I first met Brother Joe when I came to serve at Bethlehem University in 2004. Initially, Brother Joe was uncertain about my role as Coordinator of Institutional Values; as was typical he would describe it as “interesting.” However, Brother Joe helped me in several ways. First, he was very supportive and encouraging to me in my duties as a teacher in the Intensive English program. I was a bit anxious about teaching because I hadn’t been in a classroom for over 10 years. Bro. Joe shared class materials he used and provided tips on how to teach English as a foreign language. Secondly, Brother Joe introduced me to people he had gotten to know over the years. He would take me to visit friends of his from villages and refugee camps; there I would learn aspects of Palestinian food and culture. Thirdly, Brother Joe loved to tell stories about the beginnings of Bethlehem University and the people who helped get it started. I found his passion for the Palestinian people and Bethlehem University to be contagious. As Brother Joe aged, he clung to life; it seemed that he had unbounded energy and wanted to spend it on connecting with people. He could often be seen at the main gate greeting students and employees as they arrived and departed for the day or stopping by offices to say hello to the people in them. I am grateful for Brother Joe’s life and how he affected me.
- Posted onFebruary 19, 2021