The group had a discussion in the morning about the history and role of Israel’s state rabbinate with Rabbi Elli Fischer. In addition to working through what went into the 1947 “status quo agreement” between David Ben Gurion and the religious party Agudat Yisrael, Fischer explained why he risks arrest and two-years in prison–low as the odds may be!–for conducting Jewish marriages in Israel outside of the legal framework the state rabbinate. Rabbi Fischer always tells couples that in the very unlikely scenario that the worst comes to pass, he will request a separate cell so as not to interfere with the honeymoon.
In the afternoon the group visited Tel Aviv’s Bauhaus Center to learn about the “White City’s” rich architectural history. In particular, a number of Tel Aviv’s key architects in the 1930s had been students of Walter Gropius (of the Bauhaus) and worked in Le Corbusier’s firm in Paris, resulting in the dominance of the “International Style” (with local twists) in the city center. The group did a self-guided audio tour highlighting examples of different styles and architects and experimented with 360 photography.