Local Baha'is celebrate terrace opening
Peace in Israel?
If Baha'i adherents have any say about it, there will be.
In fact, says Duane Herrmann, of Topeka, the city of Haifa -- where a series of stunning terraces, gardens and fountains commemorating the Baha'i faith opens Tuesday -- is an example of how people can live peaceably together, in spite of their differences.
"Haifa is one of the largest cities in Israel," Herrmann said earlier this week. "It has been the most peaceful of all the cities. It's the only city in Israel where everybody lives together. There are no ethnic neighborhoods."
That type of co-existence is one of the recurring tenets of the Baha'i faith, which stresses the oneness of God, the unity of all world religions and the equality of races and sexes.
On Tuesday, 5 million Baha'is worldwide, and some 144,000 in the United States, will celebrate the opening of a magnificent series of terraces, extending from the port city of Haifa to the top of Mount Carmel.
At the center of the terraces is the gold-domed shrine of the Bab, the prophet-herald of the religion, and one of the most important holy places for Baha'is.
Locally, Baha'is will gather at 9 a.m. Tuesday to view a live satellite broadcast of the ceremony at the home of Rick and Sherry Boatright.
At 9 p.m., another gathering will be held at the Topeka Friends Meetinghouse, 603 S.W. 8th.
Herrmann, a member of the local Baha'i community, called the terraces "100 years of work. It provides a befitting monument for the Bab, and it's also a demonstration of what the planet can do when we work together."
Herrmann and other local Baha'is have visited Haifa in recent years. Amanda Boatright is now working at the Baha'i World Center in Haifa, as is Sharok Khaze, who left Topeka several years ago for the Israel city.
Lori Brown, another local Baha'i who visited Haifa last year, said the site of the terraces was extraordinary.
"It is awesome to see the side of the mountain torn up and put back together with terraces, steps, gardens and water flowing down the entire mountain," she said. "The transformation of the mountainside is simply unbelievable."
Baha'is see a symbolism in the terraces. As they transformed a montainside in Israel into a lovely garden, Baha'is hope they can help turn the world into a more beautiful and hospitable place for all.
Call 862-8249 for more information.
Phil Anderson can be reached at (785) 295-1195 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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