Monday, February 22, 2010

Shabbat in Haifa

On Shabbat Parshat Teruma, Shana Bet Overseas Students together with Shiur Dalet Israeli students travelled to Haifa with Rav Yair Kahn, Rav Menachem Leibtag, Rav Assaf Bednarsh and their families.

Talmidim stopped for lunch at the Baha'i Gardens on the way up to Haifa. The famous Terraced Gardens were originally planned by Shoghi Effendi and they have recently undergone a massive redesign by architect Fariborz Sahba aimed at putting them on the world's horticultural map. In 2008, UNESCO named the Baha'i Shrine a World Heritage Site.
The students were hosted for Friday night dinner by members of the Merkaz Kehillati Dati Achuza (MAKA) – The Ahuza Orthodox Community Center! Thanks to Dena Slonim and Yvette Gershon for their gracious hospitality in arranging accommodation and Friday night dinner!

Shana Bet students joined Chevraya Bet (high school and college students) of Snif Bnei Akiva Carmel – Haifa for a Friday Night Oneg. They dialogued about offering Israeli citizens living abroad the right to vote in Israeli elections.

Shabbat Morning, talmidim met with The Israeli Minister of Science and Technology, MK Rabbi and Professor Daniel Hershkowitz. Minister Hershkowitz engaged talmidim in a discussion about the flight path of rockets. Israeli scientists observed that rockets waggle in flight. Although it seems contradictory, they discovered that a bit of resistance which should slightly vary the flight path actually helps the rocket fly more efficiently. Minister Hershkowitz applied this lesson to life. Knowledge can be acquired from a great variety of sources. Studying and integrating diverse forms of intelligence actually helps one to stay the path.

Rav She'ar Yashuv Cohen, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Haifa met with Shana Bet talmidim right after lunch. The Chief Rabbi shared his experiences during the Israeli War of Independence. Rav She'ar Yashuv did his military training in Gush Etzion and his commander was HaRav Medan's father, Meir! He was severely injured in the fighting to defend the Old City. The Chief Rabbi explained that he walks with the help of a cane as a result of a wound he took to his leg. When the Jewish Quarter fell, he was captured by the Arab Legion. Together with the survivors of Gush Etzion and the defenders of the Jewish Quarter, he was taken to Amman and spent seven months in the "Mifrak" prison camp in Jordan.

Talmidim had an opportunity to meet some remarkable people and an awesome Shabbat exploring Haifa! This model of including staff, alumni on site, overseas and Israeli students was so successful we hope to repeat it often!

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