Even the gorillas in Israel keep kosher for Passover! At least the ones at the Safari Park Zoo in Ramat Gan near Tel Aviv, do.
Since observant handlers cannot touch any leavened products during the weeklong Passover holiday (which will begin on Saturday), zookeepers have begun cleaning the premises of bread-related products and since Tuesday, have been feeding the gorillas — along with all the other animals at the zoo — a matzo breakfast.
Accustomed to eating a slice of bread with cream cheese every morning, the gorillas have taken well to the slight change in diet. “This turns out to be an interesting time for the gorillas and for the other animals because they get a bit of a change in diet,” says the zoo’s curator, Emelia Turkel. “We call this environmental enrichment, Jewish style.”
According Turkel, the constipation-causing crackers are not healthy for the animals, if ingested in excess. “If they eat too much it does cause stomach problems,” she says, explaining that the gorillas aren’t permitted to eat more than one or two matzos per day. “We hope that our public this week will not be feeding their own matzo to the animals.”
“I think it’s a good idea for them,” commented one visitor to the zoo by the name of Moshe, who watched as the zookeepers threw matzos to the excited gorillas . “They’re influenced by the Jews here.”