(note: the time stamp of all posts and comments on this blog is the time in umm el-fahem, israel)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

writing to you from the umm el-fahem art gallery, umm el-fahem, israel

tuesday, 11 october 2011 (day 3)

hi there - many happy returns of the day today to j.p.! but he is in ann arbor and here i am in umm el-fahem. i am going to post the incomplete posting i started yesterday as this morning we begin the cataloguing of the umm el-fahem permanent collection. this is an important step in the gallery's transition from gallery to museum. the road ahead is long, complicated, and to be sure will not be easy. but with said leading the effort and lilli and others at his side i have no doubts that it will happen at some future point. it is a journey that i am happy to now be a part of.

monday, 10 october 2011

before i left nyc for israel i was asked many times if i would be posting on scd abroad, the blog that i set up last year to share my experiences in yerevan, armenia. i have reversed my initial response and decided to post because of constant problems with e-mail and my understanding of how fortunate i am to have this opportunity and the responsibility (and pleasure!) of sharing the experience so that others might decide to come as volunteers, come as visitors, or simply just read and enjoy what i write.

your comments are of course welcomed.

i arrived yesterday at the binyamina train station where joanna liss, here as a volunteer english teacher (hailing from beverly, MA.) and lilli stern were waiting. lilli's responsibilities at the gallery include those of fund raiser for the planned umm el-fahem arab israeli art museum (the first of its kind, as the gallery was the first arab-israeli art gallery, now joined by others particularly in tel aviv) and volunteer liaison.

joanna arranged her time at the gallery through GoEco.
she will be teaching english to a few groups of children, a group of seven women who will rotate the bi-weekly lessons in their homes, and the staff at the gallery. while the gallery prefers volunteers to stay for a minimum of 2 months, which makes sense in terms of the impact one can make through their efforts and as it does take time to acculturate, they made exceptions for both joanna (who will be here for six weeks, one of which is the muslim holiday of the major feast Eid al-Alha), and for me as i was only able to commit for three weeks.

we both hope that we will be able to contribute as much to the gallery as they will give us. their interest in our understanding the people, culture, and history of umm el-fahem, and in feeling the warmth of their hospitality is very special (and we only arrived yesterday at noon).

umm el-fahem is in the wadi 'ara area in the center of the country.

as we drove from binyamina we passed groves of pomegranates and umbrella stands on the roads piled high with ripe pomegranate fruit.

to be continued...

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