It is the key to our old house...to which we plan to return.
"On The Ground With Seraj"
An invitation from your friends in Palestine
We invite you to join us on our first everSeraj Library Project trip to Palestine!See Palestine from the inside, experience life in Palestine, make genuine connections with people from the communities you have been supporting and hearing about for years, and leave for home with a deeper and more meaningful understanding of life in Palestine and Seraj’s work. The tour will be led by the Executive Director of Seraj, who is a native Chicagoan but has happily called Palestine home for more than 15 years.
We have lots to celebrate, and invite you to join us – a new Storytelling Center, and the Birzeit Libraries and Cultural Center.Our life is full of challenges, and we invite you to experience the meaning of Sumoud(steadfastness) with us.
On this 10 day trip, you will experience Palestine as an insider. Whether you’ve never been to Palestine or you’ve been here ten times, this trip will delight and inspire you. You will:
visit the holy places of Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Jericho,
swim in the Dead Sea,
eat lunch on the shores of the Mediterranean,
meet with families being evicted from their homes and farms in the Jordan Valley,
help in the olive harvest in rural villages,
hear from activists, leaders, academics and artists, and
visit Seraj’s libraries around the West Bank.
We invite you to join us as we celebrate the opening of our storytelling center in Kufor Aqab and our libraries and cultural center in Birzeit.
We also invite you to lead an activity in any of our libraries, if you have a talent or skill you’d like to share!
Our purpose for this trip is to give you a deeper understanding and connection to Seraj, and with the communities with whom we work. We want to make this a special trip, one that neither you nor our Seraj family here, will ever forget.
The Details are still in process. Much more to come
Honoring the work ofFida'a Ataya, Seraj Library Project Program Director
972 MAGAZINEis a great resource for Palestinian reporting. The magazine recently honored our Seraj Palestinian Program Director, Fida'a Ataya, for her work in resisting the Occupation.Read the article here. We are honored and pleased to have Fidaa on our staff. Laurie Salameh, our Palestinian Director, works closely with Fidaa. Here is what Lauriehas to say about Fidaa and her work:
Fidaa is one of those rare people you meet who can shift the energy in whatever space she inhabits, whether it's on stage performing for an audience, in a library with children sharing hidden stories she's discovered, or simply in our office brainstorming with our team. Fida'a has been working with Seraj for five years, and before that she was a volunteer in our library in Kufor Ni'ameh. She is incredibly dedicated to sharing and transforming the Palestinian narrative through the art of storytelling, an art for which she is a well-known and respected leader. I'm always amazed at how her mind works, capturing small details and building them to create a full story.
This article speaks about her personal passion project, for which she has been the victim of violence and nearly daily threats. But she has persisted. This brilliant idea she created and implemented on her family land shares art installations of her own and her friends’ creations. Seraj even placed a small library there, as this outdoor museum is meant to be visited by anyone, families included. Sadly and not surprisingly, most of the artwork and the library have been destroyed by settlers surrounding the land.
But Fida'a will not give up.She believes strongly in the power of art and storytelling to transform people’s thoughts and lives, and maybe even the reality on the ground.We are so thankful such a talented and inspirational woman is a part of our Seraj team and family.
JOIN US FOR
St. Luke's church members Galen Burghardt and Diane Fite are hosting a special event at the church highlighting Palestine's songs and stories. Diane and Rima Kapitan,will share a conversation about Rima's experiences growing up as a Palestinian American. Musicians Anita Darwishand Hassan Salamehin an encore performance will perform songs and music from their Middle Eastern repertoire and Mai Khader-Kakish from Almond & Fig will share memories of her Palestinian Childhood and demonstrate how to make the Za'atar spice recipe from her grandmother. We finish with Mai and Anita teaching us a traditional children's song Mai learned from her grandmother. This promises to be a wonderful hour and we hope you will join us for this very special event