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September, 2019
Volume 45, Number 3
14 October 2011
Erin Edwards

Aida Yassi, a resident of the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City, shows pictures of her creations from an album that spans her entire career. (photo: J Carrier)

The Good Samaritan Center in Jerusalem has been providing much needed assistance to elderly residents of the city’s Christian Quarter since 2000. In the November 2009 issue of ONE, Hanne Foighel shared the stories of the people, such as Aida Yassi pictured above, who depend on the center:

“Look,” she says, showing a picture of her work. Her remarkably long fingers delicately hold a small plastic-covered photo album.

“This is me, and I wasn’t even 14 years old when this picture was taken. I made the dress myself.”

All of the album’s pictures record the career of the now 72-year-old woman faded and worn images of the creator clothed in her dresses and gowns made at various stages of her professional life. She wants to show off her creations, but she gives up when she fails to locate her work in her crammed studio apartment.

Ms. Yassi lives in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. To reach her home, one passes through a green-painted iron gate — decorated with a cross — just off a tiny, narrow lane. She shares a courtyard with a number of neighbors, but they do not share in each other’s lives.

The room is dark: Slim beams of daylight slip through a small window carved into the wall in her “kitchen,” which is actually a shelf holding a cooking plate and a few utensils. Only when the door is left ajar does sunlight flood the tightly packed room, revealing pockmarked walls and peeling paint.

Aida Yassi has no family network. She visits the doctor on her own, walks unaided to the post office and manages other routine errands alone. Yet she needs help cooking her meals. She also depends on the regular care of a nurse, and she longs for comfort to help shut out the fear and loneliness that overcome her every so often. Fortunately, the Elderly Supportive Community Services Center, known locally as the Good Samaritan Center, provides such assistance.

To learn more about the work of the Good Samaritan Center, see Jerusalem’s Good Samaritans, by Hanne Foighel.

Tags: Jerusalem Caring for the Elderly Homes/housing