How one family is rooted in traditional olive wood craft in the Holy Land.

The Story of the Facousch Family

Jimmy Facousch was born into a Christian family and raised in the small town of Bethlehem, Israel.   A famous town and an infamous town that is riddled with history.  Famous for being the birthplace of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, as well as being known as a political hotbed torn apart by strife and religious conflict.  

Jimmy Facouseh with Zak Mishriky On any given day you can find Jimmy sitting in a dimly lit corner of his olive wood shop quietly sitting under a light with a piece of aged wood in hand.  Studying it, turning it and slowly putting a blade to the wood.  It’s almost as if the wood is telling him what it is supposed to be…  a magnificent piece of art depicting the life and times of Yeshua, Jesus Christ of Nazareth… God in the flesh.

Jimmy’s grandfather first opened the shop in 1953 as a means to provide for his family.  The Facousch Family is known to be one of the first families to open such a shop in Bethlehem.  Using olive tree trimmings that have been cut away during pruning season they fashion ORIGINAL, ONE OF A KIND, HAND CRAFTED pieces of religious artwork.

Jimmy’s father would sit at his father’s knee and learn and then thru this heritage Jimmy would sit with his father to become the Master Carver that he is today… and now, Jimmy’s son's sit in the shop after school learning the Art of Olivewood Carving.

Jimmy’s once large family over the last few years have migrated to different parts of the world.  You may wonder why.. why leave such a place full of history and beauty.  The facts that we have to face is that it is a hard place for Christians.  Being pushed and pulled from all directions.  Bethlehem at one time was the largest Christian community… now, there are few Christians left.   Christians are being pushed out because of economic reasons, religious friction …. ONCE AGAIN, we find Jesus’ words coming true “Your not welcomed in your own town” ……  

Jimmy and his family have prayerfully made the decision to stay despite the hardships. 

Jimmy and his family are “stepping out of the boat” ... even if the world around them hope that they will sink.  You see, their eyes are focused on Jesus and sharing His story thru the Art of Olivewood Carving.

Many of us assume that the Olivewood sculptures are machine made but that is far from the facts. 


*Olivewood trimmings age for 1-3 years before being carved.  

*Jimmy then completely HAND CARVES a one of a kind piece of art, fashioning the olivewood carving with the same tools that his father and grandfather would have used.  

*Then molds are cast to create a perfect copy for the next step.  

*The Master Carver, Jimmy Facoush, then takes each piece of aged wood and cuts it down to blocks.  It’s such an important part of the process to attain the best colors and wood grain detail of the Olivewood that he is the only one that does this process… you see it takes the Eye of the Master! 

* A few blocks are placed on a replicating machine.  With the ORIGINAL, Master CARVED piece in the center… and the machine, guided by the hand of the Master chips away a basic shape.

* Then the shapes go to the skilled hand carvers … and the process of shaving away, creating detail, sanding away the excess.. shaping and reshaping the figure starts.  A SMALL piece may take a half a day .. a large piece 1 to 2 days .. or more.  

* Then the piece is approved by the Master Carver and sealed… protected…. And shared with the world

Olive wood boat There are actually more steps in this process…. But as I share their story I am reminded that each Christian goes thru a similar process.  We accept Jesus Christ as our Savior… We are cut away from the world and set aside to be discipled and learn His ways thru the Bible.  In this process the Master, Father God, Jesus and Holy Spirit see the finished work in each of us.  They skillfully and lovingly start to shave away the excess, to mold us into looking and being more like them!  We are approved by Father God and Sealed by Holy Spirit… and put on display for the world to see.. to bring LIGHT into a dark and dying world.

So you see…. As Jimmy carves this beautiful piece of art … each day he is an example and picture of the Master Carver .. the first creator, Father God.  Jimmy is doing his part in sharing the story.  

Maybe one or several pieces of this hand carved, art work speaks to your heart. Maybe it is a reflection of your history and your story?!   I believe that this story resonates with all Christians.  

Today, become a proud owner of Facoush Olivewood Artwork… Share in their story of continuing to step out of the boat, continuing to stand as Christians in a place of persecution, to share the story of Jesus Christ to a dark and dying world.

Each piece is a collectable piece of art which is accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity which is issued by Zak Mishriky of Old City Jerusalem Gifts.

Zak wants to encourage you to prayerfully consider partnering in this story by praying, visiting, purchasing and retelling and sharing the story and this link! 


Be touched by the Master’s hand….

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