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The Ellis Island of the Arab Community

Posted on Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008.


StoryCorps stayed closer to home last Thursday and visited the Arab American Association of New York in Brooklyn. Under the leadership of Co-founder and Board President Dr. Ahmad Jaber, AAANY actively responds to the the social and economic programming needs of the Arab community in the greater New York City area. AAANY’s clients include Arabs and Arab Americans from the countries of Syria, Yemen, Algeria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Moracco, and Palestine, among others. With youth programs like after-school tutoring, boys basketball, and the Princess Club, the organization’s providing ESL and citizenship classes, and its upcoming Salaam Series Workshops with Brooklyn for Peace, AAANY is poised to remain “the Ellis Island of the Arab Community” while fulfilling its mission threefold: “Our aim is for families to achieve the ultimate goals of independence, productivity, and family stability.”

Since the events of September 11, 2001, AAANY has broadened its mission, taking on the tasks of also “empowering and defending its community.” In December 2001, AAANY officially established itself as a non-profit organization and opened its offices in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

Participants Heidi Rosbe and Majed Seif

During StoryCorps’ visit to Bay Ridge, Majed Seif, an AAANY volunteer from Palestine, participated with his friend and coworker Heidi Rosbe. Majed shared the story of his obtaining a college degree during the Intifada and showed us the art he produced before coming to the United States over ten years ago.

Qur’an scripture made in wood against black velvet by Majed.

Traditional pots made by Majed in Palestine.

6 Responses to “The Ellis Island of the Arab Community”

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  • It is not surprising to read all these wonderful comments about Majed.
    His partcipation in the Arabic Calligraphy Exhibition, organized by the Arabic Language Program at the United Nations, made the event a great success.
    Thank you Majed.

    Comment from S. Montasser on July 28, 2008 at 11:34 am - Reply to this Comment
  • Great job ,
    me and my daughters are proud of you….you are great PALESTENIAN

    Best regards

    Comment from Im Siham O Aseel on July 27, 2008 at 6:24 am - Reply to this Comment
  • Thanks for sharing this very interesting project. I commend Majed for being a “great communicator.” His heart is always in the right place and he has helped many students at International High School @ Prospect Heights, in small ways and in big ways.

    Comment from Katherine Mahoney on July 26, 2008 at 1:59 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • Great Work Majed. Impressing us as usual with your wonderful art.

    I’m very proud of you as a friend and a Palestinian. Your nice work makes you a great Ambassador of all Palestine & Palestinians all over the world.

    We are all Proud of you. All the best.

    Comment from Rasha Al Baik on July 26, 2008 at 2:39 am - Reply to this Comment
  • I had such a great time during the StoryCorps interview! I thank Majed for letting me convince him to be interviewed and for sharing his story and I also want to express apprecition to all of the StoryCorps staff who visited–it was a wonderful experience!

    Comment from Heidi Rosbe on July 25, 2008 at 11:58 am - Reply to this Comment
  • Nice work, Rose! Arab-Americans have so many stories to tell and such a unique perspective on what it means to be American. I hope that in the future we can reach out to the community in New York City and elsewhere around the country even more!

    Jeremy Helton
    Mobile Facilitator

    Comment from Jeremy on July 24, 2008 at 8:25 am - Reply to this Comment

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