Women’s day at Cremisan
A symphony of babbling and laughter filled the office of WI’AM on Friday the second of December. A group of women who visit WI’AM on a regular basis and members of Wiam’s women group, cheerfully arrived one by one, looking forward to the days program. On the
agenda was a retreat day in Cremisan, where Wiam invited three spiritual leaders to give and run a workshop about the meaning of Christmas. Is Christmas still a spiritual event or is it more like a ritual nowadays?
After arriving at Cremisan, the ladies met the women of Sabeel (the ecumenical
liberation theology center in Jerusalem). This day WI’AM and Sabeel combined the program and so a group of approximately fifty women came together to reflect on the message of Christmas.
The first speaker was father Louis Hazboun of the Latin patriarch church. His lively way of telling had a contagious effect on the women, judging by their joyous and motivated
reactions. Everybody sang, clapped and responded to each other. The second speaker was reverent Jacob Abusada of the Melkite church. His story was more serious and everybody listened quietly. The third speaker of today was father George Shahwan of the Greek Orthodox Church, who seemed to have some arguments that were quit excessive. The women were not afraid to show that they disagreed. Eventually the three speakers ended the workshop with the same conclusion. Nowadays, Christmas is experienced as a materialistic feast. People mustn’t forget the true spiritual meaning of Christmas.
After meeting with the three church leaders, everybody enjoyed a sandwich on the sunny courtyard of the monastery Cremisan. Others took advantage of the situation that they were also at a vineyard and bought some local bottled wine in the shop.
In the afternoon all the women joined a mass at the olive grove nearby,. The sad story about this olive grove is that the trees might be uprooted soon. Israel is planning to build the wall over this exact spot. The problem is also that the two monasteries on Cremisan would be separated because of the wall causing the fathers to be on one side, and the
nuns on the other. Everybody seemed concerned, watching over the growing settlements (Gilo and Har Gilo) on the hills nearby and imagining the wall splitting it up. This mass brought everyone together to pray and to feel strengthened by each other’s company. Father Ibrahim, who led the mass, spoke about Jesus who prayed and cried on Mount of Olives. “Now It is time that he cries together with us, while the olive trees of this grove will be uprooted and because this ground will be ruined”, said father Ibrahim. This mass is held every Friday to show that we oppose the confiscation of land and refuse to accept it the construction of the Aparthied wall on our land occupied in 1967.
Slowly sunlight transformed into twilight. The program was now coming to an end and it was time to go home. Everybody left the hills of Cremisan a bit sad, but also satisfied, because it was an interesting day. All of us pray that injustice will not last forever.