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December 01, 2011 - Image 52

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2011-12-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

{ cover story: education

Brett Moun tain


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Top: Jewish and Chaldean students share the feeling

of helping others through their work at Yad Ezra.

Above: Margo Dickstein and Caroline Strauss, both 12 of

Farmington Hills, grab cans out of a big box bin to sort.

Top right: Renna Sarafa, 12, Dayna Katz, 11, and Megan
Rosender, 11, all of Farmington Hills, box food.

Bottom right: Matt McKay, 11, throws a bag of rice cakes

to Daniel Kassab, 12. Both are from of West Bloomfield.


During that forum, Jewish and Chaldean
teens expressed a desire to better under-
stand one another. Angelic Gasso, a senior at
Bloomfield Hills Lahser, has suffered anti-
Chaldean prejudice from a unique perspective
— because she looks more "American" than
typically Chaldean.
"No one actually ever knows I'm Chaldean:'
she told a group of more than 100 students.
"My friends don't realize it either. They'll say
something about Chaldeans, and I'm standing
right there ... I don't want to deal with the
situation, so I don't confront it:'
Participants in Face to Faith programs and
panel discussions are urged to look past old
stereotypes that have been passed down for
decades and be the "change" they want to see
in the world.
"Our skin colors and our accents are creat-
ing boundaries that don't need to be there
Morof explained. "We need to go outside of
our comfort zones and our friend zones. It's
imperative that we break down those barriers
and create a community."
On Sept. 22, about 60 local teens from dif-
ferent faiths gathered at First Presbyterian
Church of Birmingham in an effort to increase
respect and promote understanding via Face
to Faith. They talked, shared pizza and asked
questions about each other's religions.
"I am delighted beyond words to see young
people coming together like this:' said Gail
Katz, co-founder of WISDOM (Women's
Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach
in Metro Detroit). She's also co-chair of the
Chaldean and Jewish Women Social Action
Workgroup, part of the Building Community
"There is so much hate and misunderstand-
ing in the world," Katz continued. "If we don't
get through to our youth and mix our youth
up, they learn from their parents. There are
so many misconceptions and stereotypes out
there. Just look at what's going on in the world.
Ideally, efforts like these will lead to a society
where people understand each other better
and make those connections."

Father Frank Kalabat, pastor of St. Thomas
Chaldean Catholic Church in West Bloomfield,
believes if you put a group of Jewish and
Chaldean students together, it may be difficult
to look around the room and figure out who's
Jewish and who's Chaldean. He says people of
all ages seem to have a natural tendency to
be "cliquish" so they don't go out of their way
to mix and meet people from different back-
"I think anything done in the name of peace
and getting to know one another is wonderful,"
Kalabat said. "I think the humanity starts to
come out."
In that spirit, about 30 Jewish and Chaldean
students — sixth- and seventh-graders from
St. Thomas and Adat Shalom Synagogue in

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