Tag Archives: Nablus

“Kairos Palestine” Document

22 Apr

For the sake of my fellow pilgrim-teachers here is a link to The Kairos Palestine Document – A moment of truth: A word of faith, hope and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering.

My Watch is “Two-Faced”

10 Apr

Usually I wear a wristwatch that has two “faces.” One is set for local, Milford, time – 10:47 a.m. in the photo below. The other is seven hours ahead: 5:47 p.m., which is “Bethlehem time.” I keep myself on track … and I am constantly reminded of my friends in Bethlehem, Beit Jala, Beit Sahour, Nablus, Nazareth and Jerusalem.

Sunday morning as I reached into my dresser drawer for a clean handkerchief, I noticed my “good” watch. I wear it on special occasions. Easter is special! So, onto my wrist went my good watch. As a reminder that Easter Day is actually an Octave, I will wear my special watch for eight days, until next Sunday evening.I can easily and quickly add seven hours to remember whether my friends in the Holy Land are awake or asleep.

Bless the One who shapes your beauty

7 Mar

As they waited for the Skype connection with the 1st grade students of Miss Ruya from the Latin Patriarchate School of St. Joseph in Nablus (West Bank, Palestine), Mrs. Phillips explained to her students that the children that they were going to meet were 6,000 miles away, and lived near Bethlehem.

The parents in Palestine had brought their children back to school a couple hours after school was out in order to Skype with our children from America.

The Palestinian children had a song ready – “Twinkle, twinkle, little star.” Our children clapped with joy, probably because they recognized the song. They probably didn’t realize how extraordinary it was that 6-7 years olds, whose first langauge is Arabic, were singing in English. Later, the same children would sing a song in Arabic, which Miss Ruya explained was about how they loved their country very much.

The teachers on both sides of the world tried to put some order into the energy and the enthusiasm of their students. Sometimes they were even successful. First graders, wherever they are, are first graders!

When it was our turn, the CD player went on, and our friends in Palestine heard, “All you works of God / Every mountain, star and tree / Bless the One who shapes your beauty / Who has caused you all to be / One great song of love and grace / Ever ancient, ever new / Raise your voices, all you works of God.”

Mrs. Phillips sang.

The children sang and made hand gestures that expressed the words of the song.

The  Arab children clapped with as much enthusiasm and appreciation as our children did.

They asked questions …

… and waited for answers.

There were questions (and answers) about snow, favorite sports, how old they were.

At the end of the visit, Mrs. Phillips spoke with the principal, Miss Abeer, who personally visited Mrs. Phillips classroom back in October. In June, Mrs Phillips goes to Miss Abeer’s school – and the circle of friendship will be complete.

محادثة “skype” مع مدرسة “Saint Andrew”

1 Mar

On February 28 students from Saint Joseph School in Nablus, in the West Bank of Palestine, visited by Skype with 6th graders from St. Andrew-St. Elizabeth Ann Seton school in Milford, Ohio.

Students from the two Catholic schools were 6,000 miles away, but technology brought them together to see each other’s smiles and to hear each other’s voices.

As one of the Palestinian students sat close to the computer, the others in the classroom watched on a large screen. They saw our students sitting in the hall below our church. Note in the bottom right corner of the next photo: in Palestine it was 420 p.m. The students had finished their school day, had gone home to eat the main meal of the day, and returned, yes, returned to school in order to meet our students who were just beginning their school day at 9:20 a.m.

In the classroom with the students …

… were Miss Abeer, their Principal, and Miss Ruya, their English teacher. Both Miss Abeer and Miss Ruya had visited our school last October. Our 6th grade teacher at St. Andrew, Mrs. Barbara Ambs, worked out the details of the online visit with Miss Ruya. They each prepared their own students, and pulled off this miracle visit, not giving up, even after technological problems forced them to cancel the first two attempts.

And look who else was in the classroom in Nablus: Father Johnny, the parish priest of St. Joseph.

A Palestinian girl asked her question. She spoke in English. She and her classmates began studying English in the first grade – and French, too. Notice the piece of paper. Isn’t that cute? She had her question ready.

Then she smiled, as she got an answer from her new American friend, who also spoke in English, of course. It would have been a very short visit and conversation, if our students needed to speak in Arabic.

It was fun for all: students, teacher and parish priest – on both sides.

This smile says it all. It’s for the children!