Aug 18, 2011

Jews at the Zoo

When is the last time you visited a zoo? It’s a terrific place for stimulating curiosity and learning  since there’s so much to see. Maybe your kids love watching the lions, the orangutans or tropical fish (my  favorites are the prairie dogs).  When you think about it, a zoo is actually quite incredible, with its diversity of animals and the range of ecosystems we rarely encounter. In fact, the modern zoo is not completely unlike the biblical story of Noah and his animals! 

Author Tami Lehman-Wilzig challenges all of us to understand Bible stories through the lens of the natural world in her new book Green Bible Stories for Children, in which she presents eight Bible stories and provides kids with neat activities and experiments for them to try. In one story, she explores Noah and the Ark by introducing the idea of biodiversity.  She suggests visiting the zoo and asking the zookeeper:
·         Are different animals paired in the same habitats?
·         What and when do they eat? Do they graze on their own or are they given animal feed?
And she also suggests bringing along art supplies to sketch animals in an open habitat so children can notice animals, insects, birds, feeding spots, trees, shrubbery and more.  This is a great basis for talking to kids about how the Bible teaches us to respect the earth and all its inhabitants!

If you can’t get to the zoo, check out The National Zoo’s “virtual zoo” with cameras in the animals’ habitats. See the flamingo cam.  See the gorilla cam.  See the panda cam.

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