By Grey Lupindo
A few days ago I was visiting SS Galaxy, SL’s luxury cruise ship, when I saw a sign for their latest featured destination, SL Israel. Since I’ve never been to either RL or SL Israel, I decided to visit. The landmark from the Galaxy teleports you to the Old Port, located at SECOND LIFE ISRAEL, KnoWorld (11, 249, 27).
The note from the Group that operates SL Israel describes the site this way: “Israel Island presents a comprehensive Israeli experience featuring: Seminar Hakibbutzim College, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Eilat, Caesarea, a Museum dedicated to the Peoples of Israel (Jews, Christians, Muslims and more), plus a village in the sky...”. The sim is not only a place where you can learn about Israel, but also the home site for SL Jewish residents to connect and socialize. I discovered there are a lot of things to do here.
I started my trip at the Old Port because I came directly from the cruise ship. There’s a balloon tour available here that gives a very general overview of the sim. However, I recommend using the excellent teleporter system instead. They are conveniently located throughout the sim and are very fast. I also recommend turning on the music associated with the site. I wasn’t familiar with modern Israeli music. The sim radio station has a good selection, at least from the prospective of someone experiencing it for the first time.
The teleporter offers a variety of modern and historic sites. Most of them were familiar names, but there were a few surprises. My biggest surprise was Zoola. I was expecting a zoo, but discovered it was a resort style swimming pool. The site was beautiful, with easy to rez swim balls and a swim-up bar. There were lots of lounge chairs, too. A great place to meet and mingle with your friends.
Pioneer Park, located at KnoWorld (128, 25, 2493), is serene and has an eternal flame memorial. From this location you can walk up the stairs to the Exhibit Hall. This site currently has a beautiful art exhibit featuring the paintings of two artists, Raphael Perez and Leonid Afremov. Perez has a studio in Tel Aviv, and his paintings are bright and colorful. Afremov is Russian-Israeli who has a very distinctive style. He is known for selling his work only through the internet and rarely is involved in RL galleries or exhibits. His works were also very colorful, but he used darker shades. The exhibits are on display in association with the Arts and Culture Department of Kibbutzim College.
One of my favorite sites was Education Hall, found at KnoWorld (128, 194, 2496). Inside is a wealth of historical information and photographs. Currently the featured program is “Birth of a Nation”, which is a very interesting presentation on events leading up to the creation of Israel as an independent country. Topics include the Birth of Zionism, World War I, British Mandate, World War II and Holocaust, United Nations Partition, and more. I recommend that any SL residents who are interested in world history visit and plan to linger a while here.
The teleporters can also zip residents to Tel Aviv, the Dead Sea, Caesarea, and Jerusalem. But SL Israel is not all work and study. There’s a shopping district at KnoWorld (247, 114,2493). There’s the usual array of fashions and skins, but also a few different shops. At GiGi’s Art Gallary, operated by GiGi Onmura (Gigi Firecloak), there are colorful paintings depicting Jewish life as well as other subjects. Next door is another art shop, Eligrafiks, owned by Eliyakim Brinner. This shop’s motto is “Mesh are our art pictures.” The shop features items not usually found in SL, such as menorahs, statutes, Mezuzahs, and more.
The two shops are typical of the international flavor found at this sim. GiGi Onmura (Gigi Firecloak) is from Brazil, and Eliyakim Brinner is French. While English signs are plentiful on the site, there are also signs and note cards written in Hebrew, French and other languages.
The Temple is located near the shopping district. Inside is information about Shabbat candle lighting times for all of the major world time zones. There is also information about educational classes in Hebrew as well as other topics related to Jewish culture. A bookcase along one wall links to web pages with more information on music, books, the Talmud, and more.
My final stop was at the gym at Kibbutzim College. I tried out a few of their exercise machines, too. The SL version of the college is partly based on the new one that will be built near Tel Aviv. Inside one of the conference rooms is a picture of the proposed construction. Very impressive.
In addition to working out, SL residents can sky dive at the airport and take part in many social activities. There’s a website at Israelisland.com that gives information on upcoming events.