Sunday, May 03, 2015

The youngest Aramaist

MODERN ARAMAIC WATCH: Hamilton’s Assyrians have youngest church reader in world (Carmela Fragomeni, Hamilton Spectator).
At Hamilton's St. Mari Assyrian Church, parishioners endearingly call George Hashimoto, 13, their "small deacon."

"We're proud of him," says Evette Haddad. "He's unique, so we gave him that little title."

George is the church's "Old Testament Reader." It's a distinguished position requiring investiture by the Assyrian bishop in Toronto — an honour bestowed when George was only seven.

St. Mari's priest, Father Younan Marwan, says George is very smart and was "the youngest in our church in the world, I'm sure, when he started reading."

George, whose mother is Assyrian from Iraq and father is Japanese, has spoken and read Assyrian fluently since an early age.

He was seven when he started. Maybe there is hope for Aramaic as a living language.