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:
and noted for the ‘Melia Shop’
Send to Virginia Priest, treasurer, at:
3520 North 30th Street
Tacoma, WA 98407
Thank you for your support!
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.
Bethlehem Carvers Ready Seasonal Nativities
by Alexa Smith
If you ask Ibrahim Giacaman to estimate how many nativities he’s carved in his 49 years, he just chortles quietly.
“I couldn’t count,” he says. “But I started early, yes.”
#218, 6 1/4 inches
1-piece nativity with animals
He has been carving wood since he was a 10-year-old boy who helped his father in his grandfather’s business.
The factory sits a block off of Manger Square in Bethlehem’s ancient city center. Inside, woodworkers shape aged and dried olive wood into religious heirlooms for sale at Il Bambino, the family store near the Nativity Church.
Oddly, the closer it gets to Christmas, the more quiet the wood shop gets.
In the fall, the place hums as items get polished, packed and shipped for sales around the world, big orders and small. “It is almost the end of our season now,” says Giacaman, who now has two sons who lend a hand at Salem Giacaman and Sons, the latest in a family line that runs back four generations.
An increasingly popular item is the one-piece nativity, which comes in a variety of styles and sits in bits on the shop’s shelves drying for a few weeks before polishing and shipping. The family creates single-figure designs in every imaginable size, but this style is becoming popular.
#215, 7 inches
1-piece nativity with bell
“We’ve always made these… but they are selling well, especially in the last two years. They’re less expensive, especially the four-to-five-inch grottos,” says Giacaman.
Tourists find them easy to pack; and once home, they are not limited for use at Christmas, but may be displayed year-round.
“I think people like that the people within the carvings are without details. You can look at this image and imagine the face that you want. You can imagine how Mary looks, what Joseph looked like. You can see each image the way you like,” he says.
The back of each nativity is cut from one piece of wood and the other individual bits, the characters, the animals, the frame, are done with a hand-cut saw and glued into place.
Giacaman says that his favorite one-piece nativity nests the scene inside a bell.
But new designs are already percolating. He’s just waiting for more quiet.
“One of these days I’ll sit in the office at the factory… grab a piece of wood. Turn a panel. And I’ll start sketching,” he says.
Pre-Christmas Sales near you!
Mark your calendars!
- Nov. 13-Dec. 25 – First Presbyterian Church, Hope Village, Charleston, WV
- Nov. 16 – Parkwood Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, PA
- Nov. 16 – Olivet Presbyterian Church, Bethlehem Bazaar, Charlottesville, VA
- Nov. 16-17 – Christ Lutheran Church, Fair Trade Holiday Bazaar, Sedona, AZ
- Nov. 16-17 – Covenant Presbyterian Church, Upper Arlington, OH
- Nov. 16-17 – Westminster Presbyterian Church, Portage, MI
- Nov. 17 – Westminster Presbyterian Church, Minneapolis, MN
- Nov. 17 – First Presbyterian Church of San Leandro, San Leandro, CA
- Nov. 17 – Northminster Presbyterian Church, San Antonio, TX
- Nov. 17 – Covenant Presbyterian Church, Huntsville, AL
- Nov. 23 – St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, Pittsburgh, PA
- Nov. 23-24 – St. Therese Catholic Church, Branford, CT
- Nov. 24 – University Presbyterian Church, Tempe, AZurch, Kerrville, TX
- Nov. 24 – Highland Presbyterian, Maryville, TN
- Dec. 1, 8 & 22 – First Presbyterian Church, Kirkwood, MO
- Dec. 1, 8 & 15 – Northminster Presbyterian Church, Seattle, WA
- Dec. 6 – Hill Country Bible Church, Pflugerville Women’s Christmas Event, Pflugerville, TX
- Dec. 6 & 7 – Community Presbyterian Church, Ben Avon, PA
- Dec. 7 – St. Mary Catholic Church, Branford, CT
- Dec. 7 – North Decatur Presbyterian Church, Decatur, GA
- Dec. 8 – St. James Lutheran Church, Grosse Pointe Farms, MI
- Dec. 8 – Northbrook Presbyterian Church, Beverly Hills, MI
- Dec. 8 – First Presbyterian Church, Arlington, VA
- Dec. 8-9 – Orchard Park Presbyterian Church, Orchard Park, NY