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Taybeh Oktobefest Boosts Economy
Maria C. Khoury — The only all Christian village left in Palestine continues to seek creative ways to survive. After battling with complete closure since 2000, collapsed economy and over 50% unemployment, the Taybeh Brewing Company suggested a strange celebration never known to Palestine. Leaders in making history since the brewery was founded in 1995 as the only micro brewed beer in the Middle East, Taybeh Beer became the first Palestinian product to be franchised and produced in Germany under the Taybeh license.
Nadim Khoury initiated a dream come true by talking all the local civic organizations into having the Taybeh Oktoberfest in 1995 when his brother became the first democratically elected mayor of the town. The last three years the tiny Christian village has seen three successful village festivals that boost the economy where all four of the local women cooperatives sell more items during the festival than the whole year.
The theme of the festival is support for local products and it has received amazing international media coverage with thousands of people attending in support of Taybeh products including Taybeh beer, olive oil, honey, ceramic lamps, candles, olive woods and embroidery.
The Mayor of Taybeh, David C. Khoury, on behalf of the local municipality has announced that Saturday and Sunday, October 11 and 12, 2008 will be the 4th Annual Taybeh Oktoberfest with the opening celebration at 11:00 am Oct 11th at the Taybeh Municipality. This peaceful event gives hope to the local community for its future survival since the Christian presence and investment in the village is considered a peaceful resistance.
The Taybeh Oktoberfest is also announced to encourage people who have travel plans to include Taybeh on their list of places to visit since Taybeh (near Ramallah) known as Biblical Ephraim is noted as one of the most ancient places in Palestine going back five thousand years before Christ came into the village before His crucifixion (John 11:54).
Directions to Taybeh on www.taybehmunicipality.org
The Oktoberfest in Taybeh was such a great success that it truly reflects the democracy and diversity in Palestine. The Taybeh Brewing Company serves as the main organizer of the festival in cooperation with the Taybeh Municipality, four women’s organizations, local parishes, Olive Branch Foundation, Taybeh Scouts, and the Society of Christian Heritage in the Holy Land establishing a new tradition in Palestine to support local products and hoping that other towns can emulate an effort to support and celebrate specific products throughout Palestine creating a positive nationalist feeling.
Also, the most magnificent site in Taybeh is the Byzantine ruins of St. George Greek Orthodox Church now a national protected archeological site; and the stone school newly renovated by RIWAQ in their efforts to preserve architectural heritage in Palestine.
Thus, with this rich Christian presence and roots, the local residents hope to share their cultural heritage with others this fall season during the 2008 Taybeh Oktoberfest, Oct 11 and 12.
(Maria Khoury is a writer based in Taybeh, Palestine and the wife of Taybeh Mayor David Khoury.)
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political columnist and author. He covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at TheArabDailyNews.com, TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.
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