Judy Geller (right) one of the ESRA Petach Tikvah day trippers having fun in the Science Park

Story and photo by Miriam Crosbie

On a hot day in May, 37 ESRA Petach Tikvah members and non-members braved the heat to visit the new Planetanya, in Netanya which opened in 2016.  As the name suggests, this is a center that explores science and the planets.

We started our visit with a walk through the small but well-appointed Japanese gardens. A very generous contribution by Mr. Madarame-San, a true supporter of Israel, has made the small area a place for quiet contemplation and meditation.

There is a lot packed into such a small space, including waterfalls and a small wooden bridge over a lily pond stocked with beautiful lilies and fish.

Next we had a tour of the center’s Science Park, where there are activities exploring the principles of gravity, sound waves, solar activity and more.  Although these were generally for children, our group enjoyed the activities just as much, and indeed it was difficult to get them away from the fun they were having into the small planetarium to watch a presentation on the solar system.

After the planetarium show, we enjoyed a lecture on the star systems in the Zodiac and learnt about how the birth signs had been decided, and the fact that in the twenty-first century we might not have been born under the birth sign we thought we were!

How to book a heavenly date with the stars:

Planetanya, 168 Ben Gurion Boulevard, Netanya, tel: 09 748 5760. Open to the general public Mon-Tues, 10am – 4pm; Wed, 10am – 7pm, Fri, 10am – 2pm. NIS 45  entrance for above age 5; NIS 35 for residents of Netanya; NIS 25 for seniors, students; soldiers, free.

Exploring a book’s provenance

ESRA Petach Tikvah heard a very interesting lecture by Daniel Lipson on the subject: "The Wandering Jewish Book".

Daniel is a reference and digital resource librarian at the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem.

Starting with a short introduction about the National Library, its collections and services, Daniel then spoke about the concept of identifying the provenance of a book in an attempt to identify   its place and date of publication and the person who was the first holder of the book. 

A visual presentation mapped the way books may have travelled all over the world and passed through the hands of several owners or book collections. An important example was the famous Aleppo Codex which on one of its hazardous journeys passed into the hands of the Rambam in Cairo, who utilized it as a reliable source for his Halachic research.

A fascinating episode in the trials and tribulations of Jewish books was the discovery in Germany after the Second World War of a warehouse containing thousands of books collected in the ruins of synagogues and basements from all over war-torn Europe whose owners perished in the Holocaust.

Each book was marked with a special sticker that in some small way immortalized the fate of those who had once used it for study, prayer or pleasurable reading.

The meeting was enjoyed by a large number of people, both from Petach Tikvah and other cities who had heard about this event in ESRA's local and national publicity.

Miriam Crosbie 

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