During our March Tree of Life Journey, participants met with an organization – “Spring Nostalgia” – near Nazareth that works with children and teenagers who have suffered from cancer.
To provide them with some much-needed Rest and Re-Creation after their grueling chemotherapy and radiation treatment, they asked Tree of Life to host a group of 15 former cancer patients and 10 of their caregivers. Working together with Hazza Abu Rabia, originally from Nazareth, we agreed to welcome them for a visit to Connecticut, and what a joy it was to welcome them to our communities, to enjoy the rich history and culture of Connecticut, the hospitality of our faith communities and draw strength from the beauty of New England and New York. They were deeply touched by the warm and gracious hospitality they received from the Bosnian Mosque on Franklin Avenue in Hartford, the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford in Berlin, First Presbyterian Church in Hartford, the Islamic Center of New London in Groton and the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.
Maha and Hazza prepared a magnificent feast for them in their home, and we were ever so grateful to Shelly Altman and our friends in Jewish Voice for Peace in New Haven for providing them with a tour of Yale and other places of interest in New Haven, including the top of West Rock. That same day, thanks to our friend, Faisal Salah, founder of the beautiful Palestine Museum, they visited the museum to see a reflection of themselves and their proud culture and heritage in the collection of Palestinian art work so beautifully displayed, and we were so very grateful that nearby Rawa Restaurant provided a pizza supper for our guests.
In addition to the Aquarium in Mystic, the Science Museum in Hartford, they also much appreciated a visit New York City to see Ground Zero and The Statue of Liberty. It was a long drive, but they were also thrilled to visit Niagara Falls! Now that they are safely back home, our prayers of thanksgiving are with all those volunteers and generous donors who made this visit possible! In the long road to overcoming illness and regaining strength, we should never underestimate the importance of hospitality, laughter, compassion and kindness.
Thank you for being “good medicine” for our visitors!