Shayna and Cuddles are unlike many new parents in Israel. They are pythons. But that doesn’t mean their offspring weren’t feted in a traditional way.
Israel’s Biblical Museum of Natural History held a public kiddush on last week to celebrate the first baby snakes to have emerged from a crop of 38 eggs that Shayna, a 12-foot albino Burmese python, laid several months ago.
“Waiting and watching has been an incredible experience and opportunity to share more about these amazing creatures, and there is no more fitting way to celebrate their entrance to the Biblical Museum of Natural History than with a traditional, haimish Kiddush!” Rabbi Natan Slifkin, the museum’s director and founder, said in a press release announcing the event.
It’s the first time that the museum, which Slifkin opened in 2014, has held a kiddush, the celebratory Jewish ceremony associated with Shabbat services and festive occasions.
It will include refreshments, an opportunity for visitors to meet Shayna, Cuddles, and their babies, and a lesson about Jewish perspectives on snakes.
Slifkin is an Orthodox rabbi who has published many books on the intersection between animals, zoology, and Torah, such as “Sacred Monsters: Mysterious and Mythical Creatures of Scripture, Talmud and Midrash” and “In Noah’s Footsteps: Biblical Perspectives on the Zoo.” His works have been banned in some charedi communities over his views on evolution.
Jewish Telegraphic Agency