October 2020
Ahli Arab Hospital continues to care for all people despite the surge of COVID-19 in Gaza
Gaza will soon enter its seventh week of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since August more than 2,500 people have tested positive and the healthcare system - already deteriorating from 13 years of blockade and deep cuts in international aid - is overwhelmed. But Ahli Arab Hospital perseveres. Its director Suhaila Tarazi says, “We don’t know the word impossible.”

Thanks to Suhaila’s deep Christian faith and inspiring leadership, the staff at Ahli Arab Hospital continues to serve the vulnerable children and families who enter their gates for treatment and care. It is offered to all with dignity and respect.

The free community clinic - a life-line for many families in need of basic health care, clinics for malnourished children, traumatized children, and diabetic patients, breast cancer screening, emergency care, and general surgery all continue despite the devastating economic and humanitarian conditions made worse by the surge of COVID-19 cases. Ahli remains open because of the extraordinary support its American Friends have offered throughout this unsettling and challenging year. 

This boy participated in the child trauma clinic in early 2020. 
A series of short videos offers updates on healthcare in Palestine
Last month AFEDJ’s John Lent spoke with members of Westmoreland United Church of Christ in Bethesda, Maryland about the state of healthcare in Gaza and the West Bank, the impact of COVID on healthcare and the fragile economies in Palestine.

The seven brief videos from his talk, “Healthcare in Palestine in 2020” may be found on our website or as a playlist on AFEDJ’s YouTube channel.

Part 1: (2:56) AFEDJ – Who We Are, Where We Serve, What We Do
Part 2: (4:52): Healthcare in Palestine
Part 3: (4:53) Current Conditions in Gaza
Part 4 :(3:26) Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City
Part 5: (4:16) COVID-19 in the Region
Part 6: (3:14) COVID-19 in Gaza
Part 7: (1:57) One More Thing
Hear from leaders in Beirut and Nablus
more conversations from our series, Live from the Holy Land
Archdeacon Imad Zoorob talks about the Beirut explosion and the dire economic situation in Lebanon
On September 17, Fr. Imad Zoorob, vicar of the Arabic and English-speaking congregations at All Saints Episcopal Church in Beirut and the director of St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Center in nearby Beit Mery, spoke movingly with AFEDJ’s John Lent and several dozen American Friends.

He talked about the impact of the explosion, current political and economic difficulties faced by all Lebanese - including crushing inflation and extreme poverty, and the prospects for reopening St. Luke’s Center, a day and boarding school for students with a range of cognitive disabilities.
On the challenges of inadequate per pupil government subsidy for disabled children:

“The income from the government is based on 25 years ago. Imagine! As if we’re living in 1995 still. And they are one year past due. [If the school were to reopen] and they pay us, I don’t know if it would even pay for food for the children. 

“Let me give you an example. We Lebanese used to buy a [liter] of milk for 10,000 Lebanese Lira, about $6US. Now we pay 90,000 Lira, which is equivalent to $50US in our old accounts.”
— Archdeacon Imad Zoorob
Dr. Walid Kerry and Salwa Khoury of St. Luke’s Hospital in Nablus speak about the social and economic impact of the pandemic
Long-time supporters of St. Luke’s Hospital from St. John’s Norwood Episcopal Church in Chevy Chase, Maryland gathered via Zoom on September 16 for a conversation with St. Luke’s General Director Dr. Walid Kerry, its Public Relations Director Salwa Khoury, and AFEDJ’s John Lent.

They explained how the economic impact of pandemic-induced shutdowns has exacerbated the existing challenges all Palestinians in Nablus and the West Bank face in traveling outside their neighborhoods to obtain healthcare, earn a living, or provide food for their families.
“The greatest consequence has been the economic turmoil into which the city has been thrown. Ultimately after four months [of shutdown] the public pressure won out. There is now a calculated decision to reopen society and most importantly the market. In truth, this is a false choice between life and death.”
— Dr. Walid Kerry
Besides being embedded above, these conversations are available on AFEDJ’s YouTube channel and our Video Library page.
Rest in Peace Brother Andrew de Carpentier
It is with deep sadness I tell you that Brother Andrew, the longtime director of the Holy Land Institute for the Deaf in Salt, Jordan, died on October 1 in a tragic accident in Salt. 

Andrew joined HLID in 1977, when it was a struggling school for a small number of deaf children, and retired in 2017.

Over 40 years of leadership, Andrew built HLID into the leading school for deaf and deaf-blind children and young adults in Jordan and opened centers for disabled children in Syrian refugee camps in northern Jordan and rural villages across the Jordan Valley.
 
All of us who had the honor to meet Brother Andrew were engaged by his brilliance, humor and passion for the deaf community and all marginalized people. His warm smile and the twinkle in his eye were matched by his determination to prepare disabled children to participate in the lives of their families and communities and to make their own valuable contributions to society in the Middle East.
 
I’ll always remember a hair-raising drive with Andrew at the wheel from Salt to the tiny Jordan Valley village of Kreimeh, where I took this photo of him. Andrew’s non-stop discourse on an array of topics was a dazzling mini “great course” on the region. We visited the Kreimeh Center, which is the only school and rehabilitation clinic for disabled children in half a dozen villages in the Jordan Valley. Without the Center, the children it served would be at home with no hope for a productive future.
 
Andrew once said to me, while speaking about the work of HLID, “The Arabic words ‘Allah Kariem,’ mean ‘God provides. ’ These words bind us together at our school. The way God cares for us, so we care for each other.” 

Please join me in holding Andrew in your prayers.

— John Lent
Executive Director
Become a philanthropist!
Plan a bequest to support Christian witness in the Holy Land for the next generations
Imagine giving a gift in support of the Diocese of Jerusalem that lasts not for a day, or a season, or a year, but for hundreds of years. Imagine giving a gift that will keep on giving – forever. 

Please consider becoming a member of the Jerusalem Saints Society by making a bequest to AFEDJ to assure that the Diocese will continue to do God’s work in the Holy Land for generations to come. 

You do not have to be wealthy to make a charitable bequest that will make a noticeable impact on the lives of vulnerable children and families in the Holy Land. This is a gift that you make now, and AFEDJ receives the income later. It costs you nothing during your lifetime. 
“Leaving a legacy isn’t about leaving something behind. It’s about leaving something ahead.”
— a Jerusalem Saints Society member
Other ways to help

We are expanding our efforts to develop relationships with foundations that fund healthcare, education, and programs for children with disabilities. If you have personal connections at foundations or other grant-giving entities, we would like to hear from you!

For more information about making a bequest or to share information about your foundation contacts, please reach out to AFEDJ Executive Director John Lent at jlent@afedj.org to schedule a conversation.
Welcome to our newest trustee: Greg Herrle
At its September meeting, the AFEDJ Board of Trustees welcomed Greg Herrle of Milwaukee, WI, and Scottsdale, AZ, as its newest member. Greg, recently retired from a career as an actuary and management consultant, became acquainted with American Friends while on a Holy Land pilgrimage in 2017.

Greg’s significant volunteer experience with faith-based nonprofit organizations make him a wonderful addition to our already talented board.

Welcome, Greg!

Greg and his wife Jeanne at the Sea of Galilee
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 | www.afedj.org