Sent: Friday, December 07, 2007 2:09 AM|
Subject: Happy Hanukkah
Shalom,Sent: Friday, December 07, 2007 7:17 AM
For Hanukkah I signed up to spend a night with a Jewish family. I signed up late but the people organizing the event were still able to put me up with a family. The family to host me for Hanukkah is from Russia. I met with Jenia, their son, beforehand. He attends the Hebrew University, so we met on campus. It turned out that they live in Haifa. His parents are in the area around Jerusalem today, so they are picking us up. I hope to be back on Sunday ...
Subject: Made it to Haifa
We made it up to Haifa all right. This family is very nice. On the way to Haifa I was asking Jenia what the names of different things were in Hebrew. I may have learned around ten infrastructure words on the way up. The weather was stormy, which I was glad for. The scenery can be more interesting in a storm. Their apartment is on the slopes of the Carmel Mountain Range near the main part of Haifa. Their place has a good view of the chemical factories in the plain, which is too bad. The apartment is nice, though. There are a lot of books in Russian on the shelves, since they are from Russia. I can't really speak to Jenia's mom or grandma, since neither of them speak English. His dad can speak English, so he has asked me a lot of questions about the United States. They fed me very well tonight; I think that the meal had four courses. Tonight I will be sleeping on the bed that folds out of the couch.
Sent: Saturday, December 08, 2007 12:27 PM
Subject: Shalom from Haifa
Jenia gave me a tour of Haifa today in his parent's car. He knows a lot about the area and it was very interesting to listen to him. Our first stop was at the historic German Colony which had some buildings from the early part of the 1900's. It has a number of restaurants and a museum. The World Center for the Ba'hai religion is on the slope of the Carmel range just above the German Colony. The Baha'i gardens are arranged symmetrically with one of the axes of symmetry in line with the German Colony's main street. I do not know which was arranged in relation to which, but the whole set up is quite impressive and it is very beautiful. Apparently beauty is very important in that religion.
After the German Colony, Jenia showed me a section of the beach. It wasn't raining but there were still impressive clouds in the sky. We walked a little ways along the narrow beach before returning to the car. After that we stopped at a lookout point on the end of the Carmel Mountain Range. The sky was still beautiful from the storm clouds. It has been raining a lot in the past few days. Below where we stopped is supposed to be Elijah's Cave, but we didn't take the time to walk down. We looked inside the Carmelite Monastery that was there. Jenia told me some of the history about Napoleon and his retreat from Akko, which lies on the other side of the bay. Then we went and looked at the Bahai' Gardens from above.
Jenia took me to a falafel place that he really liked; the food was very good. We also walked around the Technion's campus and he showed me some of the buildings. It was after dark when we did, though. I am spending the night with his family again. Jenia has a very interesting book about the study of networks that I started reading. The name of the book is called 'Linked'. I am doing well and am being very well fed. We plan on heading back to Jerusalem tomorrow. It was very nice of his family to let me stay with them.
Call: Sunday, December 09, 2007: We went to the bus station early. There was no line for getting on the bus, just a crowd trying to get on while there was room. Many of them were soldiers, ages 18-21. Jenia made it on the bus, but I didn't. So, I just took the next bus to Jerusalem. I enjoyed myself very much and I thank God for the experience.