August 11: Promoting the Husband's Village
Dear Friends of St. George Taybeh,
Sharing the following promotional article with you in case you wish to share it with people in charge of pilgrimages. And, also to let you know that the Palestine News Network (where this article appears online) offers alternative news. Our tourism is seriously affected by what is happening in the region in general and the Bethlehem and Jerusalem hotels are just empty. We hope you will keep us in your prayers for peaceful times ahead and by the way, please give glory to God even for simply things like water since Taybeh has not had running water for about ten days now.
With sincere good wishes on this most holy day,
Promoting the Husband’s Village
by Maria C. Khoury, Ed. D.
I have become a fanatic with inviting people to visit one of the most ancient places in Palestine where we enjoy a deep rich history of Palestinian culture and faith in my husband’s village of Taybeh where I have lived for the last sixteen years but have been visiting for over thirty years. It is not the easiest thing in the world to be promoting a different face of Palestine but I find myself part of the group that works for a modern, moderate and liberal Palestine.
A free Palestine with basic human rights for all. I might say in our case, the basic right, to brew beer for beer lovers since Taybeh in modern times is becoming famous for its Palestinian Beer, the first micro-brewed beer in the Middle East and the first Palestinian product to receive franchise and produced in Germany under the Taybeh Brewing license.
Socially responsible, please note, that there is a non alcohol label, the Taybeh zero is the flavor of barley with a ting of apple taste. However, it must be mentioned that in the early centuries, Taybeh, is well known as the village of refugee for receiving Jesus right before His crucifixion. "Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim..." (John 11:54). Our oral history states that the modern name of Taybeh came from Saldin referring to the local people as “Tayhbeen,” meaning “good ” since most Christians usually follow the gospel of love to love thy neighbor and love thy enemy.
These last few years the amazing rehabilitation work of Riwaq in Taybeh known as Biblical Ephraim with fourth century Byzantine ruins and the crusaders castle “ Boberiyah” has inspired visitors to walk the beautiful paths of the historic center of Taybeh and enjoy the public spaces, alleys, plazas and terraces finding pleasure in the beauty of Palestinian architecture where we have two hundred forty-eight historic buildings and thirty thousand olive trees. When you arrive in Taybeh you will be in the highest mountain region in Palestine, 930 meters above sea level with a brilliant view of the Dead Sea and the splendor of the ancient Judean valleys and hills. Thus not only is modern Taybeh mentioned in the New Testament but also mentioned in the Old Testament (Joshua, Judges, I Samuel) over eight times with its Aramaic and Hebrew name reflecting profound cultural heritage over 5,000 years B.C. Although you might not find Taybeh on the map, it is located 14 Km to the north east of Ramallah and 20 km from Jerusalem.
Visitors to Taybeh can tour what the local people consider our local magnificent archeological treasure, the ruins of St. George Greek Orthodox Church , “Al Khader,” where less than 2,000 inhabitants still celebrate some of the feasts; the Olive Branch Workshop, a project of the Latin Church with Fr. Raed, producing the popular peace lamp with the word “peace” written in different languages and the modern olive press open during the olive picking season where a state of the art olive presser was donated to the village by the Italian Bishops conference. A must see is the House of Parables next to the Latin Church which is a traditional old Palestinian home with cultural artifacts explaining biblical parables and reflecting habitual life where all family members, food for the whole year and their animals lived under one roof until the early 70’s. The Stone School created in 2007 reflects the efforts for preservation of cultural heritage of our small Palestinian village. For people who do not have a tour guide and wish to know more can view www.taybehinfo; and for background information of Taybeh, view www.taybehmunicipality.org
Making Taybeh famous since 1995 is the Taybeh Brewing Company (www.taybehbeer.com) producing the Finest Beer in the Middle East and the only Palestinian brew house giving ongoing daily tours except closed on Sundays.
In my eyes, Taybeh is simply a peaceful village reflecting the craving to have a normal life with the celebration of the Taybeh Oktoberfest, a two day annual village festival which has become a distinctive event in Palestine promoting support for all local products. The Oktoberfest has become a unique cultural exchange by giving venue to local performers while welcoming bands from Brazil, Japan, Germany, Greece and England. People can overnight in Taybeh with the two guest houses offering sixteen rooms each and eat at the Taybeh Zamaan Restaurant offering a panoramic view of Taybeh and surrounding villages. By appointment, one can also view the Antique Floor Tile Workshop next door to the Taybeh Zamaan Public Park. A new and upcoming restaurant in the historic center of Taybeh is Peter’s Place also featuring Taybeh Heritage as exhibited by the HolyLanders Association for Preservation of Christian Heritage. Come and visit Taybeh and see if you agree that it is the flame of peace in the Middle East. For Oktoberfest 2010, more than sixteen thousand visitors enjoyed a day in Taybeh and the maximum support and solidarity was expressed with over twenty-five ambassadors, consul general and head of office representing different countries from all corners of the world. Taybeh Oktoberfest is scheduled for October 1 and 2, 2011 with prayers and hope for stability, peace and democracy so that the Taybeh Oktoberfest will take place every year in the first Saturday and Sunday of October with respect to Muslim and Jewish holidays for adjustment of the unique celebration.
The first democratically elected mayor of Taybeh in May 2005, David C. Khoury initiated the motto to keep Taybeh one of the most beautiful places in Palestine and states in most interviews: “On behalf of the Municipality Council, we hope you will enjoy your stay. Please feel free to contact us for possibilities of strengthening our presence in Palestine, the Holy Land.”
In closing this reflection on promoting Taybeh, I hope that each and every person can be inspired to travel and see with their own eyes what is happening in the West Bank by experiencing Oktoberfest – Palestinian style. Cheers with Taybeh Beer to whatever decision the United Nations makes on recognizing Palestine as a country; either way, we shall celebrate our distinctive heritage and culture as Palestinians because it’s a basic human right.