My Jerusalem – SHAIMA A. BUDEIRI

Shaima Budeiri is the fourth child of the journalist Abdallah T. Budeiri and the social worker Raghda B. Shihabi. Born in Jerusalem, she grew up in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City, attending Mawlawyeh Elementary School and Inath al-Quds Secondary School (UNRWA), before she graduated from Al-Nizamyeh High School. Having obtained a bachelor’s degree in accounting, she started to work as an accountant at the Arab Industrial Company in Ramallah, where she was soon promoted to the position of department manager. In 1990, she was forced to stop working at the company, however, because the security situation was too unstable, and the commute from Jerusalem to Ramallah was becoming too dangerous during the height of the first Intifada. She married later that year and gave birth to her son Ali in 1991. In 1999, Shaima began to work as an accountant for the Arab Teachers Committee in Jerusalem that built a project of 58 houses in Jerusalem’s Beit Hanina neighborhood for Arab teachers.

In 2003, the Budeiri family decided to re-open the library of their great-grandfather, the Sufi scholar Sheikh Muhammed Ibn Bdeir, also known as Ibn Hibeish. The library that contains manuscripts written in Arabic, Ottoman Turkish, and Persian had been abandoned for more than 50 years during and due to the occupation of Jerusalem. Shaima volunteered to be in charge of the library and took courses in library science at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem. She furthered her studies at the Juma al-Majid Center for Culture and Heritage in Dubai, focusing on caring for and working with manuscripts and books.

In 2012 Shaima embarked on a project with the Hill Museum and Manuscripts Library in the United States. Their goal is to digitize all manuscripts located in Jerusalem. She has already digitized her family’s manuscript library, the Khalidi manuscript library, the Issaf Nashashibi manuscript library, and the Uzbek manuscript library. Currently she is working on digitizing the manuscripts of the library of Saint Anne Church.