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November 04, 2010 - Image 27

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2010-11-04

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Talking About Culture from page 25

with those high school kids."

Focus On Youth
The teen forum represents an important
progression in the Building Community
initiative. While all previous interactions
associated with this initiative have been
between Chaldean and Jewish adults,
this was the first time the two publishing

companies provided a forum and a safe
space for youth to strip away the veneer of
stereotypes and recognize the commonali-
ties they share.
"In many households, high school-age
children have the most opportunities
for interaction and involvement with
Chaldeans and Jews',' said Arthur Horwitz,
publisher of the Jewish News. "We're

Teen Forum A Great
First Step

learned in my entire life.
Mojo challenged the audience to
directly answer questions regard-
ing each culture. One Jewish girl was
eople stereotype one another
asked how her parents would react
daily. Its usually uninten-
if she married someone outside her
tional and, in most cases, the
Jewish faith.
origin is unknown. People are stereo-
"My parents definitely would not
typed by the color of their skin, gen-
be
happy because it would create a
der, religious beliefs and even culture.
halt
in my culture she said. "It's not
High school is a very common ground
that
they
disrespect other cultures, it's
for stereotyping. It happens because
just
the
fact
that they want our Jewish
we are unaware of one another's dif-
culture to thrive and
ferences so, in turn, we
grow by sticking
generalize.
together."
Bloomfield Hills Lahser
I saw many stu-
and Andover high schools
dents'
heads nod in
have a clear separation
agreement,
including
amongst the Jewish and
my
own.
Chaldean teenage popu-
To me, the forum
lations. Both cultures
was
an overall shock.
have attended school
I
never
realized nor
in the same district for
took
the
time to think
years, but neither group
that
other
cultures,
has made the effort to
though
different,
may
understand the other on
be
the
same
after
all.
a higher and intellectual
Angelic Gasso
Both
the
Jewish
level until now
and Chaldean com-
On Oct. 6, Chaldean
munities
value
and
pride themselves
and Jewish students, a priest, a rabbi
in
their
cultures,
a
key
component in
and Mojo from 95.5-FM met at Model
maintaining
any
ethnicity.
The forum
High School in Bloomfield Hills to
made
me
feel
accomplished
and gave
discuss cultural differences and
me
a
sense
of
hope
for
the
two
cul-
similarities. Students were allowed
tures.
The
participants
were
honest;
to sit anywhere they pleased —
every stereotype was brought to the
naturally, the two cultures generally
surface in raw form.
sat on opposing sides. This further
It was a big step for both groups in
evidenced the separation that exists
tightening
the gap between the Jewish
amongst the groups not only in
and
Chaldean
communities, but it
school, but also extracurricular activi-
is
just
the
beginning.
With time and
ties, work settings and free time.
further
knowledge
of
one another's
I will admit, my knowledge of the
cultures,
I
feel
a
sense
of community
Jewish culture is rather limited. I was
and
understanding
will
be gained. ❑
eager to learn more about the Jewish
community and the forum provided
Angelic Gasso is a senior at Bloomfield
just that exactly. In the short hour the
Hills Lahser High School.
forum lasted, I learned more about
the Jewish community than I had

Angelic Gasso
Special to the Jewish News

p

hopeful content from the forum provides
`teachable moments' in reverse, with the
children enlightening their parents."
Horwitz and Martin Manna, co-publish-
er of the Chaldean News, are spearheading
the Building Community initiative.
Both are pleased that other school
districts with significant Chaldean and
Jewish student populations are interested

in hosting their own teen forums, and they
look forward to facilitating this with them.
"The only way to rid people of their
ignorance about each other is to talk
about our differences and similarities:'
Manna said.
"This is what the teen forum was all
about — to educate people about the
Jewish and Chaldean communities." ❑

Work As A Community
To Build One

Josh Morof
Special to the Jewish News

A

s an active member of
both Andover High School
and the Jewish com-
munity, I was chosen to serve on a
panel for the "Building Community"
teen forum held Oct. 6. Along with
Rabbi Josh Bennett of
Temple Israel in West
Bloomfield and Father
Anthony Kathawa
of Mother of God
Chaldean Church in
Southfield, there were
two Chaldean students
and a second Jewish
student. In the audi-
ence were more than
100 Bloomfield Hills
students.
One of the very first Josh Morof
things discussed was
stereotyping. "You don't look Jewish."
"You don't act Chaldean." I personally
hate hearing Jewish jokes and stereo-
types as often as I do. I have never
been able to understand how some-
one could classify or even make fun of
another person based on something
like their religion.
However, before this forum, I never
looked at the situation the other way
around. Even when we do not realize
it, we are constantly categorizing and
judging those around us. If you tell
yourself that you have never made fun
of someone because of the way they
look, act, talk or even because of their
beliefs, you would most likely be lying
to yourself.
One question that really stood
out to me was asked by a student.
The question was not "How do we
improve the relationship between
Jews and Chaldeans?" but rather "How

do we create a relationship between
Chaldeans and Jews?" This question is
so interesting to me because it points
out that there is currently not a rela-
tionship between Jews and Chaldeans.
Within Andover High School,
there is extremely limited interac-
tion between the two groups. The
Chaldeans have their benches in
the main hallway, and
the Jews congregate in
front of the stairs to the
second floor. Even at the
forum, the Chaldeans
and Jews automatically
separated, each generally
sitting on different sides
of the room. Outside of
school it is not much
different. Jewish teens
hang out with other
Jews, and the same with
Chaldeans. Personally, I
have very few Chaldean
friends, only one I ever see outside of
school.
It is about time we start break-
ing down the walls between the
two groups — and the Building
Community initiative has definitely
begun this process. However, it is up
to both Jews and Chaldeans alike to
make this happen. If we all did some-
thing as simple as inviting a Chaldean
friend or neighbor over for a Shabbat
dinner, imagine the impact that would
have on the relationship between
both Jews and Chaldeans. We have an
opportunity to begin focusing on how
to improve our relationship instead of
worrying about how to create one. All
we have to is work as a community in
order to build one. ❑

Josh Morof is a junior at Bloomfield Hills

Andover High School.

November 4 • 2010

27

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