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Slingshot Tippsied

Slightly woozy at the end of distillery tour

ESRA Beer Sheva Visit to Beit Shemesh and Environs 

A group of 18 members and non-members of the ESRA Beer Sheva branch climbed into our minibus at 08:30 on a bright and sunny autumn day. The 90-minute trip to Beit Shemesh was uneventful.

Our first stop was the Biblical Museum of Natural History in its new home in the Har Tuv industrial area, adjacent to the city, where they have been located since 2020.Originally founded in 2014, the museum was the brainchild of Rabbi Dr. Natan Slifkin, following his lifelong passion for the animal kingdom, and decades of study and teaching about biblical natural history.

We entered the impressive building on the ground floor and went up to the first floor where the museum is located. Our guide, Johnny explained how creatures in the museum, either live or taxidermically preserved, are mentioned in the Bible and the Gemara. He held our attention by asking questions and referring to the relevant texts, which were also pasted to the walls above the exhibits. Some of his illustrations were on short videos. The tour went through several rooms that included birds, animals, reptiles and a display of horns and shofars. The fun started when the live exhibits including birds, lizards and snakes were taken out of their cages and held or hung on the visitors.

The grand finale was when the huge yellow and white python (called Shaina) was removed from its case and held by five ESRA volunteers. The 4-meter-long python weighs 60 kilograms!

On the way out we passed through the shop that sold small packets of edible and kosher locusts as well as sets of Rabbi Slifkin's books in English and Hebrew.

Our bus then took us to the BIG mall in the city where we ate lunch at Bleeckers restaurant, which catered for most diets.

We then proceeded to Moshav Zanoach where the Legends Distillery is located. We were welcomed by Noam Cohen and Alan Cohl, the two master distillers and owners, who both made aliyah from the United States, Noam only three years go.

The distillery is situated on the site of David's legendary battle with Goliath, which has led to the flagship product being called SLINGSHOT. The whiskey produced by Legend Distillery is a Bourbon type which originated in Kentucky.

Our tour started with a taste of the product, after which we moved to the room where the grains are unpacked and prepared for grinding and mashing. The main factory area included the mashing of the grains with hot water, cooling and fermentation with yeast. Distillation follows to achieve the correct alcohol content. Finally, the product is matured in special oak wine casks procured from an Israeli wine producer and then charred on the inside. Then came the long-anticipated part as we tasted how the product changed after each of the four stages until finally, it is a rich amber color with a velvety texture perfectly smooth and well-balanced. Some of us purchased a bottle of Slingshot, and despite our light-headiness, we managed to climb the two steps onto the minibus for the return journey.

We all agreed that we had a most informative and enjoyable day.

Shaina, the 4 meter-long python, in the hands of ESRA visitors
The writer got a new necktie — Carole Rosenblatt admiring it from behind


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Sunday, 21 July 2024

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