Tuesday, 20 November 2018

The Bahai Community Living in Israel.

Hebrew: קהילת הבהאים בישראל

 bahai gardens haifa

View of Haifa Port from the Bahai Gardens

Bahais in Israel

Jews, Muslims, Christians and Druze live in Haifa as do most of the many hundreds of the Bahai community who live in Israel

What is the Bahai Faith?

Founded one hundred and fifty years ago, the Bahá’í Faith, a monotheistic religion, is the youngest of the of the world's independent religions and one of the fastest-growing world religions too. There are between five and six million followers worldwide. The faith’s founder was Bahá’u’lláh, a Persian nobleman from Tehran who left his life of princely comfort and security and, facing intense persecution and deprivation, brought a new message of peace and unity. Bahá’u’lláh claimed to be a new and independent messenger from God. The essential message of Bahá’u’lláh is that there is only one God, that there is only one human race, and that all the world’s religions represent stages in the revelation of God’s will and purpose for humanity.

Brief History of the Bahai Faith

In 1863 Bahá'u'lláh is forced to leave Baghdad for Constantinople. He passes through and makes a stop in Haifa. At this time he instructs that the remains of the Bab (the forerunner of Bahá'u'lláh), should be brought and interred in Haifa. Bahá'u'lláh is then forced into confinement, with his faithful followers, in Akko, about 25 kilometers north of Haifa where he is not expected to survive the harsh conditions. Eventually he is released from prison and Bahá’u’lláh spends the rest of his life in and around Akko. He finally moves to Bahji outside Akko where he lives out his final days. He is buried in Bahji making it the holiest of all Bahai shrines. The remains of the Bab, (the forerunner of Bahá'u'lláh) are interred on Mt. Carmel in Haifa, the second holiest shrine in the Bahai faith.

The Bahai Temple in Haifa

The Bahai Temple is probably Haifa’s most popular attraction. There are 4 options for viewing the grounds. The first is a visit to the Temple (Shrine of the Bab) on Sderot HaZionut. The second is from the lookout on Yefe Nof Street in the Central Carmel, the third is a pre-arranged tour of the terraces which starts on Yefe Nof and the fourth is a spectacular view from Ben Gurion Blvd in the German Colony. This tour operates daily, except Wednesdays. It is free of charge and no reservation is needed

Visiting hours

Inner gardens: 9:00–12:00 daily

Outer gardens: 9:00–17:00 daily

English tours are held at midday.

The Bahai Gardens & Temple

The gardens are a perfect blend of eastern and western styles. Varying shades of red and green form a wonderful display. In-fact, it is said, that the Bab always dressed in green and red is symbolic of his martyrdom. A total of 225 meters high, there are 18 terraces in the garden that commemorate the first 18 disciples of the Bab. Light forms a major concept of the design of the terraces and this can clearly be seen when comparing day and night-time views of the terraces. Water is another significant feature of the terraces. Limited water supplies and water conservation was an important factor when choosing the plants and trees in the garden. As we have already said, color is an important part of the garden. For example there is a purple season when the Jacarandas are in bloom. There is also a red, yellow and pink season.

Please remember when visiting the Bahai shrines and grounds to dress modestly. No short skirts or bare shoulders. No chewing gum. Take plenty of water with you if you are participating in the walking tour.