Saturday, January 14, 2012

Madeline Bolton

Hello from Haifa!

This morning we left Tel Aviv to go north to Haifa. We started our day going to Narazeth, the village in which Jesus grew up in Christain tradition. Today the Church of the Annuciation covers the entire area of the village. We didn't acutally go into the church, instead we spent our morning talking to an Israeli Arab. He talked to us about his views on the Arab-Israeli conflict, as well as his experience as an Arab Muslim living in Israel. He runs an interfaith program called Project Visit, in which he goes door to door in order to promote connections between the different groups within Narazeth.

In the afternoon we went to a Moshav called Nahalal. A Moshav is a small community orgininally based on farming. This type of town has four basic tenants to distinguish itself. First, the land is not private, but instead owned by Israel. Instead of buying the land, the owner will lease it for a number of years from the state. This is actually a very common practice in Israel today. Second, the labor done on the Moshav is by the families that live on the specific plot, meaning that families cannot hire workers. This was meant to eliminate the chance of exploitation. Third, the members of the community are obligated to aid another member in times of difficulty. This aid can go from helping another farmer who had a bad yield of a crop to taking care of funeral arrangements incase of a death.

The Moshav that we visted was actually the first Moshav to be created in what is today Israel. It was founded in 1921 by Jewish immigrants that came in the Second Aliya (wave of Jewish immigration). The Moshav Nahalal began with 75 famalies, and today retains its small communtiy with a population of around 500. While many of the members of the Moshav have left farming, as it became unprofitable for the amount of land they had, the culture of the close knit community remains.

Our trip to Moshav Nahalal included lunch and a lecture of the creation of the Moshav by the grandson of one of the founders. I can not begin to describe how delicious the lunch we were served was, and I'm sure everyone would agree it was the best food we've had so far.

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