We usually associate bees and honey with Rosh Hashanah. But if you visit Dvorat HaTavor a.k.a. The Land of Silk and Honey, during Pesach, you’ll discover that there is also a connection, albeit a tenuous one, to our current Yom Tov. You’ll be invited to follow in the footsteps of the ancient Pharohs of Egypt and see the role that beeswax played in embalming the ancient mummies, because of its preservative qualities, qualities which still play an important part in the healing process of many medical problems.
During your tour you’ll be able to see how the honey is extracted from the beeswax, filtered and purified. And of course you’ll get to taste some of this pure delicious food. Bees are not just honey makers, through their pollination of the flowers, they are also extremely important in the production of 30% of all the food we eat. If the bees were to disappear, as once almost happened when there was a disease outbreak, it isn’t just honey we would miss – it would affect many plants and fruits.
And once they have learned about the agricultural importance of bees, your children might find it fun to make chocolate honey to spread on their matzo and draw on Egyptian parchment.
Situated in the Jezreel Valley, at the foot of Mt. Tavor, the name Dvorat HaTavor is a play on the word Dvorah, which is both the Hebrew word for a bee and the name of Devorah HaNeviyah, who together with the armies of Barak, fought against Sisera and his Canaanite army at the foot of the mountain.
Yigal Ben Ze’ev, the owner of Dvorat HaTavor, learned how to breed silkworms on a trip back to his birthplace, Iran, where he taught them about sheep-rearing. This is the only place in Israel where silk is made and springtime is also the only time of year when you can see the silkworm emerge from her cocoon after spinning thousands of skeins of white silk around herself. That means this is the perfect time of year to visit the site.
Of course no trip would be complete without a chance to interact with some slightly larger animals, so be sure to visit the petting zoo.
To book a visit call 04-676-9598/050-563-7645. During Chol HaMoed there are official tours at 10.00, 12.00 and 14.00.
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For something more cutting-edge visit the new Center For Israeli Innovation. Situated in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and a partner with Taglit/Birthright, it contains displays from over 80 Israeli start-ups in the fields of health, safety, security, science and agriculture.
It’s incredible just how much creative out-of-the-box thinking there is in Israel and there are inventions in regular daily use by individuals, companies, and hospitals and at disaster areas worldwide.
For example, there is Waze, which so many of us depend on to get us where we need to go – and avoid traffic – and Mobileye whose collision avoidance technology helps drivers anticipate possible accidents involving people, animals and cars.
USB flash drives have made our computer data storage experience so much easier and user friendly and Fiverr, the online marketplace for freelance services, provides over three million digital services to individual customers all over the world starting at – you guessed it – $5 but can go up to thousands of dollars.
In the medical world, PillCam enables doctors to perform a colonoscopy by having a patient swallow a capsule with a camera that takes images at the rate of two-six frames per second and Orcam is a device which can be worn discreetly and helps visually impaired people “hear” what is in front of them. For example, this ingenious device can read a menu and translate the words into sounds for those who can’t read it themselves.
ReWalk a wearable exoskeleton, has given patients with spinal cord injuries the ability to stand upright and get on two feet again and UpnRide provides upright and seated mobility for people with physical limitations.
In today’s world of rampant fraud and account take-overs, you may, like me, have had your mind go blank when having to answer some obscure security question before speaking to your bank or credit card company. If so, you’ll appreciate NICE, real-time voice authentication, which has sped up the identification process while still giving maximum protection against identity theft.
Water-Gen has produced a potential solution to a problem affecting almost two thirds of the world’s population – lack of sufficient quality drinking water. It can produce water from the air around us and can be used on a small domestic scale in the home or in an office (where corroded water pipes are often an expensive problem). Purifying the air is far cheaper than purifying a polluted water supply. But more importantly Water-Gen technology can be used on a wide scale in disaster areas after tornados/typhoons/cyclones and other natural disasters where lack of water can cause diseases and death. Until now, water had to be trucked in on a regular basis in limited quantities. Now one Water-Gen truck, with its own generator, can remain in place and produce water continuously from the surrounding air.
In agricultural advances, Netafim drip irrigation system revolutionized the world of farming in dry desert conditions and Green IQ has saved millions of gallons of water by enabling agriculturalists to manipulate their irrigation from afar according to changes in the weather forecast.
This center wasn’t set up just to pat Israel on the back and show off its incredible entrepreneurship, it is meant to encourage future innovation among young Israelis. After one visit it’s difficult not to be proud and impressed with the amazing, practical inventions that have changed the lives of all of us on a daily basis.
To arrange a tour of the center, which must be booked in advance, call 054-333-1971. Please note that the center is not open on Pesach.