Cathedral Hosts Palestinian Heritage Exhibition
Palestinian arts and crafts exhibit was inaugurated on March 2, 1998 by
the Palestinian Heritage Foundation in the Garrett Lounge, Pilgrim
Observation Gallery, at the Washington National Cathedral. Cosponsored by
the American-Arab An
ti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), and the American
Committee on Jerusalem, the display remained open to the public through
April 26, 1998.
display were traditional Palestinian costumes representing Jerusalem,
Bethlehem and Al Khalil (Hebron), contemporary embroidery by Palestinian
workshops in Lebanon, ceramic artwork by the famous Balian Palestine
Pottery in Jerusalem, Hebron glass painted with Arabic calligraphy and art
pieces with kufic Quranic verses by renown Palestinian artist Jamal Badran,
olive wood statues of Jesus Christ carrying a cross, the last supper and
the Virgin Mary, and mother-of-pearl plaque, made in Bethlehem, brass
plaques engraved with Arabic calligraphy of The Lord’s prayer and
Quranic verses, and many other items including authentic silver jewelry.
from Bani Naim, Hebron region, and "Ghudfeh" scarf
Sunday, March 8, 1998, the Cathedral held a reception to commemorate the
opening of this unique exhibit. The event, which lasted for two hours was
attended by about 100 guests from the Washington area, New Jersey and New
York, including Dr. Khaled Abdalla, Arab League ambassador to the United
States, the Egyptian ambassador, representative of the Lebanese Embassy,
former United States ambassadors to the Arab World and friends of
PHF, ADC and the Cathedral.
his opening remarks, Reverend Allen Geyler, representing the Bishop
welcomed the guests and praised
activities in promoting Arab culture and traditions in the United States.
expresses its appreciation and gratitude to the National Cathedral Staff
for their kindness and generosity in hosting this exclusive Palestinian
Arts and Crafts exhibit during March and April 1998. Also, PHF would like
to thank the Arab-American community in the Washington, DC, area for
lending their support to the exhibit.
Approximately 25 ladies volunteered
to guide the visitors and answer questions during the duration of the
exhibit. One hundred thousand people visited the Cathedral and saw the
PHF celebrates 11 years of achievements
By Maha Munayyer
coincides with the anniversary of PHF inception in 1987. We knew back then
that we would face many challenges in our attempt to educate people about
Palestinian culture, but our pride in Arab history and civilization
overtook our fear. We knew that eventually, we would succeed.
Hebron "Ghudfeh" scarf on display at Cathedral
did not come easily, however. Many critics initially believed that our
organization would fail as infant Arab organizations often do. Yet among
the disappointments came a few voices of support which motivated us to
we thank John Mahoney, Executive Director of AMEU, Joseph Qutub, President
of ASAI, and Dr. Nadim Kassem for their unwavering faith.
the years passed, more people began to recognize the need for and
appreciate the value of PHF’s efforts. Today, on our eleventh birthday,
we are proud of the high quality of education that we have provided to our
Arab and American audiences. Recounting our successes would fill many
pages (which, in itself, is a success), but here is a brief reminder of
what we have achieved in the past year.
the Foundation’s stunning Tenth Anniversary Banquet in March 1997, the
“Friends of the Foundation” has attracted over one
hundred supporters. PHF has been featured in ARAMCO WORLD, a
highly respected cultural publication, AL HAKIM, the America-Arab Medical
Association’s quarterly, AL HAYAT, the daily London newspaper, AL
SUNNARA, a weekly Nazareth newspaper, the Cairo daily AL AHRAM, and the
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. Moreover, it has been featured
in television and radio broadcasts on ANA television of Washington, DC,
ART Television and Dubai Television of the United Arab Emirates. Finally,
pieces from the Munayyer Collection have been exhibited at the Hermitage
Museum in HO HO KUS, New Jersey, the West Point Military Academy in New
York, the International Friendship Festival in Long Beach, California,
Mahrajan Al Fan at the Brooklyn Museum, the Denville Museum of New Jersey,
and at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC.
next and most monumental goal is to establish an ARAB HERITAGE CENTER,
comprised of a CENTER FOR ARAB CULTURE and a MUSEUM OF ARAB HERITAGE. Both
need intensive work and planning. We thank you for your moral and
financial support for our past activities and hope that you will help us
make this new dream come to fruition.
Palestinian Embroidery and Crafts at Princeton School
Sunday, November 16 of last year, Leslie Ayyoub Moran attended Hanan’s
lecture to the Princeton Middle East Society.
in the United States to Syrian parents, and married to an Irish-American,
Leslie felt proud of her Arab background when she saw the embroidered
dresses that were modeled by young American-Arab girls of her daughter’s
age. Leslie was also fascinated by the contemporary embroidery
cross-stitched on the pillow cases she acquired that evening to decorate
in expanding the public’s awareness of the history, culture and crafts
of what she calls the ‘homeland’, Leslie called the Foundation for
help! Within hours PHF sent her a box containing materials specially
designed for schools. Here what Leslie had to say a few weeks later:
you so very much for lending me these wonderful things. They were an
excellent presentation and teaching tools. I was so inspired by the
children’s abilities to learn and be enriched by all the information I
taught them. My daughter was truly proud of her heritage and as you can
imagine, that meant an awful lot to me. So, I thank you again very dearly.
The Foundation is proud of what Leslie has done to
expand public awareness in our culture and arts.
She has instilled a positive image of Arabs in the
minds of the young. PHF encourages all to do the same.
Congratulations and thank you Leslie.
Palestinian Quilt to tour US
commemorate the dispossession of Palestine “Project Quilt” was
launched last February by the great efforts of several Arab-American
organizations, including ADC and the Palestinian Heritage Foundation. The
quilt is made-up of 418 panels embroidered on green, black and red fabric
squares representing the Palestinian villages systematically destroyed by
Israel in 1948.
complete this project, the New Jersey Chapter of the ADC, and the
Palestinian Heritage Foundation were assigned 32 panels representing
villages in the Lydda region. The embroidery was done by AL Najdeh
workshop in Beirut, Lebanon. Each of these 418 panels is embroidered with
the village’s name, population and date of destruction, along with
various motifs cross-stitched with splendid colors.
members and friends of PHF have been very generous in sponsoring the cost
of these panels in time to sew them together in preparation for a historic
tour. The tour commenced in New York on May 15, 1998, and will move to San
Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Jacksonville, and finally, Washington DC.
arrival of the quilt in Washington will coincide with ADC National
Convention in June 1998. The quilt, made in the form of a flag, will be
placed on the stairs of the Capitol and then will be marched to the White
House. This procession will commemorate the tragedy that befell the
Palestinian people and their systematic expulsion from their homeland in
PHF featured in “ALHAKIM” and the
daily “AL HAYAT”
Last Fall, “
Al Hakim”, a quarterly periodical published by the National
Arab-American Medical Association in the United States, published a
front-page lengthy report covering the Palestinian Heritage Foundation
cultural and educational activities during the past ten years.
authored by Dr. George Younan, Chairman of “Al Hakim” and past
president of the NAAMA, was extensive, well researched and
accompanied by photographs of antique Palestinian traditional
costumes. “Al Hakim” reaches hundreds of AAMA members across the
United States and institutions around the world.
February 13, 1998 the London-based Lebanese daily “Al Hayat”, which
has a worldwide circulation, published a half-page article covering PHF
activities in the US and around the world. Responses to this article have
come from as far as Cairo, Beirut, London, Paris and Tennessee.
Dubai TV Beams Cathedral Exhibit Via Satellite
Palestinian Arts and Crafts Exhibit at the National Cathedral received
wide coverage by Dubai Television which broadcasts worldwide out of
Washington DC. via the Satellite Channel.
from America” a weekly program produced in Dubai, aired
twenty-minute segment of the Cathedral exhibit, the opening
reception and close-ups of the items on display, along with a detailed
chronology of PHF activities during the past several years.
Rima Laham, Dubai TV’s Washington correspondent covered the exhibit and
the reception, and conducted interviews with Farah, Dr. Khalid Abdalla,
League of Arab States Ambassador to the United States, Ambassador Andrew
Killgore, Editor of the Washington Report, Professor Hala Maksoud,
President of ADC, Dr. Nadim Kassem, PHF Advisory Board member and Jane
Miller of the Cathedral Staff. Ms. Laham explained to her audience the
significance of the exhibit, the only Arab event in Washington to coincide
with the 50th Anniversary of the dispossession of Palestine, and gave
detailed information on the rare and unique items on display.
to this widely seen report reached the Foundation from around the world,
including Amman, Jordan the United Arab Emirates, Syria, Palestine and
Nazareth in Galilee.
Foundation Acquires Additional Palestinian
Mrs. Candy Baker of Falls Church, VA who enjoyed
the articles and photographs in ARAMCO WORLD, contacted the Munayyers a few weeks ago regarding
several antique Palestinian embroidered textiles that she inherited from
Baker’s grandmother bought these items in Palestine in 1896 while on a
two-year honeymoon around the world. Two of the items, a dress and a scarf
from Ramallah are embroidered with lavender and green silk thread on
hand-woven fabric, a rare color combination for this area. The other item,
an open coat embroidered with gold metallic thread on velvet fabric, from
Albania, which was an Ottoman protectorate when the coat was made.
The Munayyers wishes to thank Mrs. Baker for her
interest in their activities,
her kindness and for her readiness to part with items very dear to her
heart. We do assure Mrs. Baker that these special textiles are in good
hands and will serve a great cause.
Costumes at LA International Friendship
Saturday April 18, the Palestinian Heritage Foundation participated in the
International Friendship Festival at the Queen Mary Event Park in Long
Beach, California. Palestinian costumes representing the Bethlehem,
Ramallah, Jerusalem, Hebron, Jaffa, Lydda, Isdud, Gaza and Galilee regions
were modeled by American-Arab young women to the beat of
Arabic folk music. Costumes representing Jordan, Marocco, Syria and
Lebanon were also presented. The event was covered by “AL KUDS AL ARABI”
of London and the Egyptian “AL AHRAM”. ART television beamed a special
THE SPACE BETWEEN OUR
and Paintings from the Middle East: selected by
Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division
1230 Avenue of the Americas. New York, NY 10020
Shihab Nye did it again!!!!! In THE SPACE BETWEEN OUR FOOTSTEPS, Naomi Shihab Nye, Guggenheim
Fellowship recipient and commentator for National Public Radio, brings
together the work of 130 poets and artists who offer a medley of voices
and visions to create a glorious tapestry of a place rich with history and
culture- the Middle East.
a starred review, Booklist says:
“As in her stirring global anthology, This
Same Sky, Palestinian American writer Nye brings us a wealth of new
voices.......The design....is open and beautiful.....Adults as much as
teens will appreciate the poetry of place and the longing for home.
the continuous turmoil in the Middle east, Nye feels that it is important
to present a fuller picture of this multifaceted culture. She believes
that “human beings everywhere
hunger for deeper-than-headline news about one another. Poetry and art are
some of the best ways this heartfelt ‘news’ may be exchanged.” THE SPACE BETWEEN OUR FOOTSTEPS offers
works which are lyrical, mysterious, tragic, and humorous; it opens the
door to the Middle East and beckons readers to explore our common ground.
500 “calls for entries” were mailed, faxed, and e-mailed to poets,
artists, cultural institutions, and galleries in 19 countries in the
Middle East to obtain the multifaceted selections included in THE
SPACE BETWEEN OUR FOOTSTEPS. It combines stunning full-color
artwork with moving poetry from such luminaries as Adonis, Yehuda Amichai,
and Chaibia Tallal (as well as those whose work has never been published
before) to evoke a compelling and dramatic picture of one of the most
misunderstood and misrepresented areas of the world.
poet, writer, and anthologist Naomi Shihab Nye is highly respected in the
literary world for her diverse collection of work. She has traveled
extensively throughout the Middle East. Her Palestinian father, Aziz
Shihab, worked as a translator and advisor on this project. She has also
been a visiting poet and teacher in both elementary and high schools for
over twenty years.
her work, Nye’s love and respect for the Middle East shines through.
Naomi Shihab Nye lives with her family in San Antonio, Texas.
Fourth Mahrajan Al Fan Celebrates Arab Art Music And Culture
By Inea Bushnaq
the fourth Mahrajan, on the weekend of May 9/10 1998, Simon Shaheen
once again provided a musical program that combined the
nostalgically familiar with the new and unusual for sold out audiences
from the greater metropolitan area.
Saturday night, Zaghloul al Damour who is also known as the King of Zajal
debated the merits of passion versus reason, head versus heart, with his
sparring partner Fayez El Moghrabi. Singing their arguments in turn, each
tried to demolish the other’s points in spontaneous folk poetry full of
puns and wordplay.
the second half of the concert, which lasted almost two hours, Simon
Shaheen and the full Near Eastern Music Ensemble played without
interruption accompanying Sabah Fakhri in song after song after song! With
his extraordinary voice Sabah Fakhri stirred his listeners’ emotions
lifting some of them out of their seats to dance in the aisles.
Palestinian, Syrian and Jordanian costumes at Mahrajan Al Fan at the
Brooklyn Museum NY.
this concert Mahrajan Al Fan awarded certificates to poet Naomi Shihab Nye
and ethnomusicologist Jihad Racy in recognition of their contributions to
Arab American culture. Simon Shaheen himself received recognition from New
York City Council, in honor of the Mahrajan, for enriching New York’s
the tornado which hit the last Mahrajan, this year all events at the
Brooklyn Museum on Sunday were held indoors. Unusual for May, a drenching
rain poured all day...interpreted as a sign of “Kheir” and
“barakeh” by M.C. Nadia Hijab. Indeed the atmosphere was one of a
family holiday throughout. The aroma of Moroccan and Lebanese cuisine and
a score of large round tables invited socializing in the museum’s
rotunda, which buzzed with family gatherings and reunions of friends.
usual, the display of Arab embroidered costumes from the Munayyer
Collection was the most eye-catching of the arts and crafts- a riot of
colors. Jamila El-Alaoui’s delicate Henna designs and Hanan Munayyer’s
tile decorating attracted a never ending line of enthusiasts.
Interlink’s display of not easily found literature on the Middle East
and Arab culture was worth the trip to Brooklyn. Naomi Shihab Nye was on
hand to sign her own books. In addition there was embroidery lessons,
calligraphy and children’s activities.
musical program featured Hamza El Din powerful magic with his soft singing
and complex use of a simple Tar. His melding of Nubian rhythms with
Arabic music, a new fusion, has made him known worldwide: his listeners
feel they are in the presence of something rare. The Near Eastern Music
Ensemble accompanied our local talent singers, Fahim Dandan and Ghada
Ghanem, whose fans increase from year to year.
Audrey Shabbas who organized the children’s program gave a superb
workshop for middle and high school teachers on Sunday morning. Her
curriculum for teaching Arab Culture and Islam is outstanding and probably
more effective than many efforts to correct the current negative Arab
image in the United States.
Mrs. Carr Donates Palestinian Costumes To PHF
Margaret Carr of Los Angeles, California donated three old Palestinian
costumes and a scarf to the Foundation. In her letter to the PHF, care-of
Aramco World, Mrs. Carr wrote: I read with great interest and appreciation
the article in the March/April issue of ARAMCO WORLD entitled “These
Stitches Speak.” My husband and I worked in Jordan in the early sixties
and while there, I acquired three Palestinian-embroidered dresses, two in
natural cotton and one in black velvet.
had the dresses for almost 30 years and I believe they were quite old when
I acquired them. I now would like to see them in the care of a museum or
textile association so their beauty could be appreciated and, more
had intended to contact a number of museums, galleries, auction houses,
and the like which are particularly attuned to Middle East collections to
gauge their interest, if any, in the purchase of these dresses until I
read “These Stitches Speak.” Then I thought you might be interested in
these dresses so I am contacting you first.
dresses come from the villages of Deir Tarif, Budros, and Gimzu in the
Lydda region. Arriving two days before Mahrajan Al Fan, one of the dresses
was included in the display all day Sunday.
Foundation would like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Carr for their generosity and