September 2021
Update from Gaza
Your support helps Ahli Hospital shine a light of hope in the darkness.
Suhaila Tarazi, director of Ahli Hospital in Gaza, shared news from Gaza City last week:

“The socioeconomic situation in Gaza is catastrophic. Human beings were designed to hope, so when people struggle to maintain hope and lose hope, the suffering will increase. 

“Unemployment among new graduates is more than 90%, more than 80% among women and 50% in the general population. Seventy percent of Gazans are food insecure and most of the population depends on food aid. The Covid 19 crisis is depleting already depleted resources and seems unstoppable. Only 10% of Gazans are vaccinated.
“Across the Gaza Strip, psychological trauma, poverty and environmental degradation have had a negative impact on physical and mental health of residents. Many, including children, suffer from anxiety, distress, and depression. 

“At Ahli Hospital we have succeeded in providing health-care services to the vast majority of the poor. We also provide clinics, laboratory work and radiology services. Ahli has increased its capacity to treat children and adults suffering from trauma. We have placed new psychosocial counselors to support children and their caregivers dealing with a range of problems, including fear of violence, sleeplessness, a lack of motivation in school, or the inability to concentrate.
“In Gaza pain is real, needs are endless, nevertheless we are determined to let the light of hope always enlighten the souls of those lost in the darkness. Thank you and all of our American Friends for not forgetting Gaza. We are deeply grateful.”
As students return to the classroom, Diocesan schools face pandemic-related challenges 
Leaders at Saviour’s Episcopal School in Zarqa, Jordan, and the Arab Episcopal School (AES) in Irbid, Jordan, are seeing the economic impact of the pandemic on Jordanian families. With many parents unemployed since March of 2020, families have been forced to send their children to overcrowded, low-performing public schools. 

“The loss of students means a loss of income to support our teachers and educational offerings,” explained Saviour’s School principal, Dua’a Bisharat. “The impact of coronavirus is massive. Our school suffered the loss of three parents of our beloved students.”

At AES the school administrator, the Rev. Samir Esaid, recently wrote of families moving their children to public education. “We are doing what we can to support the students and families through this time.” AES, with 270 total students, offers 35 blind and low-vision students the only local educational option for a specialized education. “We have faith that God will grow the school so that it can be a safe, peaceful environment for all of our students and faculty.”
The first day of school at Arab Episcopal School in Irbid, Jordan
Christ Episcopal School in Nazareth, Israel, the oldest and largest school in the Diocese of Jerusalem, also faces challenges. Unemployment in Nazareth, with its large indigenous Arab population, is currently at 28 percent. School director Archdeacon Samuel Barhoum, reported that last year “only 29 percent of families paid fees. However, they want their children to remain in our school to receive the quality of education we offer. This places the school in a difficult position as we struggle to find the funds to keep the school open.” He added, “We appreciate your support and prayers.”

Giovanni Anbar, director of the Episcopal Technological and Vocational Training Center (ETVTC) in the West Bank city of Ramallah, shared last week that almost all students and all staff members are vaccinated. “We are keeping all safety and distance procedures as we did last year. I hope this will help us stay at school and we don’t go on lockdown again. Please keep us in your prayers - as we keep all our American Fiends in ours - that we might have a normal school year. Thank you for your love and continuous support.”

Iyad Rafidi, principal of the Arab Evangelical Episcopal School (AEES) in Ramallah, offered the good news that AEES seniors performed extremely well on the national secondary exam, with 39 of 50 graduates scoring above 90 percent and 22 above 95 percent. He wrote, “Due to the success of our graduates and teachers, many parents have sought to enroll their students. Classes are packed with the highest numbers ever.” Eleventh grader Karam Masri had this to say, “After a year and a half of online classes, I will say that I love ordinary classrooms. I never dared to ask a question online, even if I encountered confusion. Today I will look into my teachers’ eyes and ask them.”

The schools of the Diocese of Jerusalem need the support of their American friends to sustain the programs offering children an education based on Christian values of dignity, respect, and peace. Please consider a gift to support the ministry of diocesan schools. As always, AFEDJ guarantees that 100 percent of your donation designated to a specific institution goes to the intended recipient. Thank you.
Clockwise from top left:
  • A Palestinian Ministry of Health worker visits ETVTC to vaccinate students
  • Kindergarten students at Christ Episcopal School in Nazareth on the first day of school
  • Middle school students at AEES in Ramallah return to in-person classes
  • A young student is greeted by her new teacher at Ahliyyah School in Amman, Jordan
Archbishop Hosam Naoum to share his vision with American friends in Boston
On his first visit to the U.S. as Archbishop, the Most Rev. Hosam Naoum will join American friends for a reception in his honor at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston on Thursday, October 14, at 6:30 p.m.
Archbishop Naoum will speak about current conditions in the region and his vision for the Diocese of Jerusalem and its humanitarian ministries in Palestine, Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon.

All are welcome. Click here to download the invitation to share.

Please RSVP at by September 30. Upon arriving guests must be prepared to show proof of Covid vaccination or recent negative Covid test results. Registered guests will receive an email message detailing updated COVID-19 protocols prior to the event. 

In addition to speaking at the reception, Archbishop Naoum will join the AFEDJ Board of Trustees for an all-day meeting to discuss ways to further deepen and strengthen the partnership between Diocese of Jerusalem’s humanitarian institutions and American Friends.
Archbishop Naoum will preach at the Cathedral on Sunday, October 17, at the 10 a.m. service. Sign-up to participate by Zoom here or look for a live-stream link in our October e-newsletter.

We look forward to seeing you in Boston.
AFEDJ offers a safe, secure channel to make gifts to support the work of the humanitarian institutions of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.
American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem | 203.655.3575