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 a7 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.
Our guests (185 of them) were young and old(er)
Our Plenary Speakers
Dr. Estephan Salameh Dr. Alice Rothchild
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 and edited 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. We hope to include a more complete summary of her words on the Seraj website later this fall.
Donating your Time, Talent and Treasure
It takes a village to do almost everything that is important in this world. That includes upholding a democracy, resisting oppression, enlarging the domain of justice and peace, supporting the disenfranchised here and throughout the world.
And it takes a village to grow support for a little non-profit like Seraj that is doing big things in partnership with Palestinian villages.
If you can contribute someTime to help Seraj US spread the word, prepare for a benefit,let us know.
If you have a Talentthat could improve our communications, find new sources of support, let us know.
If you have uncommitted Treasure you would like directed to buy a computer or cover a semester of tuition for one of our BJ Wagner Fellows,let us know. Your gift to Seraj – of any amount – is deeply appreciated. Donate here.