Tag Archives: Haifa

The Universal House of Justice: Baha’is in Haifa

The following letter from the Universal House of Justice (the international governing body of the Baha’is) confirms that all the Baha’is and Holy Places in Israel have remained safe during the recent fierce conflict…


17 August 2006

To the Baha’is of the World

Dearly loved Friends,

By the grace of a merciful Providence, the month-long crisis that posed a grave danger to life in this region, and a clear threat to the safety of the World Centre of our Faith, subsided a few days ago. Our hearts reach out to the innocent victims on both sides of the fiery conflict it entailed. Their relief from grief is the object of our ardent prayers.

We affirm with gratitude to Baha’u’llah that no damage was done to the Holy Places and that the friends here remained in safety, pursuing their tasks with steadiness of purpose and exemplary perseverance.

During the early days of this perilous period our spirits were uplifted by the radiant resolve of the 172 friends who were able to come as participants in the last programme for the 2005-2006 pilgrimage season. Hailing from 16 countries, they arrived as the clouds of strife hung heavy over the Holy Land. Given the unpredictability of the situation, it was not until the ninth night of their sojourn that the pilgrims attained to the Sacred Threshold at Bahji. This was for them an unexpected bounty marking the high point of a pilgrimage experience unlike any other thus far recorded. And so they returned to the fields of service from whence they came with fulfilled hearts, their souls quickened, ready to focus the enhanced measure of their spiritual energy on realizing the global aim of the Five Year Plan.

The recent turbulence once again involving the Holy Land was only the latest among the recurrent upheavals so characteristic of unsettled conditions that have long obtained in the Middle East; it was only one among a mounting tide of world-shaking afflictions. To the followers of the Blessed Beauty imbued with a world-healing vision of the Divine Plan in its current phase, the disquiet intermittently affecting this Land of the Prophets may well be regarded, beyond all other contexts, as a reminder of – indeed, a spur for – the efforts to be made, the tasks urgently to be done. Press on, then, undeterred by any trouble, confident of the promised glory of the divinely assured outcome.

Just two days ago, we went to Bahji and bowed down at the Sacred Threshold to give thanks to the Beloved on behalf of every one of you for the protection He had vouchsafed to the World Centre of His Faith, and we continue to pray for His confirmation of every step you take to advance His mighty Cause.

The Universal House of Justice

Life at the Baha’i World Centre

Source: christine and brian’s blog: What life is like here

“Even when the sirens don’t quit, the calm of the Bahá’í Shrine in Haifa is not effected”

This blog article offers a brief glimpse of life at the Baha’i World Centre on Mount Carmel, Haifa, during the current turmoil engulfing the region. The article is a translation from one of Israels largest newspapers.

“Perhaps the near future is hard and scary, but the distant future is bright, and that is what the lights of the Shrine symbolize.”

Full translation: christine and brian’s blog: What life is like here

Hezbollah missiles strike Haifa and Akka

For a while now Haifa has enjoyed the nick-name “City of Peace” because the people of the city, Arabs and Jews, co-exist side by side in relative unity.

Over the last few days the conflict in the Middle East has escalated and missiles have been landing in Haifa, killing many people there.

The Sanfrancisco Chronicle is reporting that “Hezbollah rocket attacks have targeted both Jewish and Arab towns throughout northern Israel, including Acre”… “One rocket hit the holy gardens of the Bahai Temple. There were no casualties.”

They also report that “the harmonious relations between Haifa’s Jewish and Arab citizens appear to remain intact.”

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, Haifa’s Arabs, Jews appear united

[Note: Post-conflict the Universal House of Justice, the international governing body of the Baha’is (based in Haifa), have confirmed that all the Holy Places and Baha’i workers in Israel have remained safe]

Pilgrimage for the elderly

Israel 2005 with Cadogan 392
Originally uploaded by selectworldtravel.

Very few people know that there is a second Shrine of the Bab for those who cannot handle nine or nineteen terraces, pictured here is the alternative structure with just two…. no, okay, I’m kidding, this is one of those “mini Israel” photos where they have made a model of the Shrine of the Bab, and they clearly couldn’t craft nineteen beautiful terraces quite like the Baha’is have in Haifa.

Ladan and I would have been on pilgrimage right now had Ladan made a significant recovery, 19th June was the date I had been looking forward to with my fingers crossed for a long time.

Bahá’í World Centre Recommended as World Heritage Site

Globes [online] – Haifa municipality recommends Bahai center as World Heritage site

“The Haifa city council last week recommended that the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declare the Bahai center and gardens in Haifa a World Heritage site…”

As a Bahá’í myself there is obviously a bias that makes me particularly enthusiastic about this. The immense spiritual force and energy that engulfs me when I am in Haifa has left my heart and soul longing, almost begging every day, to be there time and again. As a young child I had a vivid dream of flying inside the Shrine of the Bab and awoke as, in my dream, I found myself locked within the Shrine and at rest in the ledge of a round window. With no pictures available of the interior of the Shrine it was not until about 8 years later when I made a pilgrimage as a 16 year old youth that I was able to witness that every detail I had vividly remembered was accurate and, when finding myself the bounty of being alone in prayer within the Shrine, felt my soul making the same flight that I had in my dream. I was not locked in after my prayers, but I liked to think that maybe a part of my soul remained there as my body did in my dream.

Since then the Baha’i World Centre has changed a lot and the mountain that surrounds the Shrine of the Bab, which is also the resting place for ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s body, has been beautified with 19 stunning terraces, each one tranquil and peaceful with the sound of trickling waterfalls and fountains drowning out the noise of the city. In essence, and in effect, the beauty that emanates from the Shrine is having its transforming affect on the land around it just as the souls that are moved by the transforming message of the Baha’i Faith have their positive influence on those that see them exemplifying the teachings of Baha’u’llah, whose coming The Bab announced.

Whether moved by the Spirit that animates the community of followers at the Baha’i Word Centre or simply keen to experience a beautiful and peaceful mountain, the terraced gardens with the jewel-like Shrine at their center are a treasure already hailed by many as one of the wonders of the world and, especially as the Baha’i Faith stands so firmly for the unity of people, races and nations, it might be fitting to acknowledge that this centre stands a symbol for the whole of mankind and not just those who have accepted the message of Baha’u’llah.

Link: article, Haifa municipality recommends Bahai center as World Heritage site

Link: source, Globes [online]