Taybeh October Fest in Palestine
By Maria C. Khoury, Ed. D.
July 23, 2005
The Taybeh October Fest is a first time event to promote not just Taybeh Beer but all local Palestinian products made in Taybeh. Scheduled for October 1 & 2, 2005, in the small village of Taybeh, it aims to boost the economy by inviting people to come and purchase beer, olive oil, maftoul (couscous), honey, vigil lamps, soap, embroidery, olive wood products, and various art crafts and enjoy a special day of food, fun, music and the beautiful hills of Taybeh.
The Festival is the cooperative work of the Taybeh municipality with Mr. David Canaan Khoury as Mayor, two women’s organizations, the Boy Scouts, the three local parishes, Taybeh Brewing Company and The Society of Christian Heritage in the Holy Land. The committee hopes for a successful festival where thereby to schedule every year in the first Saturday and Sunday of every October starting a new tradition of promoting local Palestinian products where other towns and villages can also initiate a national campaign to support and celebrate the individual products throughout Palestine.
Making Taybeh famous in Biblical times was Christ’s special retreat into the village of Ephraim as the original Biblical name of Taybeh was mentioned in John 11:54. The Biblical name was changed to the modern name Taybeh by the Islamic leader Salahdin around 1187. The folktale states that Salahdin visited the village Ephraim and found its people very hospitable and generous thus he made a statement that they are "Taybehn" people in Arabic meaning "good and kind," thereby since that day Biblical Ephraim took the modern name "Taybeh."
However, there are three other places called "Taybeh" in this region. One is "Taybeh Zaman" (original Taybeh) in Jordan, the other is "Taybeh", inside Israel and close to Jenin and there is a “Taybeh” in Lebanon.
Our village of Taybeh is the only all Christian village that remains in Palestine twenty minutes outside Jerusalem before Jericho with 1300 residents all of whom are Christian. All residents are Palestinians with a handful of outsiders. Following the l967 Israeli invasion of the West Bank approximately seven thousand people from Taybeh live abroad in Australia, America, Europe and the Gulf area due to the politics, bad economic situation and daily suffering faced under military occupation. The village is located between Jerusalem and Jericho in the biblical land of Judea known as the West Bank of Jordan and unfortunately does not exist on any modern map although Nadim C. Khoury worked hard to place Taybeh on the map with the famous Palestinian beer.
The village does exist here however since the time of Christ and it sits on the highest mountain region of Biblical Judea and Samaria called Mount Asur. On a clear day from the highest hill in Taybeh you can see the magnificent Dead Sea, the Jordan valley, the mountains of Samaria, the mountainous desert of Judea and also Jerusalem. It is really amazing and spiritually rewarding to stare down at the same valley where St. Mary of Egypt is said to have spent over forty years of her life in solitude.
The village has five places of worship including the original St. George Greek Orthodox Church in ruins (built in the 6th century), the new St. George Greek Orthodox Church (rebuild in l929-1932), the Melkite Church (build in l964 but Melkite worship was founded in the village in 1869), the Roman Catholic Church dedicated to "The Last Retreat of Jesus" (inaugurated l971) and a small monastery build by a French monk Brother Jack Frant in l990.
Visitors to Taybeh can tour the magnificent ruins of the stone chapel honoring St. George, in which the inhabitants of Taybeh still celebrate some of their feasts, the Taybeh Brewery, the Olive Branch Workshop, the new Olive Press, and the Parables House, can have lunch at Taybeh Zamman Restaurant and overnight at the Latin Convent Guest House for less than $20 accommodating up to 36 guests.
This October we invite local people and the international community to come and have a flavor of Taybeh and help us support local Palestinian products in deep need of a boost in the collapsed economy. Escape to Taybeh and join us October 1 & 2 for a day filled with fun, food, beer, music and more….
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