“A tool of mass cultural preservation”—that’s how Blanche Araj Shaheen describes her new cookbook. Feast in the Middle East (2020) features an array of dishes from across the Levant with detailed instructions and histories behind each recipe.
Even in the arts, it can be rare to see Palestinian stories and identities shared, especially with mainstream audiences. THE VAGRANT TRILOGY, a three-part play by award-winning playwright Mona Mansour, offers just that. Opening in March at The Public Theater in New York City, the play is about Palestinian displacement set in the context of the 1967 Six-Day War.
Born in Philadelphia to Palestinian immigrants who moved to the United States in 1967, Susan Muaddi Darraj has always loved books. She describes herself as a quiet child who found a lot of herself through reading.
“Being Palestinian has everything to do with what we do.” Rita Lahoud and Sandra Bahhur, a special education teacher and a registered nurse respectively, are sisters who are accustomed to helping others.
“The aim of my designs is to preserve Palestinian indigenous culture while bridging the gap between Eastern and Western worlds,” pronounces Suzy Tamimi, a New York-based Palestinian designer who repurposes and combines traditional embroidery with contemporary designs.
Wafa Ghnaim is introducing people to “tatreez” through her workshops.
From the young age of three, Samar Haddad King has used dance and movement as a tool for self-expression. Growing up Palestinian-American in the diaspora, King found that movement helped overcome communication barriers: “When we were younger and didn’t all have a common language yet, I found it interesting how dance or movement could transcend language.”
Tanoreen’s owner, Rawia Bishara, was born in Nazareth and followed her husband to the United States in 1973. In 1998, after raising two children, she opened the place with only ten seats.
Reflecting on his career and writing, Bisharat explains, “Fighting injustice is what inspires me professionally, personally and creatively through my legal career, as an educator and as a musician.”