Anna feeds one of her feline friends

Text and photo by Honey Stollman

Cats abound in Israel - there is not a neighborhood that is not overrun with this furry, four-legged scavenger.

Personally I don’t care for cats, which makes me an oddity in my family. Teddy is the tom that has been living with one of my sisters for 10 years … in cat years, He is 105 and is leading the good life.

My other sister had Sofi for many a year till she left for cat heaven and my daughter cannot resist the abandoned kitten looking for a good and loving home. I often take care of the grandchildren, but my nurturing stops with the purr.

However, Anna is a different kind of devoted animal lover. You can find Anna any day of the week at 6am in Park Leumi in Ramat Gan. Her bag, slung over her shoulder, is filled with those tasty, nutritional pellets that all the park’s fauna await.

I accompanied Anna on her tour one morning and stood in amazement as she called out to her favorite long necked wide winged goose. He came running, flapping his wings to increase speed, as if winging his way to the arms of a lover. She gently held out the granules in her hand as her feathered friend nibbled away.

The cats are her true love. All along the paths Anna’s furry friends await her. They line up under the benches, hunker down along the trails, line up high on the wall - all in quiet anticipation - you can almost hear them meow “Anna’s coming, Anna’s coming”. And she never disappoints! She purchases 60 kilos of cat food every month, budgeting about 500 shekels a month out of her own pocket. A real labor of love.

Anna Finkelstein made aliyah from Moscow in 1973 just before the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War. She came on her own with very limited Hebrew language skills but with education and experience in film editing.

It was shortly after her arrival that Channel 1 discovered her talent and hired her as a film editor. She could edit but could not always understand the narration. Here she was aided by a translator, but was soon on her own.

She had the pleasure of working with Amos Gutman, Micha Shagrir, Ganani and others.

Goose who’s coming to dinner

The initiator of the park was the first mayor of Ramat Gan, Avraham Krinitzi. After the War of Independence he set aside this 1.9 kilometer area, which was incorporated into the municipal boundaries of Ramat Gan, as a public park to be enjoyed by all and which can never be built upon. Planting began in February 1951 and the park opened to the public in 1953. In 1959, an artificial lake was created, which was enlarged throughout the years.

It is the second largest urban park in Israel, after the Yarkon Park in Tel Aviv. Besides attracting 700,000 - 800,000 visitors a year, it is home to a variety of ducks, such as the Muscovy duck, Mallards, the Alopochen aegyptiacus all the way from Egypt, swans, geese and more.

Anna has retired from editing but will never digress from the daily routine of feeding the cats, ducks and geese of the National Park of Ramat Gan.

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Honey Stollman

Honey Stollman was born and bred in Boston MA. She graduated Boston University and the Hebrew Teachers College. She came to live in Israel in 1969 and settled in Jerusalem with her husband, Gene, a...
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