Message from Bethlehem University

Friday, 16 November 2012
10:25 p.m., Bethlehem, Palestine

Dear Graduates and Friends of Bethlehem University,

Reportedly, as per the news reports and an email warning I just received from the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, there was one rocket from Gaza that landed someplace south of Jerusalem or Bethlehem - or Beit Jala - or Beit Sahour. I'm not sure where, exactly, but it was reportedly someplace south of Bethlehem University - and it was reportedly one rocket.

I certainly do not want to downplay the seriousness of this situation. It is serious, and unfortunately, it is deadly serious. Too many lives have been lost and too much trauma has been experienced and endured among all people here in this Holy Land. Right now, for sure people are understandably a bit on edge. When mothers and fathers put their children to sleep tonight, their night prayers and kisses for pleasant dreams will be more meaningful.

Here at Bethlehem University today on campus we held classes, but there was a somber sort of mood. When I asked some faculty and staff "How are you doing?" the reply was most of the time something like: "Not so good, really" ... "I hope this doesn't mean a war is upon us" ... "Brother, it's so sad" ... "Kids are being killed, it's terrible" ... things like this.

Tomorrow, Saturday, two representatives from USAID were scheduled to come to campus to see the new education building to which they contributed and which we are dedicating on Wednesday, 28 November 2012. They came from the States and have been in Tel Aviv for a few days now. They were scheduled to come to campus here in Bethlehem tomorrow, Saturday, but I just got word this evening (Friday) around 8:20 p.m. that they are not coming tomorrow. It really is not a surprise that they cancelled, given what is going on and the uncertainty of things, etc. I really thought they would have cancelled much earlier in the day.

However, tomorrow, Saturday, here at Bethlehem University we will have a "make-up" day of classes. This has been planned before the Israeli-Gaza violence escalated a few days ago. This is to make up some class time for some class time that was lost earlier in the semester for various reasons. Even though it is Saturday, for academic purposes it will be a "Tuesday class schedule."

This is good that we are having a "make up" day tomorrow, on Saturday. It keeps us focused on what we can do and what we can "control" - and what we are all about - not politics but education and working for a better tomorrow through the education of the minds and hearts of the students entrusted to our care today! Having classes tomorrow, Saturday, will keep the students and faculty away from the TV and the constant barrage of "news" - and that can be a good thing too.

Let's continue praying for restraint among all involved in the violence. The violence does not lead anyone to a better place today or tomorrow.

Thanks for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers. Your notes of concern and support are well-received and appreciated. THANKS - and God bless us all!


Brother Jack Curran, FSC, PhD
Vice President for Development
Bethlehem University