Street foods are one of the best ways to better understand the culture of a new city or country. Here is a round-up of some of the tastiest street foods in Palestine.
Kunafa or Knafeh Nabulsieh
The above photo is of a Kunafa vendor in the old city of Nablus which has been running for generations.
Knafeh is a Middle Eastern dessert made of wheat flour or semolina-like dough with layers of cheese and pistachios soaked in sweet syrup. In Palestine and around the Middle East, the knafeh made in Nablus is called Knafeh Nabulsieh which is famous for its use of the sour Nablus cheese.
According to many stories and legends, Kanafeh was invented in the Syrian city of Damascus sometime in the 7th century by Muawayah I, Umayyad Dynasty’s first caliph. It’s said that it was used as a fulfilling, rich suhoor meal (morning meal eaten before fasting). We love this Knafeh recipe by Heifa from Fufu in the Kitchen. Check it out here.
Ka’ak bread is a ring shaped bread covered in sesame seeds. It is commonly sold by street vendor around the Middle East. It is usually eaten as a snack and paired with Za’atar.
In Palestine, people consider the Ka’ak bread sold in Al Quds, Jerusalem as the very best. It could be because of the old wood fire ovens that it is made in or simply the feel of the old City but many Palestinians say that even the Ka’ak bread sold in neighboring towns/cities doesn’t taste quite as good as in Jerusalem. Check out the recipe here.
Manakeesh bread is a popular Levantine flatbread that is topped with cheese, thyme, Za’atar or ground meat. Nowadays, there are various toppings available.
It makes for a great breakfast snack. Check out the recipe here.
Falafel are well-known round-shaped fritters made out of chickpeas beans. It’s a popular food in Middle Eastern countries and amongst many vegetarians today. It is also the national food of Egypt and Palestine. In modern times, it is often wrapped in pita bread or taboon bread and served with vegetables.
Zalabia is a sweet fritter made with wheat flour. In Palestine, Zalabia is a popular sweet dish in winter as it coincides with the post-olive harvest season and is fried in olive oil. Check out the recipe here.
Many people don’t realize the deeper reason why olive trees are so meaningful to Palestinians. Palestinians' relationship with olive trees extends far past simple survival, olive trees mirror back to Palestinians' own strengths as a people. One of the first things that a Palestinian family does when they move into a new home, plants their olive trees. Olive trees are one of the loudest symbols of Palestinian heritage and national identity. With Palestine being home to olive trees that date back to 4,000-5,000 years ago, it’s no wonder why they are considered a national treasure.
Olive trees are an inheritance, they are passed down from generation to generation and are an integral part of any family. Olive trees are a symbol of connection and attachment to the land they are planted in.
Here are some reasons why we love olive trees:
They Stand Tall
Olive trees are much like Palestinians themselves. They stand tall and proud. There is a confidence about themselves and the presence that they carry that is incredibly noble and humbling. The sturdiness of an olive tree makes it a reliable source that our ancestors relied on for thousands of years.
Each One is Unique
They say that all souls are like snowflakes- all different and beautiful in their own way. Well, we want to rephrase that saying with olive trees instead. Each olive tree is as unique as the family itself.
They Bring Families Together
In the olive harvest season (roughly mid-October to the beginning of November), families come together to harvest their olives. This is a cherished time of connection, and reunion and plays a critical role in strengthening family bonds. Not only does it honor the family in the present moment, but this is also a sacred time to remember the family’s ancestors who once protected and cared for those same trees.
Olive Trees Symbolize Resistance
Olive trees can withstand the toughest conditions of drought, poor soil, etc. And yet, they are always able to stand tall, hold firm roots, and produce the highest quality. Much like Palestinians themselves, olive trees not only persevere in the face of adversity but thrive while doing so.
It truly is a priceless gift to a people to be able to identify and feel connected with a piece of nature that not only connects them with their land but provides life for generations. The same way that olive trees have been tended to and cared for daily for generations reflects the way a mother cares for her children. In Palestine, olive trees are synonymous with family, and family is the spine that holds everything together. There is a unifying force in putting in tiring amounts of labor, simply to regain all strength back when seeing the fruits of the harvest.
Tatreez, just like olive groves, has been passed from one generation to the next.
Together with Heifa from Fufu's Kitchen, we created the Olive Branch Tareez Apron. So no matter how far you may be from the olive groves of Palestine, you can wear this apron proudly and celebrate Palestinian cultural heritage.
Our artisans are women from the West Bank who have historically suffered from marginalization. Our goal is to economically empower them by providing job training, employment opportunities and a fair income.
Choosing to be a conscious consumer is a step many people are taking. From learning where their goods come from, to supporting ethical brands, people are making powerful choices regarding their shopping habits. And lucky for you, we are making that step into conscious consumerism that much more simple! These six items perfect for the spring season directly benefit low-income and refugee Palestinian women. Get your spring fashion fix while giving back:
This blog is a repost from Mulslim Girl, check out the blog for more on empowering Muslim women in society.
This Organization is Creating Job Opportunities for Refugee & Low-Income Women in the West Bank
In the West Bank, limited access to the global marketplace prevents many talented Palestinian women artisans from building careers with their sewing, embroidery, and design skills.
Dr. Janette Habashi, Associate Professor in educational psychology at the University of Oklahoma, is determined to change that.
She created the Child’s Cup Full artisan center in Zababdeh, a village in the northern West Bank, with a mission to create lasting economic opportunity for the most marginalized communities in the West Bank: Refugee and impoverished women.
Over the past four years, the small nonprofit has created two product lines for the US market: Child’s Cup Full children’s toys, and Darzah tatreez embroidered shoes and accessories.
Shireen and Rahaf making puzzle balls for the CCF toy line
The organization’s strategy is to train and employ women to make high quality, handmade children’s toys and tatreez embroidered accessories for the global marketplace, and to generate business opportunity by opening doors to the US market in particular.
Child’s Cup Full aims to build a self- sustaining business, so that eventually the funds generated from product sales can support its training and employment programs in hard-to-reach communities in the West Bank. We are currently fundraising on LaunchGood to sustain and grow our artisan center this year. We hope to raise $25,000 by mid-July to train and employ at least four moms in the Jenin region.
Left to right: Abeer, Rahaf, Dr. Janette Habashi, Khariye, Rasha and Shireen
Four of the six women who currently work at the Child’s Cup Full artisan center in Zababdeh have been with CCF since 2012, including Rasha:
“I like the work here, and enjoy the company of these women. I have been able to help my family and kids, and Alhamdulillah, it’s improved the quality of my life, and has allowed me to be more confident…It has helped increase quality of life here for Zababdeh and the women working here.Hopefully, it remains like this so we can continue to be creative Palestinian Women!”
Rasha sewing a toy at the artisan center
CCF uses a fair trade, retail and wholesale business model to scale solutions that tangibly improve the lives of refugee and low-income families. Rather than providing loans or vocational training, CCF aims to grow its own artisan center to create stable employment opportunities by growing its brands in the US. We hope to grow our artisan center in Zababdeh and eventually train and employ women in artisan collectives across the region, including Ramallah, Hebron and Beit Jala, to manufacture products for the Child’s Cup Full and Darzah brands.
Rahaf, lead embroidery artist for the Darzah tatreez product line
Take action: Need to give your zakat for Ramadan? Donate to Child’s Cup Full here.
This blog is a repost from Nadine Ismail of Arab America, a media outlet dedicated to promoting information about the Arab American community and Arab world.
Darzah and Child's Cup Full: Palestinian Brands Helping Refugees
POSTED ON: MAR 1, 2017
BY: Nadine Ismail/Ambassador Blogger
While doing researching on Arab products, I discovered two organizations, Darzah, a fair trade website selling Palestinian tatreez clothing and accessories, as well as Child’s Cup Full, another fair trade website selling Palestinian-made children’s toys and educational products.
Immediately, I fell in love with the embroidered shoes on Darzah as soon as I saw them. This was a very satisfying purchase as Darzah is a brand that benefits refugees in the West Bank and empowers women. I was so excited when I received the box that I made a little unboxing video and shared it on my Instagram account. As an embroiderer myself who knows the time and effort it takes to create a neatly finished product, I was very impressed with the quality of the embroidery from Darzah.
The story of Darzah and Child’s Cup Full are compelling and inspirational. Luckily, I had the opportunity to interview their founder, Dr. Janette Habashi.
Nadine Ismail: How did you decided to start this organization?
Dr. Janette Habashi: It was not an easy decision to start Child’s Cup Full. I always wanted to do something to support the Palestinian community back home, but never knew what it could look like. Starting in 2009, I was fundraising with my students the University of Oklahoma (OU) for several years to support after school programs for refugee children in the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank. While fundraising was helpful, it became clear to me that in order to have a long-term, sustainable impact, I needed to find a way to create jobs for the moms.
After considering their skill sets and my academic background in educational psychology, creating an artisan center for women to produce educational children’s toys seemed like the logical next step.
Initially, I was reluctant because it was a big responsibility and I knew it required a lot of time and resources, especially because setting up the artisan center in the West Bank and our nonprofit in the U.S. meant creating two organizations at once, essentially. I had the IRS paperwork on my desk for several months, and eventually in 2014, I submitted the application. It wasn’t until a year later that CCF had a formal team in the U.S., which is still to this day just our Assistant Director and myself.
In 2015, we decided to create Darzah as another way to generate jobs for refugee and low-income women in the West Bank, and to share the beauty of tatreez embroidery. It’s certainly not easy, but I am so glad that I am on this path. Not only are we successfully helping women and their families, we are also placing a strong value on women’s contributions in their local communities in Palestine, which is so important.
NI: How does Child’s Cup Full and Darzah help women and refugees in the West Bank?
JH: High unemployment rates in the West Bank unfortunately impede people’s ability to have confidence in the economy and the future for their children. In order to combat that, our mission is to create jobs for the most marginalized members of Palestinian society, first and foremost. Our goal is to empower refugee and marginalized women through training and job creation, and to share their beautiful work in the global marketplace.
We want the women to make high quality, unique products, and we want people to be able to connect with Palestinian culture in new ways. By hiring marginalized women artisans, in return, we are providing a stable income that they can use to support themselves, their children and their families.
The women have expressed that working with CCF provides security, helps build confidence in the economy, and enables them to dream for their future. It is always exciting to hear about their plans.
NI: How are these products received in the US market? Are your customers mainly Arab Americans?
JH: We have been selling our products in markets all over the U.S. We have definitely refined both product lines in response to feedback from our customers. Our products are definitely appealing to Arab Americans, as well as the general market in the U.S.
We find that people who have never seen tatreez embroidery before, for example, get very excited about it and they love the products. We see a huge opportunity for both our educational toys and our tatreez embroidered products to grow in the U.S., and we want to make sure we are reaching communities that maybe have never before purchase a product made in the West Bank.
We want people to want our products because of their utility and quality, and then to appreciate the product because it’s fair trade, and creates jobs for Palestinian refugee and low-income women in the West Bank.
NI: Do you have a success story that comes to mind?
JH: I believe every day for us is a success story, considering how far we’ve come since we started. I remember at OU when we had our first bake sale to fundraise for the after school programs, and later we started with just $4,000 to create the artisan center. We are now in more than 25 stores in the U.S. and internationally, and we are building more momentum each day. We have retailers and companies who are interested and impressed with the quality and design of our products.
Success with our brands in the U.S. translates directly to success for job creation in the West Bank, and we hope to continue hiring more women as the business grows, so that we can rely on our sales to sustain our initiative there.
NI: What is the one product from each line that impresses you most and wish everyone would know about?
JH: I do love all of our products, but the one that still surprises me the most are the shoes. For me, these are not just beautiful, high quality embroidered shoes; they are the product of many math exercises and innovative thinking that our lead embroidery artist has to do to create them with our shoemaker in Hebron. It takes more than 3 days to finish a pair of shoes. It took us a year to find a shoemaker that could produce the shoes with the high quality leather and impeccable finishing they are made with now. Wearing these shoes is literally wearing a piece of art.
For the educational toys products, the toy that to this day still impresses me is one of our oldest toys, the Calendar. The colors, images, and quality attract not children, but also adults. Children can learn more than one aspect. Every time I look at our product I am impressed and confident that this work would not happen if it were not for our artisans.
To purchase tatreez embroidered fashion products and their new collections, visit the Darzah webpage today. To purchase educational products and toys, check out the Child’s Cup Full webpage today.
Nadine Ismail of Reinventing Nadine is a blogger living in the Bay Area in California. Nadine shares on her blog and Instagram accounther recipes, crafts and embroidery tutorials, and parental advice, especially raising a bilingual child.
This blog is a repost from Hala of Bint Battuta Diaries. Check out her blog for more on her travels and discoveries of Arab and Muslim cultural gems.
How I found this gem is a story of how one good thing leads to another. In a recent blog post, I spoke with Afshan Khan about her and her sister, Drakshan’s heartwarming work with women in the Multan region of Pakistan. They do gorgeous embroidery under the brand name Purple Impression, based in Northern California. That conversation led me to another unsung hero, Jeanette who started a non profit organization, Darzah, to support the women and embroidery of Palestine.
Rafah Darzah's lead tatreez artist
What a promising and beautiful sight!
When I looked up Darzah’s designs I loved them! They’re basically a mix of leather which Hebron is known for and beautiful handmade embroidery, the knowledge for which is handed down from mother to daughter in the villages of Palestine. So, of course off I went to order a pair of embroidered rose blush Palestinian ballerinas and contacted Janette who is based in Oklahoma for a phone interview. She graciously set a date for the next day. I so appreciate the willingness and openness to talk to strangers and give the gift of one’s precious time!
The blue ballerinas
The lovely red slippers
Janette was a bubbly, frank and charmingly down-to earth voice over the phone as she told me her inspiring and uplifting story. It all started with her gathering donations while doing her real job as a professor at Oklahoma University and taking her students one year to Jerusalem where they donated the money to a school there.
The parents of the students began asking her for jobs, so she started Zeki Learning which produced and sold Palestinian learning materials that were a 100% made in Palestine. They continued to ask for jobs so she founded Darzah. It’s this beautiful joining of north and south in Palestine, as the leather pieces, whether shoes or bags, or bracelets are made in Hebron in the south. And, the embroidery is made by refugees and low income women mainly in Zababdeh, in the north. The level of love and respect that Darzah is known for, is reflected in the way Jeanette operates by the book. She works tirelessly to grow Darzah ethically, including attaining the difficult Fair Trade certification and does so without one cent going into her pocket.
Let's make words
And role play!
The joy of meaningful work
For her, the next step is to train the women in the North of Palestine and to buy old, but still working machines so that they can make the leather shoes and pieces themselves. Here’s a worthy cause if you are looking for one :- ) and while I was browsing through the website I found another.. Tatreez archive. Tatreez, named after an age old form of Palestinian embroidery, is an online platform creating an archive of Palestinian patterns, including the history and context of each. So if you know of one, make sure to send it so that your treasure can be documented and shared. Now that’s my kind of documentation!
Janette is so resourceful and energetic, ma sha Allah! She is basically juggling three jobs with skill, style and grace. I so admire people that I encounter who use their abundant, God Gifted energy to serve others in some powerful and meaningful way. She cleverly applied for the Frontiers MBA program at Notre Dame and was paired with some of the students, one of which is lovely Erin, whom I met as I passed NYC shortly after my talk with Janette to be supported on the business side.
Gracious and gentle Erin enthusiastically shared with me the details of her visit to Darzah in Palestine and how she would love to go again. I was so touched by her care and dedication towards the plight of women of a different world. Blessed are the champions of the weak with compassion and admiration being their drivers.
This blog is a repost from Jill and Luke of Sutton & Grove. Check out their blog for more on social businesses, conscious brands, and sustainable initiatives.
Darzah is an ethical fashion brand that sells shoes and accessories located in in the northern West Bank of Palestine. They are a part of a powerful mission; the creation of economic opportunities for refugees and low-income female artisans. Darzah specializes in traditional Palestinian ‘tatreez’ embroidery, which is a traditional art form that has been passed down from mother to daughter for centuries.
CHILD’S CUP FULL
Darzah is a project of a non-profit called CHILD’s CUP FULLwhich empowers women through creating economic opportunities in the northern West Bank. Child’s Cup full has an artisan center located in Zababdeh, West Bank which trains and employs female artisans through various means, such as fashion or toys.
FAIR TRADE CERTIFIED
Darzah has obtained fair trade certification from the Fair Trade Federation.Here is a direct quote on what the Fair Trade Federation stands for:
The Fair Trade Federation is the trade association that strengthens and promotes North American organizations fully committed to fair trade. The Federation is part of the global fair trade movement, building equitable and sustainable trading partnerships and creating opportunities to alleviate poverty.
By obtaining this certification Darzah is showing that it is committed to paying fair wages to its female artisans, committed to designing and implementing a sustainable supply chain and committed to building up the marginalized northern West Bank. In this area of the West Bank, there is extreme poverty and job creation is key to helping bring a solution to this troubled region.
TATREEZ EMBROIDERY & LOCALLY SOURCED LEATHER
Tatreez Embroidery is a centuries old technique that has been passed down from generation to generation. It is very resilient and has been found to last over 100 years. Some vintage panels over 100 years old can be found in Jerusalem today, with the panels being passed down in certain families. Stitched with pearl cotton and metallic threads, tatreez embroidery is very resilient.
All leather found in Darzah products is sourced from local family run leather manufacturers. As a result, the combination of Tatreez Embroidery and locally sourced leather makes for a unique product that is 100% made in Palestine.
Every purchase supports training and employment initiatives in the West Bank. Check out this video for more!
I am wearing their handcrafted leather and embroidered black and white Ecru D’orsay flats. This style of flat covers a larger part of your foot than some of their other flats, with creative side cut outs to give them a unique, modern style. They are super comfortable (and flattering) once they are worn in a bit. They are pretty close to fitting true to size, however if you are in-between sizes I would suggest to size up. There are a variety of other uniquely designed shoes, with subtle and bright embroidery details on each pair that you can shop HERE.
This post was sponsored by Darzah and contains affiliate links. All opinions are our own and written honestly. At Sutton + Grove we feature brands and businesses that we truly love and believe fit within a conscious lifestyle. Read More HERE.
This blog is a repost from Emily of The Honest Consumer. Check out her blog for more on conscious living, social enterprises and ethically made goods.
Darzah empowers refugee and low-income women in West Bank, Palestine through the creation of high quality leather goods. This non-profit social enterprise is creating job opportunities for women to rise out of poverty, support their families, and keep the traditional artform of Tatreez embroidery alive. Darzah’s beautiful leather shoes, bags, and accessories celebrate fair fashion and modern style.
Through her job at the University of Oklahoma Darzah founder, Dr. Habashi, was involved in Palestinian fundraising projects. When refugee and low-income women came to Dr. Habashi in need of jobs to support their families, she was quick to take action. With a 63% unemployment rate for young women living in Palestine, women struggle to find opportunities for work. Dr. Habashi founded Darzah with a vision of focusing on traditional Tatreez embroidery skills combined with modern style allowing these women to monetize skills they already had to support their families.
Tatreez embroidery is typically passed down from mothers to daughters in the Palestine culture. Different Tatreez embroidery patterns originate from various regions of Palestine making the intricate detail of Darzah products unique and meaningful. Since launching, this ethical fashion brand has been able to employ six women full time, twenty two women part time, & currently training eleven women. Darzah’s sister brand Zeki, creates additional jobs in Palestine through the creation of educational toys.
Through Darzah’s training the women refine their embroidery skills, learn record keeping, and other business skills giving each woman an opportunity to shine. Women craft Darzah goods at a community center allowing them to grow together. Each woman plays a vital role in Darzah’s supply chain. The individual roles encourage women to hold each other accountable, foster an organic community through teamwork, and take responsibility.
While Darzah is doing everything they can to create employment opportunities, there are still a lot of women in Palestine hoping for work. This is where consumers have the opportunity to help! By purchasing Darzah’s high quality leather goods and supporting their efforts, this allows Darzah to grow and hire more refugee & low-income women.
Recently I was given the Black Flat D'orsay shoes and I am so impressed. These shoes are incredibly well made and I’m loving them. The high quality leather is locally sourced from Al Khalil making the leather sole of the shoe very comfortable. I sincerely appreciate the intricate detail of the Tatreez embroidery. The style of the shoe is unique. These shoes truly are a wearable piece of art. I love that the pattern is bold, but the black and white colors allow these shoes to be paired with a variety of outfits and worn in any season.
I encourage you to support Darzah’s efforts empowering refugee & low income women by checking out their high quality leather goods and investing in fair fashion.
Thank you to Darzah for supporting The Honest Consumer community and sponsoring this post. Sponsored content helps keep The Honest Consumer up as a free resource for all interested in conscious living. For more tips & tricks on conscious living be sure to follow The Honest Consumer on social media.
This blog is a repost from Jade Nicole of Jade of Trades. Jade is a law student and sustainable fashion blogger. Check out her blog for more on intentional living, fashion, and beauty.
DARZAH: ETHICAL FASHION FROM PALESTINE
It’s time for another sustainable brand highlight, y’all! It has been a lil’ while, hasn’t it? AND. This is the first of its kind! This is a sustainable *homeware* brand highlight. How cool is that?! Well, to be fair, Darzah makes beautiful shoes and accessories as well as a few homeware items, and I’m so excited to share them with you today. They have an incredible mission that I think is especially unique and thoughtful in ways that I haven’t seen very often. I’m so excited to share their story with you! Let’s roll.
This post is in collaboration with Darzah. They were kind enough to gift me one of their incredible pieces in exchange for my work, but all opinions are my own. The links in this post are not affiliate codes. Please view my Disclosures + Codes page for more information on how I disclose my collaborations and sponsorships.
Darzah: Ethical Fashion from Palestine
Darzah and I decided to work together on a homeware collaboration and I absolutely love the outcome. Months ago, I had an idea of what I wanted my office to look like in head, but it was incredible to see it all come to fruition. This piece from Darzah is so much more than a pillow; this piece symbolizes what I want my home to represent and the pieces that I want to curate in my home for years to come.
I particularly chose the Tatreez Pillow in Black and Cream (on sale for $44, normally $59) because I feel that it compliments my home (specifically my office) so, so well. The burlap fabric along with the intricate, yet not overwhelming Tatreez design on the front adds just the right amount of flair for my taste. In my home, Aus and I are trying to go for a quite comfortable, bohemian yet timeless vibe, and I think this pillow fits in super well.
About the Brand
I am perhaps most excited to highlight their mission over at Darzah. Darzah is a non-profit, ethical fashion brand specializing in Palestinian “tatreez” embroidery. Tatreez embroidery is centuries-old and has been passed down amongst generations for lifetimes. Each of their products is hand-embroidered and 100% handcrafted in the West Bank. Their mission is:
To create economic opportunites for refugee and low-income women artians, and
To celebrate tatreez embroidery and Palestinian cultural heritage
Darzah is also a part of Child’s Full Cup, a non-profit women’s economic empowerment initiative. They are a Fair Trade organization, which means they are committed to pay fair wages to their employees, implementing sustainable manufacturing practices, and supporting marginalized communities.
There are some other products I would love to try out from Darzah in the future as well. While they are a bit pricey, just remember that buying from sustainable companies means investing in quality — not only in the product itself, but in the quality of life for those working to create the product. Darzah sells the most gorgeous and unique shoes, as well as handbags, aprons and pillowcases. I fully encourage you to check them out and take a look around — tell them I sent you.