Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Dr. David Rutstein is a Baha'i of Jewish background

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.

Dr. David Rutstein, MD, MPH
Founder, and President of the SolHEALTH Board of Directors. As a senior health executive, public health expert and clinician, he has created and led innovative clinical, administrative, management, emergency response and executive level teams and organizations during a 35 year career. Prior to founding SolHEALTH, Dr. Rutstein was the Vice President for Medical Affairs for United Family Healthcare in China. A retired United States Public Health Service Rear Admiral, he served as the Deputy Surgeon General of the United States until 2011. 

Monday, September 2, 2019

Udo Schaefer was a Baha'i of Jewish heritage.

Udo Schaefer (born October 19, 1926 in Heidelberg , Germany) was a lawyer and one of the most important contemporary theologians of the Baha'i Faith. Schaefer came from a family of musicians. In 1948 he converted to the Baha'i Faith.

On Friday, August 30 2019 Dr. Udo Schaefer passed away at the age of 92. He will be in our thoughts and prayers.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Farzam Ehsani is a Baha'i of Jewish background.

By Nicholas Levenstein

As it turns out Ehsani is of Persian origin and born in my adopted city … in Los Angeles where we may beat out Tehran for number of Iranians. Farzam Ehsani’s (“FA”) resume reads as total establishment: he attended the University of California system’s best school, UC Berkeley and his profession credentials are include consulting stints at Deloitte Consulting and McKinsey & Co. before becoming a corporate officer at Johannesburg’s Rand Merchant Bank.

If you imagined FA as a soulless, corporate android, you would be wrong. From one of the most financially money-crazed years,1999, in one of the most money-crazed places, San Francisco, CA, FA’s first stop was at the Baha’i world center in Haifa, Israel. At the Baha’i center he worked as a gardener planting seedlings and extracting earth worms. During college years at Berkeley FA wrote speeches during a summer internship in the country of his upbringing, Kenya, for Klaus Topfer, a German Federal Minister and, at the time, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Aghdas Javid is a Baha'i of Jewish Background

Aghdas Javid from Hamadan, Iran is a Baha'i from Jewish background
Aghdas Javid: Baha’i. Teacher. Grandmother. Immigrant. Born July 16, 1924, in Hamadan, Iran; died Sept. 28, 2018, in Hamilton, of complications after a fall; aged 94.

By Brian Cameron, Anne Pearson and Kim Ness

When Aghdas Javid arrived in Canada with her physician husband, Mirza, in 1966, there were few other Iranian immigrants around. She was determined to integrate her family and contribute to her new community. It wasn’t easy – her English was accented, her skin was darker, her Baha’i religion barely known in Canada. But almost immediately she started classes for children and young mothers, taught Persian cooking and was invited to speak to local organizations. She began inviting people to her home for a Baha’i fireside, a weekly tradition that continued uninterrupted for more than 50 years.

During her childhood, Aghdas was encouraged to study and learned English. Her father also instilled in her a lifelong love of gardening. In Canada, she tended her flowers while elegantly wearing an emerald green ring, often giving a rose to a departing visitor, so that no one would leave her home empty-handed. Her home was known for delicious Persian food embellished with her homegrown herbs.

In Iran, Aghdas had taught village women to read and she continued to lead creative ideas for the promotion of women and children’s education in her Canadian community. In 1990 she was awarded Hamilton’s World Citizenship Award for community service with the UN Association and for helping to establish the Children’s International Learning Centre. She took on every project with passion and an unwillingness to take no for an answer. Sometimes when she was leading a project, Aghdas would ask one person to take on a task and then ask two others to do the same thing to ensure it got done. She had little patience for mediocrity.

Aghdas was also hard to say no to when she invited you to her Baha’i fireside talks on subjects ranging from the nature of the soul to social justice and community development. She always insisted on having a good speaker who allowed for questions and conversation. If the speaker was not inspiring enough, the tea and sweets were brought out early. Every July she hosted a garden party for all who shared that birthday month and in late February there was an annual community tea party to celebrate the Baha’i holiday of hospitality and fellowship.

Aghdas knew she was fortunate to have left Iran before the 1979 revolution, which had led to the deaths of many of her friends. Her contacts with Canadian journalists and politicians were instrumental in the Canadian government’s resolutions to the continuing persecution of Baha’is in Iran. Aghdas said that being in Canada, she felt “freed from a cage.” In 2001, she was one of 19 Canadian representatives to travel to Haifa, Israel, for the opening of the Baha’i Garden Terraces on Mount Carmel.

Aghdas and Mirza raised three daughters, Sussan, Ladan and Jasmine, and she was widowed in 1999. As Aghdas developed physical frailties she would sometimes complain that “being old sucks!”, but her spirit was undiminished. She joined a local aqua-fit class, lived independently and insisted on driving her own car until her final illness. Mama Aghdas took joy in her five grandchildren and great-grandson and would give them wet kisses in the pool. A new great-granddaughter bears her name. Her legacy remains in the many lives she touched with her enthusiastic energy and indefatigable spirit.

Brian Cameron, Anne Pearson and Kim Ness are friends of Aghdas Javid. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Baha'is have been warmly pro-Israel.

Baha'is have been warmly pro-Israel. They subscribe to the prophecies of the Bible and see in many Biblical verses predictions of the rise of their own faith. Thy believe that restoration of the Jews to the Holy Land and the rebuilding of Jerusalem precede the inevitable day of Final Judgment. They note that establishment of the State of Israel did not take place in the Muslim era nor in the Christian era, but in what they call the Baha'i period of history. When their pilgrims come here this year to mark their 100th anniversary they will at the same time, and in all sincerity, also join in celebrating Israel's twentieth year.

Baha'i schools and other establishements will be erected on Mount Carmel that will serve the Cause of God.

Sarah Farmer Inn, Green Acre Baha'i School, United States
The outstanding contribution made to the Haifa landscape by the Baha'is, the shrines and gardens on the Carmel slopes, were begun many years ago and steadily developed by Shoghi Effendi with the advice of Mr. W. Weltsch , the architect.

The gardens are only part of the large area which the Baha'i community owns, and on which it is planned to erect schools and other establishments to extend from the crest of Mount Carmel down to the German Colony.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Jailed in Turkey for teaching the Baha'i Faith.

By Mehrdad Badiian Eghrari

My beloved dad was jailed in Turkey for teaching the Bahá'i Faith, he was eventually freed with the condition that he would leave the country, which he did, and eventually the government after years of court trials recognized the Bahá'i Faith as an independent religion, and not a sect of Islam. My father also suffered 2 years in Iranian prisons, jailed for being an outspoken Bahá'i, just after the Islamic revolution. He eventually was able to escape the country and join me and my family in Spain, where I had pioneered to 9 years before the revolution. Dad lived in Spain and quickly learned the language, now he continued teaching his beloved Faith in Spanish. Some years later we left Spain to again pioneer to Paraguay. Eventually I left Paraguay for USA, leaving my old man behind, for he would not come with me. My father spoke very good German - among other languages - so he lived in a retirement home full of elderly Germans in San Lorenzo outside of the capital Asuncion. Every day he would go to the park, sit next to Paraguayans on a bench, he would hand them a Bahá'i pamphlet and ask them kindly to read it to him, and explain what the pamphlet said. This practice caused hundreds to accept and embrace the Cause of God. Years later when my darling wife and I went to visit him so many greeted us with a loud and clear Alláh'u'Abhá, and told us that señor Shokrollah Badiian had been their Bahá'i Teacher.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

I am the One Who conversed with God on Mount Sinai

By Mehrdad Badiian Eghrari

The Blessed Beauty of Abhá: Bahá'u'lláh was most loving and generous towards my ancestor Hakim Haroon, to the point that He blessed him by revealing the Tablet of "Hakim" in his honor. In that Tablet The Glory of God: Bahá'u'lláh referred to Hakim Haroon as "My true brother". Saying : "For I am the One Who conversed with God - through the Burning Bush - on Mount Sinai - You Haroon = Aron are my brother" In that Holy Tablet Bahá'u'lláh also revealed: "O Hakim, from the moment you prostrated yourself before The Primal Point (The beloved Báb) and embraced His Cause all your descendants shall be the steadfast servants of this Most Great Cause of God" And so it is.

Baha'u'llah welcomed him with an embrace...

By Mehrdad Badiian Eghrari
When in 1846 Hakim Haroon my beloved ancestor was in the presence of the beloved Báb in the home of Manuchehr Khan, Gorji Mo'tamad al-Dawle a government official in Qajar Iran The Governor of Isfahan, he was in his mid to late forties. That made him about 20 years older than the twin Manifestations of God: The beloved Báb & The Blessed Beauty of Abhá: Bahá'u'lláh. Hakim Haroon raised his 16 children, all his grandkids & their kids in the Cause of God, stayed firm in the Covenant to his last breath, and at a very old age in 1892 just before the Ascension of The Blessed Beauty of Abhá: Bahá'u'lláh, he was on his deathbed in coma for days, in the town of Kashan, Iran, with all his entire family of now hundreds at his bedside, prayerful and in tears. When suddenly to everyone's great astonishment and delight he regained consciousness, setup in his bed, bowed his head out of respect and in loud voice greated "Alláh'u'Abhá": The family were all beyond themselves, as he asked them all to be quiet and respectful and say Alláh'u'Abha. But to whom they asked. Do you not see The "Rab'u'l-Jnud" "ربلجنود" = The Lord of Hosts = Bahá'u'lláh in the Jewish tradition" is here to receive me and take me with Him? So they all quietened down only saying Alláh'u'Abhá, as he passed away looking happy with a smile on his face.. Years later some of his sons were on pilgrimage at the Bahá'i World Center, in the presence of the beloved Master Abdu'l-Bahá, sitting quietly, when Abdu'l-Bahá said: you gentlemen have a question you have been wanting to ask for years. They respectfully smiled and one said: "beloved Master, you know our question" The beloved Master said : "Yes, we were all in the presence of The Blessed Beauty as He was revealing a Tablet, when suddenly He stopped and said: "At this very moment My beloved brother Haroon in Kashan Iran, is ready to ascend to The Abhá Kingdom, we must go to welcome him" Bahá'u'lláh left the room, we all say quietly, a minute or two later He appeared and said: "We welcomed him with an embrace and he is now in his due high abode in the Concourse on High"