Natural Wonders of Israel: The Dead Sea, By Rabbi Leib Tropper

Israel offers some of the most magnificent natural wonders of the world. One such wonder is the Dead Sea, one of Israel’s most popular attractions. Rabbi Leib Tropper recently returned from a trip to Har HaMenuchot, where he observed the first anniversary of the passing of his father, Rabbi Yehuda Tropper. Har HaMenuchot is a cemetery near Jerusalem, which is less than an hour’s drive from the northern tip of the Dead Sea.

At 417 meters below sea level, the surface of the Dead Sea holds distinction as the lowest point on Earth. In addition, its salt concentration is the highest of any body of water in the world: 340 grams of salt per liter of water. This intense concentration of salt is what gave the Dead Sea its name, as it prevents any life from forming. Conversely, the salt has a number of healing properties that draw visitors from all over the world.

Twelve of the 21 minerals in the Dead Sea cannot be found in any other ocean in the world. The thermo-mineral springs near the shores of the Dead Sea are especially rich in minerals. Many of these minerals are known to offer health benefits, such as nourishing the skin, alleviating rheumatic pain and metabolic disorders, activating the circulatory system, and creating a sense of serenity and relaxation. The Dead Sea’s natural tar also draws bathers, who use the dark mud to absorb UV light and stimulate blood circulation. Furthermore, the bromide in the air aids the human body, and the combination of low humidity, dry air, and consistently high temperatures are thought to assuage the symptoms of cystic fibrosis, certain lung diseases, and asthma. Whether in the water or out, visitors can reap a number of health benefits.

The Dead Sea also boasts a distinctive climate. Whereas sunbathers anywhere else in the world must be careful to protect themselves against the sun’s harmful rays, the Dead Sea allows for long periods of sunbathing because ultraviolet rays are filtered through three layers: an atmospheric layer, an evaporation layer above the Dead Sea, and a thick ozone layer. Moreover, the area averages about 330 sunny days a year and less than 50 millimeters of rainfall, so sunbathers have plenty of opportunities to take advantage of this natural wonder.

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