*By Nate Frankel, intern in film production and participant on Career Israel Internship Program
Hello future and current Career Israelites! Happy start to the new week (remember….. the work week starts on Sunday in Israel!).
We aren’t even halfway through the program and have I had the time of my life here! We just returned from a day trip to Israel’s third largest city, Haifa (pronounced Chai-fa in Hebrew). We learned about Haifa as a model city of co-existance, as that is what the city is well known for – Jews, Muslims, Christians, and other scattered faiths all living together in one city. While Jews are still largely the majority in Haifa, 10% of the population are non-Jews, a relatively high percentage for mixed ethnic cities in Israel.
Needless to say, the trip was amazing. We got to see so many landmarks of Judaism and other religions in the city such as the Bahai Gardens, one of the mere seven Bahai temples in the world! The gardens were absolutely breathtaking! Fountains, lush palm trees and plants, and plenty of beautiful architecture. I will post a few pictures of the place – so see for yourself how beautiful it was!
Next we went to a holy Christian church that was believed to have been a hiding place for Jesus’s family. Again, it was very cool. We went inside and got a great look at many important Christian art and symbols – something that is rare to see outside of Israel and Rome!
Then we went to the Mediterranean coastline to get a view of a cave that Elijah hid in that is now an important Jewish site. It was small but fascinating because of the history behind it all. Not to mention getting a beautiful view of the coast from all of the hills that surround the city (its the hilliest city in Israel).
The next attraction – and probably the most interesting of all – was the trip to the Ahmadiyyah Mosque – a branch of Islam that revolves around coexistence and peace. We met the leader of the Mosque – Falah M. Odeh – and he spoke to us about Islam, the various sects of the religion and its traditions, as well as the Mosque itself and its members. He was a very engaging man – very down to earth and honest and answered questions very well. It was great learning about their views on the world and Israel. He also gave us a great incite on the Arabs in Haifa and their background.
We concluded the day by eating dinner at a Druze home in a Druze village. What a feast! I have not eaten so much in a long time. They were very hospitable and served us amazing food – stuff I’ve never even had before.
Overall the trip was AMAZING and I can’t believe I’m saying right now that I’m about to go to Ein Gedi next weekend- another adventure I’m sure I won’t forget!
It’s been a busy week outside of my internship between this trip, and another wonderful Masa activity which involved listening to music, a Holocaust speaker, and wonderful volunteer opportunities.