Ariel, Israel There is another

May 18th, 2002

Ariel, Israel

There is another substantial Vaisnava community in Israel located in Ariel, the largest settlement on the West Bank. 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. I met Jugala-Priti in 1996 when she joined the ISKCON center in Tel Aviv, established and guided by Gunavatar and Varshabhanavi. Although we met only a few times, she has become one of my best students, having gone through my Bhagavad-gita series of tapes over ten times and regularly teaching Bhakti-sastri in Ariel. Today over 70 devotees have congregated to hear me speak in a large hall in her basement that serves as the temple for their growing congregation. I am staying overnight after the lecture because the devotees have advised me to avoid driving to Harish at night.

During the Palestinian uprising, several people were shot on the road from Ariel to Tel Aviv where it swerves through a few Arab villages in the West Bank.

Before the class I am shown to my quarters next to the temple room. They are quite comfortable and also re-assuring; my room also serves as a bomb shelter common to all houses in Ariel. I lecture on an appropriate topic?the existential basis of fear, real or apparent. It’s a great audience. They like to hear and after three hours I stop, even though I sense no sign of impatience from the audience. They would gladly sit for more.

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