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A boy waits for his woven palm from artisan Tawfiq Samara, who works in Jerusalem's Christian Quarter.

Braiding Palms in the Old City of Jerusalem

The feast of Palm Sunday, the day on which tradition says that Jesus rode a donkey over the Mount of Olives and into Jerusalem, has been an important Jerusalem feast at least since late antiquity. The 4th century pilgrim of Egeria, in her famous pilgrimage diary, writes of seeing “all…[…]

Lighting candles in a hilltop shrine built inside a cave where locals believe Barbara hid from her father more than 1500 years ago - by Stephanie Saldaña

The Feast of St. Barbara in Aboud

In the northern Palestinian village of Aboud on a cold December afternoon, I join villagers who huddle in the small stone church of the Virgin Mary, called al-Aboudiya by locals, and listen. A man and an elderly woman are singing prayers in Arabic in honor of St. Barbara, whose feast…[…]

Children chasing doves in the courtyard of the Umayyad mosque - by Stephanie Saldaña

Morning of Roses – A Syria of Stories

Almost every day, I think about Syria. The country comes back to me in fragments—in the smell of jasmine, the taste of rosewater, in memories of voices calling out the price of bread in the narrow Old City streets, in the particular lilt of a phrase in Arabic, or the…[…]

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