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GE Workshop (al-Atrash) - West Bank

GE Workshop (al-Atrash) - West Bank

"Working with olive wood is part of my culture, my heritage," says George al-Atrash, who founded his family workshop in 1967. He lives near Jerusalem, where he used to sell items to tourist shops. But that is now impossible as he cannot obtain the Israeli-granted pass that would enable him to travel through the checkpoints. George has carved olive wood his whole life, using skills passed on from previous generations. Today, the GE Workshop employs seven artisans who carve olive wood biblical figures, nativities and other items. Like many other olive wood carvers, George is a member of the Greek Orthodox Church. For him, carving the Holy Family isn't about making tourist souvenirs or Christmas ornaments, but is an embodiment of his faith. "We're always happy when people appreciate the love and care that we put into our pieces," he says.