Palestinian Heritage Foundation
Newsletter of the Palestinian Heritage Foundation
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 Petra.
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 translated.
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 Village
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 www.antiochianvillage.org .
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 250 guests.
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 future date.
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 Heritage Museum
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 October 2004.
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.
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 ever.
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.
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 to
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 Heritage… 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 GIBRAN”
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.
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 periodically.
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. 711.
ANTIOCHIAN HERITAGE MUSEUM REFLECTS MIDDLE EASTERN ANCESTRY
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.
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 Faberge.
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 Legionnaire.
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: AVCenter@antiochian.org.
Arab American Civic Organization Activities
The Arab American Civic Organization’s school in Paterson, New Jersey, held it’s annual graduation ceremony at School # 9. The festive atmosphere that accompanied the graduation was attended by the student’ 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 students’ performance at the graduation ceremony had a positive impact on the attending officials who invited the students to perform at the Paterson City Council’s 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 Georgia’s 4th district.