Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wednesday, 11 January 2017: Haifa

Today we explore Haifa, a city of 5 different ethnicities and religions living in harmony. A day filled with beauty and learning begins with a visit to Mount Carmel, where the prophet Elijah battled against the prophets of Baal. We will learn about the Baha’i faith during a stop at the beautiful Baha’i Temple and gardens, and we’ll enjoy an authentic lunch and spend time at a local market. In the afternoon we’ll have the opportunity for in-depth discussion at a nearby Jewish-Arab co-existence center. Later, we’ll drive through the vista point of Stella Maris before returning to our hotel for dinner and an evening at leisure. (B, L, D)

HAIFA!  TOTAL change of pace today!

Highlights included:  

  • A luxurious hotel room with a big shower, and fancy pants, throw-open, burst out singing musicals windows
  • We went to the place atop Mount Carmel where Elijah battled the prophets of Baal...AND WON! You know, the story from 1 Kings 18 where Elijah trusted God SO much he poured water again and again on the fire....and dared the others to light theirs, knowing God would light his. He was right.  Didn't end so well for the Prophets...but the Carmelite Monestery we visited certainly had their fair share of beautiful decor. 
  • A Visit to Beit haGefen, an Arab-Jewish Culture Center.  Had a meaningful meeting and tour with one of the staff members, as we imagined how peace might actually be possible someday, somehow.  More details later.
  • A tour of the Baha'i Shrine, which looked a lot like a mirrored display case at Prange's, complete with one, buried Priest.
  • A walk through part of the Baha'i Gardens, which had smooth and circular rocks to walk upon as you gazed upon the lush greenery of the plants and trees.
  • Some BREATHTAKING views of the city of Haifa, which is a large port on the .....  Wait for it....Mediterranean Sea!  INCREDIBLE!
  • A visit to a Druze village to learn about their faith, eat a scrumptious meal with one of their villagers, and then a quick bus ride back home.
  • SLEEP.  REST.  SABBATH.  It's been a whirlwind of a few days, so THREE SOLID HOURS in a row without anyone narrating in our ears or making us move in under a minutes was a WELCOME change!
  • Debrief with ALL group members at the hotel, including the sharing of many personal stories and moments from the trip...thus far, followed by dinner together at a local restaurant.  

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