Known as “the Arab capital of Israel,” Nazareth is the largest city located within the country’s Northern District. However, Nazareth is also one of the most historic places for those who focus in biblical history. It is that biblical history that I, along with a couple of friends from the University of Haifa International School, went to explore during the Christmas holiday season.
When studying abroad, it is nice that there is time given to explore other locations and sites. While participating in the study abroad program at the University of Haifa in Israel, students are encouraged to do a little bit of exploring, and given time to do so. Classes are held Monday through Thursday so my weekends last from Thursday evening until Sunday evening. Recently I decided to take this opportunity to, as many friends here suggested, go on a quick jaunt to the island of Cyprus.
A recent experience was shared with the students of the University of Haifa International School: We were all welcomed with open arms to participate in the observance of Sabbath. The day is recognized as a Jewish holiday and is set aside for rest and worship.
The tradition comes from the Bible (Exodus 20:8) where God commands “the Sabbath day is considered the day of rest on the seventh day, and is to be kept as a holy day of rest, as God rested on the seventh day from His works of Creation.”
According to the Jewish religious laws, Sabbath begins slightly before sunset on Friday and ends upon the appearance of three stars as they begin to shine on Saturday evening. Sabbath is ushered in by the lighting of candles, resting from labor and issuing prayers and blessings to the Creator. The day is called Shabbat and comes from the word Sabbath, which comes from the Hebrew word meaning “rest.”
It has been really tough trying to decide which beach I like best here in Israel. I mean, with the beautiful sunsets, warm clear waters and the soft clean sand, it has been really hard to decide which one I love the most. They are all so exotic!
It has been brought to my attention that I have arrived in a location where I will only find love, togetherness and people who pray for peace and unity every day. The people here pray for peace within their country, as well as in bordering countries where the soldiers of Israel protect their people from conflict. They also pray for peace for those who have immigrated to their country, and peace for those — like me — who may just be here to study, visit or are looking for a life change.