From Minnesota to Palestine: OLLI on the Road

From Minnesota to Palestine: OLLI on the Road

September 26, 2016

In the fall of 2015 I attended the OLLI course “Palestine: Between Everyday Struggle and Culture” at the McNamara Alumni Center. It was an eight-week course taught by Nour Nabris, an undergraduate student here on a scholarship. Nour is an Arab Muslim who lives in Jerusalem. Her class was fabulous. It was not political, she did not preach: she just presented the facts. She brought in speakers, maps, and suggested readings. We Skyped with aid workers, peace workers, and her friends to learn about Palestine and the situation there. It was the best OLLI class I have taken. At the end of the class we were treated with Palestinian food, hummus, bread, olives, and sweets.

When I mentioned that I would be visiting the Holy Land in March and April on an Overseas Adventure Travel tour, Nour suggested I call her and she would take me around. I called her in Jerusalem: she picked me up, drove me around Palestine, and showed me places I would never have seen on a tour. We went to a few refugee camps, which seemed like hopeless places. We also drove by demolished home sites and Nour’s neighborhood. We went to dinner and she talked about her life and her experiences living as an Arab in Jerusalem. Nour now works for Doctors Without Borders, counseling children emotionally damaged by the war.

When our tour group was in Bethlehem, Nour and her fiancé, Mohammed, joined us. They answered questions, talked about their lives, and explained the situation they will face when they marry. She will have to give up her Jerusalem resident card: her husband can’t live there and that will be a big loss for her. However, they are confident they can work it out and find a suitable place to live.

Photo of Nour, Jayne, Mohammed

Because of Nour and the OLLI class, I was prepared and informed before I even arrived in the Holy Land. I also watched movies and read books she suggested. My preparation made the trip more interesting and more personal, and I feel a deep connection to Palestine.

Thank you, Nour!

Jayne Kennelly
OLLI Member

We went to dinner and she talked about her life and her experiences living as an Arab in Jerusalem.