Our Plenary Speakers
Dr. Estephan Salameh                  Dr. Alice Rothchild

The 2016 Seraj Benefit

Saturday, October 8, 2016 - Unitarian Church of Evanston

Success is often measured in numbers of donors and dollars. And in both of those categories, the Seraj Benefit was a success. But what made it such a great success was ...

  • greeting old friends, long-time supporters of Seraj, and meeting so many new ones;

  • seeing and hearing the marvelous energy and creativity of our Palestinian partners documented in a 7 minute video made with the help of a young man from the Seraj library at Alrowwad in the Aida refugee camp;

  • widening and deepening our understanding of the forces that nurture the resilience of the Palestinian people amid the destructive realities of occupation. 

The Benefit was a great success... 

thanks to the Seraj Community!

Dr. Estephan Salameh is well known to almost all of us. Under Estephan's and his wife Laurie's leadership Seraj has flourished in a way few could have anticipated. Much of the vitality we see in the Seraj video Estephan brought us is due to a philosophy of development based on a belief that, given the resources, an oppressed people will use them creatively to nurture their own culture, to enhance their resilience. 

Our Palestinian partners have taken full ownership of their now (nearly) 8 libraries and the multiple programs generated by their Advisory Council, many volunteers and BJ Wagner Fellows and talented coordinator, Fida'a Ataya.

Don't miss viewing the 
7 minute video filmed over the past six months.


Dr. Alice Rothchild may be less well known to many of us, but she is widely known and deeply respected nationally and internationally as physician, author, film-maker and social-justice activist. She is among the most talented and deeply committed Jewish-American voices for justice and peace for all the people of Palestine and Israel. 

Alice gave us a lot to absorb – a sketch of Palestinians pre-1948, the dispossession of the Nakba and the oppressive realities under which Palestinians have lived since 1967. She described the forces which nurture resilience – and resistance – in the face of systemic injustice and the continuing confiscation of Palestinian land. 

Traditional Palestinian families are characterized by tenacity, steadfastness and multi-generational loyalties. The priority education claims is reflected in a saying often heard among Palestinians – "They can take away my house, my land, but not my education/training". Poetry, dance, music, art lie at the heart of Palestinian culture. Seraj's mission is to help Palestinians preserve and enrich that culture.

Alice's address deserves study.  
See excerpts from her address here.

Why we host an annual benefit…

  • renew financial support for our Seraj partners 
  • gather the US Seraj community for an evening of good friends, food and fun
  • learn more about Seraj, the Palestinian people and the struggle to end the Occupation​

How you can participate …

  • plan to attend
  • invite friends who would welcome learning about Seraj 
  • contribute an item for the silent auction  
  • volunteer to be a Benefit worker
  • Contact us.  

20156 Benefit  Facts

amount raised

tickets sold189
tables purchased 14
auction income$5,650

Senator John Millner, Seraj Board Member, welcomed all

The Seraj Benefit

Smiles all around!

​Join us next year!