The Owner of Fairouz Cafe in the Midway Has a Love Story to Tell

by on July 19, 2021 · 2 comments

in Ocean Beach

Talent Abounds in Ibraham Al Nashashibi

By Judi Curry

I have been an educator for over 40 years and have never met a more talented person than Al.  I have never met a more talented person that is so unassuming about his talent.  If you have ever met this man you are almost immediately aware of the great attributes that he has to offer, for he is the owner of Fairouz Café on Midway Drive.  But this article is not about the restaurant; rather it is about the man that created it and showcases the tremendous talent he has to offer to the world.

Al was born in Jerusalem, and among the various occupations he has tried, besides being a restaurateur, was as an attorney and coming to the United States to earn his Ph.D.  However, he decided that it was not what he wanted to do for the rest of his life and began looking for other avenues to try.

One of those avenues led him to the restaurant business. Another led him to painting. A third avenue led him to writing, and there are several more streets he is exploring – composing music, writing a screen play, etc.

If you have even been to his restaurant, you can’t help but be awed by the many painting on the walls, all done by him.  And if you look at the magazine racks by the cash register you will notice several books of poetry, all written by him.  And, if you keep looking, you will find greeting cards, again designed by Al.  And now, for the first time, if you look a little more you will find a novel, Love Is All I Needa tragic love story written by him.  (There is a second novel being readied for publication as I write this, entitled The Window of Hope.)

Al has a tremendous outlook on life.  He feels that if he knows he can’t do something, he probably can’t do it – like swimming, for example. But if he doesn’t know that he can’t do it, he will be successful, like painting, writing, etc.  Since English is not his first language, he sometimes makes up words that do not exist – such as “understoodable”.  In spite of this being a “good” word, he works with an editor that helps him with his English translations.

When Al was 11 years old, he attended the American Cultural Center in Jerusalem.  The posters of Diego Rivera of Mexico made him aware of paintings and he developed the love he has for that medium today. A children’s book about Abraham Lincoln and his love for freedom, humanity and justice made him want to be an attorney and an American citizen.

Following a divorce from his first wife Al found himself in a deep depression.  At 1:30 am one night, after a long day, an image visited his mind that helped him realize the truth that he was  depressed.  He felt comforted by the vision and decided to go and purchase art materials to create the image he saw in his mind.  He dreamed that he saw a field of flowers with amazing, brilliant colors that he had never seen before in his life, and he understood then that he had always seen life in black and white, never in color.  In 15 minutes, the following day, he transferred the image from his mind to paper and gave it the title, “Withdrawing from Depression.” And, in fact, that first painting was the beginning of a new career.

He met his wife, Hafida, and again a vision told him that she had come to stay in his life for a long time.  Unfortunately, in 2009 she passed away from cancer.  When told that she had only a short time to live, she went back to her native country of Morocco. In one of her last days an idea stormed into Al’s mind that came to life with thoughts and feelings, some to be written with colors and some to be drawn with words. Before she passed, he took her hand, kissed it, and said, “thank you. You just gave birth to my first novel.”

Some of this first novel was the creation of his imagination, but a few details came from real life.  All the countries, cities and tourist sites that the characters Lileena and Adam visited are really right there, but the hotels are imaginary.  He never “met” any of the characters in this story except when they were being born in his mind.  He did find himself interfering in their thoughts and philosophies, but they also had their own. He became convinced to lead the narrative and allow the characters to tell their own story because they represented the richness of human life.

A brief summary: Diagnosed with terminal cancer, Lileena Ward is determined to reunite with her true love, Adam Reed, whom she divorced seven years ago and has not seen since. A well-known artist, Lileena married again and divorced again while Adam, an inventor and entrepreneur, poured himself into his work and with the help of his friend Rudy, developed a successful company doing business world-wide.

Now Adam is in a position to help Lileena visit the countries of her dreams in the months she has left. Come with them as they explore Morocco, China, South India, Egypt, and other lands while Lileena seeks to win Adam’s heart at last.

Al ends by asking, “So is it love, admiration, or both that we need to build a successful long-term relationship?  That’s the question that Lileena, Adam and I leave to you, the reader to decide.”

Al’s insight is spectacular.  His paintings are thought provoking.  His poetry is insightful.  If you want a good read, this is the novel that will please many senses.  Enjoy it.

Here is the link to the restaurant’s website.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Judi Curry July 19, 2021 at 3:49 pm

Go on in to the restaurant and take a look at the paintings on the wall. You will be amazed.


Frank Gormlie July 21, 2021 at 11:46 am

Judi, would you ask him to contribute a copy to the OB Library?


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