The beautiful Iftar with the women of Bethany

Giacomo Pizzi28 May 2019

The Arabic term Iftar indicates the moment in which the Muslim faithful start drinking and eating again after having spent the day in complete fast from dawn to sunset. Fasting is a religious practice of Islam that lasts the entire month of Ramadan, the month in which the revelation of the Qur’an to Muhammad is remembered. The Iftar is generally a convivial moment to live with family and friends.

At dusk you can feel an anxious anticipation in the air, everything is suspended until the announcement of the muezzin. In fact, only when all the minarets can hear the religious song be intoned, can the faithful return to drink and eat again. After a hot day, which in the warm months becomes a difficult test to tackle, one of the best ways to refresh oneself is to drink sweet almond juice or tamar (a drink made from dates) accompanied by sugary ripe dates. Thus began the Iftar that the women of the Bethany Shorouq association have prepared for the women of the Association of the Association pro Terra Sancta and for some members of the Mosaic Center: a sharing dinner to get to know the Muslim traditions and to live together a moment of personal exchange outside the strictly working relationship.

Association pro Terra Sancta, in fact, supports the many activities that take place in this women’s center in the city of Lazarus: from the production of soaps and beauty creams based on natural products present in the area, to embroidery of clothes and outfits following traditional techniques , up to the preparation of meals for the schools of Bethany schools.

Furthermore, Sourouq organizes training courses and meetings on breast cancer prevention, supports women in need and tries to help start small-scale entrepreneurial activities for women. “I met the association because my mother attended the center when they diagnosed her cancer – Shereen tells us – I studied photography and fine arts, through the Shourouq courses I am learning how to make my art known”. Aamaal, 19, also has a passion for art, a tradition that his family has passed down for generations. Aamaal, suffering from a severe motor disability since she was a child, the association helps her with medical care, for her to draw and paint are a passion and a way to express herself. “She has a page on Instagram where I post her works,” says her sister Fareeda, who takes care of her and follows her constantly. At the dinner there were many young girls taking advantage of the services offered by the Society for Women of Bethany: “If you have an idea Shourouq helps you to develop it, organize in-depth courses to learn how to improve our activities” confirms Hasna, with her beautiful baby girl Nouf in her arms. “I am a nutritionist: I cook for private parties, weddings and I also take care of the organization and preparation”. Hasna is 29 and has two young children, her husband had a business that had to close; from his words he makes us understand how it is not easy for a Palestinian woman to find a job, open an activity and help maintain a family.

Many personal stories that emerged from a taste of Kabse (a meal of spicy rice, vegetables, raisins and chicken), rich salads and kubbeh (fried meatballs) and many other delicacies prepared by Dima and the other ladies of the center. Even Dima, 24, studied as a nutritionist, his passion is cooking: “I created this dish based on green beans, mushrooms, yogurt and ginger that should be eaten at the end of the meal to help digestion. I use herbs a lot, instead of spices when I cook and I try to create good and healthy dishes “.

“Exchanging recipes, learning how to prepare new dishes from the local tradition is a different way to get to know them and create a bond of mutual trust,” says Maria Stella of Associazione pro Terra Sancta. “These moments of exchange help us to do our best constant work to promote and support the local community”.