Welcome to the new guests - I'm honored by your visit. As we say in the Middle East, our land and our people are yours: ahlan wa sahlan!
You may notice that not all the posts on this blog seem related to Middle East peace. The Dove looks for signs of hope, and because environmental issues keep her awake at night even more than the Middle East conflict, items related to progress in environmental restoration make the blog. Any other signs of scientific or other cooperation among Middle Eastern scholars, artists, or regular folks are also welcomed - please drop a note to leilasab at yahoo dot com.
Why the food posts? Food and cooking are fundamental pleasures that bind families to the land, to each other, and to their communities. All Semites love sharing food with guests. Among the Arabs, whether Muslim or Christian, it is a nearly sacred obligation. When the Dove feels too bleak about the news, she posts her favorite recipes. You will find them archived on the right hand side of the page.
What is going on with the Dove and her relatives, parents, ethnicity? Sometimes we hear about Southerners, sometimes we hear about Lebanese, there are rumors of a Jewish husband but his last name is Celtic. ??? New readers may need a scorecard to keep track.
A quick rundown: The Dove's father is a Lebanese Christian immigrant, with relatives spread out from Lebanon to Australia. Her mother is a Southern WASP whose family lives in Virginia, Texas and other parts. The Dove's father's Christian Lebanese village is right next door to a Muslim Palestinian refugee camp, built on what was once our family farmland. The Dove is married to a wonderful man who does bear a Scottish surname but is halachically Jewish, via his lovely mother, who has a large and supportive family. The Dove herself grew up in the Midwest and South, but spent many long summers and one school year in Lebanon as a child; also lived in Cairo, Egypt for a junior year in college. Full disclosure: a 4 year marriage to a Muslim Egyptian in her 20s gave her an inside view into upper class Cairene families, and an appreciation for secular modern Muslims and their relationship to Islam. Updated - thanks to Islamoyankee for asking me to clarify.
After a dozen years in New York City, the Dove moved to Oakland, California, where she remains in the bosom of her multi-cultural extended family. Our holidays begin in September with the Jewish New Year, run through the solstice with Hannukah and Christmas, and end in the springtime with back-to-back Passover and Easter celebrations.
You may wish to read Leila's Tikkun article for more background on her father's village and the conflict in Lebanon. See right side.
Hope this introduction helps the confused newcomers, and some old friends, follow the many branches of the Dove's perch.