My personal experiences in life have so far shown me that we, humans, are habitually attached to the concept of us and them, creating feelings of we are right and they are wrong. We seem to love the idea of an external enemy, not realizing that the real enemy is within us in our inability to see beyond ourselves and only believing that what we know is true because of blind indoctrination or common sense.
Our cultures raise us in a way to always protect ourselves from "the others", risking losing the ability to truly connect with people who are different than us in race, religion gender and beliefs. There is more to the world than what we know or define as humans. There are bigger things in our humanity that bring us here together.
When I started working on Aleph, I was struck by the idea that the first letter of Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Turkish, Urdu and Phoenician is the same, Aleph or Alef. Ironically, the word Aleph in literature is the point that contains all other points in the universe. A point, where everything comes together.
So, here it is, Aleph, a point of commonality that can’t be argued. The point where the universe becomes one and where people can find familiarity, wherever and no matter what religion, culture or race they come from.
In this case, Aleph manifested in a true point of intersection: servicing a diverse community in Vancouver as a unique gathering place, restaurant, bakery, café and bar. Drawing inspiration from classic Middle Eastern staples to offer a borderless experience that does not belong to countries, religions or races. Food does not take sides and I wish to express this story through creating a place out of the similarities in the Middle East rather than focusing on the differences…something I hope Vancouver will embrace too.
I truly believe that what we can conceive, we can achieve so here’s how one small idea is turning into a reality.
Haitham (Tibo) El Khatib
Owner & Operator