The past two days were really one long day since there was not so much in way of “Night” in between Wednesday and Thursday. So we will start with yesterday, Wednesday.
Wednesday was our day in Haifa. Students went to classes in the morning with their Israeli hosts. Following the time they spent in classes together at Hugim, the Israelis and Americans participated in a workshop on Jewish Identity that was facilitated by an educator from Oranim Teachers College. It was an interesting workshop that included discussion and values clarifications.
After being at school for the morning the Americans and a few Israelis went to the Baha’i Temple and learned a bit about the Baha’i religion. The Baha’i religion is based on the theme of unity - unity of religion and unity of humanity. The Baha’i prophets or “educators” are critical in connecting Baha’i followers with one another and with the Divine Presence. The Baha’i Temple and its beautiful gardens are visible throughout Haifa and represent the pluralism and co-existence that are central to Haifa’s identity and history.
At the bottom level of the multi-level Baha’i complex is the area of Haifa known as the Germany Colony. The German Colony is known by the characteristic red roofs on top of the buildings. Haifa’s German Colony was not established by German Jews, as one might expect; the Germans referred to in the case of Haifa were non-Jewish Germans from the mid-nineteenth century. The German Templars were a group of religious Christians who wanted to live in the Holy Land in anticipation of the Messiah’s arrival.