean communi-
Cynthia Kyriakoza, a special education
teacher in the Farmington Public Schools,
was one of the many Chaldeans attending
"Because of growing up in Southfield,
which had a very high population of Jewish
people, I was already well versed and edu-
cated in their culture she said. "We are
both entrepreneurs and have so much to
offer society with our history and business
sense. This is expanding the horizons for
a long-term relationship that can benefit
Karen Alpiner, an active member of
the Jewish community who serves on
the boards of the JFMD, Hillel of Metro
Detroit and Federation's Alliance for
Jewish Education, said she appreciated
the chance to ask "candid questions" of
her Chaldean tablemates over dinner. "I
was very intrigued by the whole evening
and had been following the stories in the
Jewish News, but I honestly wasn't sure
what to expect:' she said.
"It was a great chance to meet and talk,
which we don't often get to do in our crazy,
busy world and in our insular communi-
ties. I knew our paths were similar, but I
was surprised by how the contemporary
journey is much the same as well. I hope
we have a chance to continue the dialogue
and work with each other and to be sure
to support each other's businesses!'
Jeff Forster, vice president of production
and station enterprises for Detroit Public
Television in Wixom, said he, too, learned
about both communities at the dinner.
"We need more events like this:' he said.
"Anytime we can get different ethnic and
cultural groups together, it's good."
Presenting sponsor for the Building
Community event is Bank of America.
Gold sponsors are Wayne State University
Meijer and the Detroit Medical Center; sil-
ver sponsors are Wayne County, Lawrence
Technological University in Southfield and
the University of Michigan-Dearborn's
School of Business. ❑
June 3 • 2010