Workgroup event hits high points of Shenandoah, JCC.
he first grassroots effort from a
Building Community workgroup
was a resounding success, with
some 100 people attending the Chaldean/
Jewish Friendship Tour on Nov. 15.
The evening began at Shenandoah
Country Club in West Bloomfield, where
architect Victor Saroki of Birmingham
gave a tour and explained the building's
numerous ancient Babylonian influences.
After Chaldean-inspired munchies like
hummus and tabouli, the guests headed
over to the nearby Jewish Community
Center. There, at the D. Dan and Betty
Kahn Building, architect Joel Smith
of Neumann/Smith Architecture in
Southfield presented a look at the design;
attendees enjoyed blintzes with sour
cream, applesauce and blueberry sauce.
Arts & Culture Committee Co-Chair
Barbara "Bunny" Kratchman, who repre-
sented the Jewish community, was thrilled
with the response. "It struck a chord
with people,' she said. "People drive by
Shenandoah all the time and wonder what
it's like inside; and I'm sure the same is
true for the JCC."
Fellow Co-Chair Mary Romaya, a
Chaldean, expressed amazement at the
size of the sprawling JCC, which includes
extensive athletic facilities. "I never real-
ized how big it is and how much program-
ming they have — there is something all
day long, every day of the week:' she said.
Both women look forward to present-
ing more events under the Building
Community banner. A church/synagogue
tour, a concert and an art show all are
being considered, said Kratchman, who
noted the two community's "instant cama-
Royama said she's enjoying the many
similarities between the Chaldean and
Jewish communities. "We both believe in
the Four Fs: faith, family, friends and, of
course, food:' she said.
"We're like brothers — but not identical
Jewish, Chaldean doctors share practices, patients.
Judith Doner Berne
Jewish was accepted.
"There was no Beaumont, no St. John,
no Sinai, no Oakwood" at that time, the
Bloomfield Hills resident said.
It took government programs — the
Hill-Burton Act of 1946, which funded
new hospitals, and Medicare and
Medicaid, which subsidized medical care
— to end discrimination in hiring and
treatment, Levy said.
By the time Sinai Hospital opened
r. Robert Boorstein and Dr. Iyad
Alosachie didn't have to be intro-
duced to one another at the Nov.
16 Building Community Initiative forum
designed to bring together Jewish and
The two,often trade patient referrals.
"He does my internal medicine; I do his
surgeries:' said Boorstein, a gen-
eral surgeon, who lives in West
Bloomfield as does Alosachie,
an internist with an office in
Although the theme was "Then
and Now: Practicing Medicine
in Detroit:' an underlying cur-
rent of the forum was the close
ties among Chaldean and Jewish
doctors — sharing practices and
treating one another's patients.
"We're all within 10 miles of
one another in the heart of the
Attendees talk shop at the Detroit Medical
Judeo-Chaldean community:' said Center's Southfield branch.
Boorstein, whose practice is in
on West Outer Drive in Detroit in 1953,
Lynn Torossian, president of
Jewish doctors also were practicing at
DMC Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital in
Commerce Township, opened the forum, the new hospitals outside the city, he
co-sponsored by the Detroit Jewish News said.
"Sinai took one of the very first
and the Chaldean News and hosted
African-American doctors as an intern,
by the Detroit Medical Center at its
hired the first osteopaths and the first
Pakistani doctor:' Levy said. "We broke
Dr. Stanley Levy, a Southfield-based
internist, was told that no positions
Chaldean doctors began establish-
were open when he applied for a resi-
dency at Henry Ford Hospital during the ing a foothold in Metro Detroit medi-
cine in 1966 when Dr. Peter Kalabat, a
1940s when Metro Detroit's hospitals
from Baghdad, "was the first
were all downtown. A short time later,
get a physician's license
a fellow medical student who wasn't
Young Chaldean and Jewish medi-
cal residents, friends from Wayne State
University's School of Medicine in
Detroit, spoke of their differing paths to
"Our parents worked in grocery
and convenience stores," Dr. Angelo
Ayar, a family practitioner from West
"They don't want us to go through
what they went through:' added Dr. Fadi
Eliya, a urologist in Royal Oak.
"Most of us are first-generation:'
said Dr. Jessica Kado, a dermatologist
in Dearborn who graduated from West
Bloomfield High School once her parents
moved to the suburbs.
"My parents got much of their advice
on where to move and what were good
schools from the Jewish teachers we
had: she said.
"Although our worship may be dif-
ferent, we share a lot of the same soci-
etal beliefs:' said Dr. William Kesto,
an orthopedic surgeon in Commerce
Chaldean physician lyad Alosachie
"It's all work ethic. I think
chats with Dr. Jason Wynberg.
both communities share that."
"We all are going to stay here and
open practices:' said Kado, who has five
and his first partner was a Jewish
brothers and sisters also serving intern-
ships or residencies.
"My first job also was with a Jewish
Unlike any of his Chaldean coun-
physician:' said Elyas, an internist who
terparts, dermatologist Dr. Leonard
lives in West Bloomfield.
Kerwin's father and grandfather are
Dr. Ramsay Dass, an internist, has
taken care of more than 2,000 Jewish
"There are a lot more mentors for
patients in his Oak Park office. He is
us," said Kerwin, who grew up in West
especially proud that nine of them were
And unlike many of his Jewish con-
Even after many of his patients moved
to senior housing in West Bloomfield, he temporaries, Kerwin said, "I want to stay
said, "They got a bus to bring them back around here. I have three younger sib-
lings and four living grandparents."
to me in Oak Park."
said Dr. Nahid Elyas, an internist with
offices in Southfield.
Kalabat, who couldn't attend the
forum due to a scheduling conflict, had
to repeat the internship and residency
he had completed in Iraq as he strug-
gled to support his family, Elyas said.
So he worked as a physician at the
racetrack, "generating more money than
his residency:' Elyas said.
His first job was at St. Joseph Mercy
December 2 • 2010