Melia Campaign Builds Womens’ Businesses

by Carol Hylkema

The Pal Craftaid Board invites you to share in its annual fund-raising campaign for one of our long time partners. This year, we are focusing our fund-raising efforts on the Melia Shop in East Jerusalem, a gathering place for women and a conduit for Palestinian embroidery to be sold around the world.

Pal Craftaid purchases much of its beautiful needlework from the Melia Shop.

Through this campaign, our gifts to the Melia Shop will help support hiring consultants to work with  needlework artisans in the development of new designs for customers in Europe, America and the Gulf States, as well the implementation of new marketing strategies.

The needlework artisans work in cooperatives around the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, and, as many as 500 women are on the shop’s artisan list. The design consultant will work with staff at the shop, as well as visit with artisans in their homes, as it is not possible under Israeli occupation for all of the women to come together.

The conditions in the Palestinian Occupied Territories continue to be dire and harsh. These needlework artisans often find themselves, unexpectedly, the primary wage earners in their families.

The gifts to this campaign will give the kind of boost needed to enhance their opportunities for new products and new markets through the Melia Shop. Won’t you join us? Thank you.

Checks can be made out to:
Pal Craftaid
and noted for the ‘Melia Shop’
Send to Virginia Priest, treasurer, at:

3520 North 30th Street
Tacoma, WA 98407

Thank you for your support!

From Hala’s Kitchen

Easter Recipes Made New Each Season

Hala

Hala Jahshan

Just a week before Easter, Hala Jahshan is putting together a baking list.

She’s made these particular Easter cookies – called k’ak, or, crown of thorns — since she was a girl, when her family was displaced from Palestine to Lebanon, then again within Lebanon during the war.

It isn’t only the taste that is sweet here. The memories are too.

Her mother’s kitchen would be packed with women neighbors, who all came together to knead the dough, add a pinch of sugar to the crushed dates, while kids from the entire apartment building were packing in to watch and to hope for bits of batter.

Although her own son is 36 now, she is sure he’ll find a reason to come by this week when she has started baking.

The ringed cookies are said to symbolize the crown of thorns worn by Jesus as he was tortured and crucified. It isn’t odd that the treat is sticky and sweet, commemorating a sacrificial act, according to Jerusalem’s Christians. Remembering the suffering is a very real part of the coming holy days.

But the final outcome, after all, is joy.

“Joy, yes, it is joy for us,” Hala says, talking through Skype into a computer monitor from the Melia Shop in Jerusalem’s Old City, right inside the New Gate. She is there practically daily, helping to sort, categorize and mend, if needed, the pieces of embroidery brought to the shop by women artisans across the West Bank.

She listens, too, to stories of worry and loss, and to stories of hope, where women are finding ways to support their families and to support each other.

But this week, she’ll be listening within.

After nearly 40 days of no cheese, no milk, no meat, she’s tending to her Lenten prayers – and readying for the Easter meal.

Raised by Christian parents, Hala says that she always followed Orthodox teachings.

But it was her husband, who, after the marriage that brought her back to Jerusalem, really taught her the Bible and helped her to experience Jesus as not just a message in the mass.

“Something in your heart changes,” she says. “It is just a feeling that is within you.”

It tickles her to share the recipe she’s carried from Palestine to Lebanon and back – and is now sharing online with readers she hasn’t yet met.
(You can find her complete recipe here!)

Atfaluna Spring SmockAtfaluna Spring Smock

Springtime Smocks

Mix the old and the new with these beautifully designed girls’ dresses made by deaf dressmakers at Atfaluna Crafts.

Lovingly hand embroidered by deaf women, they are available in a range of colors and sizes.

The design concept integrates a Palestinian traditional embroidery pattern into a fashionable girls’ dress. White traditionally expresses the brightness of the spring and summer seasons. The vivid embroidery is available in pink, orange, red and baby blue.

These dresses make wonderful gifts, combining tradition with tasteful fashion for girls. Now available online, Item #1350

Pal Craftaid is a volunteer, non-profit ministry of compassion, hope, and healing for Palestinians.

Pal Craftaid supports families, schools, elderly groups and community cooperatives in East Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank.