Last week the outgoing Baha’i Secretary-General, Dr. Joshua Lincoln, took leave of his many friends, colleagues, and co-religionists in Israel and welcomed the new incoming protégé, Dr. David Rutstein, at a sparkling reception at Jerusalem’s lovely David Citadel Hotel. The guests included what appeared to be the crème de la crème of Israel’s religious, cultural, political and business society. Mingling with the guests were several volunteers from the world Baha’i centers in Haifa and Acre, who chatted with the visitors, explaining the faith and answering questions of the curious. The delicious buffet dinner, accompanied by a range of colorful fruit drinks, was the background for a friendly “shalom” to the two gentlemen. A musical interlude added to the pleasure, while brief welcome and farewell speeches rounded out the reception.
A new Baha’i international website for the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Bab was launched in early September. The website will unfold in stages over the next eight weeks. Currently featuring artistic endeavors created for the occasion, and articles on the lives and teachings of the Bab and Baha’u’llah, the site will expand dynamically over time. A special letter from the Universal House of Justice about the historic anniversary will be published. Dawn of the Light, a feature film commissioned for this upcoming bicentenary, will also be released by the end of this month. The website is available in 10 languages—Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Hindi, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swahili.
The bicentenary website will connect the world by capturing the celebrations of people in selected communities across the globe as they recall the lives of the Bab and Baha’u’llah and Their unifying message. These glimpses will be illustrative of the thousands of other celebrations that will be unfolding in virtually every country.
On the Twin Holy Days, the website will capture glimpses of a wave of celebrations that will sweep across the planet. This coverage begins at sundown on 28 October in Kiribati and ends at sundown on 30 October in Hawaii. Photos, news, and other media from scores of locations will be published over the course of those 72 hours. There are also plans to include video coverage from Baha’i Houses of Worship.
The worldwide energy of the bicentenary preparations is prompting an efflorescence of activity in country after country. In Europe, communities calling to mind this significant anniversary are producing music inspired by the Bab’s life and teachings, bringing history to life through drama, and redoubling their commitment to constructive action.
France, Moldova, N.Macedonia, the UK and many other countries are deeply involved. For example, seeing the relevance of Bab’s message to today is one of the topics explored in an album of music being recorded in honor of the upcoming bicentenary by Spain’s Baha’i community. Artists from around the country and the Canary Islands are writing and recording pieces in a diversity of genres and styles as well as different local languages from Spain. Young people in Switzerland have written and narrated a short film about the life of the Bab in the style of a Kamishibai theater, a form of street theater and storytelling from Japan. Hungary’s Baha’i community is one of several that are channeling interest in Faith’s history into a printed publication. A 46-page book published in honor of the bicentenary details the 10 days that ‘Abdu’l-Baha spent in Budapest toward the end of His two-year journey through Europe and North America.
The Director and staff of www.diplomacy.co.il join in extending their best wishes to Dr. Rutstein in his new position here in Israel.
With thanks toThe Baha’i World News Service forpermission to use the material.
Photos by Silvia Golan