THE HEALING QUILT A PROJECT FOR PALESTINIAN AND ISRAELI WOMEN WOMEN WORKING TOGETHER TO BRING HEALING AND PEACE TO THE REGION
In spite the fact that we have been agonizing at what is happening in our world with feelings of frustration at not being able to do much or even little to help improve the lives of so many, I decided to use a bright and positive theme on my hand - the sunflower - a pretty flower that looks very much like the sun - hence its name. A sun that is so vital to earth. Above the sunflower is a butterfly. One sees butterflies on sunny, warm days only, and they look so pretty and carefree, flying in gardens and fields, hovering from one plant to another. I completed my hand by placing in a corner a "happy face" inside a tiny sunflower. I trust that whoever's gaze lingers on my hand will see the positive message and will feel the warmth it is meant to convey. Alice Abusharr (Christian, Israeli Palestinian)
The Sun-----We need the Sun, without which we have no life; nothing can flourish. Let us flourish. The Lion-----The Lion is a solar symbol (as well as my own) with great power and brightness, wisdom And sense of justice. He is the symbol of our beloved Jerusalem. My Lion is crying. He cries in pain for the many injustices he is witness to. His tears form a pond of salt water, affecting the fish which are the symbols of life and fertility. Out of this salty pond grows the Lotus, overcoming all obstacles to flourish and bring us Purity, and hope. Let us flourish. Julia West
THE STORY OF MY HAND I CHOSE AN OLD AZTEC [ANCIENT MEXICAN TRIBE] PICTORIAL SYMBOL OF A WIDOW. IT SHOWS AN EYE WITH FOUR TRARS. I MULTIPLIED IT IN DIFFERENT SIZES AND SPEAD IT OVER MY HAND. LAST YEAR, IN A REMOTE VILLAGE IN INDIA, I SPENT TIME WITH THE VERY COLORFUL INDIAN WOMEN WHILE THEY WERE EMBROIDERING THEIR MAGNIFICENT PIECES. I GOT THIS BEAUTIFUL CHANGING-COLOR THREAD AND SMALL MIRRORS IN A MARKET THERE, AND WAS SO INSPIRED TO USE THEM IN MY HAND. I LOVE EMBROIDERING. IT IS LIKE MEDITATION FOR ME. EVERY STICH WAS LIKE A SMALL HUMBLE MANTRA; MAY THERE BE NO MORE TEARS... ALINA ASHBEL
Hand of Najla Azar....... Najla Azar [Palestinian Christian] Beit Sahour Writing on hand self explanatory and picture of Najla and husband George with 2 of her 4 children Azar and Tony. When approached to do a hand replied "Why not? better to do something good than bad....always good to do something for peace not war"
Liza Lawrence God created the tree of life and the waters of the world. I have 3 fish in my pond, Jews, Christians and Moslems, and I have 3 bare stems. If we unite and live together we shall see these 3 stem flourish. Where am I in the garden? Well with an outstretched hand saying to all that I am willing to do just that!
Your children are not your children; They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. The Prophet by Gibran Khalil Gibran. These are the words that inspired my work. Living in this troubled time in Jerusalem, I found that I was thinking a lot about its children and so choose to work with a child on this project. Rami, my 5 year old cousin, was my partner. I read to him these words a few times and asked him to translate them into a drawing. He needed some time before coming up with a visual. When it finally happened, he explained his drawing as follows: Life is God. If we are life's children than we must be connected to it with our umbilical cord. He drew a child connected with his umbilical cord to what he called Allah. I then took his drawing and transferred it onto my share of the quilt adding to it some text. ---------------------------------------------- I think of you guys often and wish you all only the best. Love and light to all the sisters in the group. Abir.
THE HEALING QUILT Jerusalem - for all its beauty and exquisite light and spirituality, is a city of modest spirituality. This quilt brought together women mostly from Jerusalem and its surroundings, who each for her own reason - was drawn to the prospect of creating change in our community. My hand is very plain and simple. The threads I chose to stitch were of basic mending thread from my sewing kit. I have outlined a suggestion of the ancient walls of Jerusalem, very simply stitched as on an unembellished background. Within the large foundation stones of the wall I've stitched the following seven words - which are the elements that I believe we must have in order to build a future together. On the bottom row - as the foundation for the walls of Jerusalem - the foundation for living a good life anywhere in the worlds are – * Security - we all deserve to feel secure in the place we live – * Faith - as a spiritual guide or religious belief – * Respect - because mutual respect is and respect from without our own homes to those living around is a crucial element On the middle row are – * Trust - in those around us and in those we live with – * Pride - we all deserve to be proud of who we are, where we came from and of what we do in this world – * Dignity - without dignity we have nothing On the top row is – * Education - because only through educating our children in who we are, where we have come from and in the similarities and differences of those around us, can we build a better future. Above the walls of our city, on top of the foundation of these seven critical elements, I've stitched in larger and bolder letters Building our Future Above this are three stars representing the three monotheistic religions - each also in a very simple and unadorned way. It was my dream that my hand would have a message that would speak to us all. Amanda Weiss Jerusalem January 2003
Miryom Shuman I consider my embroidered hand to be an expression of hope for peace in our times and I call it My Friendship Garden. The design of my hand shows an arch in a garden of colorful flowers. The words for friendship are embroidered in three languages - 'havurot' (Hebrew); 'sadaka' (Arab) and of course, 'friendship'. My optimism is my hope that we can be together in sharing the beautiful things of life. Come with me into my Garden of Friendship. Enjoy the beauty and fragrance of the flowers and the serenity of the surroundings. Follow the paths and inhale deeply from the peaceful atmosphere of this place. All are invited here. This is where our hearts beat as one and we are forever united in living life to its fullest, where no hatred or bitterness or envy exists. The Garden of Friendship is for one and all, whether he/she be Jew, Christian or Muslim. Miryom
Be still like the black rock. See it now in back of you. Now see it above you. Now see it in front of you and notice the water flowing over it. It is perfectly still and the water flows over it polishing it perfectly. So, remember you are this rock and know the stillness, and let all flow over you- the good, the bad, let it all flow over you in stillness. Let all move around you and be very still. And know too that you are also the water, the movement. This is the energy that is always moving in and through you. So you feel this movement, this flow inside of you along with the place of perfect stillness. When you become aware of both, side by side, you will know the harmony that is always there, inside of you. Tzipi Moss, Jewish, Jerusalem
Chain: I see myself and my "while on earth" as being a link in a chain - generation to generation - holding a job - holding a position in any kind of group, any network. - Each link is different - each link is important and as important as the other links - the chain is no stronger than the weakest of its link. A chain can tie me: keep me stuck, keep me where I do not what to be - no longer want to be - where I do not belong. A chain can anchor me; keep me safe - grounded where I want to be - where I belong. Only I can decide for myself - in my life - if I want to be united to the actual chain. If I want to untie. If I want a change. I - but also some other link of my chain! It is up to the observer of the quilt to decide if the chain in my hand should have the last link ties or untied. Jerusalem in Succot, October 2003 Sara Wendahl Cassuto
My hand is actually a fairy tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.. told with the help of my mother Bess who did most of the sewing of the hand, contributed to paying for the sewing of the quilt itself and blessed it at Majdas house with my sister-in-law Grace together with the help of my first friend in Jerusalem Pepe who provided the bears to take part in the quilt and came to bless it at Majdas house when it was completed. So I think that is the message of my hand …and they lived happily ever after. And I am in trust that with the energy of the women who participated in making the quilt and continuing to work together for the Intention of creating a place where children will be safe, free, happy and proud we will all live happily ever after. So be it….. Amen In love and light Libby Bergstein
Being a Jerusalem Artist. I am very grateful in having participated in the quilt project. My life is dedicated to the hope and search of world peace which i expressed with two doves intertwining to form a handshake representing tolerance within our interdependence and co-existence. The doves set in the beautiful landscape of Jerusalem express a wish and intention that all our lives intertwine and become peace. Much love warm wishes sunshine and butterflies Elayne Ashbey
Name: Mathilda Nassar Age: 10 years (grade 5 Talitha Kumi School) Residence: Bethlehem "I did this with my mom because I want peace for everybody. This summer we were under curfew a lot and the tanks were always driving around Bethlehem scaring everybody. We want peace so that we won't have another bad year of tanks and curfews! And we have friends who are Jewish and we want them also to have peace too. Peace can't only be for some, it has to be for everybody. Rainbow - After God flooded the world, He put a rainbow in the sky as a sign to everyone that His anger was over and that it was time for everyone to live in safety and peace. Dove - The dove was a sign to Noah that the flood was over, that the bad times were over. Flags - The Israelis should have their own state and live there and be safe. The Palestinians should also have their own state and live and be safe. When each one can be safe, then they can live as good neighbors with no more fear or anger. Then there can be peace."
My "hand story" is simply "bli ayin harah" - or as my late Mother would have said "keinayninhora"…I also made the hamsa and the eye a motif of my latest "lion" for the City of Jerusalem, as I think it is quite widespread amongst the Mediterranean populations and certainly here in the Middle East…and although my Mom had probably never see the Egyptian version pictorially it seems that all Jews in Europe said the blessing to ward off evil at the end of every sentence to do with their kids!! Maureen Fain
Like the pomegranate, I hope this project will spread many seeds to develop into rich fruits that will be shared in this region. This pomegranate has 7 leaves, a propitious number for both cultures, and 18 (chai) seeds. The fabrics in this hamza come from my experiences in Jerusalem this year: my daughter's jeans (left behind after her Birthright visit); "Jaffa" silkscreen for Mikado costumes; pieces from clothing of a Toronto friend who has done more to repair the world than most people I know; embroidery from a well-worn Arab dress. Like the process of making meaningful connections among people, these pieces were assembled as a random patchwork which came into focus by reverse applique. Temma Gentles
Carol Glass. I understand a hand that reaches out to be similar to a peace dove that flies. I tried to create a dove (albeit a fanciful one!) in the shape of a hand, which could at the same be seen as hand in the shape of a dove. Bridges of peace start with a willingness to extend a hand toward the other.
My Peace-Hand By Patricia O'Donovan At first my idea was to cover the background in strokes or black and red. They would represent disorder, was. The same colors would come together in the little cubes to represent order, peace. Then white entered the picture and soon the background became a blackboard for words and phrases. It soon reminded me of a wall covered in graffiti. I liked the new idea, of a wall covered by graffiti. They are the spontaneous expression of people who often remain anonymous. Now the background represents the wall covered in strokes of red, black and white. The same colors come together in the little cubes that together give shape to the peace symbol. When I look at the little cubes I think of children and of flags. Perha0ps they belong to the countries of a different Earth, come finally together in harmony and wishes for a peaceful co-existence. Patricia
My chamsa My chamsa is sewn from fabric originating in Damascus, bought in the Old City of Jerusalem. The three hands represent the three largest religions centered in Israel: Judaism, Christianity & Islam. Our life in Israel throws us together in the most haphazard, unique & confusing ways - hence the different angles of the fabric hands. We are constantly interacting, encountering, challenging, growing & living together. Hopefully, one day soon we will be able to pursue these complex diversities within a true, deep & lasting PEACE. Meira Weiss
Message of my hand and its appliqués Karmela Farrugia Making this hand was an extraordinary experience for me. To start with I had no intention of making a hand despite the fact that I did possess a piece of material in the shape of a hand and part of the whole project. What really interested me was meeting with the diversity of women in our group especially at a time when hope for any kind of peace seemed to be outside our horizon. Eventually one woman in the group said: "I have a commitment to make that hand." Somehow, her rhetoric statement called me forth and internally I said to myself: "Did I make a commitment?" Then I started to think of also fulfilling my commitment and gradually supplied myself with materials and cottons. The first motif I thought of was the white dove carrying the olive branch fro the story of Genesis. So I cut out three white doves: two carrying the olive branch and one has no olive branch. The latter is still high above the waters covering the trees; trying hard to find an olive branch. I had just returned from a conference of United Religious Initiative (URI) in Rio De Janeiro in Brazil and obtained some bamboo musical instruments, which somehow spoke to me. So I added these harps and recorders because I like music as well as to unite this project to the indigenous people of Brazil who made them with their own hands and aspired to make a living from selling these simple objects. Someone had given me three roses: one red and tow gold. I sewed these too for a red rose means love and the gold is somewhere beyond. Since the material of my hand is on gold background, I felt this was just right waiting for the golden age of peace to arrive in this land to all people living in it. The final surprise was that when we were told we must give in our hand so as to sew up the quilt I had a tremendous struggle to give it up. I became so attached that I could not part with it…but I did with great joy so that all of you who behold our healing quilt can also enjoy it. The real story is not written here; it was woven spiritually from one meeting to the other, amidst the joys and pains we went through. It can still be felt through our aftermath attachment to our group.
Frederique Halimi-Frank: I joined the group after the beginning of the second Intifada, at a time of great distress, when we were on both sides losing sight of peace. I realized very soon, I had to undergo a personal process to come to terms with my own anger and frustrations in order to achieve Peace within me first. When I made my hand, I decided to associate my children to my personal journey to pass onto them as well as our educative message that they too have to make peace, that peace is our responsibility - each of us first and then together. They put their own hands on the material and we wrote together: "Let it begin with me!"