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December 12, 2013 - Image 22

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-12-12

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Jews and Chaldeans discussed similarities in both communities and how to
work together to make Metro Detroit a better place.

Coming Together

Chaldean and Jewish social action
group tours Holocaust Center.

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Women from the Chaldean
Community Foundation sort the
donated clothing.


bout 80 Jews and Chaldeans
gathered at the Holocaust
Memorial Center in
Farmington Hills on Wednesday,
Dec. 4, for a program sponsored by
the Jewish Chaldean Social Action
Initiative to further an understanding
of the history of both communities.
Stephen Goldman, director of the
Holocaust Memorial Center, welcomed
the group. Rabbi Josh Bennett from
Temple Israel in West Bloomfield then
spoke about the importance of social
action. As this evening was the last
night of Chanukah, Bennett talked
about the history of this Jewish holiday
— how the Maccabees fought against
the Syrian Greeks to reclaim their land
and their faith, and how the holy oil in
the Temple, supposed to last only one
day, lasted for eight.
The Jewish Chaldean Social Action
Initiative was compared to that of the
Maccabees' — that all people must
take action when there are problems in
the world, he said. Bennett then lit the
Chanukah candles and explained the
Hebrew blessings.
Ellen Yashinsky-Chute from Jewish
Family Service in West Bloomfield and
Sharon Hannawa from the Chaldean
Community Foundation in Sterling
Heights each gave an update on the
needs of their communities.
After the talk, attendees split into
two groups to take an hour-long tour

Attendees saw a cattle car used to
transport Jews to the death camps
during their tour of the Holocaust
Memorial Center.

of the Holocaust Memorial Center, led
by tour guides Linda Brodsky and Mike
Liebowitz. The guides led participants
to the eternal flame representing the
yahrzeit (memorial) candle for the 6
million Jewish people killed by Hitler.
The guides underscored the three
kinds of people involved in the
Holocaust: the perpetrators, the vic-
tims and the bystanders (those who
did nothing and did not speak out).
Attendees viewed an actual cattle car
from Germany that had transported
Jews to concentration camps.
Following the tour, participants
returned to the auditorium for a
discussion about what Jews and
Chaldeans share when it comes to the
experience of stereotypes and preju-
dice that can lead to violence, and
what they can do together to further
peace and understanding in the Metro
Detroit community.
The evening ended with New Year's
wishes from Gail Katz, co-chair of
the Jewish Chaldean Social Action
Committee, and with the collection of
new and gently used winter clothing
given to needy families in both the
Jewish and Chaldean communities.

The Jewish Chaldean Social Action
Committee is planning another social
action event for next year. If you would
like to get involved, email Gail Katz at

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