APRIL 2020
St. Luke's nurse, Mervat Sawalha, in 2018
“We were very upset thinking about how we would begin to prepare the ward and the isolation unit for coronavirus patients and how we would buy the needed equipment. 

"But then we received your email about the incoming emergency fund of $50,000. We read it with real happiness and gratitude because it gives us the hope for going forward in this critical time. ” 

Salwa Khoury
St. Luke’s Hospital, Nablus, West Bank
A message from AFEDJ’s Executive Director
Dear Friends,

I hope and pray that you and your family and those close to you are safe and staying healthy during these challenging times.

All of us at AFEDJ are concerned for you and we send our prayers for courage, wisdom and perseverance. We continue to work from our homes and we stay in close connection with our friends in the Diocese of Jerusalem. They are living in lockdown conditions in Jordan, Palestine, Israel and Lebanon. One friend in Jerusalem emailed today that “It feels like acting in a science fiction movie.” We all can relate. 

These times reminds us how much we need each other and that we are better together than we are apart. It calls us to remember the most vulnerable, including the poor and oppressed in the West Bank and Gaza. I thank you for your steadfast support of these struggling families in the Holy Land.

In this moment of uncertainty and fear, let us be grateful for all we have to weather the emergency, and show our love, compassion and support for those with few resources to endure this crisis. 

John Lent

P.S. No one is answering our office phone. Please email me at jlent@afedj.org, or call 914-841-5175.
Thank you for your help in this emergency
One of the best things about AFEDJ donors is the passion you feel for the people and institutions you support in the Holy Land. When the call goes out, you respond.

Thanks to your generous support of our appeal to help the Diocese of Jerusalem respond to COVID-19 outbreaks in the West Bank and Gaza, we wired $150,000 to Jerusalem this week. These funds provide critical emergency support to Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza, St. Luke’s Hospital in the West Bank city of Nablus, and to Archbishop Suheil Dawani’s fund for COVID-19 response, which will be used to assist vulnerable people affected by the sudden collapse of the tourist industry in the region. As your additional donations come through, we will wire the funds as quickly as possible.

Salwa Khoury, the public relations director at St. Luke’s Hospital, told us, “The family of St. Luke's Hospital gives many thanks to our American friends. We ask our Lord Jesus Christ to give you all the health and keep you as a witness of love and care for all the needy in this horrible crisis.” 
Suhaila Tarazi, Director of Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza, wrote to us, “On behalf of everyone at Ahli Arab Hospital, I would like to thank you for the grant to enable us to meet the new challenges of COVID-19. Indeed we are in dire need of the medical supplies that are essential to protect our patients and our staff, as much as we can, from the spread of the virus.”

Archbishop Suheil Dawani wrote to AFEDJ board chair, Bishop Greg Rickel of Olympia, “I greatly appreciate your unwavering support of our ministries here in the midst of this crisis. I can assure you that we will put these funds to immediate use as the needs are both pressing and dire…both for our hospitals’ work in stemming the pandemic and in our relief work among the larger population whose lives have been thrown into economic disarray. May God bless you and the work of our American friends.”

Our work in supporting our brothers and sisters in Palestine continues as the pandemic grows in the region. We are grateful for your prayers. We invite you to share the news of this need with your congregations, friends, and wider networks. And we welcome your financial gifts, large or small at www.afedj.org/give/give-online.
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry calls upon Episcopalians to support the ministry of Ahli and St. Luke’s hospitals
“The body of Christ knows no boundaries, no borders, no race or clan or stripe, for all are one in Christ…It is out of concern for each other, as fellow children of God, that AFEDJ seeks to raise funds…These hospitals provide ministry and service and care for God’s children and they need our support.”

We are grateful to Bishop Curry for his support for the Diocese of Jerusalem’s humanitarian ministries. Listen to his message below. 
Read the full release on the Episcopal News Service site. 
Jerusalem Princess Basma Centre offers new ways to support families of disabled children
Even in the best of times, travel restrictions make it difficult for mothers and their children to travel to East Jerusalem to participate in the three-week residential Mother Empowerment Program. With the additional restrictions enforced by the Palestinian Authority to stem the spread of coronavirus, the leaders at Jerusalem Princess Basma Centre (JPBC) are now using technology to continue the important work of empowering Palestinian mothers and offering therapies for their disabled children.

Over the past few weeks healthcare providers and therapists at JPBC have connected with mothers in their homes using videoconferencing. With social distancing practices in place and the closure of schools and businesses across the territories, online education sessions allow the hope that JPBC brings to families to transcend these troubled and unsettled times.

Raja'a, an occupational therapist at JPBC, explained, "Before each online session, we provide the mother with guidance and instructions. We set a goal for each session in partnership with the mother.”

On April 2, Anas with his mother at home, (pictured above at left) took part in an online session with Raja'a. His mom said, "Now I’m able to help my child to move forward to achieve his best. The home plan has helped me a lot to understand my son’s needs and empowered me with the knowledge of how I can implement these activities. I’m so proud of myself and my son."

Anas has a message for us too. His sign says, " With awareness, we can face the Coronavirus. Stay at home!”
Out of olive oil?
Support Palestinian businesses from home!
If you’re cooking at home more than ever, consider replenishing your stock of olive oil, za’atar, or couscous from one of the many fair trade organizations with an online presence. In addition to Middle Eastern food, oils, and herbs, pottery, embroidery, olive wood items, books, clothing, and more are available.

Here are a few sites to visit to help provide income to Palestinian farmers and artisans.

Shop Palestine is a social enterprise program run by Middle East Children’s Alliance. It offers a wide range of products including oils, spices, grains, pottery, clothing, embroidery, and more. Visit www.shoppalestine.org

Darzah is a not-for-profit to empower refugee and low-income women in the West Bank by providing stable, living wages and positive working conditions. The shoes, bags, and home items are created by artisans who work in the traditional Palestinian  Tatreez  embroidery. Visit www.darzah.org

Sunbula works with 25 producer organizations located in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, and Palestinian communities inside Israel, whose combined membership is more than 2000 people. They offer apparel, jewelry, gifts, soaps, children’s toys and clothing, as well as clergy stoles ! Visit www.sunbula.org

For more ideas, please visit the Fair Trade Goods page on our website at www.afedj.org  
There's still time to launch your church's [Virtual] Easter Appeal in support of these remarkable ministries
Transforming lives of the vulnerable and displaced
in the Middle East through support of schools, hospitals,
and centers for children with disabilities
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