Hinduism in Israel
Hinduism in Israel refers to the Hindu population in Israel. For many years it has been custom for Israeli soldiers upon completing their compulsory active duty service to travel to international destinations. Their most preferred destination has been India and many Israelis have discovered the wide array of spiritual teachings and practices India has to offer. Eventually some of these have found their way back to Israel to take root and grow on their own.
A group of devotees is living in Katzir-Harish. Another Vaishnava community in Israel is in Ariel. It is spearheaded by Jagadish and his wife, Jugala-Priti, and serves a growing community of devotees from Russia who immigrated to Israel to escape the severe economic oppression in the CIS. Jugala-Priti joined the ISKCON center in Tel Aviv, in 1996 guided by Gunavatar and Varshabhanavi.
Hindu festivals in Israel
Hindus are able to practice freely in the country. This is notably shown by the celebrations of Krishna Janmashtami. Plays are staged revolving around stories of Krishna's childhood, besides singing and dancing. The event is accompanied with a feast of 108 dishes, a number that has come to be identified as pious by the faithful.
Ithamar Theodor, who teaches Indian culture at the Department of Asian Studies of Haifa University, said "there is a general attraction towards Indian culture. It is not just a religious attraction but more of a cultural attraction. The process of Americanisation in Israel has left a void which is very well filled by the Indian cultural aspects ranging from its spirituality, philosophy, music and a whole range of other alternatives."
Dancing, singing, reveling, meditating and relaxing their bodies and souls, over 30,000 Israelis gathered for four days at Nitzanim beach on the Mediterranean to celebrate Boombamela, a festival modelled on the Kumbhamela.
The organisers said they were inspired by Kumbh and started the event in Israel three years ago. Many of the visitors at the festival have been to India or are planning to visit. A number of youngsters could be seen taking Yoga classes and attending Hare Krishna lectures. Long queues were to be found outside the Indian ‘dhaba’ serving boiled rice and lentil soup. Middle aged couples, draped in Indian clothes, strolled the beach, young boys and girls drew circles on the soft sand while others surfed the morning sea.
Searching for essence of life in esoteric and mystical philosophies, a number of Israelis get attracted to Indian philosophy and spiritualism like Shirdi Sai Baba and Osho Rajneesh. India has become a popular destination among Israelis and over 25,000 people visit the country every year.
Hindus and Druze
The Hindu and Druze religions share the belief in reincarnation. However, unlike Hinduism, the Druze religion is strictly Monotheistic. Druze-Krishna Cultural Center in Isfiya, Israel was established in 1990.
Sai Organisation in Israel
In Israel, Sai meetings were held since 1991 in Ein Hod and in Haifa and later in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Sai Organisation was officially established in Israel in 2001.
- Janmashtami celebrated in Israel with fanfare
- http://www.wwrn.org/article.php?idd=13390&sec=51&con=35 Impressed by the Kumbh, Israelis organise Boombamela