December 2, 2017
Fair Trade Holiday Festival

Monona Terrace Convention Center
1 John Nolen Drive, Madison
9 am to 4 pm

Come do your holiday shopping with Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, Playgrounds for Palestine-Madison and 54 other vendors selling fair trade products from around the world!

MRSCP and PfP will be selling Palestinian olive oil in several sizes, olive oil soap, zaatar, “Playgrounds” brand Fair Trade Coffee, a great NEW selection of ceramics from Hebron, Hirbawi kuffiyehs, earrings, our beautiful Palestinian embroidered scarves, shawls, purses, bookmarks, and more.

We will also be accepting donations to benefit a deaf children’s classroom at the Atfaluna Society for the Deaf in Gaza City, which produces many of our embroidery and wood crafts items.

The Festival will feature items from the SlaveFree Madison’s Fashion Show “Saving the World, One Accessory at a Time”.

FREE! Bring your friends & family to this one-of-a-kind event!
More info? Visit fairtrademadison.org/ or facebook.com/fairtradeholidayfestival/

December 3, 2017
Lessons and Carols for Advent


First Congregational United Church of Christ
1609 University Avenue, Madison
7:00 pm

The local Bright Stars of Bethlehem chapter presents its fourth annual Advent Lessons and Carols service to support Dar al Kalima University College in Bethlehem. Musicians and readers from over a half-dozen local congregations will present beautiful music and you can join in singing some favorite songs of the season.

Explore not only the Bethlehem of Jesus’ birth but also the Bethlehem of today. Featuring refreshments, fellowship and sales of handmade crafts from Palestinian artisans. A free-will offering will be collected to support Bright Stars of Bethlehem and the ministries associated with Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem, Palestine.

Offerings will be directed for student scholarships to build hope through education for young people in this conflicted region. Your presence and gifts will make a difference for many in the Holy Land.

Parking available in church lots as well as in UW Lot 17 and UW Engineering Building. For directions to these alternate parking lots, see firstcongmadison.org.

November 19, 2017
Orchard Ridge Fair Trade Fair

Featuring beautiful and unusual holiday gifts and items from around the world. All proceeds go to the organizations and their artisans to help them become self-sustaining. MRSCP and Playgrounds for Palestine-Madison will be selling our Palestinian embroidery, ceramics, earrings, kuffiyehs, olive oil and olive oil soap. Free admission and parking. For more information on the sale call 608-271-7212.

2017 Fair Trade Sale_ORUCC

February 25, 2017
International Festival

Overture Center
State Street, Madison
10 am – 5 pm

Take a trip around the world in a day! Experience all the cultures that Madison has to offer through food, crafts and free performances. And join MRSCP as we once again present Palestinian fair trade products at the International Festival. We’ll be selling a brand new shipment of Palestinian extra-virgin olive oil, olive oil soap, embroidery, wood crafts, earrings, ceramics and kuffiyehs. It’s fun, and it’s free!

Your Passport to the Arts

Enjoy more than 30 FREE performances throughout Overture by artists who call Dane County home celebrating the rich cultural heritage within our community. Indulge in cuisines from around the world, browse stunning arts and crafts available for purchase and learn about the many local businesses with global connections.

International Festival

International Festival is on Saturday, February 25, 2017, 10:30 AM – 4:30 PM



CUNA Mutual Foundation    Dane Arts    Dane Arts    

This project is supported by CUNA Mutual Foundation; the Arts Access Fund, a component fund of the Madison Community Foundation; Dane Arts and contributions to Overture Center for the Arts.

For more information: http://www.overture.org/programs/international-fest

Palestinian Author Reflects on Life in Gaza

Lupe Salmeron, Madison365, December 5, 2016

An audience of around 30 people gathered to hear from talented blogger and political analyst Laila El-Haddad on Nov. 29 at The Crossing.

Laila El-Haddad is a talented blogger, political analyst, engaging public speaker, and parent-of-three from Gaza City. She is the author of Gaza Mom: Palestine, Politics, Parenting, and Everything In Between (2010); the co-editor of the anthology Gaza Unsilenced (2015); and co-author of The Gaza Kitchen: A Palestinian Culinary Journey (2nd Ed. 2016).

The evening started off with a Q & A between UW-Madison professor Nevine El Nossery and El-Haddad about her blog and books inspired by her experiences while living on the border in Gaza. That was followed by a short cooking demonstration and potluck social featuring samples of Palestinian food, including dishes from El-Haddad’s cookbook.

El-Haddad explained that initially, she created her blog to relieve and process some of the emotions and experiences she underwent while living in Gaza, but it then grew to be something much bigger.

“At the time, I had a close friend who I thought was really well informed but just had this kind of naivety about the whole experience. ‘Oh, you must be used to this by now, always being stranded,’ she said. And trying to explain, “Like no, you never get used to this kind of thing.’” El-Haddad said. “Or just being ill-informed in general about the modes and methods of transportation and lack of freedom of movement (in Gaza) that made me realize that there needs to be a better ways to communicate this experience than the traditional, ‘Here are the numbers, here are the facts, here are the maps’ kind of thing. That’s when I began to use the blog as a vehicle and kind of just blogging about everyday mundane experiences, as a vehicle for people to understand the bigger political issues that exist in the background.”

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To her, it was just a way to vent, but also inform her few readers about the events happening in Gaza. She did not realize how important her “everyday mundane experiences” were to others interested in Gazarian affairs.

“I didn’t think much about it at the time, but suddenly there was a lot of interest, including from like Israelis and others who had no other access,” she said. “It was all mediated cover from mainstream channels that were telling the same dismal, dark, anonymous story of Gaza. So that’s how it (her blog) became an effective tool to bypass all that.”

Rabha Elfarra was there to hear from El-Haddad, a neighbor who saw her grow up in Gaza.

“She’s very fascinating. I think she’s very smart,” Elfarra said. “She’s an advocate and you feel like she’s really, really Palestinian, it’s in her blood.”

Elfarra also reported that El-Haddad’s cookbook has helped her add more flavor to her own recipes.

Lupe SalmeronWritten by Lupe Salmeron
Lupe Salmeron is a member of the Madison365 Academy. She is is a recent graduate of Madison East High School and a former Class President. She was born in the heart of Mexico. She and her family immigrated to the United States twelve years ago in pursuit of the American Dream. This fall she will be attending Edgewood College to double major in Political Science and Communications in hopes of one day becoming an immigration lawyer and helping people who are struggling with the immigration process.