Holy Land Sojourn
Ethnic mosaic a major lure of Chaldean-Jewish trip to Israel.
Robert Sklar I Jewish News Contributing Editor
Alan Baum is Jewish and Sue
Loussia Hickey is Chaldean — and
it was the inter-ethnic aspect
of the 2013 Chaldean/Jewish
Mission to Israel that first caught
their attention. Both are West
"My wife, Diane, and I have wanted to go
to Israel for a long time Baum said, "and
this trip offered a unique opportunity with
its multicultural twist"
Hickey, who is Catholic, will travel with
her cousin Theresa Nagarah of Commerce.
"This is the perfect opportunity to see the
Holy Land through the eyes of both cul-
tures:' Hickey said.
The 10-day mission is scheduled for
April 16-25. It was conceived under the
shared leadership of the Detroit Jewish
News and the Chaldean News, both
Southfield-based publications, and their
Building Community Initiative. The
Jewish Community Relations Council of
Metropolitan Detroit (JCRC) is coordinat-
ing the specially tailored trip.
Metro Detroit is home to 67,000 Jews,
54 December 6 • 2012
whose ancestral homeland is the Jewish
of a Chaldean-Jewish mission and appreci-
state called Israel, and 121,000 Chaldeans,
ate how seeing Israel through the eyes of
who are Christians from Iraq. The two
people of another faith will be an especially
Semitic groups have dynamic and mostly
parallel histories of entrepre-
Robert Cohen, Sue
neurship, leadership and busi-
Travels Shaping Up
Loussia Hickey and
ness acumen in Metro Detroit.
The mission will offer lots to
Alan Baum meet at the
The Jewish community preceded
do and see that wouldn't be
the Chaldean community here
part of an all-Jewish or an
by a few generations.
offices to review plans all-Chaldean visit to the Holy
Land. The itinerary is a work
Mission organizers hope to
for the April 2013
have 45 participants, roughly
in progress, with the expertise
evenly divided between Jews and
of an Israeli guide.
Chaldeans. By Thanksgiving,
Stops will include the
32 people had signed up: 21 Jews and 11
Christian and Jewish quarters in the Old
Chaldeans. Once the Jewish slots are filled,
City of Jerusalem, the historic Jordan River
a Jewish waiting list will begin. At least 14
Valley as well as Nazareth and other sig-
Chaldean slots potentially remain open.
nificant Christian sites. Participants also
"Everyone who has signed up or asked
will visit Masada, the ancient mountaintop
for information is very enthusiastic about
fortress where rebel Jews valiantly fought
the trip:' said Robert Cohen, JCRC executive off advancing Roman forces for three years
director. "They understand the uniqueness
before committing mass suicide as the
security wall was breached in 73 CE; the
Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth where
you can float on the surface as a result of
the high salt content; and Yad Vashem, the
Holocaust memorial. The modern city of
Tel Aviv and the adjacent old city of Jaffa
will reveal much about the rise and gover-
nance of the State of Israel, founded in 1948
in the aftermath of the Holocaust.
In a visit to the Central Galilee, the
Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit's
partner region, mission-goers will stay at
a kibbutz near Tiberias, one of Israel's four
Ties That Bind
Baum is an automotive industry consultant
who performs market research and
forecasting through his company Baum and
Associates. He also is an adjunct professor
at Oakland Community College, where he
teaches American government.
This trip will be an opportunity to get out of our comfort zone
and have what is a life-changing time — visiting Israel with new
friends that bring a different background to what will be a trip of
multiple discoveries and experiences.
— Alan Baum