The Biblical Museum of Natural History, located facing the entrance to Beit Shemesh in the northern industrial zone of Beit Shemesh, is a unique institution that is part zoo, part natural history museum, and completely educational and fun! It showcases the animal world of the Bible with a fascinating array of both live and non-live exhibits. Visits are conducted via guided tours, which include hands-on experiences! Through the exciting and interactive tour, visitors learn the identities and symbolism of the animals of Scripture, lessons in Jewish values, law and history, and the natural history of Biblical Israel. There are seven exhibit halls in a total of 1400 square meters/14,000 square feet.
The establishment describe itself as “part natural history museum, part zoo” and is meant to “enhance the appreciation and understanding of biblical scripture and Jewish tradition via the natural world.” Visitors are able to gain insight into the animals that lived in Israel during biblical times even if they no longer exist there now, such as bears and crocodiles. Israel. Beit Shemesh was home to the prophet Samson. It is fitting that a museum dedicated to the animals in the Bible is situated near where Samson faced a lion!
LIVE Online Tours of the new museum with Rabbi Natan Slifkin. Great for the whole family. Topics include Wonders of Creation, The Animal World of the Bible, Beasts & Behemoths, The World of Birds, Reptiles and Creepy Crawlies, The Laws of Kosher Creatures, Horns and Shofars
Visitors to the museum are currently directed by special tour by appointment only. Features include live animal, taxidermy and skeleton exhibits, as well as audio/visual presentations. Tour topics include unraveling incidents of misidentification of animals by biblical scholars of species mentioned in both the Five Books of Moses and the Talmud due to their lack of familiarity with different families that are not represented in places like Europe, where much of the Jewish medieval biblical commentary was written.
- See the snails that produce Techelet
- Learn about the quails that were given to Bnei Yisrael when they complained about the manna
- Hold a Boa Constrictor
- Learn the difference between animal eggs
- See an incredible shofar collection from a variety of animals from all over the world
The museum was founded in 2014 by Natan Slifkin, affectionately referred to as the “Zoo Rabbi.” Slifkin was born and raised in Manchester, UK, where he studied at a local yeshiva. In 1995 he continued his studies in the Medrash Shmuel yeshiva and Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem. He was ordained at Ohr Somayach Institutions, where he taught Talmud and contemporary Judaism.
5 Topaz Street on the corner of Choshen Street, Har Tuv, Beit Shemesh