May 19, 2024
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May 19, 2024
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Jonathan and Anne Rand Donate Lifetime Mineral Collection to Israel’s Biblical Museum of Natural History

Jonathan Rand at the shelves.

Jonathan and Anne Rand are donating an extraordinary mineral collection to the Biblical Museum of Natural History. The Rands, Teaneck residents for 29 years, moved to Israel in February 2023. They now reside in Baka Jerusalem and are, in their words, “loving it.” They have two children living in Israel and two in the U.S. The Rands return to the States periodically, and during their current visit, they celebrated the engagement of their son Zev. Their oldest child, Emma, is married and lives in Tel Aviv, after having served as a fitness trainer in the IDF’s Maglan unit. Their son Eli lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. Their youngest daughter Devora lives in Israel, serving as an IDF shooting instructor in the Shiryon (tanks) unit.

An additional goal of this brief visit to the U.S. is the final assembling of their exquisite lifetime mineral collection for shipment to Israel, where it will be exhibited at the Biblical Museum of Natural History, located in its new home in Har Tuv since 2020.

Display of minerals.

Jonathan Rand shared: “I am donating these minerals to the Biblical Museum for several reasons. For many years, I felt it was strange to have amassed this amazing collection that is hardly seen. Holding the pieces in your hand, you see their natural beauty and come to appreciate the exact precision of their crystals shaped into geometrically perfect squares, spheres and isosceles triangles. Their color and clarity are breathtaking. Displayed in the museum, these natural minerals will inspire visitors daily and bring them closer to an appreciation of the wonders of Hashem’s creations all around us.”

The Biblical Museum of Natural History is the brainchild of Rabbi Dr. Natan Slifkin, resulting from his lifelong passion for the animal kingdom and decades-long study and teaching about biblical natural history. The museum offers an interactive, hands-on experience of the natural world of the Bible, making biblical texts and Torah tradition come alive.

Crystalized Gold in Quartz – California.

Rabbi Slifkin said: “We are very excited to receive and display the extraordinary Rand mineral collection. Minerals are among the most precious and visually stunning parts of Hashem’s creation, which featured on the breastplate of the Kohen Gadol. This collection is world-class and a fabulous addition to the museum, and we are thrilled to have Jonathan as an ongoing curator. It will further enhance our work in inspiring and educating people about Torah and the natural world.”

Rand shared that he was raised in a culturally Jewish non-observant home. He studied economics and finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Pursuing an entrepreneurial business career, he was involved in growing and securing funding for early stage hi-tech companies. Among his early employers was IDT, which provided him a strong environment for Jewish growth. He credits the warmth and encouragement he received from many observant colleagues and Teaneck community members with his decision to take a year sabbatical and attend Yeshiva Ohr Somayach in Monsey.

Fluorite w Calcite – Illinois, USA.

Rand developed his passion for minerals as a child, exploring shells and rocks on the beach and in forests as early as age 9. His trip down the Grand Canyon with his father, and later to the Franklin mine in New Jersey with his grandfather were pivotal in spiking his interest in minerals. He won his middle school’s earth science award in the eighth grade.

“I became a serious collector in 2006 while working in New York City. I noticed a storefront offering minerals for sale and was drawn in, making my first purchase. I started researching minerals and soon was attending trade shows and following online auctions. Several experienced dealers took me under their wings and taught me about selecting minerals. One special dealer is Irving Horowitz from Queens, who recently celebrated his 101st birthday. Horowitz introduced me to Rabbi Slifkin, and the rest is history.”

Rhodochrosite South Africa – N’Chwaning.

Rand connected to another mineral dealer extraordinaire, David Ziga, a published geologist, miner and dealer in fine minerals. Ziga commented: “I am proud to guide passionate collectors like Jonathan who are dedicated to cultivating meaningful collections of minerals. He has developed a keen eye for fine minerals and I’m happy to know that many of his favorite pieces have come from my own projects and adventures. I share in the satisfaction of his evolving displays and the search for beauty through mineral collecting.”

After spending hundreds of hours researching minerals and speaking with top dealers from around the U.S. and overseas, Rand is happy with his decision to relocate the treasures to Israel. “My collection is comprehensive, featuring top-quality minerals including incredible specimens of fluorite, rhodochrosite, quartz, dioptase, azurite, tourmaline, and many others from the great mines of the world,” he said. “Now that we are living in Israel, my minerals will be much more accessible to me as well. I spend many relaxing hours arranging the minerals for maximal visceral beauty and inspiration.”

Silver – Morocco.

Rand is hopeful that his Teaneck friends and community will include the Biblical Museum of Natural History in their itinerary on upcoming trips to Israel. The Museum is located on Choshen Street in Har Tuv, facing Beit Shemesh. Reservations can be made at

Spessartine on Smoky Quartz – China.

To see the minerals David Ziga has found, visit

Watermelon Tourmaline – Brazil.


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