Today was a pretty good day. We took some time to get going in the morning and finally headed out the door to check out the Beha'i gardens in Haifa. Again expect pictures when I get back to Jerusalem. The internet connection is pretty terrible here and I don't want to mess around with loading any pictures.
The gardens were amazing. They are set up with a beautiful symmetry with the exception of a circle of cypress tress near the tomb that houses the first prophet of the Beha'i faith. There is this incredible running water and picture perfect greens. It really makes me want to go hit some balls around a golf course. The flowers were beautiful and there is almost nothing better that I have been able to see in one place.
We also got to learn about the faith a little. It sounds interesting and it was pretty cool to experience it.
After we got back home, which was a very long and stressful process for me, we got ready to go to services at Or Chadash. A few of us decided to brave the heat and walk the whole way there. Although the directions I found online were not perfect, was able to get find the road we wanted and we showed up at services.
Their T'fillah was great! It reminded me a lot of the services back home. If only it wasn't so far away from Jerusalem. The Rabbi invited all of us on the Bimah to sing Mi Chamocha and play with tambourines for the entire community. I really had a great time at services there.
After Kiddush, the Rabbi split us up into groups of two and sent us with congregants to have dinner. Dusty and I went with one congregant who started off by asking if we were in a hurry because we were going twenty minutes out of Haifa to meet up with a large group of his friends that were getting together. It was a lot of fun.
First of all, the food was great. Really, everything was tasty. There were salads, fish, chicken, beef and I don't even know what else. It was so full. Then they brought out the desert spread. Wow. I didn't think the food could be much better, but it was a great way to finish off the night.
Then there was the conversation. I would like to say that I understood everything that went on, but my Hebrew is not that good yet. I was pretty confident that I understood the majority of what they people we were sitting with said. They spoke mostly in English, but when they spoke Hebrew I could mostly follow what was going on. The conversations were great too. We touched on a lot of really cool topics. We talked about Arab-Israeli stuff, Army service and I don't really remember everything. It was just very refreshing to talk to people outside of the HUC bubble.
We talked a little bit about being religious or secular. Dusty had an interesting talk with our host on the drive back to Haifa from Kriat Tivon. Honestly, this was one of the best parts of the trip so far.
On the down side, I'm missing the Minnesota State Fair this week and I'm starting to go a little crazy. Good night and shabbat shalom.