Arab Heritage Month

Trying to catch up on my email to make Thanksgiving plans, I found a link to the schedule for Chicago’s Arab Heritage Month. Once again I have managed to miss a great deal of it.

I was most disappointed to find that the Jasmin Jahal School of Dance‘s “Belly Dance Workshop: Intro to Sword Dancing” was over.  Not that I could have gone; it conflicts with my work schedule. Several years ago I went to Jasmin’s Arab Heritage Month event (an introductory lesson was only $10 back then, not $35) and greatly enjoyed the workout. Jasmin is a great teacher with apparently limitless energy. Even those with two left feet will believe that they too can learn to belly dance. The type of dance here is the traditional kind that is done at Arab wedding parties, the kind with only women present, not the kind done in certain (unnamed) north side Greek restaurants .

Unlike the Arabeque Arab festival, there is no master list of participants for Arab Heritage Month. Here is my own partial list, collected from hovering a mouse over the calendar of events:


The two-part PBS film “Islam: Empire of Faith”

The Desert Triology [sic] of Nacer Khemir

Continuous exhibit

“Arab World Cultural Display” at Green Hills Public Library, 8611 W. 103rd Street, Palos Hills
from 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM from November 1-30. Admission: Free


Mondays: “Mornings with Ray Hanania” on WJJG 1530 AM Radio for guest information

Saturdays: Islamic and Arab Voices of Chicago presents “Arab Culture and Countries” & “Arab-Americans Past, Present & Future” on WCEV 1450 AM and streaming live online at


Galerie du Maroc (Moroccan Arts)
exhibit of Images du Maroc by Michael Monar
a traditional music performance by Bulbul Ensemble (see “music” below)


Arabic for children on Saturdays from 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM at Bridgeview Public Library (year-round) “Arabic Story and Basic Arabic Language Class for Children”


“Homeland Insecurity, the Arab-American and Muslim Experience after 9/11” by Dr. Louise Cainkar. Over a hundred in-depth interviews conducted  in the Metropolitan Chicago Area, about the experiences of Arab-Americans and Muslims after 9/11.


Bulbul Ensemble is a takht based in Chicago. The ensemble plays the music of Oum Kalthoum, Fairouz, Asmahan, Sabah Fakhri and others, including composers Muhammad Abdal-Wahhab, Assi and Mansour Rahbani, Sayid Darwish, and other great artists from 20th century Near East music. Musicians: Nai: Kim Sopata, Oud: Rami Gabriel, Percussion: Doug Brush,Violin: Steve Gibons.

[Bulbul’s next public appearance:  Saturday, Dec 5, 2009, from 3 pm to 5 pm Il-Bulbul Arabic Music Ensemble Performs at Oak Park Winterfest
Downtown Oak Park, IL. — check their webpage for some amazing  concert excerpts with unfortunately low sound quality]

Assi El Hellani & Shada Hassoun in Concert at Rosemont


Chicago’s Premier Arabic/English monthly, Al-Offok Al-Arabi Newspaper (The Arab Horizon), presents an introspective look into Chicago’s Arab-American Community. The paper has been covering the local scene and its organizations & individuals for over ten years…Links: profile for editor Amani Ghouleh.


Oriental Institute’s highly acclaimed special exhibit “The Life of Meresamun: A Temple Singer of Ancient Egypt.”

Upcoming events

Just for my own reference I’ve pasted here the info for a couple of upcoming events, tomorrow’s Oriental Institute (the inspiration for Raiders of the Lost Ark) tour is not to be missed.

tonight (free music downtown):

What: Amman Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International Program presents Doris: The Arab Musical Star
Where: Chicago Cultural Center – 72 E. Randolph, Chicago
When: Nov 18, 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Description: The Amman Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International Program cordially invites you to a performance by Doris, the fabulous Arab musical star.

Admission: Free, but reservations are required

For more information email or call Adrienne Tongate: 312-742-5320

also tonight (radio):


Connecting Women Radio presents “Celebrating Arab Heritage Month”

Where: Nov 18, 9:00 PM – 10:00 PMDescription:

CCHR Advisory Council on Arab Affairs member Hanadi Abukhdeir will be speaking about the Advisory Council and Arab Heritage Month, and author Alia Malek, will be discussing her new book “A Country Called Amreeka: Arab Roots, American Stories.”

For more information, call Faten Abdallah: 646-595-3653

tomorrow (U of C campus museum tour):

Oriental Institute presents “Gallery Tour: The Life of Meresamun: A Temple Singer of Ancient Egypt”

Where: University of Chicago – 1155 E. 58th Street, ChicagoWhen: Nov 19, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PMDescription:

Don’t miss this last chance to tour this exhibit with Curator Emily Teeter before it closes on December 6th!

Learn the behind-the-scenes story of how the Oriental Institute produced this three-dimensional biography of an ancient Egyptian priestess, and see how forensic scientists have used the latest CT data to reconstruct Meresamun’s physical appearance as she actually looked nearly 3,000 years ago.

For more information call: 773-702-9507 or visit:

A week from Monday:

Eid Al-Adha (!!?!)

What: Moraine Valley Community College presents “Eid Celebration”Where:

Moraine Valley Community College – 9000 W. College Parkway, Palos Hills, Room U111

When: Nov 30, 12:00 PM – 2:00 PMDescription: Do you have friends, colleagues or classmates that celebrate “Eid” and have always wondered what it is? A short presentation about the significance of the holiday will be presented. Enjoy free Middle Eastern sweets in celebration of the Muslim holiday, Eid Al-Adha. Also have your name printed in Arabic calligraphy to take home!

Admission: Free

For more information, contact Multicultural Student Affairs: (708) 974-5475

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