A cross for comfort

Our holding crosses are one of Pal Craftaid’s most popular items.
A source of comfort, this cross may be held in the palm of your hand, kept in the pocket of your jeans, or, kept at your bedside table. It is teeny enough to go with you practically anywhere.
It is a lovely gift for someone in the hospital, a nursing home, or, heading off to college. Plenty of churches give holding crosses to new members, both adults and youth.
These crosses may be purchased in three sizes, from $3 to $7.

A cross necklace for the season

Pal Craftaid offers you a plethora of crosses to wear during the Lenten and Easter seasons – or any time of the year! These affordable necklaces are produced by Bethlehem artisans and are forever keepsakes.


404 Jerusalem Cross Necklace – One of the most popular crosses in the Holy Land is the Jerusalem cross. Its geometric design conveys a multitude of meanings, with four small crosses tucked into the beams of a central cross. Some say the center cross represents Calvary and the four others, the Gospels. Some says it means that Jerusalem is the center of the world. Others say it represents the crusading countries who centuries ago sent armies to Jerusalem, with the center cross symbolizing the English.


#402 Plain Cross
Plain Cross


402 Plain Cross Necklace – This simple wooden cross is the cross-symbol used by the earliest Christians. No ornamentation. No wounded body. Just a symbol of faith that speaks across the ages and never loses its power.



#411 Fancy Grapevine
Grapevine Cross

411 Fancy Grapevine Cross Necklace – An ornate little cross, the grapevine reminds us of the bonds forged at the communion table, where Christ calls the faithful. Its delicate craftsmanship illustrates how Christ is the vine, and, the people are the branches. (John 15:5)


#403 Double-decker Filigree
Double-decker Filigree Cross



403 Double-decker Filigree Cross Necklace – This necklace is a cross within a cross, an unforgettable design that is simple, yet elegant.

Bethlehem sculptors tell stories in olive wood

Last Supper Sculpture

Ibrahim Giacaman can talk sculpture.

Trained in Florence, Italy, and raised in a family of olive wood artisans, he works out of the family business on Manger Square in Bethlehem, where, hundreds of styles of nativities line the shops’s shelves.

While nativities hand-carved in Bethlehem can be kept always as family heirlooms and treasured keepsakes, during Lent, buyers often look for another biblical scene – the Last Supper, an intricate sculpture that the Giacaman shop offers in many styles.

The photo above shows the version that Pal Craftaid is offering this year to U.S. customers.

“Some are modern (without features). Some have detailed faces. They’re very nice,” he said in an interview by telephone, acknowledging that most olive wood depictions of the Last Supper are more labor-intensive than most nativities and typically cost more – anywhere from $60 to $500.

“As you know, they’re carved by hand. And, there are more individual figures – 13 including Jesus and the 12 disciples — so it is harder to make … It is a lot of work, not like ornaments,” Giacaman said, adding that not only the figures take time. The carvers sculpt plates, cups, tablecloths and other items that lend historical accuracy to the artwork.

“There are just many steps to the work … taking 12 to 15 hours.”

While Giacaman has developed new designs for the pre-Easter scene, many Last Supper scenes that line his shelves were designed by his father, his grandfather, his great-grandfather and even his great-great grandfather, all of whom devoted a lifetime to olive wood art that has been sold at the shop, Il Bambino.

The Last Supper has always been one of the favorite subjects for Christian art, visible even in the catacombs in Rome where the disciples are shown reclining at a semi-circular table where Jesus presides.

Paul mentions the meal in First Corinthians 11.

And during the Italian Renaissance, countless painters put their own spin on the gathering; the most famous, of course, being the 15th Century mural by Da Vinci at a convent in Rome where anger, shock and sadness are visible on the faces of the disciples as Jesus announces his impending betrayal.

Giacaman said that the shop’s portrayals of the Last Supper often are given as gifts to pastors. Others are kept at home and displayed during the Easter season, a reminder of a faith tradition that reaches back centuries and is still visible today as communities gather at a table that is prepared for all eternity.