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“Chef 2B”: Children and teenagers learn to cook during the holidays

During the summer the Notre Dame Pontifical Institute of Jerusalem promotes the summer cookery camp for children. A different and fun way to spend this period.

The holidays are here and can be a moment of rest, fun and even discovery. Why not cookery? The catering college of the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame in Jerusalem promotes a children's cookery course every summer during the holyday. They decide the menu of the day themselves and explore traditional cuisine of different countries.

12 years old
"There are different types of foods, like Mexican and Italian cuisine, among others."

11 years old
"I am learning to cook and do many new things. Today we made waffles, crêpes, omelettes and other things. First we made burgers, lasagne and pasta. It's really very nice to be here. I love this place! "

Attentive looks and absolute silence during the chef's explanations in an industrial kitchen, with professional tools. They are preparing a tasty dish and not forgetting a uniform (which features apron and hat), in addition to the correct procedure for using tools and ingredients.

The summer camp is aimed at children and young adults between 8 and 17 years of age. In forty hours for almost two weeks they learn the art of gastronomy as well as some tips for healthy eating.

"They do not just learn to cook, but the hygienic use of tools, food safety, food history and different terms in English and Arabic".

Every year children of Christian and Muslim families participate in this activity. In addition to spending their holidays in a different and fun way, the young chefs are encouraged to cook at home, with great satisfaction of the families!

11 years old
"I'm learning how to prepare omelettes, waffles ... yesterday we made sandwiches! When my parents want something I've cooked here, I'll get it ready .I also make pizza at home ".

9 years old
"I like cooking because it's fun and when my mother is tired, I can do it for her".

10 years old
"I'm participating in Kids Chef, then I tell my mother everything we do. We are organizing a trip to Jericho in a few days to prepare a dinner for the family ".

"Mothers are very happy because they have fun for four hours. They stay here from nine till one for ten days. And when they come back home, they cook there too. Families are really satisfied ".

In addition to the art of cooking, they employ the "ingredients" of discipline and responsibility. And of course, the opportunity to integrate and find new friends!

David’s life projected on the Walls of the Holy City

The biblicist Br Frédéric Manns comments on some aspects of the life of King David, currently projected on the Walls of the Old City of Jerusalem

Bethlehem. The name of this center located about twelve kilometers from the Old City of Jerusalem makes us immediately think of the place where the Child Jesus was born!

It is interesting to note, however, that Bethlehem was also the scene of many episodes of the Old Testament, such as the birth of David, who later became King of Israel.

Studium Biblicum Franciscanum
"Samuel came to Bethlehem and sent for David's father, Jesse, to introduce him to his sons. None of those whom Jesse presented was chosen. 'There's not another one?' Asked Samuel. 'Yes!' [David's father answered]. 'The little one who stays with the flock, the little shepherd!' 'Call him!'. And when Samuel saw him, he said, 'Here is the chosen one of the Lord.' He received the anointing of the Lord and immediately the Spirit of the Lord rested on him and the Spirit never left him again ".

In Christian Tradition, David became the prototype of the Messiah. Both were born in the same land and liberated the people of Israel from their enemies.

Studium Biblicum Franciscanum
"The text says: he had red hair ... Jesus did not have red hair, but the Fathers of the Church say that he did when the crown of thorns was placed on his head due to the blood".

Over the last few days the story of this great king, based on biblical, historical and archaeological sources, was projected on the Walls of the Holy City from the Tower of David Museum as a light show. The show begins immediately after sunset and brings together the main aspects of the king's life in a new, modern and artistic perspective.

International Public Relations Tower of David Museum
"It is an incredible production that combines cinema, art, animation, music ... all in the Old City of Jerusalem. We are using cutting-edge laser projection technology from England. It is unique to see the walls lit up by about 35 million pixels, 250,000 lights, with 10 kilometers of cables surrounding the site, as well as 18 projectors which allow the public to enjoy this show ".

Among the highlights of the show there are works by artists such as Chagall, Matisse and Michelangelo in which David is represented.

Through multisensory experiences, the public is fascinated by songs of the famous Psalms attributed to the King of Israel ....A man who danced even before the Ark of the Covenant!

Studium Biblicum Franciscanum
"When he danced, Mihal, his wife, made fun of him: 'What are you doing?'. Luke remembered this tradition when Elizabeth went to visit Mary: little John the Baptist in Elizabeth's bosom danced like David ".

Another episode - perhaps the most important of his life - was the victory over the giant Goliath, also represented.

Studium Biblicum Franciscanum
"The Father of the Church Hippolytus of Rome, when he comments on this page, says: 'And here, we Christians are a small minority in the world that is pagan, which has returned to paganism. We must not put on Saul's armour by making plans and projects. No need, it only impedes us. We must pick up our stick. The stick is the symbol of the Cross of Christ Who died for each of us, to justify us. "

Naturally, the scene that represents the conversion of David and the mercy of God that he feld could not be missing from the array!

Studium Biblicum Franciscanum
"David had the courage to ask for forgiveness. In Tradition, the Psalm, Miserere 51, speaks of the repentance of David, of a broken and humiliated heart: ' Create in me, O God, a pure heart, renew in me a firm spirit'. It means that conversion is also a gift from God ".

The charity network promoted by the Saint Vincent de Paul Society of Jerusalem

Created in 1851 in the Holy City, the Society operates in various fields, offering help to those most in need.

A charism based on mission and charity. The Society of St Vincent de Paul, whose founder is Blessed Frederick Ozanan, was started in France in 1833 and is inspired by the life of the French saint. In 2017 the members of the Society celebrated the 400th anniversary of the charism, starting from when San Vincent de Paul awakened his attention towards the poor.

An international movement which today is present in about 150 countries, including the Holy Land, where an organization of lay people was created with the aim of strengthening the Christian presence and promoting social justice.

Vice-President of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society - Jerusalem
"The Society was founded in Jerusalem over 155 years ago. It began its activities in a small hospital near the Holy Sepulchre and since then aims to help people in need, such as those who lived in difficult circumstances during the two world wars, as well as after 1948 and 1967, up to the present day ".

In the Holy City, the institution works through social, educational and financial support programmes to alleviate the suffering of those who are severely challenged by difficult political and economic situations. Among the main activities are the help to children and teenagers with their studies at school and at university; support for hospitals, the sick, orphans, the elderly, as well as material and spiritual assistance to Christian families who have lost their loved ones. Over the past five years more than a thousand people have been looked after.

Vice-President of the Society of St Vincent de Paul - Jerusalem
"We have other small programmes, such as helping families and reinforcing the role of women in the home, for example by paying nursery fees to allow mothers to go to work and support their husbands, or in any case ensure that they can learn a craft. We are volunteers and we pay special attention to the Christian presence in the Old City of Jerusalem, especially given the continuous decline in the number of Christians ".

The Vincentian conference in Jerusalem also offers support for other conferences in the Palestinian territories. Another project is underway in the Gaza Strip: currently more than 60 Christian families live there in difficult conditions and receive contributions to meet their needs.

A voluntary action and the dedication of a team which everyone is very proud of. The emblem of the Society on its flag, is a fish, the symbol of Jesus Christ, inside a circle, representing the world and all those who must be reached by charity.

"I have been volunteering here for 17 years and we feel very good when we have the opportunity to help those who really need it. This work makes us happy and gives us a great incentive, especially when we make someone smile. And the most important thing in our work is to feel what people actually live; sometimes I cry as I listen to certain stories".

A message of solidarity inspired by the famous phrase of Ozanam: "I want the whole world to be a network of charity".

The parish priest of Aleppo presents a book on the new beginning of the city

On 31 May, Br Ibrahim Alsabagh presented the book "Come il mattino " in Rome. Stories of those who personally witnessed the new beginning of one of the oldest cities in the world destroyed by war.

New beginnings starting from faith and hope. Since 2011, Syria has been brought to its knees by war and by many deaths, including civilian ones. Despite this, we can see the first steps in a new story. This is what Br Ibrahim Alsabagh told of the city of Aleppo in the book "Come il mattino". With the cessation of hostilities in 2016, the religious realm has seen a new beginning.

Parish of St Francis - Aleppo
"With this daily contact, with this unique dimension in suffering, we always unite with the charity of a mother to respond to people's basic needs. Understand the need and respond immediately, without delay, to these needs ".

Br Ibrahim is a Franciscan and has lived in Aleppo since 2014. He was born in Syria, at a time when the country was known for coexistence between religions. Returning to his country, he saw his countrymen lose everything. As a parish priest in Aleppo he saw the city destroyed by missiles. The presentation of the book took place in Rome on 31 May, and Br Ibrahim said that for a long time people did not believe that the bombing in Aleppo would ever end and, without knowing where to start rebuilding the city, the population was and still is in great need of help.

Parish of St Francis - Aleppo
"It is useless to talk about reconstruction of houses, economy, work, without talking about a new beginning in people's hearts and without thinking about how to heal the heart. Only a heart that is healed and free, as Pope Francis says, can feel responsible and can give its best .This is why we must always start from the heart, from its conversion, from the healing of many hearts, to talk about a true rebuilding of society and of the whole country ".

Aleppo is one of the oldest cities in the world. After years of war, what remains of it are destroyed buildings and businesses and closed schools. Thousands of inhabitants have already left the city and those left behind must face the difficulty of looking after their family. Br Ibrahim pointed out that, in the midst of this struggle, something concrete must be achieved to talk about hope. This is how the Franciscans, together with other Church institutions, work in this process of reconstruction. There are tangible signs that Aleppo has a future.

Parish of St Francis - Aleppo
"There will always be hope. Hope is the fixed point, above all for us Christians. No one is allowed to despair. Nobody is allowed, even in a very hard and difficult reality, not to keep faith in the possibility that the future can be much better ".

A situation that is dear to Pope Francis too. The parish priest of Aleppo met the Pope and said that the Pope always prayed for peace in the country. Countless times during his pontificate he has asked the faithful around the world to pray for the end of the conflict in Syria, in addition to invoking a peaceful negotiation on the part of the international community. The love of the Holy Father for the people of the Middle East has further encouraged Br Ibrahim to return and participate in this process of rebirth.

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