it is our policy only to include books by authors living in Israel, we made
an exception for Discovering Natural Israel by Michal Strutin. This
book is so well written that even the armchair hiker will be able to imagine
enjoying the flora and fauna of Israel. It is a seamless combination of nature,
bible, history, maps, photos, explanations conversations, and insights and
demonstrates a well-grounded understanding and deep love for the physical
land of Israel. Indeed Strutin confessed to having “a love affair with the
Author Michal Strutin spoke with @The Source Israel about why she wrote Discovering
Strutin, whose other books on natural history include two volumes of
Smithsonian Guides to Natural America, said that she wanted to combine
her love for nature with her love for Israel and show readers what “lies
beneath the soil” of thousands of years of Jewish history in the Middle
East. “Israel is the center of the earth and an awful lot of everything
that makes us what we are today, was born in there,” she said. While she
knows that most people do not “kvell” over nature, she felt that a book
tying in nature and history would be of interest to a broad audience. And
indeed, I read the book cover to cover for that very reason.
The bulk of the book’s research was done during a 3-month trip during the
spring of 1997. Strutin picked that time to coincide with the blooming of
spring flowers and with the massive bird migrations which draws thousands
of bird watchers every year and then returned in 1998 to complete the work.
“I was simply astonished at the number of people I met while hiking throughout
the country,” she commented. Strutin is still in contact with some of the
guides and other people she met during her research.
Thinking back to my own daughter’s mitzvah project of cleaning up the Coral
Reef, I asked Strutin what she thought about the environmental saviness of
Israelis. Strutin thinks that while many Israelis love to hike and spend
time enjoying nature, they aren’t aware of its fragility but thinks that
organizations such as SPNI are making a difference in educating the public.
I intend to bring this book on my next hike in Israel so that I will better
understand what I’m seeing and its significance.
Recommended for virtual and actual nature lovers.
Text by Deborah Rosenbloom