In Gethsemane the restorers and the mosaic workers of tomorrow are preparing themselves

Giacomo Pizzi4 July 2012

Every morning Raed and Rasmi, expert mosaic workers from the Mosaic Center of Jericho, come from Sabastiya to Jerusalem, to the Basilica of Gethsemane, where the restoring work of the mosaics is under way. They come here to make their skills available and to teach the art of restoring to the five boys of Jerusalem involved in the educational project which is taking place in Gethsemane.

Raed talks about his own education in restoring and in mosaic production: “I took part in my first project of this kind, which was  run by Father Michele Piccirillo together with Carla Benelli, Osama Hamdan and other external experts, around year 2000. It was a three years project, which planned the renovation of the Hisham palace in Gericho and the training of young mosaic workers. After that experience I worked on the renovation of the Basilica of the Nativity of Bethlehem, of many synagogues, of the Holy Sepulchre and many other places. Now I can teach my skills and the experience gained in those years to these boys, who will get to be the specialists of tomorrow, being able to teach to other people themselves”.

This is exactly the idea they had in mind when creating these educational courses, carried on by ATS pro Terra Sancta and the Mosaic Center of Jericho: learning to pass on the importance of historic, cultural and archaeological heritage preservation to the next generations.

Raed clarifies: “The goals of these educational experiences are primarily two: preserve in the best way possible our cultural heritage and create job opportunities for the young students involved, passing on to them the passion for mosaic art. Now at the Mosaic Center there are eleven people skilled in renewal and we can carry on many projects with them”.

The boys involved in the project – Anas, Salam, Muntasser, Raed and Dana – are all very young, some of them have just completed the high school, some others are already registered to universities, but all of them show great enthusiasm for this new educational experience.

Goal of the project “Gethsemane: preserve the past and train the future” is also to deepen the knowledge and the link between the boys of Jerusalem and their territory, so rich of history and artistic beauties. Guided tour are being arranged at the end of the works, as well as different kind of activities for the young of Jerusalem’s schools.

The project, in its first realization phase, has been possible thanks to the support of the PMSP program (Program for Italian Consulate in Support of the Palestinian municipalities), of the Comune of Rovereto, of “Fondazione Opera Campana dei Caduti”  and of “Fondazione della Cassa di Risparmio” of Trento and Rovereto.