A Taste of Taybeh

Dr. Maria C. Khoury contributed to a recent feature on Taybeh in the July issue of ONE called “A Town Named Good.” Besides being one of the town’s biggest boosters, Dr. Khoury is also the wife of the mayor (interviewed in our multimedia slideshow web feature) who, when he isn’t running the town, also happens to run the village’s celebrated brewery. Dr. Khoury wanted to spread the word about other things going on in her town and sent us the following:

Taybeh is becoming famous for its brewery, which boasts the first micro-brewed beer in the Middle East and the first Palestinian product to be sold in Germany under the Taybeh Brewing license. (If you don’t drink alcohol, there is a non-alcoholic label, with the flavor of barley and apple.) But beer isn’t the only rich spirit brewing in Taybeh; we also take pride in our town’s storied history. The village is mentioned as a place Jesus visited just before his crucifixion. Our oral history states that the modern name of Taybeh came from Saladin referring to the local people as Tayhbeen, meaning “good”; indeed, as Christians, we strive to follow the Gospels’ message of “love thy neighbor.”

These last few years, Taybeh (known in the Bible as Ephraim) has experienced an amazing rehabilitation through the work of Riwaq, a Palestinian NGO dedicated to the preservation and restoration of historical architecture. Their effort to restore fourth-century Byzantine ruins and the Crusaders’ castle, “Boberiyah,” has inspired visitors to walk the paths of the historic village center to enjoy the public spaces, alleys, plazas and terraces, and find pleasure in the beauty of a village with 248 historic buildings and 30,000 olive trees. When you arrive in Taybeh, you will be in the highest mountain region in Palestine, with a brilliant view of the Dead Sea and the splendor of the ancient Judean valleys and hills.

Visitors to Taybeh can tour what we consider our local archeological treasure, the ruins of St. George Greek Orthodox Church, “Al Khader.” Guests can also visit the Olive Branch Workshop, a project of the Latin Church, and see the modern olive press donated to the village by the Italian Bishops conference. A must-see is the House of Parables, an old, traditional Palestinian home with cultural artifacts explaining biblical parables. The Stone School, created in 2007, reflects the efforts for preservation of cultural heritage of our small Palestinian village.

And, of course, making Taybeh famous since 1995 is the Taybeh Brewing Company, the only Palestinian brew house giving ongoing daily tours (six days a week; on Sunday, we rest!).

Finally, if you’re interested in visiting in the fall, don’t miss the village Oktoberfest: a two-day celebration that has on tap not only our beer but also our sense of fun and local pride. This year’s festival takes place on 1 and 2 October. If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by, say hello, and raise a glass!

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