Monday, June 25, 2012

Mazal Tov! It's a boy!

Much has been made of Israel’s birthrate over the past decades. It seems everyone is interested in who is having babies. Are the haredim having more than the Arabs? How can the secular possibly keep up? Who will outnumber whom in 20 years? What will the country look like? Will there be enough room in a state the size of New Jersey for more babies than in all of Europe (whose birthrate is decreasing each second)? It seems that in this country, even having babies is a political statement.
But once in a while, there is a birth here that isn’t a political statement and is celebrated around the world. No, it’s not the messiah (yet), but a rare baby white rhino. The second baby rhino born in Ramat Gan’s safari in five years (same mother), this little guy is making zoo waves. Rhinos are endangered (some species more than others) and each birth is cause for celebration. Apparently, more than 300 rhinos are killed each year by poachers in Africa for their horns, which supposedly have medicinal (read aphrodisiac) properties. Zoos around the world have sent congratulatory messages to the Safari here. Mazal tov!
The Ramat Gan Safari is quite well known in zoo circles. Though not in the same category as say the San Diego or Berlin Zoo, the Safari, spread over 250 acres, is home to more than 1600 animals. It participates in breeding programs and in 25 international programs for endangered species. Its star, Yossi, is the largest elephant in captivity and father to 23, most of whom have gone on shlichut to other countries.  
Israel isn’t just camels and donkeys, falafel and hummus. Life here is varied and complex. Nothing is static, and an inquiring mind knows no limits here.
We wish little Terkel Ben (son of) Tendra a happy and healthy life here in Israel. May he grow and prosper.  Mazal Tov to us all!!

Tendra and new-born Terkel

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