Preparing for departure tommorrow for Newark and ultimately Ben Gurion airport in Israel, I've been figuring how to carry four small digital cameras on board without raising too many questions from security and Continental's luggage restrictions. The cameras are bound for four young people at St. Mathew's Anglican Church in Zababdeh, at the top of the West Bank, near Jenin. With any luck I'll be able to catch a bus from Ramallah next Tuesday morning to Jenin and then find a bus or a taxi back to Zababdeh. (The any luck part is responsive to an email I just got from Joan Deming, director of Pilgrims of Ibillin, who was blocked recently from visiting Zababdeh even though Bishop Chacour had obtained verbal permission for them from the Israel Interior Department) The cameras will help launch the Zababdeh Connection between four young people at St. Luke's, Evanston, and four young people of approximately the same age at St. Matthew's. It will be good to see Fadi, Ruba and their children again.
Other plans include a day with Estephan Salameh, visiting a Palestinian village the little non-profit Seraj is considering for a second small children's library and a stop to see the situation in Bil'in where Palestinians and internationals are protesting the building of a "security" wall which will separate farmers from their land. We'll observe, not demonstrate - and join Laurie, Estephan's wife, for dinner that night. I hope to get to Masada and later travel up the coast from Jaffa to Haifa and from there to visit the Mar Elias school built by Elias Chacour in Ibillin. The Sabeel International conference will occupy the middle week of my visit, beginning in Nazareth and traveling back to Jerusalem.
For now, we eagerly await tonight's election returns.