February 2021
As the pandemic approaches the one-year mark,
the schools and hospitals you care for carry out
their mission
Updates from the West Bank, Gaza, and Zarqa, Jordan
Episcopal Vocational and Technological Training Center (ETVTC) in Ramallah

“We are glad to let you know that despite all the challenges that the world is facing through this pandemic, we at ETVTC are managing with full programs since the beginning of this school year,” Giovanni Anbar, director of ETVTC, said earlier this week. With 11th and 12 grade students in school from Monday to Thursday, vocational students who depend on the practical training with computers and in culinary arts are not falling behind. With the West Bank in lockdown on weekends, Saturday classes are held online.

In addition to the high school vocational program, growing demand led ETVTC to offer a second cohort of adults for its ten-month culinary arts course. One class is geared toward young men and women who hope to secure positions in restaurants or hotels after the pandemic. The other course is for women from remote villages to equip them with the skills and knowledge to start home businesses to help sustain their families during this difficult time.

Anbar added, “We need a lot of prayers to keep on track!” 
Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City

With more than 4,600 active COVID-19 cases, Gaza has now surpassed the case count in the West Bank. The question of when Gazan healthcare officials will have access to any significant quantity of vaccine remains unknown.

What is known across Gaza is that the leaders and staff at Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City remain dedicated to serving their neediest neighbors. As the result of the economic impact of the pandemic, unemployment, according the Palestinian Federation of Trade Unions, has reached 82% with more than 160,000 jobs lost. Suhaila Tarazi, director of Ahli Hospital said recently, “Community members are unable to meet the cost of healthcare because of increased poverty, thus we have taken on more financial obligations to provide care for all who seek it.”

In addition to covering more charity care, Ahli Hospital must cover many of the surgical and outpatient services once offered by now-closed government hospitals. Tarazi continued, “Ahli has managed to perform 2,135 surgeries between March and December 2020, as well as more than 20,000 outpatient services across many specialties like orthopedic, neurology, pediatric, urology, gynecology, ENT, and diabetes care. All this, as we have had to triple our use of PPE and other medical consumables, puts Ahli under tremendous strain. That’s why we are so grateful to our American friends, both for their generosity and their prayers.”
Saviour’s Episcopal School in Zarqa, Jordan

In the midst of the pandemic, Principal Dua’a Bisharat keeps Saviour’s School open for in-person and virtual learning.

Beyond its gates, the poverty caused by the pandemic is a reality for almost every family in the community. Government salaries have been cut in half, shops are closed. Government schools are overcrowded by the influx of students whose parents have been forced to pull them from private schools. 
“Right now our students attend school two days a week on a rotating basis,” Bisharat told us this week. “We place emphasis on the younger grades and on seniors who are preparing for their national exams. It has been difficult to convince parents who are in reduced circumstances to pay tuition when three days a week their children learn from home.”

Despite the financial difficulties Saviour’s School faces because of the pandemic, the support of its American friends has helped to keep the doors open. “We have not had to furlough any full-time teachers,” explained Bisharat. “We are hanging on and teaching the children in our care. It’s what we do.”
One more way that 2020 was an unprecedented year
While we will share details in our spring print newsletter and in our 2020 annual report, we want to share the news that your generosity made 2020 a record-setting year. Since AFEDJ's founding in 1988, there has never been year like it.

2020 marked:

  • the most donors
  • the most gifts
  • the most donors making multiple gifts
  • the most money raised
  • the most funding transferred to the Diocese of Jerusalem institutions
Your caring and generosity know no bounds. We and the families you support are deeply grateful that you are part of our shared mission in the Holy Land.
Eastertide Appeal 2021 - You can change a deaf child’s future 
As we launch our second Eastertide campaign, the Diocese of Jerusalem schools and hospitals continue to face uncertainty. This is particularly true for Holy Land Institute for the Deaf in Jordan, where hearing-impaired, deaf, and deaf-blind children and young people are offered a stellar education, vocational training, and therapeutic services in a safe and loving boarding school. With the steep decline in employment and financial security, the families of HLID students are even less able to afford the modest school fees.
Greg Rickel, Bishop of Olympia and AFEDJ Board Chair, invites you to join our 2021 Eastertide Appeal:

“As the season approaches when we turn our eyes toward the Holy Land, please help us meet our goal of raising $100,000 to keep ten students at the Holy Land Institute for the Deaf. This is a tangible way to make a profound and immediate difference in the lives of deserving children in the region. I invite you to join me and the churches of Western Washington in caring for these incredibly vulnerable young people.”

By participating in the Eastertide Appeal, you and your congregation can change the life of a student like Farah by ensuring her ability to stay in school. Please consider making a gift and please share this appeal widely as Easter approaches and in the following days of Eastertide. 

Look for more to come on this appeal in the next few weeks. We will provide churches with weekly student story fliers, bulletin inserts, and videos to help you share the story of this remarkable school and its Christian witness of love, care, and compassion for the impoverished children it serves.

Click here for our Easter Appeal 2021 Brochure.
A legacy gift sustains the Diocese of Jerusalem’s Christian witness in the Holy Land 
While the needs of the world seem overwhelming, you might wonder if your contribution can make an impact. You might think that only governments can help to set things right.

Let us be clear: your gift to support the humanitarian institutions of the Diocese of Jerusalem, gathered together with those of American friends from across the country, transforms lives of students and patients every day. 

One way to ensure your impact continues is by leaving a gift in your will to AFEDJ. With such a gift, you assert your faith that we can build a world where all human lives have value and all people are treated with dignity and respect. It’s a simple act with impressive, long-term results. It’s easy to do and it’s for everyone.

When you make a legacy gift of any size (and then let us know you’ve done it!) you become a member of the Jerusalem Saints Society. Not only will you receive the beautiful ceramic tile pictured above, more importantly you will know that your support for the humanitarian institutions of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem helps to lift up the diocese’s Christian witness that testifies every day to the love of God, the forgiveness of God, and the grace of God. 

Questions about making a charitable bequest? Please contact AFEDJ Executive Director John Lent at jlent@afedj.org to schedule a phone call.

If you have already notified us about your legacy gift, thank you! Your tile will be mailed to you soon.
Bishop Hosam Naoum to be installed as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem on May 13
Having served as bishop-coadjutor since June 2020, the Rt. Rev. Hosam Naoum will become the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, with the title of Archbishop, on Ascension Day, Thursday, May 13, 2021, at St. George’s Cathedral in East Jerusalem. In succeeding Archbishop Suheil S. Dawani, Bishop Naoum will become the 15th Bishop of Jerusalem and the fifth Palestinian to serve as diocesan bishop.

Prior to becoming dean of St. George’s Cathedral in 2012, Bishop Naoum was canon pastor of the Arabic congregation at the cathedral for seven years. He was educated at Rhodes University in South Africa and holds masters and doctorate degrees from Virginia Theological Seminary. 

The Diocese of Jerusalem will mark Archbishop Dawani’s 14-year episcopate with a day-long celebration of his ministry on April 23, St. George’s Day. 

Look for details about the installation service in upcoming newsletters.
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