Newsletter of the Palestinian Heritage Foundation
Volume 10, No. 1 June 2004
Hanan Lectures at the American Museum of Natural History
On Sunday, March 21, 2004 Hanan Munayyer was a guest
speaker at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City as part of
the In and Out of Jordan series to celebrate the exhibition Petra: A City of
Stone. Using slides from her own collection of antique embroidered costumes,
headdresses and jewelry, Hanan demonstrated how traditional textile arts of
the Middle East have changed relatively little over the millennia. This lecture
was part of a one day event that included demonstration of traditional and
contemporary techniques of Middle Eastern embroidery by Narmin Kurzum.
A series of weekend activities during the exhibition span
included a Sunday, March 14, 2004 slide-illustrated lecture on the prominent
place of the Great Temple in Petra by Martha Sharp Joukowsky, and artists Salwa
Mikdadi Nashashibi, scholar of contemporary art of the Arab world, Suhail
Bisharat, former director of the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, and
artist Mohamad Omar Khalil, who recounted their experiences while living at
On Sunday, March 28, 2004 Andrew Shryock and Sally Howell,
both of the University of Michigan discussed hospitality among Jordanian
Bedouin. Simon Shaheen's Near Eastern Music Ensemble performed the many musical
traditions of the region, including classical Egyptian, Lebanese, and Jordanian
folkloric music, with demonstrations on the oud, nye, qanun and riqq. Other
activities included Calligrapher Elinor Aisha Holland who showed the beauty of
the Arabic alphabet as developed by great calligraphers, and Inea Bushnaq,
compiler of Arab Folktales, shared some stories she has collected and
I can't thank you enough for all your help and cooperation
to do this presentation. I was very impressed with your thorough presentation; I
learned so much from your talk. I wish I had had more time to spend with you and
go to the exhibit as well with you. Tomorrow will be the last Sunday of the In
and Out of Jordan programs. It's been a very rewarding and wonderful experience
for me and our public. Thank you again for everything.
If there is anything I can help you with in the future,
please do not hesitate to ask. I would really like to stay in touch with you.
Should you need more tickets for friends and colleagues of the Petra exhibit,
please do not hesitate to ask. And if you have any further ideas for future
programs we might do, please send me your ideas.
Take care and thank Farah and the Kurzums for all their
assistance. Narmin's work is quite incredible. I hope she too enjoyed the day.
Talk to you again soon, I hope.
Heritage Museum Dedication at Antiochian
On Friday, June 4, 2004 His Eminence
Metropolitan Philip officially dedicated the Heritage Museum at the
Antiochian Village Heritage and Learning Center in Ligonier Pa. The Museum is open to the public Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday.
"This will be a hallmark occasion in
realizing a vision to enrich the lives of Antiochian parishioners by making
accessible the various collections of the Antiochian heritage, while also
protecting and preserving items for generations into the future," said
father Michael Massouh, Executive Director for the Village.
A special exhibition of both published and
unpublished artwork by Gibran Khalil Gibran is on temporary display as part of the opening festivities. Gibran, an Arabic
poet-philosopher-visionary, authored more than dozen poetic writings, with the
most familiar being The Prophet. His words and works have inspired
millions throughout the world.
The Gibran exhibition features a
variety of works in assorted media from the Mary Haskell Minis Collection from
the Telfair Museum in Savannah, Georgia. The display is being offered through
September in the Antiochian Village Museum for both guests and the public to
enjoy. Additional information is available by calling 742-238-3677 or visiting
At the invitation of His Eminence
Metropolitan Philip, Hanan and Farah Munayyer co-founders of PHF attended the
museum opening ceremonies and a special banquet that was attended by more than
The Crosbys Donate Antique Palestinian Dress to PHF
April 23, 1997 Dr. Elise Crosby of Arlington, Wyoming,
wrote to the Palestinian Heritage Foundation about an antique Palestinian dress
given to her by her mother-in-law, Mrs. Martha Mullin. Along with the letter Dr.
Crosby included photos of the dress to help in evaluating its historical value.
At the time, Dr. Crosby considered donating the dress to the Foundation at a
On January 26, 2004, Dr. Elise Crosby contacted PHF with
good news. She wrote "It is with pleasure that we donate this dress to the
Palestinian Heritage Foundation. It was purchased in 1966 by Mrs. Martha Mullin
of Los Angeles, from the collection of Bertha Spafford Vester at the American
Colony Hotel in Jerusalem, Palestine. The Crosbys are delighted to return this
dress to the Palestinian people."
Dr. Elise Crosby received her Ph.D. in Arabic from the
Department of Near Eastern Languages at Yale University in 1987. Mr. Taylor
Crosby received an M.A. in Arabic from UCLA in 1977, and a Master's degree in
public and private management from Yale University in 1979. Mr. Crosby has spent
most of his professional career in Human Resources Development and Training in
Yemen, Egypt, Oman and Kuwait.
In a response letter sent in 1997 by Shelagh Weir, former
curator of the Middle Eastern Department at the London Museum of Mankind to the
Crosbys, Shelagh described the dress: "it is from the villages in the
Hebron Hills or the southeast coastal plain. Since it was from the collection of
Bertha Vester, it is certainly a museum piece. Yes, I certainly think it
deserves to be in a museum collection, and since we have several similar pieces,
I suggest that you might like to approach a private Palestinian foundation in
the States who are enthusiastically building up a collection of their national
costumes, and seem to be doing a very good job of getting them exhibited in
various parts of the U.S. The person to write to is Farah Munayyer, Palestinian
Heritage Foundation, West Caldwell, New Jersey 07006.
The Foundation would like to thank Elise and Taylor Crosby
for their generosity and Shelagh Weir who visited the Foundation in 1996, for
everything she has done on behalf of the Palestinian art of embroidery project.
PHF Meet with CPPH Board Members in Washington
On Saturday, February 21, 2004, Hanan and Farah Munayyer,
co-founders of the Palestinian Heritage Foundation had met in Washington DC,
with the Board members of the Committee to Preserve the Palestinian Heritage
established in 1986 by the late Dr. Hala Salaam Maksoud. The goal of the
committee was to promote Arab art and culture through a collection of
traditional Palestinian embroidered dresses bought by CPPH at the time.
Both, PHF and CPPH discussed future venues of cooperation
and the possibility of joining efforts in advancing their efforts in bringing
this art to the attention of the American public via displays in museums,
universities and community centers.
PHF to Exhibit Collection at Antiochian
The Palestinian Heritage Foundation was
recently invited by the Antiochian Heritage Museum to exhibit its collection of
Palestinian, Syrian and Arab costumes at the newly dedicated museum starting
In his letter to the Foundation, Fr.
Michael Massouh, Executive Director of the Learning Center at the Antiochian
Village requested selections of the Munayyer and PHF collections to be displayed
at the Heritage Museum.
The exhibit will commence during October
2004 with a Christmas theme structured around Bethlehem and Jerusalem costumes
along with other Palestinian art and crafts. This exhibit will last for six
months, to be followed by a Palestinian, Syrian and eventually a
display of all Arab costumes of the Hala Salaam Maksoud collection. Each
of these displays will last for six months.
Hala Salaam Maksoud All Arab Collection
Donated to PHF
On Saturday, June 12, 2004, Mr. Usama Salaam of
Beirut, Lebanon, and Ms. Hania Salaam Othman of Washington DC, brother and
sister of the late Hala Salaam Maksoud, had donated their sister's collection of
all Arab costumes to the Palestinian Heritage Foundation. Hanan and Farah
Munayyer co-founders of the Foundation
accepted this valuable and historic collection as a noble gesture from the
Salaams with gratitude in the presence
of Hala's close friends Dr. Ziad and Naila Asali of Washington DC.
Dress from Lebanon with the famous Tantour headpiece on the head. Dress from the Arabian Peninsula
On September 13,
2003, selections of this collection were on display during the Palestinian
Heritage Foundation's 16th Anniversary
banquet held in New Jersey in honor of Dr. Clovis Maksoud.Hanan and Farah Munayyer and the Palestinian
Heritage Foundation are committed to displaying the late Hala Maksoud's
Collection at every opportunity possible in an effort to promote awareness and
to keep Hala's name and work with us all for
WHY AN ANTIOCHIAN HERITAGE MUSEUM?
The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Heritage
is one of the best-kept secrets in America. In 21st Century America, there is a
great gap in knowledge and understanding of Eastern Christian Religion and its
associated magnificent cultural contributions. In an effort to mainstream as
United States Citizens, it was common for ethnic and cultural groups to downplay
the heritage and culture of their roots. As generations of Eastern Christians
became Americanized, the heritage and culture were some what lost. The recent
Cultural Heritage Movement nationally provides a revival platform to which the
Antiochian Legacy can be added and articulated.
Outdoor scene of the Heritage Museum
Antiochian Christians feel a responsibility
to dispel the rumors that all Eastern heritages are based in non-Christian
religions and that only evil and destruction generate from that region of the
world. It is part of the Village's Christian ministry to foster understanding
while also dispelling misrepresentation and untruth. The rich religious and
cultural heritage that sprang from Antioch as a major crossroad to trade and as
a cosmopolitan center for culture from its founding in the 3rd Century B. C.
Roman Empire needs to be preserved. More importantly, Paul's missionary journeys
Auditorium at the Heritage Museum
spread the gospel to Gentiles are stories to be shared and connected to the
Antiochian Orthodox faith. All Americans today are interested in these historic
Christian connections as our nation and the world become warriors against the
fear of terrorism. (Why an Antiochian HeritageÖ Continued: page 2) The fear
has become a deeper sting because of lack of information and knowledge about
Eastern people, their culture, history and beliefs.
As a Heritage and Learning Center for the
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, Antiochian Village
has been blessed with a fascinating, splendid collection of Eastern Orthodox
religious and cultural artifacts and rare books. Presently, the Museum's
permanent collection is valued at nearly a half-million. Understanding icons and
other religious relics is fascinating and inspires discovery and questions about
the Orthodox faith and beliefs. Many cultural objects generate interest on daily
life and showcase the craftsmanship and artistic talents from Eastern regions.
The new larger, climatically controlled environment with proper display areas
and cases, and safe sophisticated lighting will preserve the collection and make
it available for future generations.
The vision of the Museum is to enrich the
lives of all constituents of the Village by preserving the heritage collections
and making them readily available to Antiochian Orthodox parishioners, guests of
the Village, and the general pubic. An extension of that vision is to serve as a
conduit that shares the Antiochian cultural heritage and ancient Christian
beliefs with the modern world through the safe and secure environment of the
Antiochian Heritage Museum.
"A MAN FROM LEBANON: THE ART OF KAHLIL
The new Antiochian Heritage Museum at
Antiochian Village Conference and Retreat Center in Western Pennsylvania was opened to the public on June 17, 2004 with a special exhibition "A Man from
Lebanon: The Art of Kahlil Gibran." The exhibition includes 40 original
pieces of art produced by Kahlil Gibran, noted author and 19th century
multi-media artist of the Symbolism and Aestheticism Art Movements. The
temporary exhibition is on display courtesy of the Telfair Museum of Art in
Savannah, Georgia. The collection, done in a variety of media, has never been on
display outside the Telfair Museum of Art where it is a permanent part of the
Mary Haskell Minis Collection. Haskell was Gibran's benefactor.
Syrian Anbassador to the US Imad Mustapha with father Massouh
Gibran, who was born in Lebanon, became a
world-renowned poet-philosopher-visionary. After moving to the United States as
a child with his mother and sister, he studied under Haskell's mentorship in
Massachusetts and eventually authored more than a dozen poetic writings with the
most familiar being The Prophet. His words and works have inspired millions
throughout the world.
Madelon Sheedy, curator for the special
display, aligns the exhibition with a quote from Gibran, "Art is a step
from nature toward the Infinite, a mist carved into an image." Sheedy
commented, "This misty evolving quality will be evident in both his
religious works and those used for book illustrations. There are many portraits
of the artist, his family and friends in the show," she added.
The special Gibran exhibition will be on
temporary display from June 17 to the end of September this year. Some of the
art in the display was published in his many books but much of the collection
includes private, unpublished works based upon his beliefs or reflecting his
relationships, thus providing the viewer an opportunity to experience Gibran in
a unique and not readily available way. The Antiochian Heritage Museum will also
feature displays from their permanent collection of Eastern religious icons and
vestments and Middle-eastern cultural artifacts and objects that will change
"The Gibran exhibition affords many
opportunities for enriched learning about the Eastern Heritage and Culture
through collaborative partnerships for special lectures and readings,"
stated Fr. Michael Massouh, Executive Director for Antiochian Village. "Kahlil
Gibran is a renown name in literature and fine art whose paintings will attract
regional and national visitors to Antiochian Village to experience our Museum,
our Eastern Christian heritage, and our Middle Eastern culture surrounded by our
lovely tranquil environment," he concluded.
All displays in the new Museum will be open
to the public from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. every Thursday, Friday and Saturday except
for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Groups can arrange tours and visits
on other days or different times with advance reservations by calling
724-238-3677 or emailing
Amidst 300 wooded acres, Antiochian Village
Conference & Retreat Center offers 100 hotel-style lodging rooms, dining for
up to 350, 18 meeting rooms, a 21,000-volume theological library, and the
Antiochian Heritage Museum all under one roof. The Conference Center, about an
hour east of Pittsburgh in the Laurel Highlands, is part of the Antiochian
Heritage and Learning Center for the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese
of North America. The Center is open all year with free paved lighted parking
and easy bus access and is located just six miles north of Ligonier on Rt.
ANTIOCHIAN HERITAGE MUSEUM REFLECTS MIDDLE
The Antiochian Heritage Museum (AHM)
permanent collection is designed to take visitors on an enlightenment journey
through the Middle Eastern ancestry of the Antiochian Orthodox Church, which is
rooted in Paul's missionary journeys from Antioch, Syria to European sites. The
new Museum's opening exhibition, "Iconography, Religious Relics, Cultural
Artifacts" showcases a broad selection of items reflecting the Antiochian
Heritage from the past seven centuries.
Two special exhibitions of original icons
allow visitors to see the differences and similarities of iconography from
throughout the world covering the 16th to the 20th centuries. Though appearing
as a traditional religious art form, icons are actually pictures written to tell
a particular story or out of respect for a particular character from the Bible;
some reflect a religious tradition, such as the example of a commissioned family
icon that incorporates each family member's patron saint. The icons on display
represent such things as feast days, the Theotokos (Mother of God), and Saint
George slaying the dragon.
The Heritage Museum at dawn
Several different displays demonstrate the
prominence of textiles and their craftsmanship in both clothing and household
use. Among the displays are: elaborate vestments - a bishop's, priest's, and
deacon's, and an exquisite Arabic wedding gown. Eastern hand woven rugs and
special religious banners also decorate the walls and floors. The Eastern
textiles industry used raw materials including linen from Egypt, wool from
Syria, and beginning in the sixth century cultivated silk and cotton, also from
Syria. Fabrics and threads were dyed with secret techniques and recipes using
vegetables dyes as a primary ingredient.
Eastern metal craftsmanship was of
particular value both for utilitarian purposes and aesthetic ones. Damascus was
the heartland for early Eastern metalworking, which used silver, gold, copper,
brass and steel. Included in the display are hand-hammered brass and enamel
trays, coffee and teapots and a variety of other Syrian cultural household
objects. Also shown are religious items reflecting later metal crafts from
well-known Russian silversmiths who were contemporaries and competitors of
The exhibition provides a selection of the
intricate mosaic inlay known as intarsia, which began in the Middle East during
the ninth and tenth centuries. Examples of precise design and composition are
illustrated in a variety of wooden inlay furniture and other household items.
Artisans worked with woods of cherry, cedar, and walnut together with mother of
pearl and bone cut into small polygons that fit together to compose the
decoration. The ancient craft is still practiced today, with the best examples
of intarsia coming from Egypt and Syria.
Other displays include the themes of
Eastern-region jewelry samples, a set of historical prints of Bethlehem from the
1800's, personal pocket and purse icons and crosses of elaborate decoration, and
a broad sampling of triptychs in a variety of media.
A special display of liturgical items from
the burial casket of Saint Raphael is also on exhibit. His remains were moved
from Brooklyn in 1988 to rest at Holy Resurrection Cemetery located on the
Antiochian Village grounds. Saint Raphael was an early pioneer of Orthodoxy's
growth in the United States. Equally noteworthy is a Syrian 5th century funerary
relief with a Greek inscription indicating that the deceased was a Roman
These are but a small sampling of the 740
items in the Antiochian Permanent Collection, whose total religious icon
collection includes 106 icons that date from the 12th through 20th centuries and
represent 14 different countries or regions outside the United States. The
Museum anticipates changing the Permanent Collection Exhibitions at least twice
per year. They will often be complemented by temporary exhibitions such as the
current one: "A Man from Lebanon: The Art of Kahlil Gibran" provided
courtesy of the Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah Georgia. Gibran's art will be at
the Museum until the end of September.
"The Antiochian Heritage Museum will
provide an opportunity for us to share our heritage and our faith with visitors
to Western Pennsylvania and residents within the region while maintaining the
security and preservation of our special Permanent Collection," said Father
Michael Massouh, Executive Director for Antiochian Village. "It will help
the Village progress on its continuum as a 'spiritual oasis' where people can
relax, reflect, and find refreshment in solitude either individually or
collectively," he added.
The Antiochian Heritage Museum will be an
added attraction in the Laurel Highlands of Western Pennsylvania, opening to the
public beginning June 17, 2004. It will be open every Thursday, Friday and
Saturday except for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays from 9 A.M. to 5
P.M. Cost of admission to the Museum is a suggested donation of $2.00 per
person; overnight guests receive complimentary admission. Group guided tours can
be arranged on other days and at other times with advance reservations.
Antiochian Village Conference and Retreat
Center is located on Route 711 six miles north of Ligonier, Pennsylvania. It
serves as a premiere meeting and retreat facility where all people can find
spiritual renewal and conduct important business. The Village welcomes all
people in the spirit of Christian hospitality. For further information, call
724-238-3677 or email:
Arab American Civic
The Arab American Civic
Organizationís school in Paterson, New Jersey, held itís annual graduation
ceremony at School
# 9. The festive atmosphere that accompanied the graduation
was attended by the studentí parents, teachers and staff, and local dignitaries
representing the Board of Education and the City Government headed by the
Honorable William Mckoy, the City Council President.
Students at graduating ceremony
The week-end school was
established six years ago By Dr. Hani Awadallah, President of the Arab American
Civic Organization and Professor of chemistry at Montclair State University. The
school offers the students classes in Arabic language, cultural enrichment and has a summer camp program that includes visits to
cultural and art institutions in
the metropolitan area.
The studentsí performance at the
graduating ceremony had a positive impact on the attending officials who invited
the students to perform at the Paterson City Councilís meeting on June 22, 2004.
The City Council had awarded the graduating students memorable gifts
in the presence of their parents and friends.
On stage teacher Ms.
Irtiaq Arabiyyat with students. Standing front row from left,
Paterson City Council members Dr. Jessie Dixon, Goow, City Council President
William Mckoy, Dr. Awadallah, Ken Morris Jr. and councilman Rooney .
The Arab American Civic
Organization maintains an office in Paterson, New Jersey, and has been
instrumental in helping Arab Americans in Northern New Jersey, and Passaic
County in particular in dealing with official departments, and managed
to help employ more than 20 people from the Arab community in different capacities.
The organization has also been
active in the political spectrum of the community through defending causes of
interest to the Arab American community. Recently, the organization hosted a
fund raising dinner for former Rep. Cynthia McKinney of Georgiaís 4th