The JPC held a field tour of Abu Ghosh, in which foreign journalists and other JPC members explored the village and met with locals.
The tour started at the Benedictine Abbey, where Father Olivier gave an historical background of the church and also sang a Hebrew prayer song to demonstrate the amazing acoustics of the building.
The tour also included a meeting with Mr. Jabr Issa, Mayor of Abu Ghosh, who spoke about the life in Abu Ghosh integrated with its neighbors and a meeting with Mr. Gershon Cohen, the Director of the Abu Ghosh Music Festival for the last 25 years, at the Ark of the Covenant Monastery.
The tour ended at the Carravan restaurant with a wonderful Mediterranean lunch.
About Abu Ghosh:
Abu Ghosh village, one of the most successful and flourishing Arab villages in Israel. This place was previously known as the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant for 20 years between being retrieved from the Philistines and being taken to Jerusalem by King David around 1000 BC. Today Abu Ghosh is known not only for its example of Arab-Jewish coexistence and rich culinary scene (which we will be lucky to sample), but also for its Abu Ghosh Music Festival, which is held twice a year, in the fall and late spring. The festival features vocal music from the Baroque and Renaissance periods (primarily liturgical music) that is performed by Israeli and international soloists, choirs and orchestras. One of the things that distinguish the festival, is its long-standing tradition of communal singing by the audience.