Childean News J
iEWI S H NEWS
month-old Project Bismutha resembles Proj-
ect Chessed, created nearly six years ago by
the Jewish Family Service of Metropolitan
Detroit. Dr. Elyas and other Chaldean medi-
cal professionals model their approach on
Chessed, helped by guidance from Jewish
counterparts. (Bismutha is Aramaic for heal-
ing, while Chessed is Hebrew for kindness.)
'Community safety net'
Medical providers donate services and fa-
cilities to create "a community safety net
with access to a care network," says Rachel
Yoskowitz, director of Chessed. "Because if
you need healthcare, you need healthcare
— it doesn't matter what [finances] you
have. It's important for everyone to have a
medical home, a place they can be treated if
they're not feeling well."
From her office in West Bloomfield, she
adds: "The Chaldean community recognized
a similar need, and organizers from Project
Bismutha came to us."
Rising need during the economic recession
strains both nonprofits. "A lot of people lost
their insurance" due to layoffs, Dr. Elyas notes.
At the same time, "thousands of refugees corn-
ing from back home [Iraq] have no work and
no insurance — just minimal government as-
sistance that expires shortly after arrival."
Similarly, Project Chessed's director
i on N ITIATIVE
Players of varied ages
mix sports, fellowship
Bank of America.
To stay active and healthy. some Jews and Chaldeans play
the way they pray —participating in organized sports with
friends who share faith, friendship and a sense of family.
"We get together with a bunch of guys early in the
morning." says Jeff Fox, who skates with players aged
from 25 to near 70 in the informal Almost All Jewish
Hockey League. We don't keep stats. other than the
score, and just skate to stay in shape and keep playing."
The league has been lighting the lamp for nearly
three decades, with some founders seeing their sons
lace up skates to keep the tradition alive.
The Chaldean Hockey League is more formal than its
Jewish counterpart, but many players focus on the same
benefits. Athletes range from 16 to their early 40s,
according to Read Kello, co-commissioner with Robert
"Most of the guys grew up playing sports. As I got
older, I started playing goalie to keep active," says Kello,
46. YOU also get to meet new people, so it acts as
DETROIT MEDICAL CENTER
In addition, there are Chaldean football and
basketball leagues that have been around for more than
A new initiative, Come Play Detroit. founded by Justin
Jacobs and working in part with the Jewish Federation of
Metropolitan Detroit's Community Next program, aims to
broaden the participation in physical activity in southeast
"Our goal is to expand people's communities, says
Jacobs. "We're trying to change a culture around here,
create something for young professionals to be a part of."
For those not participating in team sports, a Jewish-
Chaldean partnership dedicated to investing in the
community's health offers a full-body fitness workout.
Scott George, along with partners David Newman, Sam
Selman, Mike Knight and Karla Atchoo, runs the Art of
Strength (ADS) Training Center in West Bloomfield.
Unconventional training methods focus on mixing
cardiovascular exercise with strength training and body
sculpting. Clients can burn up to 1,000 calories in a
60-minute session, according to George.
notes that "if every doctor pledged to see
X number of [uninsured] patients, we could
help a lot more people be healthy."
And that, would be a mitzvah or bring
bismutha across our communities.
"When people do this type of training. they fall in love
with it," adds George, a certified AOS trainer.
And it's not all about just what you do in the training
"We give some guidelines on what to eat. We want
to make sure our clients put beneficial foods in their
Alan Stamm and Justin Fi.sette are
writers for Tanner Friedman, a
marketing communications firm in
bodies, to take full advantage of their workouts with us."
— Justin Fisette
Bloomfield Hills Schools