From Karen Kovalcik on Palestine and her annual olive oil party
When my dear friend and founder of Playgrounds for Palestine, Susan Abulhawa, asked me to write an article for the newsletter, I was certainly honored. Now that I am completing this task at the eleventh hour, I guess I underestimated the thought and emotion that would swell in me as I attempted to explain my motivation and actions for this charity. The Palestinian people have absolutely grabbed my attention as I have attempted to seek out the truth and broaden my view of justice in our world today. The more I learned, the more dialogues that began with my friends and family, and the more I saw from documentaries produced from around the world, I had no choice other than to decide there’s something I must do.
As a small singular voice can rouse many, I decided to start to sell the olive oil from this blessed place to support both Playgrounds for Palestine and the people of Palestine who are so desperately trying to preserve their sacred trees. Just completing my third annual “Olive Oil Sale” this past March, I can gratifyingly look at the number of bottles sold this year ($5280) and the discussions of the injustices of the Palestinian people and children that have taken place in my kitchen. My friends and family who attend this event, who have the faith to also question and investigate an unfamiliar cause, have not disappointed me in our common search for justice for humanity. We are not a banner flying, megaphone screaming group; but a small voice with strong community roots and economic power. We believe change is most ripe in the souls of children; and in this belief we hold our hope for conflict resolution. The process of understanding for all of us is an effort, but unopposed, we rejoice in the freedom that we have as Americans to soak in the events and cries of these people.
I would have to admit that my personal ethical and patriotic spirit has been challenged over the last few years. My friendship with Susie has been a wonderful experience of absorbing facts and history of an area that I, quite frankly, barely understood. Her mission to promote peace in a careful and wise move, providing children with the chance to play, is as simple as extending a hand to a falling child. The struggles she endures to see her vision fulfilled are heroic. For these reasons, and the banner of justice that most Americans have faithfully and fiercely protected in their own souls, we cannot help but turn our eyes to the cries of children. The fate of the Palestinian people deserves our support and attention. With God’s help, we can’t fail as our quiet, strong, understanding actions gain speed and make an impact just as a small rock starts an avalanche from the highest peaks. “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” The New International Version Bible, book of Micah 6:8.