Coming in October - Seraj Virtual Benefit & Movie Premiere.
Watch this space for details.
Daily videos of Empowered Palestinian Women, October 3-7.
Seraj Movie Premiere party with light supper, Oak Park Euclid United Methodist Church, Saturday eve, October 9.
Mid summer news:
A Powerful Palestinian Voice: Pastor Saïd Ailabouni
Seraj Donor Profile: The Episcopal Paddock Fund
A Seraj Summer Intern - meet Noor Abu Rabie
"Come and See..."
Pastor Saïd Ailabouni's Witness
St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Evanston, Illinois, invited Pastor Saïd Ailabouni of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) to preach at a worship service in April dedicated to Palestine and the mission of Seraj. St. Luke's has been a long-time supporter of Seraj In 2011, inspired by the late Fr. Cotton Fite, an associate of the parish, the church supported the creation of a library in Taybeh.
A very powerful sermon: We invite you to listen to the compelling narrative of Pastor Saïd's childhood in Nazareth, the reality of the Occupation today, and the transformative power of truth, delivered via Zoom from Jerusalem. Link below.
The Bishop Robert L. Paddock Fund, administered by the New York Community Trust, is partnering with Seraj on a MATCHING GRANT in support of the Birzeit Cultural Center currently in development.
Bishop Robert Lewis Paddock (1869-1939)
Bishop Mark Sisk,one of three Episcopalian bishops serving on the committee which recommends grants on behalf of the Paddock Fund, explains that the Fund is a vehicle for promoting peace, a particular interest of Bishop Paddock. Peace-making in the Middle East region has developed as a focus for the Fund over the course of several years. Seraj is thus a fitting recipient of Paddock funding not only because its leadership has “shown to be grounded, imaginative, and creative” but that the mission and activities of Seraj represent “a real, substantial attempt to reinforce humanity and build a civil society” in Palestine.
The Seraj Library Project in many regards reflects Bishop Paddock’s own ideals. In his 1965 biography entitled Portrait of a Rebel, he is described as a reformer, ecumenist, and pacifist. His initial years after ordination were devoted to ministry in the slums of New York City. As the first missionary bishop for the Diocese of Eastern Oregon in 1907, he worked with other denominations to more fully serve the communities of the region, drawing objections from church hierarchies. During World War I, the bishop sided with pacifists, incurring further criticism.
Bishop Paddock and his wife, Helen, cared deeply about the poor, and worked tirelessly for education and peace. The monetary base behind the philanthropic efforts of the Paddock Fund was derived from Helen’s father, Robert W. Aitken, who imported lace from his native Scotland. Bishop Sisk notes that one of the challenges faced by the Fund today is finding organizations that are well-grounded enough to allow the Fund to pursue its goals. So, in effect, Seraj is doing the Paddock Fund a favor by accepting its money and undertaking endeavors that further the goals of peace. Typically, they do not commit to three years of giving in advance—and the Fund had already supported Seraj for three years—but this new project was sufficiently new and creative that they were glad to get involved.
The Birzeit project promises to be a lasting tribute to Bishop Paddock’s legacy, and Bishop Sisk is excited that the Paddock Fund is participating in the development of the project at this stage in the evolution of Seraj—calling it “a rare thing for a foundation.” Galen Burghardt recalls that the Fund also provided financial support for Seraj at another critical juncture, that of the formal establishment of the Palestine board as an NGO entity. Seraj is grateful for this continuing support, and encourages its advocates to maximize the generosity of the Paddock Fund by contributing to this matching grant opportunity.
“A real, substantial attempt to reinforce humanity and
build a civil society in Palestine”
—Bishop Mark Sisk
Zoom conversation with Bishop Mark Sisk and Seraj US board members Cindy Percak and Galen Burghardt, May 2021
The Rt. Rev. Mark Sisk, former Dean of Seabury-Western Seminary and retired Bishop of New York, is currently living in upstate New York.
Meet Seraj's 2021 Summer Intern
Seraj has an intern this summer! Let’s all welcome Noor Abu Rabie, a University of Oregon junior majoring in journalism and minoring in legal studies.
Noor at a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field.
Dear Seraj Friends,
I was born and raised in Nablus, Palestine where I attended a bilingual school that combined an American-style curriculum with a strong foundation in Arabic.
I heard about Seraj through Elisabeth Trost (a Seraj US Board member), who was a teacher at my high school. I was inspired by their mission and the good work they do so I applied for an internship position. I will complete three weeks of work in Chicago, and for the rest of the summer I will be working with Fidaá Ataya and other members of the Seraj Palestinian community.
I strongly believe in the power of communication and storytelling to influence, inspire, and unite people, and I plan to use my legal knowledge to ensure access to justice amongst marginalized communities. It may come as no surprise that I plan to go to law school after graduating next year.
I'm hoping to hone my multimedia skills through interning for a non-profit organization. I will gain invaluable experience that's both fulfilling and enriching. I look forward to putting my skills in media literacy (a core value for Seraj) into practice as I create exciting new content for Seraj’s social media platforms!
Sincerely yours, Noor
How can I help support
the Paddock Fund matching grant?
Donations may be made on Seraj’s secure site. Choose the Paddock Challenge as your Fund choice.