When Linda Bevis started her second career in teaching nineteen years ago, she noticed that the textbooks for high school world history dedicated about five paragraphs to Palestine and Israel. The Seattle resident, educator, and longtime activist knew how difficult it would be for any teacher to use that material productively. “While I actually don’t think the conflict is a complicated one, it cannot be explained in five paragraphs."
It may challenge the spirit to think of cauliflower as anything but an overrated, ungainly plant. But in the craggy land between Ramallah and Jerusalem, there is one variety of that plain vegetable that invariably attracts a crazed following at this time of year.
In 2015, actor and writer Lameece Issaq will celebrate the five-year anniversary of Noor Theatre, the production company she co-founded that is dedicated to developing and supporting the work of Middle Eastern theater artists. Since its inception in 2010, Noor Theatre has been in residence at the renowned off-Broadway New York Theatre Workshop in Manhattan, and as Issaq looks back, she’s thrilled to find that what she’s doing is gaining traction.
In the spring of 2014, Palestinian-American actor Thom Bishops shot his 17th film, Time Out of Mind. The movie stars Richard Gere and Jena Malone, and Bishops was cast in the role of a vegan chef who offers kindness (and food) to a homeless man played by Gere. The film is enjoying success on the festival circuit—it showed at Rome and Toronto (where it won the FIPRESCI International Critics’ Prize) in October, among others.
Artist Jon Rubin, proprietor of Conflict Kitchen in Oakland, said on Monday night that he will use a $15,000 award he received from The Pittsburgh Foundation and Heinz Endowments to expand his restaurant’s controversial presentation of Palestinian foods, culture and perspective.
A tiny Christian enclave in the overwhelmingly Muslim West Bank has for years crafted the only Palestinian beer and brought thousands of visitors flocking to its annual beer fest. Now, it is adding wine to its list of libations, hoping a boutique winery will be another tourist draw and contribute to keeping the small village afloat.
The Taybeh Brewery here in the heart of the Holy Land usually hosts an Oktoberfest celebration, but not this year. This is the first time master brewer Nadim Khoury and his family canceled their annual event, saying it's too soon after the 50-day war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza last summer. "The blood in Gaza still did not dry, so we felt we needed better times to celebrate," Khoury said.
Everything about Ms. Bishara's evocative new book made me want to run to the kitchen or get on a plane and wander in the Old City.
For Rawia Bishara, writing her first cookbook, "Olives, Lemons & Za'atar: the Best Middle Eastern Home Cooking" (Kyle Books, 2014), was about "honoring my mother and her recipes." Rawia, a Palestinian who grew up in Nazareth, moved to the United States when she got married, some 40 years ago.