The Baha'i World Center is located in Haifa, and the glorious Baha'i Gardens that surround the Shrine with its golden dome are a major addition to the natural beauty of the city. The Gardens are maintained by a group of young volunteers, Baha'i who come from all over the world to perform a year or more of service at the Center, often before beginning university. They and other volunteers are housed in a number of residential buildings that Baha'i owns around Haifa, or in apartments owned by the Center in other buildings.

A white building with several columns and a domed roof
 Universal House of Justice of the Baha'i .

One of these, generally occupied by older volunteers who give longer periods of service and take on more administrative tasks, is in my building. I recently said goodbye to one, who had become a good friend, and was returning to New Zealand after four years here. Now we keep in touch online. 

Recently I met another Baha'i, Renata, and her delightful toddler, Flavio. She and her husband came as volunteers, but now she stays home with the boy. Every Tuesday morning, she and other young mothers meet on a shaded stretch of lawn between our two buildings. They come with their babies and pre-schoolers for a big play date and Mommy get-together. When the weather doesn't cooperate, they meet in each other’s’ homes.

Elaborate gardens with several gates and a walkway leading to a domed building in the distance
       Overview of the Bahai Gardens in Haifa

The morning I met them, there was Renata, who is from Brazil, a young woman from Sri Lanka, one from one of the Caribbean islands, and several from English-speaking countries. These families are all volunteers, and I discovered how supportive the community is for them and all people like I had to leave before the singing started, but I must come back soon and stay longer. I wonder if they sing “The Wheels on the Bus”. If so, I’ll join them.

This is another pleasant example of life in Haifa, "The City of Peaceful Coexistence."

The Bahai is an international monotheistic faith that promotes universal peace and brotherhood. They have followers in virtually every nation and it is one of the fastest growing faiths in the world. Their followers number five to seven million world wide. is a great source for more information.

My friend Zelda wrote the story and I edited it with the goal of thanking our Baha'i friends for their contribution to our home.

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Comment by Earl J Shugerman on February 9, 2014 at 8:36pm

Please contact me.

Comment by David Mahon on February 9, 2014 at 7:59pm

I am planning to visit Haifa this year along with a few other places :)

The gardens look Amazing, I did not know about the Volunteers. That's so great, I volunteer when I can here here in New York, but so want to do something much more. I feel like it's only a matter of time before I find something else to do more ... well can't think of the right word :)  More of something I am hoping.

Can't wait to visit Israel for my first time!


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