Jurish, Tapuach Junction

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With Nadim. Staff: Susan Ayid, Tours. Instruction in English, Shosh and Hadas. Workshop: concurrent Hebrew and Arabic lessons and tour. Shosh: English

In our bi-weekly meetings we usually read a short text and then discuss current events.  This time I devoted the discussion to the play “A Parallel Time,” directed by Bashar Murkus, at the Haifa theater, Al-Midan. I was unable to obtain the text of the play, but I could speak of the content as it was described in various newspaper articles.  The play, and the dispute that it had raised, became the main focus of the lesson.  In order to encourage full participation I allowed discussion in both Arabic and English.  We learned new words, sentences, and expressions, did exercises, and practiced grammatical constructions relevant to the text.  


However, the greatest satisfaction came from the discussion and from the girls in the class, most of whom were lovely young women of 16-17.  We didn’t hesitate to bring up controversial subjects; they spoke their minds without reservation, with sincerity and with fluency. 

Below is the text, which was taken from the newspaper and adapted to easier English.


From the play In Jail

Director: Bashar Murkus


Al-midan Theater

Israel's Ministry of Culture and Sports has decided to temporarily suspend funding for the Al-Midan Arab Theater in Haifa, which is presenting Bashar Murkus’s play “Paralle Time,” until further review is completed.


On Tuesday morning, Minister Miri Regev met with Ortal Tamam, the niece of the soldier MosheTamam, who was kidnapped and murdered in 1984. “Parallel Time” was inspired by the story of Walid Daka, who was sentenced to life in prison for committing those crimes. Two days ago, members of the Ministry’s theater department visited Al-Midan and met with Murkus. They were told by Adnan Tabarash, the theater’s general manager, that his theater is political and that Bashar Murkus identifies with Walid Daka, who murdered the soldier in 1984. Murkus and Daka are in contact with each other online. Now Al –Midan is receiving support neither from the Ministry of Culture nor from the Haifa Municipality.



Controversial, decide, temporary, funding, to present a play, niece, kidnap, murder, inspire, "Parallel Time", general manager, identify.



Who is Bashir Murkus?

What do you think of him? What would you do if you were in his place?

Is it important to support Al-Midan? Explain!

Who is Ortal Tamam?

How do you think is she feeling?

What would you tell her if you met her?

What do you think about Walid Daka?


A few comments from the students:

· Bashar Murkus (the author/director of the play) is a smart and courageous man.”(Some of the young women were also impressed by the physical appearance of the young director, a graduate of Haifa University.)


· “If I were in his place, I would also stage the play and fight for funding the theater

by the State.  We have to fight for democracy.  We have to let people say what they want. It is forbidden to silence people with opposing opinions.  The Palestinian people are fighting for their freedom.”


· To my question, “in your opinion, would the governments of the neighboring states allow the staging of a play which might undermine the State,” they answered sincerely, “apparently no . . .there is no democratic government there either.”


· R., one of the students, intelligently pointed out that if we examined the topic in depth, it’s clear that staging the play has caused harm to no one.  That is to say, the political dispute is pointless.


· “Walid Daka is not a murderer; rather, he is a freedom fighter.  He is a courageous man because he took very big chances and was ready to pay the price.”


Despite everything, they understand the pain of the family that has lost a son.  They did not agree with the niece, Ortal Tamam, who demanded ending the funding for the theater, but they did feel her pain.


It was encouraging, stimulating, and inspiring to find that these young women were open to discuss a controversial topic.  They don’t give up their identity and position, while they are ready to listen to a variety of opinions. At their young age, extreme ideas are widespread. And yet in spite of that, they, who live under occupation and oppression, are able to have a humanistic point of view.


Hadas:  Hebrew-Arabic

At the request of the young women, our first lesson was on the way and had been successful beyond expectations!


Shosh and I had some hesitations about the young womenwhether a lesson in Hebrew would be difficult, as it would burden them with another language. Our hesitations were disproved immediately. The same young women who found English so difficult, flourished in the Hebrew lesson and, in addition, they also enjoyed being our teachers in Arabic.


I brought theatrical accessories, such as a Teddy bear, which I named Hamudi. Hamudi was used to demonstrate the masculine form in masculine sentences, and the young women loved to hold the Teddy bear and chat with him in Hebrew.


I started our activity by waking Hamudi from this sleep: “Good morning, Hamudi.”  And Hamudi answers, “Good Morning.” The young women translated into Arabic:  Sabah al hir (Good morning), Sabah al Noor (Response to Good Morning).


After that, all the young women were requested to ask a friend, “How are you?”And they were able to answer:  “Good,” or “So-so.” We learned that in Arabic, Ta-ib is “OK”, that Kwi-is is “Good” and “So-so” is Noos-noos.”


We learned from them to ask in Arabic: “Kef halek in the feminine form,and Kef halak in the masculine form. “What’s new with you?”  The young women translated:  L’su ahkbarak.”


Each young woman was requested to ask her friend, “What’s new with you?” We learned Sasu ahkbarek, in the feminine form. 


I took a little mouse doll out of my bag and said:  “This is a mouse.” The young women burst out laughing at the interplay between languages; a word in Arabic has a different meaning in Hebrew.


Shosh and I learned, when we taught them to say “thank you very much” in Hebrew (Todah raba), that the word raba means “stupid” in Arabic! I took out a flower and presented it to one of the young women and said, “here’s a flower for you.”  The young woman’s eyes lit up and she taught us that the Arabic word is Warda. The women passed the flower around and said to each other (in Hebrew), “here’s a flower for you.” We asked the young women to teach us any sentence in Arabic; thus Shosh and I learned:  Ana albas nedra:  “I wear glasses.”


We also discussed the fast of Ramadan.  The young women learned to say, “no food, no drink.”  Shosh and I learned to say, Min fish shurab wa m’ fish akel. In the end, Shosh and I read all the words in Hebrew that we had taught them, and we repeated together the Hebrew words.


At the end of the lesson, we felt that we left with a respectable vocabulary of words that we would be able to practice in our coming meetings and that we would continue to increase our vocabulary in both languages.


Susan:  Visit to Duma

I traveled to Duma with Nadim to visit A. again, to discuss his wounds which he received when he worked on a building in Israel, and to check on the status of his claim with the National Insurance.  To my delight, the status has improved.  Contact with the National Insurance continues and it looks like they are nearing a settlement.