Fast Friends from page 42
Bolstering their relationship was the
genuine concern Jackier showed in
2008 when Sarafa had shared his
father Karim's battle with Parkinson's
disease. Jackier, an international
ambassador for the Techion-Israel
Institute of Technology in Haifa and
now board chair, told Karim about a
then-new Parkinson's drug, Azilect,
developed by Technion Professor
Moussa Youdim. Karim's doctor opted
for a different treatment, but the
Jackier-Sarafa friendship had been
Earlier, in 1999, both men also
participated in JACOB — Jewish and
Chaldean Opportunities Builders.
JACOB arose in the wake of tension in
the corridors of Southfield-Lathrup
and West Bloomfield high schools
between Chaldean and Jewish stu-
dents. Recognizing their common
ancestry and heritage, leaders of both
ethnicities endeavored to bring the
two communities together to build
bridges and share culture.
Over its three-year run, JACOB had
led to open dialogue, shared physical
space and much trust.
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Recently, Jackier, who has been to
Israel more than 100 times, shared
with Sarafa a copy of the 2009 book
Startup Nation: The Story of
Israel's Economic Miracle. The book
intrigued Sarafa, who hopes to make
his first visit to Israel over the next
year. He began to develop concepts
for linking the Technion, the so-
called "MIT of the Middle East," with
the state of Michigan, itself desperate
for an economic rebirth.
Sarafa's vision includes a local tech
park that would attract Israeli compa-
nies, potentially along the M-14 corri-
dor. His ideas also include increasing
the Technion operations endow-
ment, which is way too dependent
on the Israeli government for fund-
ing. Money raised by the American
Technion Society, a New York-based
Technion support organization, is
strictly earmarked for infrastructure,
Further, the university doesn't excel
at drawing financially from the tech-
nological advances its professors and
students make. Sarafa gave Jackier
a working model on how to get the
decision makers together to alter that
While Sarafa and Jackier discussed
creating a Technion-Michigan stu-
dent/professor exchange, New York
Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled a
similar idea for a consortium between
the Technion and Cornell University.
Within five years, the consortium
is expected to bring an applied sci-
ences graduate school to a NYCTech
Campus on Roosevelt Island off
Manhattan. The consortium won the
right to free land and $100 million in
city subsidies for infrastructure devel-
"The University of Michigan and
the Technion also are starting to
develop collaborative activity," Jackier
A medical/cardiology symposium
was held in Ann Arbor last year.
Another medical symposium will take
place this December in Haifa. The late
local Jewish philanthropist, D. Dan
Kahn, helped endow the symposiums
and local Jewish physician Mel Lester
has played a major role.
The U-M Life Sciences Institute
and the Technion also will work in
The biggest dream for Sarafa and
Jackier is to see Michigan thrive
under Gov. Rick Snyder.
"We're Michiganders," Sarafa said.
"We want to see Michigan strong.
And one of the challenges confronting
Michigan, which speaks to the hearts
of the Jewish and Chaldean commu-
nities, is to attract and retain young
talent — to get young professionals to
stay here rather than go elsewhere to
"And the hope is to have those
young people stay here because
Michigan presents the best opportu-
nity for them. Having their parents
and grandparents here already would
be a bonus."
In April, Snyder named Sarafa to
the Michigan Economic Development
Corporation executive committee in
deference to Sarafa's desire to help
small businesses and immigrant tal-
ent create more jobs and drive the
economy. The committee sets the
MEDC strategic vision.
Jackier called the appointment "a
great thing for the state."
In addition to heading Steward
Capital Management, Sarafa is a
joint managing partner of Munros
Capital Management LLC, a manag-
ing member for Steward Real Estate
Management, all based in Bloomfield
Hills, and a general partner of
Notably, neither Sarafa nor Jackier
identify the other by his religion.
As Sarafa put it: "Good people are
good people no matter what title you
hang on them — attorney, investment
manager, Jew or Chaldean." BC