Part 2 – Trip Report: Eretz Yisrael – A Whirlwind of Unforgettable Experiences Across the Country – Only in the Holy Land


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Continuing from Part 1 of this Great Trip Report, we bring you Part 2 of our recent whirlwind tour of the Holy land.

We left you off leaving the Kosel on day 1 of our trip, where we took our jet-lagged selves for a quick stop in Machane Yehuda, the Jewish shuk,

an absolute must see if you have the time… where you can find everything from baked goods, to restaurants and fresh fruit… even whole banana clusters from banana bushes like these, which likely weigh in at over 100 lbs!

 

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Of note… while in the USA and countries outside of Israel one can purchase fruits and vegetables from any vendor without concern, you must be careful of the Kosher Certifications certifying that the proper tithes (terumos and ma’asros) have been separated to avoid having to have to separate them yourself.

The CRC publishes a helpful list of recommended Kosher supervisors in Israel (and elsewhere) which you can find HERE – Just scroll down to Israel.

You can also alway access it and other helpful info on our KosherVacationCentral.com Food Page

 


After a good night’s sleep, and Shacharis once again at the Kosel, we headed out to the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem, aka the “Gan Chayot“, easily accessible by bus for the afternoon.

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Free fruits and food for the animals? Yes…

The massive amount of fruits and vegetables consumed daily by the zoo’s animals are acquired free of charge through an agreement Shulov worked out with Israeli companies that tithe their produce in accordance with Jewish law.

During the days of the Temple in Jerusalem, terumah, a tithe on agricultural produce, was designated for the kohanim (priests) and their animals. After the destruction of the Temple, the rabbis decreed that the tithed produce could not be used and had to be destroyed.

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The animals of the Biblical Zoo were symbolically sold to a Kohen so that this tithed produce could be given to them. The animals of the Biblical Zoo receive nearly a ton of the choicest fruits and vegetables every day through a distribution handled by the local religious council. Meat consumed by the carnivores is furnished by kosher butchers, veterinarians, and fishermen.

Pruned branches from edible plants in the park, such as date palms, olive trees and carob trees, are also used for fodder.

During Passover, the entire zoo is chametz-free. Four to six weeks before the holiday, the animal feed pellets are switched from wheat-based to rice-based ingredients, and after Passover they are gradually switched back to wheat-based.

 

Seeing these beautiful pictures we took, now is a good time to point out:

(All photos in this article taken by us with our Canon Rebel with standard kit lenses– check it out here on Amazon) or by clicking the pic below – DEFINITELY worth the investment!

 

Our overall sentiments at the zoo were that for the most part, save the zoo for doing at home and stick to the attractions that you can’t find in your home country.

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There were a few exceptions to that rule, where we found some noteworthy points of interest, like:

Being allowed into the cages with these guys!

No zoom used on the above picture… see how close I was to those claws??

 

(I guess Israel isn’t a law-suit-happy nation like the USA)

 

Happy there was a glass pane between us and this guy…

 

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And reminding us how we were missing our own little ‘monkeys’ back home… 🙂

 

Here was another raptor aviary we were allowed into… Only in Israel, I guess.

 

I’ve read about elephants throwing sand and dust onto their backs to stay cool… here we actually saw it for ourselves.

 

A cool walkway takes you over the African animals exhibit, bringing you nose to nose with these guys

And with a good view of this guy’s horns… glad we were out of reach.

One more notable construction was a building shaped like Noach’s Teiva, (Noah’s Ark,) disappointingly, it was an educational building and gift shop inside with no semblance of the Teiva like interior…

Like much of the zoo, we found the biblical aspect quite lacking… though a few of the exhibits had a verse from the Torah with regard to the animals. I would put the emphasis on the zoo, not the Biblical by any stretch of the imagination.

Back to Jerusalem we went,

Where, we took this picture of the “chords” bridge near the central bus station, lit up at night.

I will admit that the light show on the bridge is pretty cool, as well as the glass walkway panels over the road.

Quick… what’s the most readily-available, fast and great-tasting Israeli street food?

Shwarma (and falafel) of course. Nothing beats a freshly made lafa wrapped around just-shaved Israeli shwarma, salad and chips, so we dropped into  “Massov,” likely a mis-spelling of the word “Massive” adjacent to the Central bus Station for a yummy dinner!

For 10 shekel, they freshly squeeze you an orange or pomegranate juice with this nifty machine

We had to buy one of these when we got home…

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Amazon link to the slightly lesser rated but terrific-priced model LINK

Worth it? My kids have gone through 72 oranges and 8 pomegranates in 3 days this week!!

Off to pick up some Bar Mitzva essentials….

where we made off like bandits with Buy 1 Get 1 Free specials – a  new holiday that Israelis have just discovered.

Black [hat?] Friday 🙂

After which it was off to Netanya for Shabbos to spend some quality family time.

 

Where we took these pictures of a lulav growing out of a miniature palm tree

 

And found this beautiful orange tree along a building… hey they don’t grow outside my house!

 

(All photos in this article taken by us with our Canon Rebel with standard kit lenses– check it out here on Amazon) or by clicking the pic below – DEFINITELY worth the investment!

We spent a wonderful Shabbos with family and then headed off to put on for the first time,

together at shul with Simcha’s great-grandfather (ke”h) on Sunday morning.

 

Doesn’t he look great in his hat and jacket, jaunting along with this tefilin like a natural? Mazel Tov!

Much more to come in the next installment, including an incredible day trip to places you likely never have been to!

We’ll whet your appetite with some teaser pics…

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Where are they? You’ll just have to wait for the next installment to find out!

 

 

 

 

More coming up in the upcoming continuation…

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