GOD BL S OUR HOME

Throughout her life, my grandmother produced hundreds of masterpieces of Palestinian authentic embroidery pieces. Functional and decorative and ranging from small napkins to dining table covers. However, what has become my favorite piece from all her works is an uncompleted piece that I found laying in the bottom of one of her drawers.

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I remember as a child, and after her eye sight became weaker, transposing embroidery patterns for her on square grid paper. Everyday she would have some time set aside to work on her latest piece. My guess is that this piece is one of her latest works where she made a mistake in calculating how much space is needed for BLESS. I’m not sure why she didn’t attempt to correct it? However, with her needle still there I would guess it maybe her last piece.. which makes it so precious and so dear to me.

She was the blessing of our home and not a day goes by that I don’t miss her, her smile, and the blessings she brought into our lives. RIP Tata Badia’a.

–Jack Rabah

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My grandmother’s African Violets…

There are few people who touch our lives in such a way that we can never stop thinking of them, even after they pass away… You recall them for so many different reasons … For the how amazing they were, for their beliefs, and how much they affected the lives of people around them.

Growing up, I remember how house ladies were always busy with this and that around the house, but somehow, between the cooking and cleaning and other chores, they found some time to care for their small gardens or the plant pots hanging around their homes. Oh how proud they were when their plants blossomed and grew! Oh, how eager they were to show off the 5 different colors of African Violets which they managed to grow. They took African Violet leafs from each other and put them in water until they were ready to plant to add another color to their collection.

My grandmother Badia’a loved her garden and plants. Everyday she weeded them, watered them, and made sure they are at their best. Her dedication was not limited to her plants, but included so many other aspects of her life. Her family, her social activities, her service to the community, and the beautiful embroideries she made. She will always be in my heart and in my thoughts.

Last night, during a gathering with some cousins, I remembered how much she liked us to be social, to love each other, and to keep strong ties with each other. I remember her singing the wedding songs. I remember her listening to me chant at church. I see her face smiling at me every day when I see the blossoming pots of African Violets she planted for us at my home office. You will always be remembered my dearest grandmother!

African Violets

African Violets

African Violets Macro Shot

African Violets Macro Shot

African Violets Macro Shot

African Violets Macro Shot

African Violets Macro Shot

African Violets Macro Shot

African Violets Macro Shot

African Violets Macro Shot

— Jack Rabah

ps. The macro shots are test shots done with Canon 7d, Canon EF 100mm macro f/2.8 lens, extension tubes, and ring flash.

A white Christmas, almost …

Had it been only 1 week later, we would have had a true White Christmas in Palestine this year. Snow is not very common in Palestine, at least in the quantities we’ve seen last week! Usually the ground barely gets white and the next day its business as usual. We’ve been home for 5 days now and it looks like we need 1 or 2 more for roads to be clear enough for people to go to work and move around with reasonable ease.

With a lot of electricity failures, it was a good time to gather around the fire and enjoy some family time…

Snowing in Ramallah

Snowing in Ramallah

Snowing in Ramallah

Snowing in Ramallah
Snowing in Ramallah

Snowing in Ramallah

Snowing in Ramallah

Snowing in Ramallah

Snow in Ramallah

Snow in Ramallah

Snow in Ramallah

Snow in Ramallah

Snow in Ramallah

Snow in Ramallah

Snow in Ramallah

Snow in Ramallah

Snow in Ramallah

Snow in Ramallah

Snow melting

Snow melting

Lemons on ice

Lemons on ice

Hidden Inside a Book

Folded inside a book I found two birth certificates. The certificates were very old and scripted in Turkish. Since old Turkish, like Farsi, uses the same characters as Arabic, I was able to decipher enough to figure out that it is the birth certificate of my great great grandfather Yacoub Elias Khashan.

He was born around 1859 (1275 Hijri as it said on the certificate), and died in 1933 as engraved on his tombstone at the Ramallah cemetary. According to Aziz Shahin’s Ramallah book, he got married on Dec 7, 1883 to Hilaneh Salim Yacoub Ajlouni and had two sons (Ayoub and Musa) and two daughters (Nimeh and Hilweh).

Now, why is this specific grandfather so special? No, he did not fight with another bull! It is the fact that he is the reason our family name today is Rabah. See, he used to work in selling olive oil, and apparently, made good money doing so. Eventually, people starting calling him Rabah which means the one who makes good profits. Consequently, his grandchildren took Rabah as a family name until today.

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The birth certificate is from the times of the Ottoman Empire’s rule in Palestine. Someone detached the duty stamps from the document. The other certificate I found has the stamps intact, but we’ll leave that one for another time.

— Jack Rabah

My grandfather the Arab Matador

The city of Ramallah was established when Rashed Haddadin settled there after coming from the other side of the Jordan river (Jordan). He and his grandchildren’s families grew into the eight clans of Ramallah. Our clan is called the Abu Jaghab clan.

It is said that our great grandfather was going to water his bull at the spring. He was known to be a stubborn man, and when his bull refused to drink he was pissed. He took the bull by his horn and started pushing his head down towards the water while shouting: “ijghab” (drink) or I will break your horn!

Apparently he was more stubborn than the bull and he broke his horn. From that time on the name “Jaghab” stuck to us. Alternatively, the clan of the horn “dar abu karin” in Arabic is used to refer to our clan.

Nowadays when we are caught practicing any stubborn behaviors they say .. Well you are really from the clan of the horn 🙂

— Jack Rabah