“People eat politics for breakfast, for lunch, and for dinner. There is too much religion and not enough faith. We need culture. ”
Today we had a chance to meet with some incredible Lutheran Palestinians in Bethlehem. First was Mitri Raheb who is an influential/activist/awesome pastor at Christmas Lutheran Church. He explained some of the efforts that he has done in creating educational programs in the community for both youth and adults that focus on building culture. He and his students have hosted several regional and international events that feature the arts and humanities coming together, and this is all part of a greater project to have people more invested in and studying Palestinian culture. I have identified with this because of my Indian background. There is such a huge focus on academics rather than a balance of culture and academics. I’m not concerned about Indian culture sinking away anytime soon, and I support the community initiatives that a few organizations have implemented in order to retain and spread Palestinian culture.
Later in the day, we met with two local Palestinian young adults named Elias and Salam who were able to share more about their life in a city outside of Bethlehem. It was so fun to talk with them about what they do as activists in their own community. We also talked about things like Instagram, love for maqluba and Bollywood films, and appreciation for those who can identify good falafel. These young adults are so educated about the world. I think they represent and example of the hope and the future for the Palestinian people and their culture. I am so thankful to be connected with them, and I can’t wait to hear about the great things they will do in the world!