A Travellerspoint blog

The Zoological Center in Ramat Gan, Safari in Israel!

or why I love a Zoo

The Zoological Center is located in Ramat Gan close to Tel-Aviv Israel. The "Safari" occupies 250 acres of nature in the heart of a densely populated urban area in Israel: Yes! It is “The Wilds of Africa in the heart of Israel”. The word ‘Safari” is colloquial Swahili for ‘journey’ The Safari is a reservoir dedicated to the lovers of nature... and the administrators have done a wonderful job of bringing the wilds to our urban doorsteps. The Safari has the largest animal collection in the Middle East and is unique in the world because of the large herds of mixed species of African animals that roam the spacious African Park. The African Park and the zoo are home to 1,600 animals of different species, amongst them 68 species of mammals, 130 species of fowl, and 25 species of reptiles.

My friend Alex Kolonaty and I recently made the fascinating 'journey' to this wonderful place. I immigrated to Israel five years ago from Colorado. The outdoors is one of my great passions in life, as is travel. Israel is a very small nation. Nazareth, The Galilee, and Jerusalem are within a two hour drive from my front door!

First, we enjoyed a short ride through the reservoir to watch animals lions, hippos, rhinos and such in an African like environment. This was a great start on a thrilling voyage. Among others, we saw a family of giraffe with their adorable youngsters. They were having a hearty meal near a group of alligators catching some sun light. We were in one of the facility's vehicles. Private cars are also permitted.

After that amazing ride in the wild, we went for a bite to eat at the Safari restaurant. We enjoyed burgers and fries and then proceeded to tour the zoo. There, visitors can see creatures such as wolves, kangaroos, baboons, lemur (a personal favorite), elephants and bears. Many species are native inhabitants of this region. We enjoyed viewing too many animals to mention in this brief post. The highlights of our zoo tour were that we learned how much deer like to be petted, (first time for me), the Cheetah is very aware of how captivating it is to humans (it lured use near the cage and jumped up giving use a scare), and the agile lemur playing tag were amazing.

We also learned that too many beautiful species of wildlife are endangered. Fortunately the Safari is also a breeding facility for endangered species in an effort to take care of the problem. They also offer courses for jobs attending to the animals. I've been in many trips lately, but the Safari was definitely the best.. I had the opportunity to see the preservation and protection of wildlife in a beautiful setting.

Why do people like zoos?

Have you ever wondered what it is about a zoo that attracts so many people. Could it be that its just a nice way to have exotic pets……….I lived much of my life in the woods of western Colorado and agree with the theory!

Posted by eshugerman 03:17 Tagged travel colorado zoo africa safari israel haifa Comments (0)

Nuts for Bagels in Haifa!

We Have Pizza Hut!

I am Earl Shugerman. I am writing this story from my home in Haifa Israel. I am a proud American immigrant to Israel of five years.

Food is the universal peace-maker. Bagel is a household name and my favorite food. Most Americans find that bagel and cream cheese is almost as common as mom and apple pie. Israelis love American cooking. Pizza Hut, McDonalds, Burger King and Domino's are an integral part of Israeli society. Israelis also enjoy humus and falafel and shwarma or roasted lamb.The Israeli diet is rich in vegetables, fruit, salads, and dairy products. The staples of the Israeli diet are hummus, falafel, and Israeli salad. Hummus and falafel are chickpea products. Hummus is a paste like form of chickpea usually eaten with pita bread. Falafel is chickpea formed into small balls, fried, and eaten in pita bread as a sandwich. Both hummus and falafel are eaten with or without vegetables and with several possible sauces. Israeli salad is a combination of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and parsley, served with Israeli salad dressing, a combination of salt, lemon and olive oil.Israelis enjoy a barbecue at least once a month. Lamb kebab, chicken breasts, beef flanks, and shwarma are the favorite meat choices. Yes- Israelis like a cold beer, a glass of wine and even Jack Daniels.

My favorite food is still a warm bagel with cream cheese and salmon. I can still enjoy my beloved cusisine in my new home, Haifa.

Bagels have become a worldwide phenomenon. Bagels are considered a Jewish food, but its origin date back to 1638. It seems that the bagel started out as a tribute to the Polish king by a baker from Vienna in 1683 to thank the king for saving Austria from a Turkish invasion.The king liked horses and this pastry resembled the ring in German that serves the rider of a horse as a place for his feet. In the 18th century Jewish merchants in Western Europe began marketing the product that is now considered a Jewish Delicacy.In the late 19th century European Jewish immigrants brought the Bagels to New York- which is now considered the Bagel capital of the world. The first vendors of this renowned product marketed their products from push carts in the East side of the "Big Apple"

I am writing this story from The Broadway Bagel in Haifa, Israel. I consider this a great tribute to those hardworking merchants of Mott St. New York in the days of George Gershwin and The Marx Brothers.Today, Bagels today come in dozens of varieties and are adorned with different nuts, spices, and grains.

My favorite is still the original plain Bagel with smoked salmon and creamed cheese. Do not misunderstand. I love all bagels and their delicacies and their flavorful additions. You can officially call me- nuts for Bagels.

Posted by eshugerman 23:35 Tagged king hut israel pizza haifa nuts broadway burger falafel bagels macdonald's Comments (0)

Chelm Exists in Haifa, Humor in Israel!

Fun in Haifa

Chelm Exists in Haifa, by Earl Shugerman

The town of Chełm decided to build a new synagogue. So, some strong, able-bodied men were sent to a mountaintop to gather heavy stones for the foundation. The men put the stones on their shoulders and trudged down the mountain to the town below. When they arrived, the town constable yelled, "Foolish men! You should have rolled the stones down the mountain!" The men agreed this was an excellent idea. So they turned around, and with the stones still on their shoulders, trudged back up the mountain, and rolled the stones back down again.

Allow me to introduce myself. Earl Shugerman is my name. I am a proud immigrant to Israel of five years. I moved to Israel at age of fifty eight from Colorado. Why did I make this dramatic change in my life? There are many reasons. The most important is that I firmly believe that the return of the Jewish people to the land of our roots is destiny. It is a destiny with spiritual, religious, social, and political implications that have already proven to have historical implications. Haifa was my choice of city in this incredibly complicated and diverse nation.

Haifa (Hebrew: חֵיפָה‎‎, Hebrew pronunciation: [χeiˈfä], Ḥefa; Arabic: حيفا‎ Ḥayfā[2]) is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Haifa is a mixed city: 90% are Jews, more than a quarter of whom are immigrants from the former Soviet Union, while 10% are Arabs, predominantly of the Christian faith. It is also home to the Baha'i World Centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Built on the slopes of Mount Carmel, the history of settlement at the site spans more than 3,000 years. Over the centuries, the city has changed hands numerous times. It has been conquered and ruled by the Phoenicians, Persians, Hasmoneans, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders, Ottomans, British, and the Israelis. Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the city has been governed by the Haifa Municipality. The weather is balmy although a bit cold at times in the winter. There are two major universities, a large and well known tech center and lots of parks and fun things to do. My famous place to hike is Park Carmel. Our region’s most famous resident was Elijah the Prophet. He reportedly lived his nomadic live in the Carmel Mountain Range.

I have enjoyed many blessings and faced many obstacles in adjusting to my new home. One of the greatest obstacles to overcome is to learn a new language especially at my age.

Israel offers newcomers the opportunity to study in an Ulpan. The Ulpan is a four hour a day program where new immigrants study Hebrew and receive some orientation to their new homeland. Private tutoring is available at a fee. I chose to both attend the Ulpan and receive private tutoring. My tutor Elinor Kimmel used the children’s stories about the citizens of Chelm as our study guide.

Almost every culture around the world has developed stories about fools in their midst. It’s a way of gently poking fun at themselves. In Jewish folklore we find a wonderful mythical town in Poland called Chelm located in Poland in the days of old. The residents are usually happy, gentle folk who also share another virtue – they are considered fools by everyone living outside of Chelm. But the Chelmites know they are the great sages of the world, the brightest of bright. Stories of the Chelmites have adorned Jewish humor and folklore for centuries.

…Two men of Chelm went out for a walk, when suddenly it began to rain. “Quick,” said one. “Open your umbrella.”It won’t help,” said his friend. “My umbrella is full of holes.”

“Then why did you bring it? “I didn’t think it would rain!”…

My favorite cafe in Haifa is the Ego Panorama. The owner is a long time resident of Haifa named Hannah. Hannah’s family came to Israel in 1948 from Poland. They were fortunate and thankful to have escaped the horrors of the Holocaust. I sat down yesterday to eat and study my beloved Chelm stories at The Ego. Hannah came over to me and began to giggle in a good natured way. “My family is from Chelm” she informed me with great glee. Chelm exists! It is a nice sized community in Poland of no particular distinction other than its contribution to the world of humor.

The greatest joy that I have derived from my immigration to Israel is learning about the great diversity of culture and history that this nation has to offer. I can visit the Sea of Galilee, Jerusalem. And Tel Aviv in the same day! Israel is a nation of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Druze and other citizens. In many cases we manage to live together with a fair degree of harmony. Israel is a nation of immigrants from virtually every nation on earth. It is common to sit at The Ego and listen to fellow diner’s converse in several languages.

Posted by eshugerman 23:28 Tagged travel colorado panorama israel humor dan haifa israeli chelm oleh Comments (0)

The Passion of Jerusalem!

My Favorite Trip in Israel

I am an Ammerican immigrant to Haifa, Israel of five years. I immigrated to Israel to share in the growth of this incredible nation. One of the great blessings of life in Israel is the opportunity to travel to many of the most ancient and holy sites with great ease. I can visit The Galilee, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem in the same day!

My favorite trip is to Israel's capital, Jerusalem to visit the Tower of David, where King David composed the 23rd psalm. When I finish my tour in the Tower of David, I dine at my beloved Arab restaurant where I enjoy the cuisine of traditional Arab cooking accompanied by a Miller Light. Then, I cross the street towards The Tomb of Jesus, where I am always inspired by the visit. It still amazes me that the distance between The Tower of David, my favorite traditional Arab restaurant and the Tomb of Jesus is less than one hundred meters. I visit The Western Wall,or Kotel. It is a remnant of the ancient wall that surrounded the ancient Jewish Temple's courtyard, and is one of the most sacred sites in Judaism outside of the Temple Mount itself. According to the Tanakh, Solomon's Temple was built atop the Temple Mount in the 10th century BCE and destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE, and the Second Temple completed and dedicated in 516 BCE. Two thousand years ago Jews were expected to pray in The Temple. According to classical Jewish belief, the Temple acted as the figurative "footstool" of God's presence and a Third Temple will be built there in the future.

My first trip to Jerusalem was five years ago. I was accompanied by my cousin Chaya, which is the Hebrew female name for life. Life has very special meaning to the people of Israel. We must never forget the Holocaust. Six million lost souls who died for the "crime" of praying in a Synagogue. Twenty thousand have perished defending this small and brave nation.

Chaya is Jewish Orthodox and by the age of thirty has six wonderful children. She is also an American Olah or immigrant to Israel. Her family immigrated to Israel two decades ago. Their intention was to be in the holiest city of the holiest nation on earth. My pride and joy is her now eight year old son, Elchanan. Elchanan is a handsome, brilliant, and very precocious young man with dark hair, brown eyes, and a very enchanting but somewhat sly smile. His mom refers to him as a walking Chamsin (turbulent storm), and his proud grandma jokes that he is Israel’s greatest threat to stability!

Chaya, like most residents of the holy city takes great pride in giving guided tours of her beloved metropolis. During my visit, we enjoyed touring the city on Israel’s double decker bus 99. El Chanon managed to get into everything and talk to everyone to the merriment of all, including our bus driver Haim. He has been a resident of the city for forty years. Chaim told us in great detail about his recently born and first grandson. We were enthralled to hear a Druze visitor from the North tell us about his families support of the Jewish Yishuv during Israel's War of Independence in 1948. We chatted with a group of Christian pilgrims from Belgium. They were seeing Jerusalem and neighboring Bethlehem for the first time.

The 99 bus navigates a route of both scenic and cultural interest. Mount Scopus boasts a visage encompassing the Old City, the Temple Mount and Bethlehem. As the Old City passes into the remote distance, the New City boasts iconographic sites. The Knesset housing Israel’s parliament. The Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial remembers all those that were the victims of history’s most insidious crime. The Israel Museum is a testimony to Jewish endurance and continuity of their presence in the Land of Canaan (between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea). It is also the home to one of the most impressive and famous discoveries dating back more than two thousand years. The Dead Sea Scrolls written by a group called “The Esseim” describes life in this region in the era of The Second Jewish Temple.

Jerusalem has been the holiest city in Judaism and the ancestral and spiritual homeland of the Jewish people since the 10th century BCE. Jerusalem has long been embedded into Jewish religious consciousness. Jews have studied and personalized the struggle by King David to capture Jerusalem and his desire to build the Jewish temple there, as described in the Book of Samuel and the Book of Psalms. Many of King David's yearnings about Jerusalem have been adapted into popular prayers and songs. The 23rd Psalm is my most revered. Traditionally, Jerusalem has been the focus of longing for Diaspora Jews who were forced from their land and the Temple of their God. Psalm 137 is the well-known lament of the Babylonian Jews who wept "by the rivers of Babylon" and declared, "If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither."

For Christians, Jerusalem's place in the life of Jesus gives it great importance. Jerusalem is considered a sacred site. The city is holy in both Sunni and Sunnite Islamic tradition, along with Mecca and Medina. Islamic tradition holds that previous prophets were associated with Jerusalem, and that the Islamic prophet Muhammad visited the city on a nocturnal journey.

The Holy City is one of the most studied and most controversial in the world. The city has great spiritual value to both Jews, Christians, and Muslims. It is also a political arena. Should Jerusalem be the capital of the Jewish homeland, Palestinian homeland, or both? The residents of all parts of Jerusalem, regardless of their background, feel that they are under the proverbial microscope. Please come and see it for yourselves!

The Holy City is one of the most studied and most controversial in the world. The city has great spiritual value to both Jews, Christians, and Muslims. It is also a political arena. Should Jerusalem be the capital of the Jewish homeland, Palestinian homeland, or both? The residents of all parts of Jerusalem, regardless of their background, feel that they are under the proverbial microscope. Please come and see it for yourselves!


Posted by eshugerman 22:55 Tagged king western wall israel david jesus haifa jerusalem islam christianity judaism 23rd psalm Comments (0)

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