Palestinian Heritage Foundation
Newsletter of the Palestinian Heritage Foundation
Hanan Lectures at Bir Zeit University
On Saturday, December 5, 2009 Hanan and Farah Munayyer co-founders of the Palestinian Heritage Foundation were the guests of the Ethnographic and Art Museum at Bir Zeit University in Bir Zeit, Palestine. The lecture was attended by more than fifty guests from all over the West Bank and included a slide presentation by Mrs. Munayyer presenting her research on the history of embroidery in the Middle East and her upcoming book addressing the history of Palestinian costume and embroidery art through the ages.
The lecture was hosted by the Director of the Museum, renowned artist Ms. Vera Tamari. In attendance was University President Dr. Nabil Kassis. The event was covered by “Al Quds” daily newspaper.
The Munayyers Visit with Mrs. Widad Kawar in Jordan
During a recent three-day visit to Amman, Jordan to promote Hanan’s upcoming book on the history of Palestinian embroidery, Farah and Hanan visited with Mrs. Widad Kawar, a pioneer collector of Palestinian traditional costumes. The Munayyers discussed with Mrs. Kawar her future plans for a museum in Amman to house her immense collection of Palestinian and Jordanian costumes. The Munayyers were accompanied to the Kawars by Mrs. Arwa Dajani, a close friend of Mrs. Kawar and who graciously hosted with her husband Mr. Adel Dajani a dinner for about twenty-five guests to hear Hanan talk about the Foundation and her upcoming book.
Estephans Donate Palestinian Garments to PHF
Henry and Eleanor Estephan of Indiana have recently donated several embroidered items to the Foundation. These garments include an antique Ramallah white rumi dress embroidered with silk thread on handwoven fabric, a man’s wool abaye, several hattas and other minor embroidered items.
Henry’s aunt Melvina Haddad of Ramallah, Palestine, had commissioned a woman in the 1940s to embroider the dress for her niece Viola (Henry’s sister), who at the time was attending school in Pasadena City College in California. Viola wanted to wear an authentic Palestinian dress when she and other students from different countries were invited by the Rotary Club to give talks about their respective homelands. Viola wore that dress again when the Rotary Club took a group of foreign students to Disneyland to celebrate its grand opening in 1955. Eventually, Viola sent the dress to Henry and Eleanor to use to promote Palestinian art and culture. The Estephans have had it since then.
Henry Estephan is a graduate of the Friends School in Ramallah and a friend of Joseph and Annie Qutub who are close friends of the Munayyers and the Foundation. Although Joseph and Henry graduated from the same school in the late 1940 and early 1950s, they never met until both attended the University of Indiana in the 1950s. During a university reunion last year the Estephans told the Qutubs about these items and the Qutubs advised them that the Palestinian Heritage Foundation is the best and proper home for the garments.
Henry Estephan was born in Haifa, moved to Jaffa as a young boy, and eventually left with his family to Jerusalem. Like many other young people from the area, he attended the Friends School in Ramallah before coming to the United States through a scholarship arranged by the late Rolla Foley, his music teacher who helped over 150 of the Friends’ graduates to get scholarships to complete their higher education in the United States.
The dress is in excellent condition and looks as if it came right out of an embroidery workshop. The Foundation thanks Henry and Eleanor Estephan, Melvina Haddad and Viola for their generous gesture, and the Qutubs for initiating the donation.