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www.jewishnews.co.uk

31 JANUARY 2019

Travel

Aruba • Croatia • Copenhagen • Kosher holidays • Israel Edited by Brigit Grant


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Jewish News 31 January 2019

Travel / Where to go

Where shall we go?

Hillside Beach Resort

TURKISH DELIGHT

Hillside Beach Club is the ideal destination for a family break with a private beach and fabulous pool (as well as some adults-only quiet beaches), a fresh ‘baby buffet’ at the main restaurant, a baby park for ages 0-3, Kidside for 4-10 year olds and an Activity Center for 8-12 year olds. Hillside has partnered with the British Film Institute to provide workshops where children can plan their own film and sit with their parents to watch their own creation. www.hillsidebeachclub.com

SCOTTISH HIGH

A two-night Elite Whisky Experience at The Glasshouse in Edinburgh rightfully kicks off with a wee dram of Auchentoshan whisky. Warm up in The Snug or enjoy the sunshine on the hotel’s roof garden, followed by a seven-course dinner, with a carefully selected whisky served alongside each course. A personal guided distillery tour is the highlight of the trip. www.theglasshousehotel.co.uk

Venice of China

Stuck for holiday ideas? Louisa Walters highlights places to consider this year Alps and is also an enchanting, year-round destination with fabulous shopping, restaurants, golf and nightlife. www.palace.ch

CHINA IN YOUR HAND

GOLDEN GOA

White-powder sands, swaying coconut palms and burning orange sunsets - Goa boasts some of the most extraordinary beaches in India. ITC Grand Goa is a new resort in the south of the island, with a range of restaurants and an indulgent spa. www.itchotels.in

China is the top travel destination for 24% of Brits and this year the focus is on more authentic experiences. Air China has teamed up with travel expert and author Amy Fabris-Shi, who is based in Shanghai, to compile a list to encourage visitors to get off the beaten track. Visit the alleyways of Beijing, discover the intriguing Venice of the East, and cross one of the world’s longest glass bridges, where you can stare directly down onto the 590-foot drop. www.airchina.co.uk

MONKEYING AROUND FAIRY TALE GSTAAD

Although it has been known since the 1960s as a retreat for the rich and famous, this movie-set fairy-tale village resort is so much more. Gstaad offers the longest skiing season in the Bernese Chateau De Montcaud

Mollie’s Motel & Diner opens this weekend in Buckland, Oxfordshire. Inspired by the classic American diner, Mollie’s is a motel, diner and drive-thru from Nick Jones (Soho House). Bedrooms, including (interconnecting family and bunk rooms) have king-size beds, Egyptian cotton sheets, high-pressure showers and Cowshed products in the bathrooms. Reservations are made through the Mollie’s app, which is also used to check in and out, order food and unlock rooms. OPENING OFFER: Rooms from £50 for three months from 30th January, subject to availability. www.molliesmotel.com

ITALIAN ACTION

Chia Laguna, a luxurious five-star resort in Sardinia, has the perfect remedy for parents looking to entertain energetic children: football and dance academies run by experts during May half-term and throughout the summer. As parents relax in one of the most beautiful settings in the Mediterranean, children can have their pick of Campioni’s football coaching experience or learn dance routines with dance pro ‘AJ’ Aimee Azari. www.en.chialagunaresort.com/en/ourhotels

FRENCH FANCY

Château De Montcaud, a beautiful hideaway in France’s rural Cèze Valley, boasts a wealth of history and culture, and offers elegance, exquisite gastronomy and flawless service. Active guests can explore the area by bicycle and discover Cèze Valley’s many untrodden paths. Foodies can choose between a new fine dining restaurant and a casual bistro. www.chateaudemontcaud.com

AMERICAN DINER

The Monkey Island Estate opens next month in Bray-on-Thames. There will be 41 boutique bedrooms on this private island, as well as six individual luxury residences, a brasserie, stunning grounds and an innovative spa concept: The Floating Spa is based on a barge. www.monkeyislandestate.co.uk

CITY BREAKS

There are lots of 25% off deals on the Mr & Mrs Smith website but be quick as they need to be booked by 31 January. Villa Cora Florence, Nobis Hotel Copenhagen and Zetta Hotel San Francisco are just a few of the hotels on sale. www.mrandmrssmith.com Chia Laguna Resort


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Where to go / Travel

ASK THE EXPERTS

DAVID PETTITT at Pettitts Travel says 2019 is the year to be adventurous. “Sri Lanka is great for families and couples alike with super weather, beaches and friendly people. It’s easy to get around and as it’s a small island distances are short. Once you’re there its relatively inexpensive. Summer is also a great time to go to Indonesia – there’s lots to see and do.” David also recommends Eastern Canada – Quebec, Ontario and Niagara Falls. “For intrepid travellers who want to do something completely different Uzbekistan is a new hotspot, full of cultural interest,

unusual architecture, markets and a highspeed train to connect it all up,” he says. www.pettitts.co.uk However DAVID SEGEL at West End Travel says the uncertainty of Brexit and the unstable pound are making people more cautious about spending on holidays. “The wealthy will always travel, but families looking to take children away will be keeping a close eye on exchange rates before committing. Spain is always popular and if the pound continues to fall hotels will start to price in

Sterling,” he says. “Malaga, Marbella and Mallorca are great for families with lots of options for self-catering, which keeps costs down. Israel is popular and now that there is a lot of competition between the airlines it’s cheaper to fly there. The cruise market is very good value – now even young people are cruising!”For the more adventurous, David recommends South America, Brazil, Costa Rica and Australia. And if you’re considering Kathmandu this spring you might want to check out the seder night. www.westendtravel.co.uk ANTHONY GOTHOLD at Travelink says that families should look at Costa Rica. “With

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direct flights from the UK and lots of fun activities, summer is considered low season so it’s much more cost effective than going at Christmas. Thailand is another good long-haul option, offering culture, activities and sunshine. For older people or those travelling without kids, cruises are perfect, and river cruises are expanding so there is more choice - India is wonderful for the adventurous and Greece for those looking to relax”. Travelink can offer kosher hotels with full-board options in lots of locations, including Crete. www.travelinkuk.com


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Jewish News 31 January 2019

Travel / Aruba

Aruba ARUBA

Jack Mendel braved roads, waves and cocktails on a Caribbean island with a Jewish history COMPETITION

Win

A Neilson Holiday For Two What would you say to a free week on the beach worth over £1500? Award-Winning Travel Club Elite have partnered with Neilson Holidays to offer one lucky couple a free 7-night holiday at one of Neilson’s stunning Beachclubs.* Take a look at what this fantastic Neilson prize includes: • • • • • • • • • •

How to

Direct flights and transfers Beachclub accommodation Mountain biking with guided rides Fitness classes Yoga and Pilates Windsurfing with RYA tuition & course Dinghy sailing Wakeboarding & waterskiing Spa/Wellbeing facilities Children’s Clubs

Brickell Bay Beach Club & Spa

I

held on for dear life, while the Jeep jumped up and down on mud roads, as my head bumped on the low roof. Our driver, Patrick, shouts “tell me if anyone falls off ! I have a lot to show you!” So much for the beach holiday I was planning. This, according to Patrick was “real Aruba, not the plastic stuff ” which, after a jet-lagged night sleep following a nine hour flight with KLM was more than I was expecting. But as Patrick requested, I strapped myself into the soft-top tiger-painted Jeep (courtesy of ABC Tours) for a drive around the arid desert in the north of Aruba. The jeep took us from ornate old church to lighthouse to epic coastline where the sea crashes into rocky beaches too ferocious for swimming. There are cacti everywhere, wild donkeys and goats roam free, and the national park sits at the centre of this rural part of the island - a world away from the lights and life, restaurants and bars of the southern coast. Our island guide, Paula, ferried us to our bus which had the number plate ‘One Happy Island’. I assumed the plate was a

tourism gimmick, but every vehicle has it because Aruba is a very happy place. And caring. Approach the curb to cross the road and cars stop to beckon you across. When walking the street, people smile and say hello; an unknown phenomenon for Londoners. And when you’re eating, waiters crowd around to check on you and repeatedly refill your drink. I didn’t even see an argument over a parking space on this ‘happy island’ which is so dependent upon visitors. With roughly a third of its GDP from tourism and one of the highest rates of returning visitors;

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Wild donkeys in the arid desert-like north, surrounded by Cacti


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Aruba / Travel they have mastered making you feel welcome. So it’s easy to be a tourist in Aruba. Most speak English, as well as Dutch, Spanish and the local language, Papiamento. Everywhere accepts the US dollar, as well as the local currency, Florin, which has some square coins! I stayed at Brickell Bay Hotel, a two-minute walk from the beautiful Palm Beach resort, which lies empty in the day and teems with life at night, as the lights on the island’s many casinos start to flash. Brickell Bay has everything you need, including a large pool with a bar in the centre. Its continental-style breakfast was hearty, and the restaurant is adjacent to a busy street so you can watch the world go by. My room was large, with comfy beds, and all you need to stave off the heat, even at night. During the day, it’s an island for waterrelated activities, including stunning beach flamingos, fishing, deep sea diving, snorkeling, sailing, submarine tours, windsurfing, kitesurfing; and the list goes on. Most enjoyable for me, a non-swimmer, was the four-hour champagne breakfast catamaran trip. Complete with three diving stops -including the site of a sunken German warship - it was a chance to gaze at the crystal-clear shark-free ocean, and try the local cocktails. The gentle breeze and slightly cloudy sky are both permanent fixtures of the island along with the cocktails, my favourite being the bright orange Ariba Aruba cocktail - but the captain of the ship kept its make-up a secret. Aruba has a long and at times dark colonial history, though as a part of Holland, Dutch is widely taught and spoken, and the flag is everywhere. But there are also influences from Spain as well as migrants from Venezuela, the Caribbean and Latin America. This is most obvious in the bars and restaurants, many of which are sea food-based with ingredients caught seconds before you order. At Zeerovers fish restaurant, creatures swim below your feet and you can see them through the cracks in the decking , while on the Palm Beach, at Pelican Pier and Moomba bar seafood features heavily, but grills and burgers are also available. Moomba has a great vibe, with tables and chairs on the beach under a tarpaulin and my vegetarian fajita was a delicious accompaniment to the watermelon mojito. If seafood isn’t your thing, Old Cunucu House, inland, offers a more European flavour, including vegetarian options such as pasta, while a number of cats purr on a patio waiting for scraps to eat. It’s much more intimate, even if they did accidentally serve me chicken, topped with cheese. Not very Kosher. Aruba may be ‘One Happy Island’, but for years, it was also a place of refuge for those fleeing hardship, including European Jews. It has a profound if hidden Jewish history, with former Prime Minister, Mike Emen, a member of the tribe, and the Aloe factory, which produces soaps has a plaque at the entrance dedicated by director, Louis A. Posner, to his parents, Israel and Aida. The Island’s small but proud community is based at the Conservative Synagogue in the capital Oranjestad, but despite having a fulltime rabbi it has shrunk recently as younger Jews leave for opportunities elsewhere. The challenge for the community has become more acute since 2013, with the introduction of Chabad near the resorts in Palm Beach, giving tourists a more convenient alternative. Benjie Pick, a Jewish US-born Arubian who owns the ‘La Moderna’ clothing shop, told me about the fascinating history of the community which was made up of mainly

Polish, Russian, Lithuanian and other European Jews, looking for a better life. It was established in 1963, and Pick said the Jews who arrived worked very hard, and it was “a safe haven”, with virtually no antisemitism. Those founding members have now gone and the community’s future is, he says, reliant on “ten of us, picking money out of our pocket and donating and helping which is not going to take too much longer if it continues that way.” While bearing in mind the struggles of the local shul, I visited Chabad, meeting US-Israeli Rabbi Ahron Blasberg, his Leeds-born wife Chaya, and their four beautiful kids. Before I walked into his house, I noticed the number plate had ‘One Happy Island’, at the top, and ‘Chabad’, in big letters below; for which the irony was not lost on both of us, as we discussed the plight of the local community. He said he “totally understands” their concerns, but added that since Chabad’s arrival “Judaism just grew.” “People became more active. Holidays became more celebrated”, he said. While for the first time ever during the month of November they recently got a minyan, during last Shabbat they hosted more than 35 people, and in ‘highseason’ it can be up to 150. He has tapped into a demand from tourists visiting the island’s resorts and wanting to touch base with their Judaism, as he proudly tells me he even hosted former PM Mike Emen the previous week. Being Jewish in Aruba isn’t as difficult as you may think, he tells me, with most food imported from the USA being kosher, and regular ships from Florida coming in, which can have kosher meat added. Reflecting on the friendliness of islanders, he told me cars honked at him while he was walking on shabbat with a talit on, but said: “People ask me if that is antisemitism? And I say no! These people are offering me a lift and I have to say thank you, but no!”

JACK’S ARUBA FACT BOX Expedia offers 7 nights at the Brickell Bay Beach Club & Spa from £977* per person staying in a Superior room. Includes return flights with KLM from London Heathrow. *based on a departure date of 04 May, subject to availability

www.brickellbayaruba.com ABC Island Tour US$79 per adult www.abc-aruba.com Pelican Adventures Catamaran Tour US$56 per adult www.pelican-aruba.com Windsurf Class with Active Vacations, beginners lesson $50 per person www.aruba-active-vacations.com/windsurf/

From top left: Aboard a catamaran with Pelican Adventures; Pelican Pier; Laying Teffilin with Rabbi Ahron Blasberg of Chabad Aruba; Sunset meal on the beach at Moomba with a lovely sunset.


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Jewish News 31 January 2019

Travel / Portugal

Most wanted DESTINATION

A timely initiative by the Portuguese makes their country the place to go for Passover, says Allie Shaw

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PESACH SPECIALS IN ISRAEL

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INDIA – 6 November Mumbai, Kerala & Golden Triangle

Jewish Cultural Festival

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Northern Ethiopia

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hile other countries deliberate over their post-Brexit relationship with the UK, Portugal has thrown down the welcome mat. Irrespective of deal or no deal, the Portuguese have decided to embrace rather than conspire against us by announcing plans for dedicated fast-track access in their airports to British tourists. Instead of devising ways to make it difficult, they will be creating special lanes for the millions of Brits who visit Portugal every year and in addition the 23,000 ex-pats will be able to retain their residence, state healthcare and recognition of UK academic qualifications. At last a chink of optimism on the bleak horizon at a time when many are tracing European relatives for alternative passport options (try Passportia.)This is exceptionally good news for those looking to have future hols in a country that still has temperatures of 22 degrees right now and what better time to start than by celebrating Passover at the 5 * Real Marina Hotel & Spa in Olhao. Pesach in the Algarve 2019 as it is officially known will start on Friday April 19 with a week-long programme that will keep all guests happy and occupied be they Ashkenazi or Sephardi, young or old. Named after the marina it overlooks, the

Call Marcel 07712 290520 marcel.manson@westendtravel.co.uk ATOL cover will only apply if booked with flight through West End Travel

Head Office: 4-6 Canfield Place, London NW6 3BT • 020 7644 1500 • E: admin@westendtravel.co.uk Edgware Office: 70 Edgware Way, Edgware, HA8 8JS • 020 8958 3188 • E: info@westendtravel.co.uk

www.westendtravel.co.uk Ria Formosa

hotel is a bright, well-lit contemporary property with marble entrance that is 15 minutes from the airport and within easy access of great shopping and lots of must-see destinations such as Faro, Tavira and Olhao itself which can be toured by Tuk Tuk. Guests coming for the chagim will have exclusive use of the hotel, the pools inside and heated outside, the luxury spa and the dining-rooms which will be under Glatt Kosher, Halak Bet Yosef supervision of the Manchester Beth Din for the duration. Be prepared for lots of food as there will be three lavish meals served a day with menus prepared by talented chefs led by celebrated caterer Rochelle Sassoon. To satisfy swimmers and those who like to eat there will be poolside shwarma and salads on Chol Hamoed and if you are still hungry, the generously-stocked snack and soft drink bar will be open throughout the day. For spiritual fulfillment Minyanim will be available three times a day with inspirational talks from Rabbi and Rebetzin Jonathan and Raaya Tawil and Rabbi and Rebetzin Jonathan and Joanne Dove of SEED. The entertainment will be non-stop, notably for the children who will be Dancing with Louise and enjoying ther dance, drama, craft and superhero workshops. The 132 hotel rooms and 12 deluxe suites are large, comfortable and perfect for those with little ones in tow and the exciting opportunities outside of Real Marina include , water sports, swimming with Dolphins, Go Karting, Bike Tours and the shopping mentioned earlier. And with the Portuguese throwing down the welcome mat, this is the place to spend Passover. For more information Visit: www.pesachinthealgarve.com Or call 020 7101 4068


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Portugal / Travel

Why PORTUGAL? With the Portuguese keen to keep us visiting, it seems only right to give you 10 reasons to do so‌

1

To stay at the Pine Cliffs Resort in the Algarve which is part of Luxury Hotels and even at the height of summer remains a haven of tranquility.

6

Canoe on Furnas Lake in the Azores, a Crater Lake known for its green tinged blue waters that sits between hills covered in mud volcanoes and hot springs.

7

Spend a Sunday afternoon dancing and watching the sunset at the Thai Beach cafĂŠ on Rocha Baixinha, close to Vila Moura. (thaibeach.pt)

2

To Explore Ria Formosa Natural Park near Olhau which is made up of a large lagoon and coastline of marshes, salt pans, inlets and lakes that stretches for 60 kilometers.

8

Take the whole family in fact to Algoz to spend the day at Krazy World the cutest little zoo with animal shows, bird-feeding, swimming pool and zip lining. (krazyworld.com)

3 4

For drinkinh port at the Porto Calem the oldest winery in the Vila Nova de Gaia which hugs the bank of the Duoro River in Porto. To attend the Medieval Festival every August at Silves Castle in Xelb which used to be the capital of the Moorish Algarve.

5

To enjoy the art and sculpture created in the Algarve by ex-pats Jessica Dunn (jessicadunnart. com) Toin Adams(toinadams.com) and Mondo Pena.

9 10

Try the best falafels outside Israel at Shalom in Albufeira

Stay at one of the three self-contained chalets at Casa De Mondo in Bouliqueme and sign up for a cookery course or some comedy writing.(casademondo.com)

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Jewish News 31 January 2019

Travel / Lisbon

For the love of

LISBON A French couple’s passion for Portuguese Jewish history is now the number one tour

A

small community changed all that mong the many stories that when Patricia started cooking kosher emerged during the week of meals for the guests who stay in their Holocaust Remembrance two double-bedroom B&B. was the New York Times “And not just any meals,” adds feature on Portuguese diplomat ArisPatricia with pride. “I am French tides de Sousa Mendes. and guests tell me they have never Described as Portugal’s ‘Schindler’, tasted Kosher food as good as mine. I Sousa Mendes was appointed consulalso cook Portuguese dishes and give general in Bordeaux in 1940 where them a kosher spin.” he saved tens of thousands of lives by Walking tours are known to issuing visas only to then be punished increase hunger, but the couple don’t by his own government after the war. He died in obscurity in 1954 , poor and Patricia and Joseph Lustigman believe in serving up history at speed. “Our tour happens at strolling pace,” reduced to being fed by a local Jewish quips Patricia and it soup kitchen. is a delicious balance of history and anecdotes that Patricia Lustigman knows his story well and tells it in begins in the 12th century taking in the first expulsion vivid colour to the tourists who join her Kosher Lisbon of Jews from Portugal by the Visigoths, through to the tour. As the owner and genial hostess of the only Kosher period of the 13th and 15th centuries and on to the B&B, Patricia and husband Yosef are legends in Lisbon Portuguese Inquisition.” which has been their home for the past 30 years. “I The role the remarkably courageous and humble actually met my husband in Lisbon on the first shabbat Jewish community of Lisbon played during the Second I visited,” recalls Patricia. “We were neighbours in Paris, World War and Sousa Mendes is discussed as the but incredibly had to go to Portugal to meet.” tour passes the magnificent synagogue of Lisbon, and The couple lost many relatives in the Holocaust while beautiful old quarters of Bairro Alto, Baixa, Carmo and others survived as members of the resistance and it is Chiado. A Shabbat special with the Lustigmans includes their own history that enthuses their passion for telling Friday night dinner, Saturday lunch and gourmet takeothers about Jewish Portugal. away kosher meals on request and is unforgettable “With us you will pursue a road less travelled by touraccording to many. ists ” says Patricia who describes their tour as ‘one of a “We got a real picture of what Jewish life was really like kind.’ “They will hear extraordinary historical facts and over the centuries as Patricia is a true investigative histounfamiliar stories, but the most important thing is that rian,” aid Lydia Mitch from Israel who stayed at the B&B. Jewish people get the warmest welcome. “They planned our entire sight-seeing tour for us and we Did you know that there was a DNA national blood test could have listened to their stories for another week.” for citizens that revealed one in four Portuguese have If you want to stay with the Lustigmans book well in sephardi blood? It’s amazing.” advance they have limited numbers and you will want to For the longest time visitors to Lisbon who kept be one of them. kashrut really struggled as there were no kosher options www.kosherinlisbon.com but the Lustigmans who are dedicated members of the

Lisbon Jewish Memorial in memory of the Jewish massacre of 1506

Lisbon’s Grand Synagogue faces a courtyard

The historic trams are a popular attraction


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31 January 2019 Jewish News

Cannes/ Travel

Pesach by the

PALMS

Fancy a starry seder? Brie Bailey can assist history MOVIE STARS AND MATZO. La Croisette and charoset. As unlikely as these pairings may be they come together beautifully when Passover is organised by D’holy Days in Cannes. Picture yourself for a moment spending Pesach on the Cote D’azur just weeks before the film festival takes place and the excitement is tangible. The stars won’t arrive until May, but for host and hostess Shlomo and Dolly Lelouche all guests are treated like A’Listers and get a five star experience at the Novotel Cannes Montfleury. This is the company’s fifth year hosting at the 180-room property and they say it gets better every year. “Every year we add to the experience bringing new interesting chefs and altering the decoration,” says Tunisian-born Dolly. “The Novotel is in a quiet and green residential area that is a few minutes walk from the Croisette, the beach and the luxury shops. It is perfect.” As a mother of eight (“four boys, four girls – and we didn’t plan it” Dolly knows how to project manage and the letters from her guests spell that out . As one wrote: A l’attention de Monsieur et Madame Lelouche - après ce beau séjour de Pessah “ que vous nous avez offert: - Merci pour votre chaleureux accueil - Merci pour toutes vos attentions , pour votre présence constante et votre dévouement – which roughly translated says: “Thanks for the beautiful stay, warm welcome , attention to detail, constant

The luxurious Novotel Cannes Montfleury is in a quiet and green area that is just a few minutes walk from the Croisette

presence and dedication.” And that’s the sort of testimonial 2019’s Passover week in Cannes will generate as the couple have more renowned chefs and pastry chefs creating French, Mediterranean and Oriental cuisine that is Glatt Hide Lamehadrine under the strict supervision of Rav Mordechai Rottenberg chlita. Entertainment will be provided by the Franco-Israeli star Aaron Meir Hayoun who will perform all kinds of music as well as the oriental singer Yoel Zetlaoui. Those who can hold a tune will get to prove it at the karaoke shows which will Aaron Meir also be for the children who will Hayoun be constantly occupied at the swimming pools and the Mini Club which will operate from 10am to 5pm every day with a team of professionals leading all activities excursions to hamoed h’ol. There will also be stories for the kids during services which will be Ashkenazi and Sephardi and orchestrated by “renowned H’azanim.” With eight children and many years of hosting festivals at hotels around the globe, Monsieur et Madame Lelouche know what it takes to keep an audience happy and the majestic palms give Pesach extra glitz. www.dholydays.com Tel and whatsapp: +336 60 88 26 / +336 64 38 06 36

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Jewish News 31 January 2019

Travel / Berlin

BERLIN BECKONS

Shula and Dana

If keeping kosher has kept you from visiting the German city, it won’t any more, says Louisa Walters, who met the mother and daughter making the difference

SUMMER IN BERLIN. Not an obvious choice for the time of year, but the history and architecture of the German city demands to be seen. This year, those who keep kosher can do so in five-star luxury with Kosher by Shula at The Intercontinental. The initiative is a first by mother-and-daughter team Shula and Dana who have worked closely with the hotel to create a package for kosher families this August, which is when Berlin truly flourishes. From 11 August to 1 September, Kosher by Shula will occupy 100 bedrooms, an exclusive dining hall and a VIP lobby in the luxurious hotel, which sits next to the Tiergarten Park and walking distance of Brandenburg Gate. There will be Shabbat services, a large Friday night dinner, a Kiddush, evening entertainment and a series of talks by illuminating speakers. Milky breakfast and meaty dinner will be laid on in the hotel with a packed lunch for when

guests go out. It goes without saying that there is a lot of Jewish history in Berlin as well as the cultural legacy provided by writers, artists and musicians. The Jewish presence is everywhere from the cobblestones chequered with Stolpersteine (golden plaques engraved with the names of Holocaust victims) and the impressive Jewish Museum, which opened in 2001, to the Neue Synagogue and the Holocaust Memorial. There are many options for Jewish heritage tours, all of which Dana knows and can recommend. Shula was born in Russia and emigrated to Israel in the 1970s where Dana, now 32, was born, before the family moved to Germany. They still have friends, family, business interest and a home in Israel, but they play an active role in the 20,000-strong Jewish community in Berlin. “I grew up in a traditional modern Orthodox

home,” says Dana, who lives in a smart suburb with her husband Eddy, and four-year-old son, Noah. “However, a few years ago, my mother started to do some studying and has now become Charedi. She is extremely creative and full of great ideas. “The Intercontinental is where many Jewish functions and events take place, so it seemed the natural fit for this three-week kosher takeover.” Dana’s father passed away last October, but had been extremely supportive of his wife and daughter’s plans and gave the project his blessing. With only two kosher supermarkets and two kosher restaurants, keeping the laws of kashrut in Berlin is a challenge, but one that Dana embraces. She does, however, love coming to London to eat out. “There is so much choice!” she says. Thanks to Dana and her mother, Berlin will have a wider selection, too. www.kosherbyshula.com

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Eddie’s kosher travel / Travel

Around the

KOSHER WORLD A CAREER SWITCH that took him from steel manufacturer to kosher travel operator was not one David Walles ever envisaged for himself, but introducing clients to the joys of luxury cruises, African safaris, Alpine ski trips and high-end land tour vacations now fills his time. It was a foray into hosting a Pesach programme in a Queensland hotel that changed everything for Melborne-raised David and his wife Chana, as their five-star event in what he describes as ,”the Miami Beach of Australia” was so popular it ran for five consecutive years. The desire to make Aliyah was always there for the couple, but their experience as hospitality hosts took a new direction while on a pilot trip to Israel in 2008. “I had a fortuitous meeting with

the son-in-law of the late founder of Eddie’s Travel& Tourism Ltd which started in 1979,” explains Walles. “It was already an established tour operator catering to the needs of the kosher Jewish traveller and Eddie had just passed away. His son-in-law was looking for someone to buy the business and it became a no brainer for us, letting us turn our passion into a fulltime business and fulfill our Aliyah dream.” The Walles Family added Pesach hotels to their offerings each year and began operating kosher cruises and land tours now operating under the Kosher Traveler name. Focusing on providing fabulous kosher food at unique destinations without compromising on quality, Walles grew the business to keep up with the changing kosher travel market demands. “There is a vacation package we have on offer for every day of the year,” says Walles. “It used to be a seasonal business, but it no longer revolves only around Pesach and Sukkot.” www.koshertravelers.com

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Travel / Sheraton Tel Aviv

The big REVEAL It’s all change at the Sheraton Tel Aviv, writes Brigit Grant

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enovations are an upheaval and not something hoteliers do lightly. While a lick of fresh paint and new throw pillows will do the trick in a suburban semi, it doesn’t in a huge 318-room property. To close when the decorators are in does not please loyal customers, which is why the Sheraton Tel Aviv tip-toed thoughtfully around guests while embarking on a major refurbishment.

Formerly owned by Stawood, in late 2016, Marriott International became the new Sheraton owners and shortly after did an in-depth study to understand the DNA of their guests. Not for biological reasons, but to determine their behavior pattern and requirements when staying at Sheraton Hotels in order to grow the established brand which is having a global re-fresh with Tel Aviv heading the queue.

“This period of investigation which involved vox-popping guests revealed that Sheraton customer loyalty is hereditary,” says Franco Vella, Tel Aviv’s General Manager. “Their parents took them to Sheratons and in turn they have brought their own children. It is not unusual for the third generation of a family to come to the hotel. The other finding was that Sheraton clients - some of whom visit us monthly – are more focused on their work and choose us for business trips, not to party.” Those who know Tel Aviv will find it hard to imagine not being tempted by the vibrant 24 hour night-life, but Sheraton are focused on their guests and the study allowed them to model the hotel rooms accordingly. “The design of the new room – offers more

of the comforts of home,” says Malta-born Vella, who has been in Israel for five years. “The room has a much warmer feeling now and it a 55-inch TV as no one has 26-inch TVs at home any more. Guests also want to work in a more relaxed environment on a sofa or a chair – not facing the wall, so we have made that possible and guarantee good quality wi-fi. Now every room in the hotel is a beautifully themed deluxe room.” Guests arriving at Sheraton Tel Aviv in April will be the first to stay in the new rooms and no doubt Mr Vella will be keen to hear the verdict. He has every reason to be quietly confident that they will be a hit along with everything else beloved by generations. www.marriott.com


31 January 2019 Jewish News

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Away Beauty/ Travel

Get the TRAVEL LOOK Be prepared for grudging looks when brandishing a tan in January, says Brigit Grant. It seems a healthy glow is unacceptable when everyone else is UK grey, but they don’t have to be. With the right regime there is a way to create the illusion of travel without stepping out of Borehamwood 1. Moisturise intensely, even those with

oily skins. We slaver cream on in the sun and underestimate UV light in winter. For summer soft skin use Perricone MD’s Cold Plasma Plus collection with its specific products for smoothing the eye neck and face (£75 starter kit now on sale at www.perriconemd.co.uk). ). Also love beauty influencer Alex Steinherr’s Plum & Glow Serum in Moisturiser (£5 at Primark)

2. What about the illusive tan? To create the realistic kind add Illuminating Tanning Drops (£39 www.vitage.co.uk to your moisturiser. I sometimes add a drop on my nose for that extra glow and I’ve mastered freckle sprinkling with the best fine liner (£14.95 flawlesslashesbyloretta.com)

3. Eyes always look bright and rested after hols so try RE9 Advanced Prepwork Gel Eye Masks (£48 www.arbonne.com) as they transform tired, puffy looking eyes to the wide awake-kind. Also consider the new range of Revitalash (revitalash.co.uk) products that create vacation voom such as hydrating eye gel and primer, the double-ended volumising primer/ mascara and high-def tinted brow gel. 4. Once you have the colour you need to edge up the whites of your teeth with Glo’s Charcoal Deep Stain Remover Whitening Treatment Toothpaste which tastes good and traps colour particles (£5 Boots)

5. Or why not try newly-launched WBella Brightening Powder (£12.95 www.bellabrighton.co.uk ) which has a unique blend of activated charcoal, COQ10, MSM and Hyaluronic Acid. All used efficiently will soon have them glaring.

SING ALONG! Despite all the protestations and tweets for a boycott, at the time of writing this only Bulgaria has pulled out of Eurovision 2019 – and for financial reasons. Costs to take part exceeded the country’s budget evidently and if Israel’s Ð28.5 million to host is anything to go by, this is a pricey sing song. When Netta Barzilai’s song Toy won for Israel last year she shouted “Next year in Jerusalem” to millions of viewers, possibly not banking on it being in Tel Aviv. Still it was a line she couldn’t resist and we loved it – but now we can only ‘Dare to Dream’

(slogan for the show) of getting a hotel room and be part of the balagan on Sunday 18 May. Hosted by Bar Refaeli (alleged fraud charges aside) and ArabIsraeli poet Lucy Ayoub, as well as TV stars Erez Tal and Asi Azar , there will be a lot going on and off stage as well as in the Eurovision Village at Charles Clore Park where there will be live performances by artists and DJ’s. Suffice it to say that the contest has lead to price hikes as 20,000 visitors are expected in the city and

Visit: www.eurovisionworld.com

even youth hostels have got in on the act with one on Levontin Street that would normally charge NIS 454 for a room more than doubling the price to NIS 983. Check with all the greats – Dan, Sheraton, Carlton, Royal Beach – for a space and tickets to the contest are only being sold in February through the official ticketing company for Eurovision 2019.

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Travel / Hayokra

VILLA VILLAGIO

KAZA MIYA

A TIME TO

DREAM Hayokra Villas offer property you can only picture with your eye closed – until you see them

WE HAVE ALL HAD THAT DREAM. The one where you wander through a huge villa, sun streaming through the window and head to the double Jacuzzi with a cocktail in your hand. Hayokra know that dream which is why they are able to offer magnificent villas in Israel such as the Kaza Miya Estate in Moshav Nativ Hashayara in the western Galilee. With four luxurious suites – each has a King size double room – five bathrooms – and a dining room for 20 with the finest tableware, it isn’t hard to picture the kind of

fantastic family holiday you would have there. There’s a 65 inch TV with a home theatre system to keep everyone entertained inside while outside lies the pool (heated in winter) and some seriously comfortable garden furniture. And it gets better. Next to the courtyard are horse stables, so guests can go riding – possibly in the direction of a nearby gourmet restaurant, the beach, Keshet Cave or Rosh Hanikra. With a synagogue a few minutes walk away and meals and spa treatments that can be ordered in advance, it’s hard to imagine

anywhere better to go for a family, group or business event – other than say, Villa Villagio set in landscaped garden with its’ breathtaking views of the Sea of Galilee. Vilaggio has eight large and luxurious four-level suites, including a double bed with an orthopedic mattress, mini bar fridge, satin leather armchairs and a huge 60-inch LCD TV. The heated pool at 11 metres is exceptionally large and surrounded by sun beds, so there is no worry about where to lie down after stepping out of the dry Finnish sauna.

There is even a Hurricane Higgins – size snooker table next to the pool which twinkles at night due to carefully- placed lighting. Oh and let’s not forget the karaoke bar with professional amplification system. With enough room to accommodate 70 guests at a party, Villa Villagio is the perfect venue, unless it’s Kaza Miya. Hayokra will let you know. www.hayokra.co.il

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PESACH 2019 SARDINIA, ITALY - FORTE VILLAGE RESORT 5* UNIQUE DECOR * REFINED GASTRONOMY * SHOWER OF ACTIVITIES KID’S CLUB * EXCEPTIONAL ANIMATION * COMFORTABLE AND LUXURIOUS ROOMS * GLATT KOSHER

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Travel / Sun seder

BBRITISH RITISHNNATIONALITY ATIONALITY

GERMAN ERMANCCITIZENSHIP ITIZENSHIP G

IMMIGRATION UKUK IMMIGRATION

A different kind of

PASSOVER PESACH IS JUST WEEKS AWAY and rather than stressing about the cleaning, cooking, then more cleaning, call Olam Holidays. Kosher Deluxe travel is their speciality and they have organised the very best holidays for the chagim in the

all about relaxation not least of all because the kids have their own club just as you have your own spa. Olam are also hosting Pesach in Italy at Hotel Fiuggi Terme Resort & Spa which is an elegant hotel that has also recently been refurbished, and where every aspect has been carefully designed to offer the maximum in comfort. Located inside a

PASSPORTIA WISHES YOU COULD YOU CLAIM GERMAN CITIZENSHIP? PASSPORTIA WISHES YOU HAPPY NEW NEWYEAR YEAR AA HAPPY If your parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent was born or resident in German territory, then you may have a claim to German citizenship, even if your ancestor lost it.

Why claim German citizenship?

 An EU passport and identity card to facilitate travel across Europe We would be glad to hear from you if you require assistance or  be A secure live, work, or retire the EU and EEA We would gladright totohear from youthroughout if you require assistance or advice regarding in the coming year.  Thecitizenship right to one of or the immigration world's strongest passports advice regarding citizenship orwell-funded immigration in the coming year.  Access to a first class, consular service

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OUR Sprepare ERVICES INCLUDE : We assess claims, obtainUK evidence, submit applications with a letter of Nationality andand Immigration representation. We have an extensive library of laws, judgements legal commentary. Nationality andRegistration Immigration and Citizenship by Ancestry UK Naturalisation Passport Applications Citizenship by Ancestry Registration We are ambitious for our clients.Naturalisation We are willingCitizenship to challenge the GermanPassport authoritiesApplications and to take German on unusual claims or cases with patchy evidence. Been refused or told you are not eligible? Restoration of Citizenship Research CitizenshipPassport Applications German We would still like to hear from you. Restoration of Citizenship Research Passport Applications Our advisors are fluent in German.

park, surrounded by plants and flowers of every species , the world’s most prestigious hotels. hotel which has a wellHotel Fiuggi Terme Resort & Spa And 2019 is no exception. ness centre and spa Is First there is Salou on the less than 60km from Costa Dorada in Spain where the Passover celeRome. With inspiring scholars, superlative brations are being held at Hotel Best Negresco day camps, teen programmes, and nightly Chol where the rooms are newly renovated. Hamoed, it will be a Passover to remember. Located on the sea front and near the Playa Larga the hotel has incredible views of Cap • www.olamholidays.com or Salou and the beach. At this magical location it’s call +44 (0) 203 318 2194

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Past customers have rated our service 4.9 stars out of 5 on Google Reviews.

or email info@passportia.org Contact us on +44 (0) 20 7993 8975 www.passportia.org/jn or email info@passportia.org Albert Buildings, 49 Queen Victoria Street, City of London EC4N 4SA www.passportia.org/jn Albert Buildings, 49 Queen Victoria Street, City of London EC4N 4SA

Albert Buildings, 49 Queen Victoria Street, City of London EC4N 4SA


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Travel / Croatia

Unexpected CROATIA Louisa and Simon Walters had a blissful time off the beaten track in the Balkans

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roatia’s popularity as a holiday destination has been growing steadily since 2013 when it joined the EU. The 11pm curfew on outdoor music in Ibiza has also raised the appeal of the summer-long music festivals on the Dalmatian coast. But with popularity comes predictability, and a trip to Croatia always includes Dubrovnik, Split or Hvar. But it doesn’t have to. Last summer, we toured the northern and less-explored part of this beautiful country, a region known for its hilltop towns, magnificent countryside, Italian influence and, in August, the truffle season. But first, a little culture in the form of the city of Zadar. An easy two-hour flight from London, Zadar is a delightful, unspoilt, uncommercialised city, full of charm, which completely comes alive at night. We stayed at Hotel Bastion, from where we ambled through the streets past the Sea Gate and the Land Gate, a square with five fountains that once supplied water to the city, and the imposing Church of St Donatus, now used for concerts. We chanced upon an Andy Warhol retrospective at the Rector’s Palace and a surprising number of really good menswear shops. There are loads of outdoor bars and lounges, which create a superb buzz, and lots of places for ice cream. Best of all is the unique ‘sea organ’ – a construction of stone pipes under the sea causing the water to play music. Crowds gather there at sunset and it’s magical. At Pet Bunara restaurant, on a perfect-for-people-watching terrace

in the Old Town, we feasted on stuffed turkey breast with apricots and almonds and discovered the joy of Croatian wines. From Zadar, we drove inland to the Plitvice Lakes. This is Croatia’s most popular National Park and can be summed up in three words: Mag. Nifi. Cent. The lakes are jaw-droppingly beautiful, with see-to-the-bottom water in shades of blue never achieved by Farrow & Ball and forestry to rival California’s Yosemite Park, with theatrical waterfalls and walking trails, which have views that leave the Highlands of Scotland wanting. This is daytripper/hiker territory, and accommodation choices are limited. Dinner options even more so… we stayed in a small lodge where we were offered ‘meat or fish’ to eat, ‘red or white’ to drink, and schnapps on tap. Istria is a four-hour drive west, along winding narrow mountainous roads, tunnels as long as six miles, and gravity-defying bridges. The route took us through miles of nothingness and lots of villages until we arrived at ours, Brtonigla, home to the pretty San Rocco boutique hotel. Everything about this family-run idyll consisting of comfortable bedrooms, friendly service and pretty gardens with trees laden with ripe figs is reminiscent of Italy in the 1990s. It also houses what is widely reputed to be the best restaurant in Istria. We ‘fine’ dined on the pretty terrace, dipping fresh bread in the hotel’s own, rich, peppery olive oil, harvested from the olive trees that surround the pool, and enjoying course after course of truffleenhanced dishes, plus a simple sea bream steamed with herbs from the little herb

border we could see from the table. During the day, we lazed by the pool, and when we got hungry we ambled into the sleepy, ramshackle village for a simple lunch of truffle frittata. From this base, we visited a host of hilltop towns. Groznjan, a haven for artists, is full of little galleries, cobbled streets and alleyways. It is reached by twisting roads up mountains and through valleys, before you leave the car outside the medieval walls and proceed on foot into the 16th century. Views from these heights take your breath away. In Oprtalj, an almost abandoned medieval hilltop village – only 55 people live here – we feasted on tagliatelle in a creamy sauce. We ate dinner at Konoba Mondo high in the hills in Motovun, a village whose ancient history is evident in every cobblestone, watching the sun set over the valley to the strains of a lone saxophonist – quite the most romantic spot I’ve ever eaten in. We had beautifully tender beefsteak at Stari Podrum, a lively, modern restaurant totally at odds with its location in countryside so remote that there is no phone signal and no other building for at least 2km. (We drove back from here on pitch dark roads in a thunderstorm with lightning that brilliantly lit up the sky – terrifying but thrilling.) Rovinj, the largest and best known of the hilltop towns, climbs up from the sea and is highly reminiscent of the Italian Riviera. Here we dined at La Puntulina, watched the magnificent sunset, tucked into seabream and sipped cocktails on the rocks – and by that I mean our table position, not the ice in our drinks. We ended our stay with two nights in

The terrace of the Meneghetti Estate

Rovinj is the largest and best known of the hilltop towns


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Croatia / Travel

From left: The magnificent Plitvice lakes; Louisa and her husband at the Meneghetti Estate, a winery with a 25-bedroom Relais & Chateau hotel; the Croatian city of Zadar, on the Dalmation coast; the swimming pool at the Meneghetti Estate

sublime luxury at the Meneghetti Estate, a winery with a 25-bedroom Relais & Chateau hotel at the end of two miles of rocky dirt track. This nirvana offers peace, solitude, acres and acres of vineyards and olive groves, two beautiful swimming pools, vast bedrooms and magnificent bathrooms all in an elegant, rustic style. There’s a shuttle to the (rocky) beach a mile away, bikes to hire and spa facilities to indulge in. Dinner is a six-course tasting menu featuring a wonderful summer ceviche, sublime artichoke and truffle tortellini and tender beef cheeks with dumplings, plus wines to match from grapes that are grown a few metres from

your table. Breakfast is a lavish affair laid out in the country style kitchen. Our final meal in Istria, at Barba Danilo, was in the hands of an endearingly passionate restaurateur in an idyllic spot in the middle of a campsite – incongruous but true. Black truffle ice cream anyone?

Zadar’s Five Wells Square

CROATIA FACT BOX Ryanair Stansted to Zadar approx £68 one way Hotel Bastion, Zadar – www.hotel-bastion.hr Plitvice Lodge, Plitvica – www.plitvicalodge.com San Rocco, Brtonigla – www.san-rocco.hr Meneghetti, Bale – www.meneghetti.hr The terrace at the San Rocco boutique hotel

Whittlebury Hall is an award-winning hotel and spa located in the heart of Northamptonshire, just an hour away from London and close to many major road routes. The Four-Star hotel has 254 bedrooms, an awardwinning luxury Day Spa as well as a recently refurbished gym. Guests can relax in the 19-metre swimming pool, Jacuzzi and steam room and feel fully detoxed and revitalised in their multi-level Heat and Ice Experiences. Serving a Modern British Menu using the finest locally sourced ingredients, Whittlebury boasts a 2 AA Rosette award-winning fine dining restaurant, Murrays, located within the hotel itself. Diners can expect an unforgettably luxurious culinary experience, perfect for a special occasion. Hosting large events is Whittlebury’s speciality with a range of large event spaces available, including the Brooklands Suite, a self-contained multipurpose space that provides seating for up to 400 for dinner, ideal for a wedding reception or bar mitzvah. For sport enthusiasts, Whittlebury has a 36-hole championship golf course and four loops of nine holes as well as a magnificent Atrium Clubhouse overlooking the course to relax in throughout the day, plus the Callaway fitting Centre and Pro-Shop. Start the weekend in style with friends or family with one of Whittlebury’s lively Tribute Nights! From an evening of soulful Motown to Music from the Movies, as well as comedy, there’s a great variety of entertainment which can be combined with an overnight stay as well as a Spa package for a truly memorable experience.

whittlebury.com


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Jewish News 31 January 2019

Travel / Copenhagen

WONDERFUL COPENHAGEN

The Danish city delighted Diane Spender, but not as much as the Smørrebrød COPENHAGEN IS A CITY AWASH WITH COOL SCANDINAVIAN DESIGN, yet the image most often associated with it is of the colourful buildings and tall ships lining the waters of Nyhavn. Fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen used to live right there at number 20, as well as numbers 18 and 67, where he conjured up The Tinderbox, and The Princess and the Pea. All of the houses have long since been beautifully renovated, and the port where ships from all over the world once docked is now full of swanky people, great restaurants and jazz rather than sailors and ladies of the night. As well as Nyhavn, Copenhagen is home to the famed family-friendly Tivoli Gardens amusement

park, Strøget, the lively and long pedestrianised shopping street, and the unmissable statue of Andersen’s fabled Little Mermaid, which sits right on the edge of the city centre. Copenhagen also has an extraordinary Jewish past as the community , which is now approximately 2,500, and was given exceptional protection by the Danish government during the Second World War. Certainly reason enough to visit the beautiful great synagogue, which was built in the 1800s, and Taim, the only kosher restaurant, which is at Chabad House. We stayed at the Andersen Hotel, a familyrun business, which manages to combine colourful and trendy design with a warm welcome. This funky hotel is ideally situated

in Vesterbro, which is only a couple of minutes walk from Copenhagen Central Station and next to the popular Meatpacking District, a hip neighbourhood with bars, restaurants and boutiques. The hotel’s reception area is a sea of pink and purple décor with an open fire, which was much appreciated on cold days. The front desk staff also added to the charm of the place, as they were very helpful and gave us a lovely corner room with a fabulous view over the Istedgarde. Every day between 5pm and 6pm is ‘happy hour’ at the Andersen, with guests treated to complimentary red or white wine, which got the hotel guests from around the world to socialise in a way most hotels rarely do. One of the great things about Copenhagen is that you can walk to almost everything. Ready to explore the city, we walked from our hotel to City Hall Square, on the way passing the Tivoli Gardens, which come to life in the centre of Copenhagen. More than two dozen rides await you, in addition to live entertainment and more than 30 eateries, which is not to be missed. Off City Hall Square is the main central shopping area, including Strøget and the super-swish Illum department store, but be sure not to miss the small charming side streets. Nyhaven, as I mentioned is charming, although be prepared to wait your turn as there are many enthusiastic photographers trying to get a perfect shot of the quayside. Seeing the city from the water can also help you find your bearings before diving into the maze of historic streets on foot, although we decided to rest our legs and take the (or my) most popular type of tour, by boat. This one-hour tour takes you around the canals and harbour to give you a relaxed view of the city’s best parts. Memorable sights included the Opera House and the ‘Kissing Bridge’, which connects the centre of the Danish capital with more residential neighbourhoods such as Christianshavn. This tour also gave us our first glimpse of The Little Mermaid statue – and she is surprisingly tiny. We also visited Christiansborg Palace, the seat of Danish Parliament, which is the tallest in Copenhagen at 106 metres, the

Uformel restaurant

Reception area at the Anderson Hotel

Smørrebrød at Torvehallerne

National Gallery of Denmark and the Botanical Garden, designed for peace and tranquillity. If you’re looking for fresh food and produce, Torvehallerne in Copenhagen is the place to go. You will find over 60 stands selling everything from fresh fish and meat to gourmet chocolate and exotic spices, as well as small places where you can have a quick bite to eat. The unique smørrebrød, (an open faced sandwich), are a huge part of the Danish diet and they come in many different varieties – veggie, fish, pate or meat. We certainly loved smørrebrød. Uformel means informal in Danish and the restaurant we found ourselves at on Saturday night was, but not when it came to the attention given to the food, wine or service. We chose to have the four-course menu with excellent wine pairings and the very best fresh ingredients. Tartare of Danish beef with black pepper and tomatoes being one of many highlights, though it was the Danish apples with praline of hazelnuts I will remember. Uformel is one of the new Nordic cuisine restaurants along with the renowned creations of chef René Redzepi at Noma. We may have to save up for a dinner at Noma or just stick with a smørrebrød next time. www.andersen-hotel.dk www.uformel.dk

Duck with plums at Uformel


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Passportia / Travel

Do you want an EU PASSPORT?

J

eff’s four grandparents had all been murdered in 1942 by the Nazis, so he was perhaps an unlikely candidate to apply for German citizenship. His parents had been lucky enough to escape Germany on the Kindertransport and they had met later, in England, where they set up a factory employing other Jewish refugees. But Jeff is one of many people – among them a large proportion of Jews – who, just before, and definitely since, the Brexit vote, began to look into whether they could get an EU passport. Jeff, and others, are researching if they can reclaim German citizenship from ancestors who left or fled persecution. But obtaining the documention (birth or marriage certificates) and details from German authorities can be tricky and time consuming,

especially if you don’t speak German. Passportia, a company set up in 2013 specialising in citizenship law, can help. It provides legal advice for applications for citizenship of the UK, Germany and Ireland, and is familiar with cases where the applicant has ancestral or family connections. “Applications for German citizenship now account for more than half Passportia’s work,” explains founder Bruce Mennell. “I did a test case in early 2016 for restoration of German citizenship that had complications, but went very well.” The two types of enquiry Passportia mostly deals with is where a person is already eligible, typically through a German parent, grandparent or great grandparent, or where a person would have been eligible had their German ancestors not lost their citizenship or lives due to Nazi oppression. The restoration the company applies for is under Article 116 of the German constitution of

1949, which says: ‘Former German citizens who between 30 January 1933 and 8 May 1945 were deprived of their citizenship on political, racial or religious grounds and their descendants shall, on application have their citizenship restored.’ However, this is not always as straightforward as it seems and some people fall outside of Article 116, the implementation of which was made more restrictive by court judgements in the 1980s. Others still are unable to source the necessary documents, which are often stored at local level in Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic or other Eastern European countries, and have trouble finding proof that their ancestor was in fact a German citizen. “If we can’t locate primary evidence, we’ll try to build a case based on secondary evidence,” says Mennell. “We have a comprehensive set of laws, judgements and commentary, so we can work around people in a borderline situation. We prepare the application very thoroughly, and our case workers speak German, so we have a higher chance of success .” The company carries out pre-screening to ensure the prospective client has a reasonable basis to qualify for German citizenship. If they do, they are invited for a consultation where the strength of their case will be established and after being given the go-ahead to act, they build the case. The company claims a 90 percent

success rate for obtaining citizenship. “So far we’ve never had a refusal,” affirms Mennell. While he and his caseworkers don’t usually ask clients their motivations for wanting EU citizenship, sometimes the clients tell them. “The main reason is to maintain the ability to live, work and travel in the EU. There are benefits of dual passports for business people as some countries don’t require a visa if you have a German passport. “Sometimes they want it for children – to keep their options open – and maybe they have some anxiety as to what the future of Britain holds as there is uncertainty,” he says. “For others, they want to assert their identification with the EU, and sometimes we get people who have some kind of cultural interest in or connection with Germany – they’re Jewish, their link is a grandparent, they can speak some German... It’s a minority, but it’s more people than I was expecting,” Mennell admits. His caseworkers have heard some “extraordinary” stories of escape from clients whose German ancestors were hidden in other countries during the Second World War, while others had unusual migratory patterns after leaving. “We hear many stories where people experience loss and have escaped or emigrated,” Mennell acknowledges. “They have survived trauma and change and demonstrated an incredible capacity to survive and adapt.”  passportia.org

Avi & Belinda Netzer

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www.jewishnews.co.uk

Jewish News 31 January 2019

From April 19th to April 28th 2019 *

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