Meet Mira…..An amazing singer, Mira’s a 28-year-old graduate of Dar al-Kalima and a shining example of hope unlocked in Palestine. Music is Mira’s passion and her education at DAK has allowed her to live out her life-long dream to follow that passion. Now, she uses her voice and musical knowledge every day to teach music to children and perform with her husband in the art troupe they founded. Mira is one of the next generation of creative leaders of Palestine. Will you support Bright Stars and invest in more world changers like Mira?
While Israel has already vaccinated a full 90% of its elderly population, they’re refusing vaccine access to Palestinians. Except for a mere 5000 doses for front-line workers, there are no vaccines in sight for the remaining population of 5M+.
In 2018 Rev. Mitri Raheb and Rev. Wes Avram of Pinnacle Presbyterian Church sat together around a table in Bethlehem’s Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture (DAK). Joining them were 12 of Wes’s congregants, who had all traveled together for a tour of DAK and its newly opened library and broader tour of Palestine. With eyes opened to the human rights violations and hearts aching to see Palestinians flourish, they asked Mitri how they could best help when they returned home to Scottsdale, AZ. Mitri’s response was to ask a simple question, ”What drew you to travel here to visit us?” One by one, they told stories about the power of education and the arts in their own lives. It became clear to them that they were called to invest in the next generation through arts and culture education.

A short two years later, wonderful congregants from Pinnacle Presbyterian have raised a generous endowed scholarship for Bright Stars of Bethlehem. This endowment will be used for the benefit of DAK students to pursue their dreams of earning college degrees. On January 26th, we were honored to participate in a virtual celebration of this important milestone. A special thanks to Rev. Wes Avram, Joanne McDowell, Mark Leinweber, and all who’ve contributed to making this wonderful partnership happen. Your efforts will truly impact generations of Palestinian creative leaders to come! Learn more about the Pinnacle Presbyterian Endowed Scholarship by clicking the video above.
Both active members of Scottsdale Arizona’s Pinnacle Presbyterian Church, Joanne and Jim McDowell share a fondness for antique cars, a passionate faith, and an affinity for world travel. Their church’s 2018 trip to the Holy Land ignited their interests on many levels and the journey with their congregation proved to be a life-changer.

We went through a checkpoint on foot to see what it was like for the Palestinian people. It takes 2-hours to get through the checkpoint to get to Jerusalem. It was a sobering experience to go through what the Palestinians have to go through. Many Palestinians work in Jerusalem but have to go through the checkpoint and prepare to wait for 2-hours every single day.
Mitri’s educational vision counters this oppression and hopelessness. DAK is a University that is built around Hope. They’re teaching art, culinary skills, painting, dancing, singing, and all kinds of things that help people “keep their chin up”, as my mother would call it." - Jim McDowell

After they returned from their eye-opening tour, Joanne took a lead role in coordinating the new Pinnacle Endowed Scholarship and serves as a Lead Ambassador for Bright Stars in Arizona. She’s also serving on Bright Stars' National Gala Planning Committee.

Expecting a precious grandchild in March, we want his/her life to be filled with hope and endless possibilities. We want the same hope for the next generation in Palestine. That’s why Jim and I are faithful supporters. We just joined Kris' Keychain and are happy to support the important work of Bright Stars of Bethlehem on a monthly basis.”
- Joanne McDowell

We’re so thankful to the McDowells for their faithful and generous support of their time, treasure, and talent! Will you please join them in unlocking hope for the next generation of creative leaders in Palestine today?
• Annual Key Chain Zoom call with Rev. Mitri Raheb
• Key Chain Updates from Palestine

If you have any questions or want to become a Bright Stars Ambassador, please contact Kris.

Kris Ducett Wagner
Executive Director