Last night, we went to a fundraiser dinner for the Bethlehem University scholarship fund. A really good cause and I hope they made lots of money for the students.
We had a blast. Dinner was pretty good but the company was excellent. We were at a table with a number of our good friends from the consulate. There was a musician who performed dance music periodically (priests probably shouldn't dance) and did sound effects for the door prize drawings and the raffle, which was the best part of the evening. Everyone on our side of the table won something except one friend, and we told him that was God's retribution for him trying to stack the odds in his favor when he drew a ticket (the tickets came in different colors and he picked one the color of his tickets on purpose). We won dinners to Askidiniya (one of my favorite restaurants here) and the American Colony (I don't like it as much but the garden you sit in is nice). We bought 200 shekels (about $40) worth of raffle tickets, so we made out pretty well. Of course, the emcee (I think he was a university official)did even better. His wife won a plane ticket to Brussels, which he gave back, and then he one a piece of art, which he kept (aside from that sounding rigged, I think he is seriously in the dog house for giving back his wife's trip but keeping his prize!).
M and I are thinking of donating a scholarship to the University. The students there are pretty devoted...you have to be to go to school in this climate. Many of them have to walk hours and past numerous checkpoints just to get to school, and they stay on campus until they absolutely have to leave. The Christian population in general is in pretty dire straits in Bethlehem. They used to be the majority there, but with the economic and security situation, they are only about 20 percent of the population in Bethlehem now. Tourism, their only real industry, has virtually dried up, and much of their agricultural lands have been seized by the Israelis for the wall and a nearby settlement.