29 April 2020
I continue to receive updates on the situation in Bethlehem related to the Coronavirus outbreak from Brother Peter Bray, FSC, Vice Chancellor (President) of Bethlehem University.
He reports a great deal of uncertainty in Bethlehem. The city has been in total lockdown since March 5th. The lockdown continues today.
With the closure of all schools, universities, holy sites, hotels, and shops, many of the families of the students at Bethlehem University have endured almost two months with zero income. Knowing this painful reality, Bethlehem University suspended tuition and fees for the remainder of the semester.
The good news is that Bethlehem University has converted its curriculum to online learning and has worked with the students who lack computers or internet access in order to keep them in class. The bad news is that the University is struggling to support itself financially while simultaneously, in justice, keeping faculty and staff employed and receiving their salary as they work from home. I note that Bethlehem University is the largest employer in the city of Bethlehem.
Life in the West Bank has always been uncertain, causing limited employment and financial difficulties. Tourism is the main source of income in Bethlehem and with the city on lockdown, tourism has come to a halt. It is hard to imagine no pilgrims in the city of Jesus’ birth during Lent and Easter.
Please help! Bethlehem University needs our support during this very difficult time.
As you know from visiting the Bethlehem University, a gift of any size will make a tremendous difference to the people in Bethlehem.
#GivingTuesdayNow is a new global day of giving and unity that will take place on 5 May 2020 as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. Together, we can build hope for the future for the students and faculty at Bethlehem University. Any gift you give, between now and the end of May, will go towards the Bethlehem University Foundation’s Annual Fund which allows the Foundation to respond directly to the most pressing needs at Bethlehem University. The Foundation is committed to meeting the needs of the University as they unfold.
Please continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land. Brother Peter says that these are painful and uncertain times at Bethlehem University, but he has hope for the future. I thank you in advance for your prayers and financial support that help keep hope alive in Bethlehem.
Stay safe and God bless you,
John L. Schlageter, Esq., KCHS