Bethesda Friends Meeting

Spring Fling

LET OUR LIGHT SHINE ON RAMALLAH FRIENDS SCHOOL 

Spring Fling 2022

Although we have not been able to gather in person for this important event since 2020, we continue to be connected as a community in Light and Love and in Spirit.  We ask for your generosity and sharing to help us continue to support the Ramallah Friends School, which has been a beacon of Light for more than 150 years in a troubled location.

Rotating photos of past spring fling gatherings

A BFM Friend is volunteering at Ramallah Friends School in Spring of 2022. She sent us the following message.

I was overjoyed when Ramallah Friends School’s dynamic new Head of School, Rania Maayeh, invited me to return to the school as a volunteer this year. Rania has a long history with Ramallah Friends School, first as a student, then as a teacher, now as Head of School. Her three children are RFS graduates. Rania’s energy is evident everywhere on campus.

She and I developed my work plan before my arrival in Ramallah and I love everything I am doing.

  • I am working with upper school English students to delve into readings that include Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime and Ismail Khalidi’s Tennis in Nablus.
  • There is no doubt that I am the one who is benefitting most from this work. Trevor Noah’s description of growing up under apartheid in South Africa opened the door to a rich discussion among students of apartheid in the West Bank and Gaza, concrete evidence of the value the school places on instilling critical thinking in its students.
  • My work here also includes coaching middle students preparing for the school’s first public speaking competition. Their challenge: a 4-minute speech on Covid-19 as a vehicle for turning uncertainty into creativity.
  • I will also be working with Rania and the school’s communication officer on fundraising.
  • Finally, I am working with students in a writing group that will produce a school literary magazine.

The school has 1,569 students in lower, middle and high school and sends 99% of its seniors to 4-year colleges and universities. Seventeen percent of the student body receives financial aid; the school aims to raise that to 25%. The school’s Learning Support Program is unique in Palestine.

As I walk across the campus and enter the old stone buildings that have nurtured and educated Palestine’s best and brightest for 152 years, I am aware of the intersection of Palestinian culture and Quaker values, and I am proud that BFM chooses to support Ramallah Friends School institutionally and personally. As Palestine emerges from Covid, there has never been a more important time to support Ramallah Friends School.

I hope Bethesda F(f)riends will give generously to ensure that the school continues its work to cultivate ethical, moral, and spiritual values in young Palestinians.

people eating buffet luncheating dessert at buffet lunch


In past years

  • We cooked, baked, and ate delicious foods at a welcoming lunch. 
  • We purchased t-shirts, olive oil, wonderful plants, and amazing silent auction items.    
  • Members of our First Day School created art work for stunning quilts sewn by a gifted quilter. 
  • The result? We shared meals, museum tours, discussions, and movie nights. And we purchased cakes, shawls, dal, soups, art-work, and get-away trips to the mountains. 

As we remember our past events and contributions, we hope to continue this generosity

and sharing to support Ramallah students. 

  • Can you contribute again, either online or with a check?
  • If so, please see "how to donate" details here.


thank you.






MORE ABOUT RAMALLAH FRIENDS SCHOOL

  • Ramallah Friends School, founded by American Quakers in 1869 (more than 150 years ago!), is a co-ed K-12 school in the West bank (Palestine). Ramallah Friends School provides a first-class, peace-oriented education to children of all faiths and abilities.  
  • Spring Fling is a BFM fundraising event to provide scholarships for multiple students at Ramallah Friends School. For about 40 years, this school has been a main cause for our Meeting to support, and each year our goal is to raise money for as many full scholarships as we can.  
  • Ramallah Friends School is a leader in Palestinian education, with a high percentage of students graduating with an international baccalaureate degree.  They also promote a search for God to all human situations, and to cultivate ethical, moral, and spiritual values.
  • Download a flyer or an information sheet about Ramallah Friends School. 

"Go Palestine" summer RFS event

A Summer Experience for Diaspora

Palestinian Youth and Friends

For over a century, Ramallah Friends School has been a light of education in a land crossed by many cultures.

RFS sponsors the summer program "Go Palestine" as an opportunity for Palestinian youth and Friends, ages 14 to 17, in the Diaspora to experience and explore Palestine.

[See photo at left.]

https://www.rfs.edu.ps/en/program/1449484378 

Reported by Frank Greve a year ago, May 30, 2021

Dear Friends,    Ramallah Friends School (RFS) survived the recent (2021) Israeli-Palestinian violence almost unscathed, reports Kelly Kellum, general secretary of Friends United Meeting (FUM), under whose care the school falls. He said  one RFS student, a 12th-grader who clashed with Israeli forces near a border checkpoint, suffered leg injuries, spent the night in jail, and was released the next morning.  And one RFS family visiting relatives in Gaza found themselves stuck for the duration of the conflict. The family returned to Ramallah when the cease-fire stuck, but as they did, other RFS families learned that kin in Gaza had suffered from Israeli missile attacks.

The Friends School's grounds were untouched, Kelly Kellum said, and peaceful demonstrations took place in downtown Ramallah last week.  That said, two experiences braced RFS students and disheartened some. 

  • One was the overall impotence of rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza. These were generally foiled by Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system, which blew them out of the sky, sometimes within view of Ramallah.
  • The second bracing experience was the heavy news coverage by both sides of the casualties of school-age Palestinian and Israeli children.
  • To offset the second in particular, RFS head of school Adrian Moody, ordered students back to live classrooms as soon as it seemed the cease-fire would hold. Moody's hope was to return to normal as quickly as possible. Ramallah Friends was the first West Bank school to resume normal classes.

FUM's Kellum said that the school's educational quality and steadiness help to keep in Ramallah Palestinians who might otherwise accept exile. In a measure of that steadiness, Ramallah Friends'  graduation will be in-person next week. At its end, Moody will step down and be succeeded by Rania Maayah, a former Ramallah Friends student and teacher who's a parent of three alumni.





Bethesda Friends Meeting

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 30152, Bethesda MD 20824

Our Meetinghouse is on the campus of the Sidwell Friends Lower School at the intersection of Edgemoor Lane and Beverly Road in Bethesda, Maryland

We are a member organization of the Religious Society of Friends

www.bethesdafriends.org
301-986-8681
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