Celebrating Chanukah in Thailand

Written by Roland Leiser on . Posted in Travel

It’s an annual tradition that goes back decades, but I first joined the celebration of the Festival of Lights in Bangkok, Thailand, during a visit in December last year. The idea was to give my Thai niece by marriage an experience from the Jewish side of the family, and it did not disappoint!

Sar-El: Another Way to Experience Israel

Written by Ruth Brinn on . Posted in Travel

Volunteers for Israel — or Sar-El, as the program is known in Israel — provides participants with the opportunity to live and workon an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) base,mingle with like-minded volunteers from around the world,help Israel’s economy,take excursions to unusual Israeli sites not always available to the public,and much more.Since its inception in 1983, more than 250,000 people have participated in the program.And you can, too!

Seven Huge New Tourism Projects Planned in Israel

Written by Abigail Klein Leichman for Israel21c on . Posted in Travel

With tourism on the rise, Israel is investing in significant infrastructure that will revolutionize its travel industry. Check out what’s in store.

Several exciting infrastructure projects are in the works to make touring Israel more convenient, memorable, and accessible. The time is right, as tourism stats are spiking ever higher.

A Visit to Spain

Written by Esther Kook on . Posted in Travel

I’m not sure if the rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain, as the song goes from the musical “My Fair Lady.” Maybe that’s why I packed a raincoat, which I wore for about two minutes during a light rain shower in Barcelona. For the rest of the time on my trip to Spain, the weather ranged from hot to oven-like temperatures bordering on three digits, and all I wanted to do was drink cold lemon water and dash for cover into the shade.

Inscribing the Signature of Friendship Into History

Written by Paul J. Blank on . Posted in Travel

In 2012, my aunt and I traveled to Prague, Czech Republic. We wanted to see the grave of Rabbi Yechezkel Landau (1713-1793), who we had recently discovered was our ancestor. We prayed at the Altneuschul, Europe’s oldest active synagogue; walked through the Old Jewish Cemetery; studied artifacts at the Jewish Museum; admired the architecture of the historical synagogues; attended a classical music concert; and visited the Kafka Museum, which I highly recommend. Because the trip was during Simchat Torah, we also joined the Jewish community and danced with the Torahs on a closed-off street.

Never Again: Honoring Those Who Perished in Ukraine

Written by Editor on . Posted in Travel

If your parents or grandparents from Eastern Europe identified themselves as Galicians, chances are they came from Lviv — the capital of the Galicia reigon, which straddles the modern-day border between Poland and Ukraine — or from Rivne, Ostrog, Hannopil, Brody, Rohatyn, Medzhybizh, or any of the other small towns and villages we passed by. There were 29 of us on the trip organized by Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld of Ohev Sholom - the National Synagogue. The group members ranged in age from six to 77; most people were members of the congregation, while some were from other DC synagogues, and others came from New York and San Francisco. Almost all had some roots in Galicia.

Middle East’s Largest Natural History Museum Opens in Israel

Written by Rebecca Stadlen Amir for Israel21c on . Posted in Travel

Upon entering the new natural history museum in Tel Aviv, visitors are greeted by a vivid re-enactment of the great avian migrations from Africa to Europe through northern Israel’s Hula Valley, complete with stuffed hawks, pelicans, and vultures circling around the ceiling of the building’s entrance.

Traveling the Ancient Incense Route in the Negev

Written by Abigail Klein Leichman/Israel 21c on . Posted in Travel

The Nabateans traversed the hilly desert by camel, but you can do it
by car, jeep, or bike and see some spectacular scenery along the way.

Close your eyes and travel back in time 2,000 years. You’re riding the back of a camel laden with frankincense and myrrh from faraway Yemen, navigating 100 kilometers (62 miles) across the harsh, hilly Negev Desert to get your precious cargo to the Mediterranean ports.

When the Real Journey Begins at Home

Written by Travis Hare on . Posted in Travel

The music at the Golan Heights Winery has just come to a stop, giving the 20 dancing couples from the Washington, D.C., area a chance to catch our breath and maybe take another swig of wine. One of the musicians, a zither player with a long white beard and flowing robes, walks to the microphone and smiles at the crowd. “Welcome to Israel,” he says, “Welcome home.” Though the group of 40 young professionals, which I am part of, were strangers just four days ago, we are indeed beginning to feel a sense of belonging.