A reception held in Haifa last week brought together government officials, diplomats, civil society leaders and leaders of Faith communities — Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Druze — to mark the centenary of Abdu’l-Baha’s passing and to honor his enduring legacy in the Holy Land and beyond.
President of Israel Isaac Herzog addressed the gathering in a video message, stating: “Abdu’l-Baha’s life story reflected his message of kindness, compassion, and the unending drive toward moral perfection — for us as individuals and for humanity as a collective.
“Abdu’l-Baha’s call to see what unites rather than what divides, his profound belief in our common humanity, and his vision of peace on earth continues to reverberate from his mortal resting place right here in the Holy Land.”
The president continued: “On this centenary of his passing, may Abdu’l-Baha’s memory be a blessing to us all, and may the wisdom of his teachings bring comfort and inspiration to a world in need of healing and help move humanity closer to a vision of unity and peace.”
Haifa Mayor Einat Kalisch-Rotem, who attended the reception, spoke about the city’s historical connection to Abdu’l-Baha. Dr. Kalisch-Rotem also expressed her deep appreciation of the Baha’i World Centre and her eager anticipation for the return of pilgrims and visitors to the area.
Other attendees, conveying their gratitude for the event, stated that this and other such gatherings held by the Baha’i World Centre have served as a beacon of hope and allowed people to transcend their differences.
Guests had the opportunity to view an exhibit about Abdu’l-Baha and to watch a short film titled Shelter for All Mankind that highlights aspects of his life of service in the Holy Land, where he was known to local residents as Abbas Effendi.
“Abbas Effendi was a truly unique individual,” said David Rutstein, Secretary-General of the Baha’i International Community. “Baha’u’llah referred to him in many ways, just a few of which were ‘The Master,’ and ‘the Mystery of God.’ But Abbas Effendi took the sole title of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’ — the servant of the Glory.
“Indeed, his life remains an example of servitude, still inspiring humanity over 100 years after his passing,” said Dr. Rutstein.
These sentiments were reflected in the diversity of cultures and regions of the world represented at the gathering by the members of the Continental Boards of Counsellors who had travelled to Haifa from all parts of the world for a special conference.
Yair Lapid, Foreign Minister and Alternate Prime Minister, in a video message, stated: “Thank you for making Israel a more diverse, spiritually richer, and more beautiful place. Thank you for sharing with us your culture and Faith and for showing the world another angle of this special land.”