Beer-Sheva Trivia

Interesting namesakes

Beersheba Springs is a small resort town located in Grundy County, Tennessee, U.S.A., lat. 35.466N; long. -85.654W and about 1,850 feet (= ca.564 meters) above sea level. It has a very small population of ca.467 residents (as of 2016).

“Beersheba Farm” Bungalows is a bed&breakfast establishment located in Lelant, St. Ives, Cornwall, United KingdomOnly one kilometer from Atlantic Ocean beaches –, 07795-284356. 

“Be’er Sheva” is the name of a Christian rock band from Germany that has visited here several times and given performances at the Youth Center in the Old City.

Trivia quiz

When was the last time…?

a herd of camels wandered the streets of the southern neighborhoods in Be’er-Sheva? Answer: On Friday 17.12.2021.  

Where can you find…?

a real airplane hanging from a ceiling? Answer: On the BGU Campus in the Mechanical Engineering Dept. (Bldg. 55).Suspended airplane at BGU

a genuine fighter plane in the middle of a traffic circle? Answer A decommissioned Phantom jet is mounted on the memorial traffic circle for Israel’s first astronaut, Colonel Ilan Ramon (1954-2003), near thePhantom traffic circle entrance to the Airforce Technical College.

a decommissioned battle tank in the middle of a traffic circle? Answer:  Mounted on “Kikar ha-Mofet” traffic circle, at the intersection of Haphtali Herz imber and Rabbi Tank in traffic circleEliyahu Katz Avenues, commemorating Captain Dr. Igor Rothstein and Captain Shai Bernstein, two Be’er-Shevans who lost their lives during the Second Lebanon War in 2006. However, note that the muzzle of this tank is always pointing towards the Sinai Peninsula, as if eternally protecting Be’er-Sheva from another Egyptian incursion.

–a large gorilla? Answer: In a small park area at the corner of Mivsta Nahshon andBiggest gorilla Mivtsa Yo’av in the Vav neighborhood and at the huge Ramot Children’s Play-Park on Avigdor Avital Way. There’s even a large bear. Perfect for picture-taking.

–a parade float of a man seated on a ceramic toilet? AnswerIn the Harsah Ceramic Harsah toiletCompany compound on the Hebron Road.

–a real Foucault pendulum in action? Answer: On BGU Campus, in the east wing of the Sacta-foucault-pendulum-at-bguRashi Physics Dept. building (Bldg. 54), hanging from the 5th floor atrium ceiling; it was donated by the California Academy of Science in San-Francisco.

–the happiest big fish in Be’er-Sheva? AnswerIt’s a sculpture standing in the entrance of the The biggest fishAvisror Building, across from the Central Train Station.

–a white grand piano? AnswerIn the lobby of the new Emergency Wing of theblachmans-in-action1 Soroka Medical Center. On occasion, free, open concerts are held there. And there’s another in the lobby of the Youth Center in the Old City, too.

-the 10 Commandments in Amharic script? AnswerIn the central Ethiopian amharic-10-commandments1synagogue, the“Kes Barukh” Synagogue, located in the Yud-Aleph neighborhood–under the auspices of Kes Barukh, the High Priest of world Ethiopian Jewry.

–a small rendition of the famous New York Harbor “Statue of Liberty,” designed by French sculptor F. A. Bartholdi? AnswerIn the Neveh Ze’ev neighborhood, in the entrance to the “Manhattan Gardens” Apartments.

–a suspended boulder, reminiscent of a Magritte painting. Answer: Above the trafficTank in traffic circle circle at the intersection of the Imber Promenade and Naphtali Herz Imber Avenue.

–a hall designed like a mini-U.N.? Answer: The Senate Hall at BGU, BGU Senate hallwith flags by the podium, wooden terraced seating and a personal microphone at each seat. This special hall hosts numerous international and national conferences each year. 

Castle facade in Beer-Sheva–the facade of a medieval castle? AnswerAt the Milestone Bar (founded 2015), located at 46 Ya’ir Avraham Shtern Street in the Old City – 054-7439060.

–a chef mannequin in a stairwell? AnswerIn the Chef mannequinGovernment Mall, main entrance, on the staircase leading to the Health Dept. on the first floor.

Wall with a face–a wall with a face? Answer: In the park situated between Golda Meir and Abba Ahimeir streets in Yud Aleph.

mention of “Beersheba” on a carved-stone memorial to those ANZAC soldierscharge of the light brigade 4 who fought/fell in “Palestine, 1916-1918.” Answer: In New Zealand.New Zealand greeting

–the tallest skyscraper? Answer: In Pelakh 5, adjacent to the Neveh Ze’ev neighborhood–a residential apartment building reaching 32 floors in height, built by “Ahim Um” Construction Company for habitatioin in 2019.

Artzieli traffic circle–the biggest harp? Answer: A 6-meter high steel harp created by visual artist Israel Fraiman (b.1967-) is located amid the Mordechai (“Motke”) Artzieli traffic circle in the Bet neighborhood at the intersection of Yaakov Cahan and Leonard Bernstein streets. Artzieli (1924-2004) had been a veteran journalist, also known as “The Voice of the South.”

–three of the oldest/most famous falafel stands in the city? Answer: The oldest falafel stand in Be’er-Sheva is the family business, Falafel Asulin,” that was founded in 1958 and was located at 46 Herzl St. in the Old City until changing hands after about 60 years. In 1960, “Green Falafel”/ha=Falafel ha-Yarok was founded in the Old City, located at the corner of Trumpeldor & KKL streets – 08-6283522; later adding another stand in the Bet Neighborhood on Tchernikhovski St. In addition, a very well-known falafel stand (especially to all the new ‘olim who resided in the Bet Remet ‘quarter-kilometer’ Absorption Center) is “Falafel ha-Gesher” (lit., the falafel at the bridge), founded by the Jibli family in 1979.  It is located just off Ye’elim Blvd. in the Hey Neighborhood commercial center, and is currently run by the pair of identical Jibli twin brothers. 08-6430131.

If you think you smell a skunk in Be’er-Sheva–What is it? AnswerYou may have caught a whiff of one of the skunk’s furry black & white ‘first cousins’ that live in the Negev and may come into the city to hunt at night–either the Eurasian badger (Lat. Meles meles or Heb. Girit metsuyah) or the so-called ‘stink badger’ (Mydaus or Heb. Boashan ha-girit). They are omnivores that sometimes follow other ‘visitors’ into the city, such as porcupines (Heb. kipodim). [I’ve actually been surprised, on many occasions at night, to find porcupines in my own garden.]

Who was…?

–the first performing magician in Be’er-Sheva? AnswerMeyer Buyum, also known Buyum, the Magicianas “Buyum, the Magician” (1934-1994), who resided and performed in the city from 1958 until his untimely death. On rare occasions in the 1970s & 1980s, when his regular magician’s assistant was either ill or very pregnant, I replaced her as his on-stage partner. He often did free shows for sick children or wounded soldiers in the hospital.   

the first woman bus-driver in Be’er-ShevaAnswer: Leah Pinhas [NO! It’s not me!]. Though we did share the same Hebrew name for 20 years (1973-1993), we never actually met. I believe she still resides somewhere in Be’er-Sheva.  

the first woman taxicab driver in Be’er-ShevaAnswerAyala Bokobza. She began driving a cab in 1980.  

the first woman Israrails train conductor from Be’er-ShevaAnswer: Hanit Benjamin (b.1984-), who has been driving trains between Be’er-Sheva and Natanyah since 2014.

–the first woman crime-scene investigator (CSI) in the Negev Region Police ForceAnswerStaff Sergeant Major Hadas Bel

Special events

* In November 1948, one month after Be’er-Sheva was liberated from the Egyptian Army on October 21st, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra came down from Jerusalem to give a special concert for the soldiers of the Palmah’s Negev Brigade. This concert Leonard Bernsteinwas conducted by a Jewish guest conductor – Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), who also played the solo in George Gershwin‘s “Rhapsody in blue.” Sixty years later (in September 2008), on the exact same spot in the Old City, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra repeated that historic performance, under the baton of conductor Zubin Mehta (b.1936-). In 1970,Zubin Mehta at the stunning Philadelphia Academy of Music, I had the honor of singing in the 120-voice Penn Chorale with the prestigious Philadelphia Philharmonic Orchestra under the batons of Eugene Ormandy (1900-1985) & guest conductor Zubin Mehta–an unforgettable experience! Mehta is retiring as conductor of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra at the end of the 2017/2018 season.

* The longest divorce proceedings in Israel (41 years!) was a case filed in Be’er-Sheva in 1966 and only closed in 2007.

* The world-famous Jewish-American singer/songwriter Bob Dylan (b.1941-, nee Robert Bob DylanAllen Zimmerman) gave an entire performance in the Wassermill Soccer Stadium on June 19, 1993. In 2016, he was awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature.

In 1999, the Be’er-Sheva Branch of the Association for Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transgenders (GLBTs) was established in the Old City. The first “gay-pride parade” in Be’er-Sheva was held on the BGU Campus in 2003, under the auspices of the active BGU student homo-lesbian club “Segol” (lit., purple, founded in 1995). On 2 August, 2009, ca.400 people marched from the BGU Campus in sympathetic protest of the homophobic murders committed in Tel-Aviv. The third GLBT parade was held in June 2017, when ca.5,000 GLBTs and their supporters from the entire region marched from Wingate St. (below the Soroka ER) down to City Hall Square, where they held a happening in support of social tolerance. After that, the ‘gay parades’ became annual events in Be’er-Sheva, only skipping the year of the COVID-19 pandemic (Mar. 2019-Mar. 2020)–joyfully resuming the annual tradition on 17.6.2021 and again on 16.6.2022.

* In the third week of June 2007, the first Sudanese-Israeli citizen, a baby boy, was born at the Soroka Medical Center in Be’er-Sheva to a Sudanese refugee named Ayam Matyah.Soroka Medical Center

* On 07/07/07 (the 7th of July, 2007) 27 babies were born in the Soroka Medical Center Maternity Wards!

Special collections

Collector Yossi Brains (b.1958-) is the founder of a collectors’ association called “A Taste of Bygone Days.” Yossi is an obsessive collector of: antique cars, knives, letter Collectable carEthelea in BGU racing caropeners, telephones, watches–virtually everything! All his collections are displayed at his home in Be’er-Sheva. He is also the founder of the Israel Association of Motorcar Sports & Cross-Country Rallies and the AssocCollectors car #2Biation for Drag Racing – 052-326581; 050-8334182.

Be’er-Sheva resident, Dr. Meir Cohen (b.1952-) has a special collection of ca. 2,000 Passover haggadot, dating from the 17th century, some from the Holocaust, and those created by different Jewish factions and those reflecting various social proclivities and platforms.

Photographer, curator Goel Drori (b.1948-) has ca.400 old cameras in his collection that he displays at the “Tsalmaniyah” in the Old City on ha-Avot St.Goel Drori, photographer

Collector Ran Levi (b.1975-) has ca.40 unusual instruments from all over the world. HeAfrican drums also produces historical podcasts in a series entitled “Making history”

Collector Shmulik G. Moskowitz has been collecting old radios since 1975. The ca.50 exemplars he has are on display at his spare-parts & auto-repair shop “Hamehadesh” (lit., the renewer) – 08-6234886.

Ever since 1992, Be’er-Sheva‘s Bella Pesikov (b.1930-) has collected over 200 teapots and kettles of all sizes, shapes, colors and materials, that fill her tiny apartment, at the “Amidar sheltered residence” in Nahal Beqa.

Dentist, Dr. G. Ribitzky, has created a Museum of Dental Antiques at his dental clinic in “Rassco City” – 08-6279640.  

Professor Lior Rosenberg (b.1945-), founder of the Israel Burn Association and former Head of the Plastic Surgery Dept. at the Soroka Medical Center, provided all the historical medical tools for the History of Medicine Museum that is permanently on display in the lobby of the BGU Faculty of Health Sciences.

Since “Our future is inspired by our past” – join the Society for the Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites You are welcome to come to the Be’er-Sheva Office of the Society, now located in the Old City at Mordey ha-Geta’ot 74 and/or call Michal Montal – 054-4606496.

Author: etheleakatzenell

I came about 45 years ago from Philadelphia, PA (a city of American founding fathers) to Be'er-Sheva, Israel (the city of Abraham, the biblical Patriarch) and have never regretted that move. Be'er-Sheva is a wonderful place to live and raise a family. My four adult children and 5 grandchildren, all born here, still live and work happily in Be'er-Sheva. This is a place of endless opportunity and open horizons.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: