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As she pours olive oil and spiced za’atar onto her pastry, Nehad Mohamed Jerada mixes in the joy and grief of her culture.

Ms Jerada is part of a social enterprise kitchen, Plate It Forward, based out of the bakery Anything But Humble in Alexandria in Sydney’s inner suburbs.

Her cooking is being showcased at the bakery with profits going towards her family’s efforts to rebuild in Gaza.

The Palestinian arrived in Australia as an asylum seeker before her home and neighbourhood in Shujaiya in east Gaza were destroyed by Israeli air strikes.

While she is now thousands of kilometres away with two of her sons, she feels guilty that she isn’t among the rubble with her eldest son and his family.

Kneading dough keeps her mind from thinking of them and the fate that has befallen more than 12,000 people over the past 40 days, according to Gaza’s health authority.

“If not for the boss and the work, I would only think about it, all the time,” Ms Jerada said in Arabic.

Every day she looks for his name among the growing list of the dead — which already includes 30 members of her family.

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By Maryanne Taouk

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