July 17, 2024
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A Rave Review for the Biblical Museum of Natural History

Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s famous sonnet “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways” depicts my admiration for The Jewish Link. Not long after our Pesach stay in Israel 5782, The Jewish Link featured a timely article written by Rabbi Natan Slifkin that sparked my immediate attention and interest (“The Significance of a Spider Bite,” April 28, 2022.)

The article enabled me to reminisce about the amazing time we had in Israel with our treasured grandchildren after a two year COVID hiatus. We are still flying high from the amazing, fulfilling time we spent with them. It started with being part of my son Rav Mordechai Kaplan’s yearly pop-up shmura matzah baking factory in Yeshivat Lev Hatorah days before the chag, with groups of tours participating in the joy of shmura matzah baking “al pi Halacha.”

The trip continued with the nachas of participating in a Seder in the Holy Land and then moving onto Chol Hamoed festivities, including the new aquarium in Yerushalayim, boating fun in the Kineret, a stay at a villa in Shafshuka, and finally Rabbi Slifkin’s Biblical Museum of Natural History in Beit Shemesh—a highlight of the week. You never leave that awesome museum without learning something you didn’t know before, such as the ram’s horns being made up of bone with the protein keratin, the horns of a cow disqualified since it was used for the Eigel Hazahav, and insect delicacies such as the kosher grasshopper in various forms as mentioned in Leviticus, sanctioning the locust for kosher consumption. For me, I’ll pass with the grasshopper on the menu. Other features at the museum include lizards, snakes and yes, tarantulas and much focus on animals and creatures that are cited in the Talmud.

For many of you who know and love “Coach” Bobby as the earthy, fun-loving guy who loves nature and the animal kingdom since it’s all Hashem’s creations, he had no problem getting up-front and personal.

Miracle of miracle, the “freedom” of no mask requirement at the airport or on the 12-hour flight was also emancipating.

So, thank you, Jewish Link for giving me a reminder of our wonderful trip. Thank you, Moshe and staff for enabling your readership to bask in our Jewish heritage so we can vividly continue to imbibe in our Mesorah for the benefit of klal Yisrael. Keep up the great work!

Ruby and Bobby Kaplan
Teaneck
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