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> PFN Newsletter [#8] April 2008
> PFN Newsletter [#7] December 2007
> PNF Newsletter [#6] November 2007
> PFN Newsletter [#5] July 2007
> PFN Newsletter [# 4] June 2007
> PFN Newsletter [#3] April 4 2007
> PFN Newsletter [# 2] March 2007
> PFN Newsletter [# 1 ] December 2006
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PNF Newsletter [#6] November 2007
submitted by Palestine Family.net

Dear Friends of Palestine,

Anyone who has visited our site recently will have been impressed by the many entries submitted by Frank (Fayez) Nasser in Toronto, including unique pictures of social life in the Bethlehem area in the 1950s and 1960s. He succeeded in making the past live again. So we invited Frank to tell us more about his motivation - his article is immediately below this one.

More and more people are discovering the site each month. In January of this there were just 1147 individuals visiting the site. In October it was up to 4777. So the material which many of you have submitted is being noticed and no doubt appreciated. Using the site to publish family heritage material for the community at large to access helps join the Diaspora with Palestine and also to bring the "uninitiated" of Palestine heritage back to their roots.

James Prineas
Toine van Teeffelen

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Frank (Fayez) Nasser in Toronto wrote:

Since I accidentally discovered the Palestine-Family website early in July of this year (2007), not a single day went by without visiting this fabulous site, often more than once. It is definitely an enlightened, refreshing, useful and comprehensive site that appeals to everyone, anywhere and everywhere they happen to be, in this small place called Planet Earth.

Several months later, I am still reading and digesting the wealth of information that is contained therein. At this rate, it appears that I will be spending the rest of my life sitting in front of my computer screen, flipping through page after page of rich articles covering almost every aspect of life in Bethlehem in particular, and Palestine in general. In short, I have now become hopelessly addicted to cyberspace technology and the infinite knowledge that it offers, all available in one website among millions of others.

First, let me express my sincere and profound congratulations to James Prineas and his team who designed this website. This exquisite masterpiece could not have been achieved without a lot of thought, planning and hard work. Its beauty lies in its powerful layout, simplicity and ease of use. We should never let such great efforts go unnoticed, and the creator(s) should be constantly reminded of how much his/their work is admired and appreciated.

Second, the contents of the site - articles, documentaries, anecdotes etc. are well chosen, researched and presented in excellent manner. Reading these materials restored my faith in our great heritage and our long history in not only being part of the “Cradle of Civilization”, but also a continuation of that legacy up to present times.

Having been enormously impressed by this site, it was hard to decide against being part of it, and equally foolish not to enjoy the many benefits it offers by sharing our common culture, ancestry, history, knowledge, and legacies, not only with our children, grandchildren, and dispersed relatives, but also with our future generations.

I would like to share with you my reasons for becoming an ardent supporter and contributor to this website. Evidently, many of you have similar reasons and had thoughts about resolving the problem of perpetuating our own experiences during our own lives, and passing them on to our children, grandchildren and future generations. Some of our wise ancestors had the foresight to do that, and many of us nowadays cherish their efforts to conserve what has been passed on to us throughout the ages. This is “Our History”, defined as “(1) the aggregate of past events; (2) the continuum of events occurring in succession leading from the past to the present and even into the future; (3) a record or narrative description of past events; (4) the discipline that records and interprets past events involving human beings; (5) all that is remembered of the past as preserved in writing, drawings or artefacts”. History is a body of knowledge.

When I was young at school, I remember one of my teachers, Abouna Gabriel who taught Arabic at the College des Freres in Bethlehem, saying: “If you don’t know your past, you won’t appreciate, understand or enjoy your present; and most importantly, you won’t be able to shape your future”. That simple statement was carved indelibly in my mind. It sparked my interest in delving in the past, and encouraged me to pursue any venues that would help me to understand the past in order to enjoy the present, and hopefully shape my future.

One of my first efforts involved searching for my roots and origins. I came across an old book consisting of a few leather leafs (which unfortunately has since disappeared), listing the names, dates of births, marriages and deaths of the Nasser-Jaar ancestors from early times. The hand-written entries were in various inks, and a special pencil called “labsa”, violet in colour, activated by wetting with saliva on the tongue before use. This gave me an idea of my forefathers, and was the start of an extensive Family Tree that took me over fifty years to complete. Updating of this “Nasser-Jaar Genealogical Family Tree” (which has been recently published on the Palestine-Family website), is an enormous task for any one mortal human being to undertake in his or her lifetime. With hundreds of people involved, some are born, others get married and have children, and everyone sooner or later dies… and life goes on.

The new Palestine-Family website, a by-product of modern-age technology, is the perfect solution for spreading, sharing and linking the past with the present. New entries could be easily added by any one who has the time and the interest to do so.

My other reason for adopting, promoting and encouraging the PFN website is that, over the years, I have personally taken, developed, printed and collected thousands of photographs as a result of Abouna Gabriel’s advice as above. These pictorial records are in many forms including old glass-plates, celluloid films, slides, photographic paper, 8 mm and Super-8 movies, videotapes in Beta and VHS, and CD’s, covering the whole range in sepia, black & white and colour. Some are displayed in albums, but most are stored in large plastic boxes. A couple of years ago, I started digitizing some of those photos which I considered to be important, and put them on CD’s and DVD’s, with copies given to each of my brothers and children.

Sharing my collections with all those who are interested is my great joy, and my favourite pastime.

Fayez (Frank) Nasser

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Message Board Entries

Jerusalem in Exile - A Project


The project is searching for the mental image of Jerusalem that exists in the minds of the Palestinian people in the Diaspora. The Diaspora seems to include now the Palestinians in Palestine. This mental image will be later transformed into a photographic image.

"Jerusalem needs visual liberation. This can only be achieved if a new dimension is added to the photographs. This dimension exists in us?deep in the imagination. Reaching that dimension requires a deep look, a journey into the minds of many people; where they will all unite to 'rebuild' and 'reconstruct' Jerusalem."

Mental images are usually private experiences, and you do not need to be from Jerusalem to have one. Because Palestinians have extreme restrictions to enter the occupied city; the image of Jerusalem becomes stronger in their brains and imagination.

It is interesting to see how a Palestinian boy or girl from Brazil, for example, who has never seen Jerusalem acquires that mental image. It is possible his/her image is developed through Media, books or through narratives from parents or grand parents. This is an indication that no presence can annul the memories of Jerusalem, by changing facts on the ground or by forcing different narratives. It is not the stones that make the city alive - it is the people who do.

Hence, we encourage Palestinians from all over the world to visit the web site www.jerusalem-in-exile.net (the web site exists in five languages); go through it (it takes few minutes), do check the Map www.jerusalem-in-exile.net/World/world.htm where you can see and read different participations. Check which countries are not lit and if you are now living in these countries, send us your mental image. WE WILL LIGHT THAT COUNTRY. If the country is lit, please feel also free to send your mental image. It will be great to add it to the ones that we already have. It is not simply about lighting the whole world, but also about each and every one of you.

Many people have asked how they can help o promote the project?
• Do send this email to your contact list with a private note to encourage participations.
• We have found out that Facebook, Multiply and other similar programs are great for sharing the ideas of the project. Make full use of them.
• Palestinian web site and Blogs are great for spreading the message.

We look forward to receiving your participation.

jerusalem in exile


To subscribe and unsubscribe to this mailing list please visit the link below. http://lists.jerusalem-in-exile.net/mailman/listinfo/jerusalem-in-exile

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Jalil Family

submitted by Jose Jalil, 13.10.2007
Can any one help with my family. My grandfather was born in Beit Jala around 1902, his name was Gabriel (Jabra) Mussa Jalil Kafati. Do you know any living relatives. We are also related to the Abumuhour family/ We are from Honduras
Link to the entry:

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Looking for brothers and sisters

submitted by Salah Balboul, 14.08.2007

Hello friends,
I live in the US and have been looking for my brothers and sisters. I think they live in Al-Khader. The last name is either BALBOUL or ABU-RASS.

Brother's names:

Thanks for all your help,
Salah Balboul
We are from Honduras

Link to the entry:

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Looking for Class mates

submitted by Bashir (Raad ) Abou-Sakher, 10.05.2007

Hi ;
My name is Bashir ( Raad ) Abou-Zayed,I am a graduate from Al Umma Collage in Daheayt al Bareed Jerusalem .. in the year 1965 , I am looking for my class mates ... or any student from Al Umma Collage ... Please if any one know any information about what I am looking for , please send E-Mail to me ...at base59@yahoo.com
Bashir ( Raad )
Link to the entry:

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Many of the team who brought you Palestine-Family.net are also working together on a website to help tinnitus sufferers (tinnitus, for those of you unfamiliar to it, is the ringing or humming in the ears which some people suffer from). As the first stage we are researching what exactly tinnitus sufferers are experiencing, and we've made a quick online questionnaire which tinnitus sufferers can fill in. It only takes about 5 minutes to complete, and is completely anonymous.

If you know of someone with tinnitus - or have it yourselves - it would be a huge help to fill in the form. The more responses we have, the more accurate our work will be. The internet-address of the site is below. If you know someone who has it please send them the address (and, if it's not too much to ask, if you know someone who has it but doesn't have internet access, it would be great if you would fill in the form with the answers they give you).


At the end of the survey one can - only if one wishes - leave us an email address so we can contact you with the results of the survey and the progress of the project.

Thanks for your help!

James Prineas

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Palestine-Family.net’s advisory committee

Hania Bitar (Director, Palestinian Youth Association for Leadership
and Rights Activation)
Andre Dabdoub (Project manager, historian)
Julia Dabdoub (Director, Arab Women’s Union)
Dr Kholoud Daibes (Director, Center for Cultural Heritage
Preservation, appointed as Minister of Tourism)
Mohammed Hourani (Ministry of Tourism)
Dr Sharif Kanaana (Anthropologist and folklorist, Birzeit University)
Dr Adnan Mousallem (Historian, Bethlehem University)
Maha Saca (Director, Palestinian Heritage Center)
Fadi Sanad (Director, Artas Folklore Center)
Mike Salman (Businessman, historian)
Dr Saliba Sarsar (Political Scientist, Monmouth University).
Dr Khalil Shokeh (Historian, member of the Bethlehem municipality
Prof. Dr Qustandi Shomali (Communication and information sciences,
Bethlehem University)

Palestine-Family.net’s Editorial Committee - James Prineas, Leyla
Zuaiter, Fuad Giacaman, Dr Toine van Teeffelen, Maisoun Al-Zawahra
and Tamara Habash - conducts editing tasks and decide about issues of
policy concerning the site. The editorial committee checks incoming
entries, encourages persons and institutions to submit, and approves
the choice of projects and partnerships.

Website Team in Berlin:
Christopher Jones, CreativeSenses.com
Eid-Sabbagh Rami-Habib
James Prineas
Maisoun Al-Zawahra
Stephan Jensen, Skygate.de
Tamara Habash
Thorsten Singer, Skygate.de

Website Team in Palestine:
Fuad Giacaman
Leyla Zuaiter
Toine van Teeffelen
Wesam Ahmad

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About Palestine-Family.net

In cooperation with the Arab Educational Institute-Open Windows in Bethlehem, Palestine-Family.net aims to preserve and reflect the rich heritage of a wonderful people. Members of the community are invited to submit their family collections or local archives of Palestinian stories, photographs, recipes, maps, oral histories, biographies, historical documents, songs and poems, home remedies etc. to the site. Uploading directly to the site is easy, but if you wish you can also send your collections to us by email or post and we will submit them for you. Thus we can help make available valuable and interesting material for current and future generations, and inspire young Palestinians to learn more about their fascinating heritage.

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