Bethlehem, there will definitly be a second round!

Today I had an opportunity to drive to Bethlehem with some friends for some church related errands. It sounded like a good opportunity to visit a few sites and take some photos. Unfortunately, there were too many tourists at the Church of Nativity, and it was difficult to take nice photos there. There was a really long cue of tourists waiting to descend downstairs to see the manger and the Star of Bethlehem  and we didn’t have much time to spend there … 😦

After finishing our quick tour of Manger Square, we drove towards St. Saba Monastery. The drive was very scenic, but the Monastery was closed 😦 Apparently they close on Wednesdays and Fridays — tough luck! So, definitely there will be a second round!

Here are some photos from today:

Church of Nativity

Church of Nativity, Bethlehem

Church of Nativity, Bethlehem

Church of Nativity, Bethlehem

Church of Nativity, Bethlehem

Church of Nativity, Bethlehem

Church of Nativity, Bethlehem

Church of Nativity, Bethlehem

Church of Nativity, Bethlehem

Church of Nativity, Bethlehem

Church of Nativity, Bethlehem

Church of Nativity, Bethlehem

Church of Nativity, Bethlehem

Church of Nativity, Bethlehem

Church of Nativity, Bethlehem

Church of Nativity, Bethlehem

Church of Nativity, Bethlehem

Church of Nativity, Bethlehem

Church of Nativity, Bethlehem

Church of St. Katrina

St. Katrina, Manger Square, Bethlehem

St. Katrina, Manger Square, Bethlehem

St. Katrina, Manger Square, Bethlehem

St. Katrina, Manger Square, Bethlehem

St. Katrina, Manger Square, Bethlehem

St. Katrina, Manger Square, Bethlehem

St. Katrina, Manger Square, Bethlehem

St. Katrina, Manger Square, Bethlehem

St. Katrina, Manger Square, Bethlehem

St. Katrina, Manger Square, Bethlehem

St. Katrina, Manger Square, Bethlehem

St. Katrina, Manger Square, Bethlehem

St. Katrina, Manger Square, Bethlehem

St. Katrina, Manger Square, Bethlehem

St. Saba Monastery & Surroundings

St. Saba Monastery & Surroundings

St. Saba Monastery & Surroundings

St. Saba Monastery & Surroundings

St. Saba Monastery & Surroundings

St. Saba Monastery & Surroundings

St. Saba Monastery & Surroundings

— Jack Rabah

Juma’a Mishimshieh

Literally, Juma’a Mishimshieh means an Apricot Week. Apricot fruits become ripe quickly and within a couple of weeks, if not eaten, they fall off and rot. So, people with apricot trees end up getting stomach pains trying to enjoy their apricots before they finish or fall off the trees.

This morning my daughter woke up with a stomach ache from eating too many apricots last night at her grandfather’s in Jifna. Jifna is most famous in Palestine for its apricot fruits. I’m not sure what factors are at play here, but Jifna apricots are the best.

So, back to the title of the post which is actually a proverb used in Palestine meaning you should take the opportunity while the window is still open, even though it may cause you stomach ache 🙂

Following are  a few Jifna apricot shots from yesterday:

— Jack Rabah

Strike a pose!

Living in an Arab society makes you get used to a different norm of moral standards compared to the West. What you do, when you do it, where you do it, and with whom is under the watchful eyes of family, relatives and even people who have nothing to do with it! Nowadays, in this social media age we live in, these types of folks are having a blast!

Look at what she is wearing.. what a pose! She thinks she’s miss universe?! and that’s just the tip of the ice berg 🙂

Yesterday as I was waiting outside for my wife and kids, alone with my camera bag, I started looking for something interesting to shoot. Out comes a small cat from the bushes and after a few shots, she kept coming back for me. She was posing! I was amused …

So, if cats like to pose, why do you have to be so critical of people posing! Go ahead … strike a pose!

— Jack Rabah

An inspiring morning in Jerusalem

Yesterday morning I went to have a business meeting in Jerusalem which turned into the most wonderful experience. I got to visit the Palestinian Heritage Museum of Dar Al-Tifel Al-Arabi Foundation. Truly an amazing, organized, and well curated museum. Add to that, the beauty of the old building itself and how it was extended very cleverly to allow for management spaces, and workshop areas. I will post a few photos from the items on display at the museum next time.

It felt very emotional being at this place especially on the day commemorating 65 years of Al-Nakba and occupation, especially if you know the story of how Dar Al-Tifel was established and how it directly connects to Al-Nakba:

“The idea of founding such an organization came to Ms. Hind Al-Husseini, right after the massacre of Deir Yassin, a small village located nearby Jerusalem, in the year 1948. The Israeli gangs invaded the village, demolished its houses and killed most of its residents.

Some managed to survive but were kicked out of their village to nearby places in Jerusalem. In between them were 55 children, whom the Israeli gangs killed their parents and relatives. They reached the Old City of Jerusalem and stayed near a wall between the Holy Sepulcher Church and Omar Mosque, feeling cold, discarded, sad and hungry.

It happened that Ms. Hind Al-Husseini was passing by from there, as she had to attend a meeting in the Old City. After knowing their story, she sheltered them in two small rooms in a small market in the Old City called “Souk Al-Hossor”.

Afterwards, she decided to form a society to take care of Palestinian orphan and needy children, under the name of Dar Al-Tifel Al-Arabi, in its recent location, as the number of these orphan and needy children increased day after day, due to the year 1948 war.” (Dar Al-Tifel website)

Furthermore, I encourage you to watch the movie Miral which has a great story and also documents how Dar Al Tifel was established.

Here are a few photos of the Museum and the surrounding scenes:

–Jack Rabah