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.

Finding Jewish Roots Along the Appalachian Trail

Written by Paul J. Blank on . Posted in Travel

The Appalachian Trail is the longest hiking-only trail in the world. It extends 2,200 miles from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. Over the years, I have hiked sections of the Appalachian Trail in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. It is my dream to one day complete the entire trail.

My Experience in Israel With Jewish National Fund’s Caravan for Democracy

Written by Isabel Josephs on . Posted in Travel

This winter, I had the privilege of participating in Caravan for Democracy, a 10-day mission organized by Jewish National Fund (JNF) designed specifically for American, non-Jewish student leaders from various universities to visit Israel for the first time. From the moment we arrived at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, the itinerary was packed: We would meet with high-ranking politicians, journalists, and businessmen and women, as well as visit important religious and political sites around the country.

A Toast for the Past, A Toast for the Future

Written by Paul J. Blank on . Posted in Travel

Holding up my glass, I made eye contact with the other volunteers. The protocol was to then say “Egeszegetekre”— “To your health,” the traditional Hungarian toast — and take a sip, inviting the others to follow. We had performed this ritual every night for two weeks. I continued to hold up my glass, but I hesitated before saying egeszegetekre

A Student's Primer: Four Steps to Surviving an Extended Stay in Israel

Written by Catherine Green on . Posted in Travel

While Israel draws substantial numbers of tourists due to its rich history, diverse culture, and range of naturally beautiful locations, the country also plays host to thousands of high school and college students from North America, U.K., EU, South Africa, and Russia because of its innovative educational programs.

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.

Healing With Dolphins?

Written by Paul J. Blank on . Posted in Travel

In the Jewish tradition, dolphins are described with mythical qualities. In the Talmud (Bekhorot 1:5), we are told that dolphins “are fruitful and multiply like human beings.” Some manuscripts, however, say that dolphins “are fruitful and multiply with human beings”! Rashi, in discussing these passages, considers dolphins to be half human and half fish, using the old French word, syrene (mermaid).

Descending a Mountain, Honoring a Memory

Written by Paul J. Blank on . Posted in Travel

In the summer of 2008, I trekked in Nepal to the base camp of Mount Everest. After nine challenging days, I stood at an altitude of 18,100 feet, atop Mount Kala Patthar, and from there I had an unobstructed view of the summit of Mount Everest. It was truly magnificent and I was quite proud of my accomplishment. However, the most meaningful experience of the trek did not occur until two days later.

The Most Accomplished Student

Written by Paul J. Blank on . Posted in Travel

As a teacher at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School (CESJDS), I am always in awe of the impressive professions that former students have entered. There are accomplished university professors, successful entrepreneurs, skilled surgeons, and prominent rabbis, to name just a few. In my opinion, however, there is one student who attained a profession that surpasses all the others. I think of her often, particularly during the holiday of Chanukah.

International Street Safety: Look Both Ways and Check ASIRT

Written by Paul J. Blank on . Posted in Travel

Writing a travel column for Kol HaBirah has allowed me to share my experiences of visiting interesting and exotic places. Perhaps my articles have even inspired others to travel! This, of course, would be very flattering. It also, however, would impose upon me the responsibility to make my readers aware of the dangers of travel, as well as provide them with information that will encourage safe travel decisions.