Jewish Journeys (January 2020)

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Jewish Journeys ■ The Jewish Week & NJJN ■ January, 2020




• Gorgeous half-mile stretch of Private Beach • 2 Championship Golf Courses • 30 Clay Tennis Courts • Enjoy the exciting Surfing Simulator • Haute Gourmet Cuisine by the Waldorf Astoria Resort Chefs & Prestige Caterers • Fantastic line up of Scholars-In Residence • International Kosher Mehadrin (IK) Glatt Kosher Supervision


PGA National Resort

• Entire Hotel Kosher for Pesach • AAA 4-Diamond Resort • All Rooms Have Private Balconies • 5 Tournament-Ready Golf Courses • 19 Har Tru Tennis Courts • Fantastic line up of Scholars-In Residence • Exceptional Cuisine by Foremost Caterers • ORB Glatt Kosher Supervision


Aldrovandi Villa Borghese • Entire Hotel Kosher for Pesach • 5-Star Luxury Resort • Member of the Leading Hotels of the World • Located in the heart of Rome • Heated outdoor pool • Delectable Haute Italian Cuisine • Fantastic line up of Scholars-In Residence • Daily religious services • Children’s Programs • Optional tours • Glatt Kosher Supervision by Rabbi G.M. Garelik and Rabbi M. Shaikewitz, The most well-known Hashgocha in Italy


Mandarin Oriental Prague • Beautifully located in the center of Prague • 5-Star Luxury Resort • Scholar-In-Residence • Delectable Haute Italian Cuisine • Inspiring Lectures • Professional Day Camp • Evening Entertainment • Close to Prague Castle and 14th century Charles Bridge • Walking distance to Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square • Fantastic optional tours • Glatt Kosher Supervision by Rabbi G.M. Garelik and Rabbi M. Shaikewitz


Hilton Westchester • Entire Hotel Kosher for Pesach • Only 30 Minutes from New York City • Hotel Beautifully Renovated • Spectacular Lineup of Scholars-in-Residence • Fantastic Entertainment & Daily Activities • Professional Day Camp • Exceptional Gourmet Cuisine by Prestige Caterers • ORB Glatt Kosher Supervision





CONTENTS An Alluring Argentinean Adventure With its elegant synagogues and Lower East Side-like barrio, Buenos Aires brims with Jewish stories.

Discover Buenos Aires, the largest Jewish community in Latin America!


Passover Travel, Liberated Choices now abound for weeklong (and longer) 8 programs, from Cancun to Old-World Prague. Luxury Along With The Hechsher From boutique B&Bs to big-city hotels to exotic resorts, a growing range of options for the observant traveler.

Travel to Argentina with Jewish Adventure. Trips to warm your soul!

Enjoy the best tango in town. Go to a traditional Estancia and indulge in world class Argentinian BBQ. Learn about the History of the vibrant Jewish community of Argentina. Go to the breath-taking Iguazú Falls, Patagonia and Northern Argentina. Upon request fine kosher dining available.

Contact us to learn about upcoming programs or plan your tailor-made trip.

+(54) 911 33079628


Luxury Travel’s Guiding Lights

Where do tour guides to the stars take their guests to offer the ultimate vacation experience?

Off The Beaten Path In Morocco Jewish sites abound in the country’s mountainous north and desert south.

A Tale Of Two Amsterdams

Grappling with the complex Jewish narrative in a unique travel destination.






+49 30 61 62 57 61

Jewish Journeys ■ The Jewish Week & NJJN ■ January, 2020



Jewish Journeys ■ The Jewish Week & NJJN ■ January, 2020


An Alluring Argentinean Adventure

With its elegant synagogues and Lower East Side-like barrio, Buenos Aires brims with Jewish stories. HILARY DANAILOVA Travel Writer


rom the wine country of Mendoza to Buenos Aires’ cobblestoned barrios, Argentina is full of Jewish stories. The South American nation, after all, has the biggest Jewish population in Latin America; its capital, Buenos Aires, is the 16th most-Jewish city in the world by population. For American travelers, Argentina is a compelling destination to explore the stories that comprise a rich, savory Jewish heritage, since Jews remain a vital presence throughout Argentine society — not only in big cities, as is often the case in Europe, but also on ranches and vineyards. “You can find Jews in every facet of the Argentine life: actors, filmmakers, artists, politicians, chefs, even gauchos (cowboys),” said porteña (Buenos Aires native) Judith Golimstok, who leads heritage tours with Jewish Adventure Argentina. Golimstok’s own grandparents escaped pogroms and Russian Army conscription, fleeing to the Argentine capital and founding a Jewish school. Her tour company partner, Valeria Duek, is the descendant of Syrian Jews who settled in Rosario — Argentina’s third-largest city — and Once, a traditionally Jewish barrio of Buenos Aires. Jewish travelers have more options than ever to explore Jewish heritage in the Southern Cone, the name given to the southernmost areas of South America. A growing number of tour operators, both native and international, offer various ways to experience the land of tango, dulce de leche … and South America’s only kosher McDonald’s. It helps that there’s virtually no bad time of year to visit. Dotted with palm trees, Argentina is blessed with a near-perfect climate of mild, sunny winters and summers that never get too hot. Currency trends are another strong incentive. For years, an American dol-

From the tango hall to street art: Scenes from Buenos Aires. P HOTOS BY F R ED GR EEN

lar bought roughly three Argentine pesos. Now it buys nearly 60. “The Argentine Jewish community, like other Argentineans, is resilient,” reflected Golimstok. “We have to be resilient to survive the constant ups and downs of the Argentine economy.” Every journey into Argentine Jewry starts in the iconic capital of Buenos Aires, a beguiling, sometimes overwhelming megacity of radically diverse neighborhoods. The capital’s main thoroughfare, Avenida 9 de Julio is the widest street in the world, 14 frenetic lanes across. Buenos Aires city blocks are similarly supersized: What looks like a five-minute walk on the map can easily take 20. Yet the narrow, cluttered streets of Once, B.A.’s historic Jewish barrio, feel oddly reminiscent of New York’s Lower East Side, packed with mom-and-pop garment shops, groceries and hole-in-the-wall eateries. “I like to call it the Promised Land, a place where you can find many different things and get very good deals,” laughed Golimstok. Years ago, her own grandparents, like other Ashkenazim from Eastern Europe, were called rusos — “Russians” — by the locals to distinguish them from their Italian, German and Spanish neighbors here. Once and the surrounding downtown neighborhoods were, in fact, a parallel scene to New York, circa 1910: small Jewish-owned factories, a flourishing Yiddish press and theater scene, Zionist organizations, Jewish hospitals and cultural centers. Between the late 1800s and World War II, B.A.’s swelling Jewish congregations built a collection of elegant synagogues. For Ben Robbins, director of Bespoke Kosher Travel, these lavish temples — architecturally diverse, like the Moorish-style Gran Templo Paso — are the highlight of a Jewish Buenos Aires trip. “They’re a must see,” said Robbins, who customizes kosher tours from a London home base. His most popular itinerary, typically for groups of 10 or more, involves two nights in Buenos Aires, two nights on a cruise and another three nights back in Buenos Aires to explore neighborhoods, hit the tango halls and mingle with Jewish locals. Authentic contact with locals is a highlight of contemporary tours. Golimstok’s partner, Duek, create experiences for Jewish Adventure Argentina participants, showcasing the living culture as well as a 500-year heritage. Duek might take visitors to cook empanadas at a Jewish nursing home, join Shabbat dinner in a resident’s home, and learn beginner tango moves at a “milonga,” a salón for amateur enthusiasts. The pair also coordinates glatt kosher meal delivery to the main tourist destinations in Argentina, with a 15-person minimum. Several of Duek’s must-see B.A. sights are relatively new. They include the Shoah National Monument, which opened in 2016, and several landmarks that commemorate the 1994 bombing of Buenos Aires’ Jewish Community Center (AMIA), which killed 85 and still reverberates psychically in a region with its share of anti-Semitism. “At the renewed subway station Pasteur-AMIA, not continued on page 6 only the name AMIA was added, but a number


Our Journeys connect Jews from all walks of life with their heritage by taking them out of the synagogue or classroom and into the historical arena. Our diverse itineraries take you to countries with significant Jewish history including Poland, Morocco, Spain, Portugal and many more international destinations. The JRoots immersive experience creates an extraordinary connection between the individual and their Jewish past, present and future. BOOK YOUR COMMUNITY’S JROOTS JOURNEY TODAY AND ENGAGE WITH THE EPIC STORY OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE.


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Jewish Journeys ■ The Jewish Week & NJJN ■ January, 2020


Jewish Journeys ■ The Jewish Week & NJJN ■ January, 2020


Argentinean Adventure continued from page 6

of Argentinean illustrators donated their work in tribute to the victims,” said Duek. She also takes visitors to see tribute murals located at the nearby Hospital de Clínicas. Many tours venture beyond Buenos Aires to include Iguazú Falls, the stunning waterfall at the confluence of Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil. An-

Pony rides and guitar music are part of a Buenos Aires visit.

other popular stop is El Calafate, a tourist town and gateway to the famous shimmering blue glaciers of Patagonia, in Argentina’s frozen south. The culturally minded taste malbecs in the shadows of the Andes in Mendoza, the heart of Argentine wine country. South America cruise passengers might consider a shore excursion to Buenos Aires and/or Montevideo. One such offering is with Milk & Honey Tours, a Berlin-based outfit that specializes in bringing Jewish heritage alive through stories like that of Crypto-Jews who escaped the Spanish Inquisition for the New World; the celebrity conductor Daniel Barenboim, who was born in Argentina; and the

Syrian Jews who built the onion dome on Buenos Aires’ Or Torah Synagogue. The Jewish Museum in Manhattan, which leads art-focused adventures, is also heading south this spring with “Jewish Art & Culture in South America: Buenos Aires & Rio de Janeiro.” Led by Darsie Alexander of the Museum’s curatorial team, the eight-night April 2020 trip contrasts two vibrant Jewish artistic communities. In Buenos Aires, travelers will tour the working studios of artists in the Jewish Museum collection; in Rio, highlights include the House Museum of Brazilian collector and philanthropist Eva Klabin, one of the largest classical art collections in Brazil, with over 2,000 works spanning Ancient Egypt to Impressionism. ◆


Jewish Journeys ■ The Jewish Week & NJJN ■ January, 2020

Jewish Journeys ■ The Jewish Week & NJJN ■ January, 2020


Passover Travel, Liberated

Choices now abound for weeklong (and longer) programs, from Cancun to Old-World Prague. HILARY DANAILOVA Travel Writer


rom ski vacations to Roman holidays, California ranches to Caribbean beaches, there are more ways than ever to spend Passover in style. Passover-week programs have evolved and proliferated around the world, combining family vacations with holiday ritual, Jewish scholars, high-profile entertainers and amenities like tearooms and spas. Many programs book and kasher an entire luxury resort for the week, hiring noteworthy chefs and offering kosher travelers an opportunity to stay at landmark properties while dining first class. “The Passover program industry has grown massively over the last decade. There is a huge choice for the consumer,” said Raphi Bloom, co-owner and sales and marketing director for Totally Jewish Travel, a prominent Jewish travel aggregator website that has carried advertisements for thousands of Pesach programs over 20 years. Typically, packages offer a baseline “full stay” option, 10 days and nine nights, with optional add-on nights for those eager to beat the crowds, and a shorter package also available. Bloom said Cancun is “very popular” this year, with several programs relocating from the Dominican Republic and Jamaica to the Mexican resort. Other hotspots include Morocco and Thailand, he added. “And the European market is growing year on year, especially the Greek Islands,” Bloom noted, adding that both Europe and Asia can be excellent values for Americans. “There are some new, hip programs with very cool entertainment and scholars in residence.” Brian Gurien of New York-based Presidential Kosher Holidays often gets asked about the security of Cancun, given Mexico’s soaring homicide rate. “All of the tourist hotspots are very safe,” is his usual reply. “Cancun is actually safer than a number of popular cities in the U.S.” Presidential’s Passover offering is at the Fairmont Mayakoba, a high-security gated resort surrounded by 240 acres of tropical forest and a pristine Caribbean shoreline on the Yucatan’s Riviera Maya, about 40 miles south of Cancun. Apart from white-sand beaches and glatt kosher cuisine, Passover at the

The Four Seasons Resort Whistler, in the mountains of British Columbia, is a top ski spot. P HOTOS COU RTESY OF P ESACH ON TH E MOU NTAI N

Fairmont Mayakoba involves daily children’s programming, a book club, films, tearooms, lectures and varied entertainment — headlined by the comedian Modi — on Chol HaMoed nights. All of Kosherica Cruises’ Passover programs sell out far in advance, said general manager Aliza Seidman. “And each one has a personality completely of its own,” she noted. Perhaps the most legendary of Kosherica’s offerings is Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas, which tops many lists of family resorts and just underwent a $25 million renovation. Guests can frolic in the water park, tour the aquariums, swim with dolphins and more in this 141-acre waterscape. “A magical place,” Seidman raved. Full-stay rates start at $4,095. ◆ ome families take advantage of the opportunity to combine Passover programs with an exotic foreign experience — especially in a location with rich Jewish history to explore. “Besides wanting to celebrate a strictly glatt kosher Passover holiday together, people also want to travel to an interesting destination,” said Robert Frucher, CEO of Leisure Time Tours, a longtime Passover travel specialist based in New York. Leisure Time has offered Passover programs in Italy for 20 years. This spring, guests will stay at the romantic Aldrovandi Villa Borghese, a lavish hideaway with gardens and a pool tucked into Rome’s city center, convenient


Passover With Ocean Breezes Pesach along Florida’s Jewish Gold Coast.


lorida will always be a hit with families, so it’s no surprise that some of the hottest Passover tickets are clustered around the historically Jewish Gold Coast of South Florida. It’s less than three hours by plane from New York, overflows with kosher dining options, boasts gorgeous beaches and has plenty to do for the whole family even if it rains, which usually only happens for an hour at a time. Here are some of the more popular options: ◆ Lasko Getaways hosts Passover at the totally redesigned JW Marriott Turnberry Miami Resort and Spa in Aventura, Fla. On 300 tropical acres

between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, the property has been named one of the “World’s 100 Best Resorts” by Travel+Leisure Magazine. You’ll find a water park, cabanas, a full-service spa and 36 holes of championship golf. Call for rates. ◆ The Bonaventure Resort in Ft. Lauderdale “is considered the hottest Modern Orthodox program at this price point,” said Aliza Seidman of Kosherica. Entertainment will include acclaimed singers Avraham Fried and Mordechai Shapiro, while Kosherica will fly in 5-star chefs from all over the world. A noted kids camp is also a huge draw. From $3,920 per person,

based on double occupancy. ◆ The PGA National Resort “sells out year after year within a few months, for 10 years in a row,” noted Seidman. “It’s the fastest selling Passover program in the world.” Apart from championship golf, people love options like yoga, spinning and Pilates at the Health & Racquetball center and a 40,000-square-foot spa with full-service beauty salon and healing mineral pools. From $4,825 per person, based on double occupancy. ◆ For the 11th year, Grand Getaways is hosting Passover at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando. The resort, on 482 private acres of lush woodlands, is convenient to Walt Disney World and numerous other family-oriented attractions. Passover guests can enjoy a water park, poolside barbecues, and an 18-hole golf course. From $5,499 per person, based on double occupancy. ◆


The Bonaventure Resort in Ft. Lauderdale, with its signature pool. P HOTOS COU RTESY OF KOSH ER IC A to sightseeing. “Guests can even pre-pay for museums before yom tov and visit on the holiday,” Frucher said. Leisure Time’s other European offering is at the Mandarin Oriental Prague, an elegant Old Worldstyle hotel in a converted 14th-century monastery; guests can enjoy private terraces and gardens, heated floors and historic architectural details. Both packages start around $4,900 per person, based on double occupancy. Several Western destinations combine dramatic scenery with world-class sports. At the Four Seasons Resort Whistler, Pesach on the Mountain is a much-coveted program for skiers in the Pacific Ranges of British Columbia, Canada. SKI Magazine’s resort survey has named Whistler — with more than 8,000 acres of skiable terrain —as the No. 1 ski resort in North America for the third consecutive year. Apart from skiing, there’s also snowboarding, zip-lining, snowmobiling, hiking trails, art museums and gondola rides. Schneur Wineberg, director of Pesach on the Mountain, said the program features cuisine under the supervision of OK Kosher. Nightly entertainment includes a portrait photographer, an improv comedy group, a master illusionist, a mentalist, a deejay and a daily children’s program. Rates start at $5,398 per person, based on double occupancy. “Families should make sure that the company operating the program has a reputation of running successful programs multiple years in a row, with guests that come back year after year,” advised

The Four Seasons Resort • Whistler, British Columbia, Canada -- 1 855 737 2247

Jewish Journeys ■ The Jewish Week & NJJN ■ January, 2020

Aliza Seidman of Kosherica. Raphi Bloom of Totally Jewish Travel also has a few tips for choosing a program, especially one overseas. “If people are going to a program in a country with a different language — run by, say, a French company — they should ask about the language of the kids’ club, to ensure it caters to their kids,” he said. “Ask about Ashkenazi services and kitniyot. Check the weather to see if swimming is possible as Pesach is early this year. “Lastly, always pay part or all of your payment or deposit by credit card. Most programs are run by honest operators.” But should issues arise, “paying by credit card will protect you. And always have travel insurance.” ◆

Jewish Journeys ■ The Jewish Week & NJJN ■ January, 2020


Luxury Along With The Hechsher

From boutique B&Bs to big-city hotels to exotic resorts, a growing range of options for the observant traveler. HILARY DANAILOVA Travel Writer


ven in the specialized world of kosher travel, dedicated kosher hotels are likely to remain something of a niche, especially in the age of Airbnb and the like. But for those who want three hot, prepared meals a day, an on-site mashgiach to oversee kashrut, even a minyan right downstairs — many kosher resorts have on-premise synagogues — there are options in more destinations than ever. From Cuba to Africa, Rome to the Maldives, kosher establishments cater to travelers willing to pay hefty tabs for a strictly observant, highly personalized luxury experience. They range from boutique bed-and-breakfasts to big-city hotels and tropical, all-inclusive resorts. And as often as not, they’re selling experiences along with the kosher hechsher. “Overseas, we’re seeing more interesting opportunities — more kosher bedand-breakfasts, on a smaller scale,” noted Dani Klein, who covers kosher travel exhaustively on his website, “Yeah That’s Kosher,” and has been featured in Jewish Week’s “36 Under 36” for his Israel advocacy work. “In Europe, kosher hotels are typically in resort areas — ski resorts or the Riviera — as opposed to big cities,” where Jewish amenities are at hand. “Israel, of course, is the mecca. They’re basically all kosher.” Klein observed that kosher hotels cater to a particularly affluent, observant demographic, given that today’s kosher travelers have plenty of alternatives,

Treetop dining at the Soneva Kiri on Thailand’s rainforest-covered Ko Kud Islands. such as economical kosher food, drink and eating establishments outside of their hotels. But hotels will always have the edge when it comes to both catering and luxurious, personalized experiences, especially for family groups. Here are a few of the newest, most intriguing offerings.

Chateau Blanc, Havana

Consider the Chateau Blanc in Cuba, a new, boutique bed-and-breakfast run by a multigenerational Cuban-Jewish family, with a kosher-dairy kitchen and spectacular rooftop views of downtown Havana. Cindy White, her brother or her dad, Saul, help Americans navigate current license requirements regarding Cuba travel, offer a personal welcome and can arrange visits to the family’s two longtime shuls, the Ashkenazi Beth Shalom (“El Patronato”) and the Orthodox Adath Israel. They’ll also coordinate visits to the beaches around Varadero as well as visits to Vinales and Cienfuego, scenic mountain regions. Chateau Blanc hosts frequent guest lecturers on Cuban Jewish history. “As native Cuban Jews we have a unique perspective,” White reflected. “We partner with Pack for a Purpose, an NGO that coordinates much-needed medical and first aid donations from travelers to aid the local Jewish pharmacy. We also work with our clients to help restore the Jewish cemetery, where many of our family members are buried.” Pricing varies based on services; a basic package without optional on-site mashgiach, but including accommodations, meals, itinerary to visit various religious and secular sites and transportation costs about $350 per person per day.

Kosher in the islands…

Many kosher resorts are unapologetically lavish, with kashrut just one of a long list of optional services and amenities catering to an affluent, international clientele. In this category are the Soneva Resorts, ultra-luxury tropical retreats. Soneva Kiri, on Thailand’s rainforest-covered Ko Kud Island, and Soneva Fushi, within the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in the Maldives, both recently announced dedicated kosher kitchens, with kosher meat shipped in from Bangkok and Holland, respectively. At both resorts, guests stay in private villas and enjoy activities such as tree pod dining, with dinner delivered via zipline; outdoor cinema in the jungle; or a dinner cruise featuring stargazing with the resident astronomer. Immersive, expert-guided experiences are a hallmark of Soneva, like snorkeling with a marine biologist or learning how to blow glass in the art studio. Prices vary widely, depending on villa and services; expect a baseline of $2,000-4,000 per villa per night. A twisty water slide at the Soneva Fushi resort in the Maldives. P HOTOS COU RTESY OF SON EVA R ESORTS

For ultimate privacy…

“Togethering” is the term Ira Bloom likes to use for the style of travel he offers


kosher chef, with multi-day minimums. High above the Maasai Mara, a large game reserve in Kenya where some of the most romantic scenes from Out of Africa were filmed, the Angama Mara resort boasts tented guest suites, and a kosher kitchen, on the edge of the Great Rift Valley. It is a labor of love for husband and wife Steve and Nicky Fitzgerald, who built and operated more than 60 luxury lodges across Africa and India before the beauty of the Maasai Mara site drew them out of retirement. Every morning, hot air balloons sail past the suites’ floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Guests also enjoy walking safaris, edit their game shots at the photographic studio, and tour the gallery of African art and a studio where local Maasai women craft

with beads. Angama Mara, named the No. 1 Safari Lodge in the World by Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards 2018, has various kosher options. The stand-alone kosher kitchen can prepare meals for up to 12 guests, and is stocked with pantry ingredients from South Africa. The kitchen will be stocked with basic kosher pantry ingredients, along with kosher wines, at no surcharge; kosher meat and dairy products can be ordered from South Africa for $75 per guest, per night. Guests can also pre-order sealed kosher meals from the Beth Din in Johannesburg, or Angama Mara can arrange to hire an on-site mashgiach. Packages start at $2,450 for three nights per person, based on group travel. ◆


A home in Rome?

On the budget end of the spectrum are two sunny, kosher bed-and-breakfasts in Rome, The Home in Rome and La Casa di Eva. Run by a friendly local Italian Jewish family, the two comfortably appointed properties are in renovated elevator buildings in the Jewish Piazza Bologna district, close to kosher supermarkets, bakeries, restaurants and synagogues. With an always stocked 24/7 dining room, a convivial kosher morning breakfast scene and optional tours or Jewish cooking classes, the B&Bs are an excellent value, starting at $100 per night.



Into Africa…

Kosher properties are sprouting in Africa’s safari belt. The history of Zambia’s small yet significant Jewish community is a personal passion for Peter Jones, resident owner of The River Club, a kosher lodge on the banks of the Zambezi River in Livingstone, Zambia (direct flights from Cape Town). Jones makes sure his Jewish guests not only eat well, but also get to explore the region’s unique Jewish heritage. The River Club arranges tours of the Railway/Jewish Gateway Museum, the Livingstone Museum and Livingstone Town, where guests learn about Russian Jews who fled the Baltics to become some of the earliest European settlers, forming a community in the new town of Livingstone, established 1905. Later came German Jews fleeing Nazism, as Northern Rhodesia (as Zambia was then known) was the rare country to issue wartime visas to Jews. Just 10 miles upstream from the renowned Victoria Falls, The River Club offers kosher cuisine prepared by trained staff; for a higher rate, food service is supervised by a mashgiach. Beef and lamb are imported from a South Africa butchery, while Zambezi bream comes from a fish farm nearby, and all dairy products are locally sourced. Rates start at $565 per night; kosher add-on charges range from $40 for a kosher kitchen to several hundred dollars per day for a mashgiach and

• Award-winning amenities and grounds

• Program Director & Host: Rabbi Ari Segal

• MD food experience

• Scholar in Residence, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis

• Poolside menu & MD signature BBQs

• Scholar in Residence, Rabbi Steven Weil

• World class entertainment

• Athletic Director: Ryan Coleman

• MD kids camp

• Pre-teen and teen programming

BOOK NOW: 212-579-7700

332 E 86th Street Floor 2 • New York, NY 10028 •

Jewish Journeys ■ The Jewish Week & NJJN ■ January, 2020

at ÀNI Private Resorts, which rents entire resorts — kosher kitchen and all — in Anguilla, Dominican Republic, Thailand and Sri Lanka to one party at a time. Groups of eight to 30 guests — often a multigenerational family, or several families, sometimes with additional friends — enjoy private use of all of the facilities, from pools to lounges. The dedicated staff customizes itineraries and kosher menus and caters to individual preferences, blending the privacy of a villa with the service of a luxury hotel. “Whenever they learn something new, like how a certain person likes their coffee, even another staff member who did not serve them last time can deliver what they like without the guest having to ask,” said Bloom. “It’s actually a great value considering all we offer. When you divide the nightly rate per person it can be as low as $400, including all food, drinks, massage treatments, cooking classes and much more.”

Jewish Journeys ■ The Jewish Week & NJJN ■ January, 2020


Luxury Travel’s Guiding Lights

Where do tour guides to the stars take their guests to offer the ultimate vacation experience? DAVID BRUMMER Special To The Jewish Week


srael is experiencing an unprecedented tourism boom, with a predicted 4.5 million people visiting the country in 2019. This represents an increase of approximately 1 million tourists from 2017, when 3.6 million people visited. With so many people arriving and the request for tour guides at an all-time high, what are the luxury experiences that can help differentiate tours? And, is it all about high-end or can there be something equally luxurious about an unusual encounter or outstanding service and attention to detail? In the case of the Beresheet, for example, its location — perched above the Ramon Crater in the Negev desert — certainly adds to special ambiance. With an additional six or so hotels being constructed in the vicinity, it will likely face serious competition in the near future. In Tel Aviv, Israel’s most cosmopolitan city, there are a number of boutique hotels — the Norman, the Jaffa and the Montefiore, for example — each of which is luxurious in its own trendy way. It is also worth stating that the concept of luxury — as it’s understood in the developed world — is actually relatively new in Israel. For the first several decades of its existence, Israel was too busy with existential matters to think about catering to luxury tourism. Notwithstanding the still-existing threats, Israel has opened up economically and politically, with Israelis also beginning to travel far and wide, and experiencing different cultures and levels of service. Yomi Groner, an experienced tour guide who has created tours for influ-

The pool at the Beresheet Hotel, located at the rim of the Mitzpe Ramon crater in the Negev. F LICKR ential and wealthy people, said, “It is about going that extra step and offering clients something out of the ordinary.” Groner takes tourists all over Israel but acknowledges that certain areas of the country — due to their natural beauty and stunning backdrops — are more in-demand than others. For example, the Negev, with its makhteshim (natural geological craters), the Dead Sea, the Golan Heights and the Galilee, is a favorite destination for many. One of his favorite activities is to take tourists to the home of a local Israeli, who prepares an outstanding dinner. Included in the price are different meats, salads, breads and other local produce, such as olives and wine, but clearly the idea here is to give travelers the opportunity to meet and interact with local residents, to ask them questions and find out more about their lives. One of the disciplines that Israel is most famous for, archeology, is also ripe for luxury tourism. Walking about among hundreds of artifacts, dusty tools and buckets may not feel luxurious, but being able to speak directly to some of Israel’s most storied archeologists working today is a privilege reserved for only a select few. “I have taken some of my groups to archeological labs,” explained Groner. “High-end tourists get shown stuff that is not open to the general public – and that may not even be known about by other people working within the field.” For those who have the right contacts, arrangements can be made to meet high-ranking individuals and influencers, both in the political and business arenas. For several years, Israel has been known as the “Start-up Nation,” and the opportunity to meet some of the people responsible for cutting-edge technologies, or at the vanguard of the culinary scene, is hugely appealing. As so much of Israeli life revolves around security, the chance to meet recently retired security and army personnel with the highest security clearance is also a big draw. These meetings can be mutually beneficial. Many leading Israeli politicians and decision-makers would jump at the chance to meet a Hollywood star or a famous athlete, as much those stars would like to interact with

13 Jewish Journeys ■ The Jewish Week & NJJN ■ January, 2020




Anniversary MISSION

Israeli tour guide Yonatan Weiss out in the field. FACEBOOK

them. They can also be good for Israel, creating favorable PR and promotes advocacy. Opening hearts and minds creates a buzz that can act as a strong catalyst for other figures at similar levels to choose to visit Israel. “Perception is extremely important,” said Yonatan Weiss, another guide whose clientele has included some VIPs. “In fact, Israel is a miracle in so many ways — not least in that it either leads numerous fields or is at the forefront of them.” Two areas of Israeli cultural life that are unrecognizable from even 20 years ago are food and wine. The number of high-end restaurants using the finest ingredients cooked by celebrity chefs as well as the explosion in the number of award-winning wineries is astonishing. Talking of celebrity chefs, some of them — Meir Adoni of Blue Sky, Lumina and Mizlala — will cook for paying guests and create a real show on his audience’s behalf. In some cases, the food and wine can be delivered to a stop on a tour; alternately, it’s possible to go to a restaurant or winery — or experience both at the same time. Several wineries that are trying to distinguish themselves will offer food pairing menus to accompany their wines. Culinary workshops are also a good way for celebrities and VIPs to enjoy an authentic local experience while remaining low-profile and anonymous. For some high-profile visitors, luxury is not so much about creature comforts — which are widely available — as about listening to local people tell their stories. From the tour guides’ perspective, there are any number of tweaks that can be made to an itinerary to make it increasingly luxurious. Whether it’s taking a helicopter ride to a chef-cooked meal at the edge of a Negev crater, participating in a wine-tasting in the Golan, joining fighter pilots in a flight simulator or touring the Yvel jewelry factory, there is something for everyone. It will be clear from the tour guides, however, that the country is the star. With visible remnants from prehistory to the remains at some sites of Israel’s kings and evidence of civilizations through the ages, Israel provides a heady mix. Also crucial to Israel’s tourism industry is the country’s centrality to the world’s three monotheistic faiths — and the drama that ensues from that hardly needs more introduction. But it is clear — and this is something that other fields in the luxury market have found — that it is not just the product itself that imbues something with value; it is also the experience that helped shape it. By providing the usual creature comforts, but by going the extra mile and allowing a cross-cultural pollination, is how to create the ultimate luxurious Israel experience. ◆




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Jewish Journeys ■ The Jewish Week & NJJN ■ January, 2020


Off The Beaten Path In Morocco Jewish sites abound in the country’s mountainous north and desert south.



ver the last several years, Morocco has become a hot spot for American as well as Jewish tourists drawn to its prominent cities along the coast and inland such as Casablanca, Fez, Marrakesh and Essaouira. But repeat travelers to the country and those interested in the fuller story of the history of Moroccan Jewry would do well to visit some other gems in the north and south, from Tangier and its Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines, to Chefchaouen in the Rif Mountains to southern towns such as Erfoud and Rissani on the edge of the Sahara Desert. Starting in the north, Tangier, across the Straits of Gibraltar from Spain and a mere ferry ride away from the Spanish town of Tarifa, is also easily

The stark beauty of the Sahara Desert.


accessible by the Al Boraq high-speed train from Casablanca, in 2 hours and 10 minutes. After the requisite picture taking at the sign where the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea meet, head back toward the Bay of Tangier and start exploring both the old and newer sections of the city. Just outside the Bab Mericain (American Gate) of the medina (the walled “old city” of Tangier) is Beit HaChaim, the Jewish cemetery, which has views of the harbor ( You can wander randomly through the cemetery, where you will find graves in various states of repair, many with Spanish inscriptions, or search a map of all gravesites online by names and dates of death. While entry is free, efforts are ongoing to maintain and renovate the cemetery, so donations are welcome. The medina, one of many walled cities in the country, is replete with history and evidence of the various political powers that have governed the area for centuries, including French, Spanish, and Portuguese. The city was designated a special international zone from 1923 to 1956, when Morocco achieved independence. A tour guide in the medina, Mohammed Harrak, told a group of American-Jewish journalists visiting in November that there were once 16 synagogues in the city; there are only two now in the medina. He also recalled his mother serving as a Shabbat gentile for Jewish community members. On the other side of the Old City wall from the cemetery is a prominent

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Jewish Journeys ■ The Jewish Week & NJJN ■ January, 2020

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Jewish Journeys ■ The Jewish Week & NJJN ■ January, 2020


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The spiritual home of the Jews of St. Thomas since 1833.

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This architectural gem, restored in 2000, has all the original elements from its construction in 1833.

The exterior of Tangier’s Chaar Refael synagogue. historical attraction in Tangier, the American Legation (8 rue d’Amerique, The Tangier American Legation is the only U.S. National Historic Landmark abroad, and the first American diplomatic property. Visitors can learn about the history of American-Moroccan relations, as well as the legation’s role in helping to rescue Jews during World War II. On one wall hangs a letter from Renee Reichmann, the representative in Tangier of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, to Chargé d’Affaires J. Rives Childs, thanking him for his role in helping to issue visas for Hungarian Jews fleeing the Nazis. “Thus 1,200 innocent souls owe their survival to Your Excellency,” she wrote to him in a letter of gratitude. In addition, a small but striking exhibit, “Customs and Costumes of Sephardic Morocco,” highlights costumes and jewelry of Jewish Moroccan brides from the collection of Sophia Cohen Azagury, a Jewish woman from Tangier. As of press time, the exhibit was slated to continue through Jan. 25, according to curator John Davison. Near the Legation is the one of the medina’s two synagogues, the 19thcentury Moshe Nahon and the Synagogue Rabbi Akiba, which are occasionally used for celebrations but mostly function as museums. In Ville Nouvelle, the newer city, the synagogue Chaar Refael (Gate of Rafael), at 27 rue Pasteur, is the center of worship for the tiny community that remains in the city. Its caretaker told the visiting journalists that some 10 to 20 people attend Shabbat services, led by Rabbi Jacob (Yaakov) Tordjeman, and its members help fund the synagogue building through real estate holdings. He said there are about 70 Jews left in Tangier, which has a large expat community whose former members live in such places as New York, Rio de Janeiro, Caracas, Canada, Lisbon and Jerusalem. Almost 40 miles south from Tangier but still in the northern part of the country, Tetouan is another city with a once-thriving Jewish past but dwindling community. Previously nicknamed “Little Jerusalem” for its large Sephardic Jewish population, there are now only 10 Jews left, according to Leon Bentolila, a Spanish- and Arabic-speaking community member who opened one of the only synagogues left in the medina to visitors, La Sinagoga Isaac Bengualid. Located in the mellah, the old Jewish quarter, it was built during the beginning of the 19th century and was named for a Sephardic rabbi of the same name

Passover 2020

he also enjoys good relations with his Muslim neighbors, who check in on him regularly. He said he even plans to be buried there, too; Tetouan has a large Jewish cemetery. Another northern Moroccan city with a strong Spanish influence is Chefchaouen, located at the base of the Rif Mountains. Originally a Berber village, it was established in 1471; in 1492 the Spanish “Reconquista,” or reconquering of the Iberian Peninsula, led to the expulsion of the Jews and Moors and their subsequent influx to havens like Morocco. Known as the “Blue City” for its walls painted in various shades of blue and indigo, the color became

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Top: Ornate Arabic calligraphy can be found inside Tangier’s Moshe Nahon Synagogue. Above: A grave in the Jewish cemetery in Erfoud. who served as Tetouan’s chief rabbi between 1820-1870, according to the Beit Hatfutsot, The Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv. Like many rabbis in Morocco, Bengualid was not just a religious leader, but a “tzadik,” Bentolila said, and his legacy is the reason why he chooses to remain in Morocco. Bentolila’s three children, like many of the once-several-thousandstrong members of the community, moved to Malaga, Spain; others who left the city in the late 1960s live in other southern Spanish cities. He visits his family three or four times a year,

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17 Jewish Journeys ■ The Jewish Week & NJJN ■ January, 2020

including on Yom Kippur, as regular services have not been held at the synagogue since 1968, when the Jewish population was 1,000 and there were some 16 active synagogues. The Bengualid synagogue is only utilized for visits or occasional pilgrimages from former residents. Bentolila, whose wife helps look after the remaining Jews (the community also receives kosher food from the organized community in Casablanca), showed visitors a furnace where matzas were made for Passover, as well as a mikva for tevila, or immersing dishes. Why does he stay in Tetouan? Besides the legacy of Bengualid the “tzadik,” Bentolila said

Jewish Journeys ■ The Jewish Week & NJJN ■ January, 2020


Morocco continued from previous page official in 1994, said Yousef, a local guide. This tradition is believed to have Jewish origins, as blue represents the sky and is considered to represent the power of God, Yousef said. (Visitors to Safed, a mystic-oriented city in northern Israel, will also find blue-tinged walls throughout the older sections.) While signs demarcate “El Mellah El Yadid,” the old Jewish quarter, all Jews left Chefchaouen in 1968, he said. The hilly city is both charming and stunning at the same time; wear comfortable shoes to climb up and down its many steps. After exploring Spanish Morocco’s charms, visitors can head in a number of directions, from Essaouira on the western Atlantic coast to Fez and Marrakesh further inland, with the Atlas Mountains crossing the country from the northeast to the southwest. For a completely different adventure, head through the mountains to the desert, where local nomadic families are

The “blue” city of Chefchaouen.

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happy to invite visitors for tea and camels and jeep rides, are known forms of transportation. The Jewish legacy, particularly its reverence of tzadikim, who hold a status akin to saints, is also strong. At the Jewish cemetery in Erfoud, not only are there hundreds of graves, visitors will also find an indoor shrine to Rabbi Shmuel Abuhatzeira, part of a famed family of rabbis; Rav Shmuel was the grandson of the revered Abir Yaakov and cousin of the legendary Baba Sali, widely known in both Morocco and Israel as a miracle worker and giver of blessings. There is also a new synagogue on the premises; during a recent visit on a Monday in November, a group of Israelis were holding morning services that included a Torah reading. They were guided by an Israeli tour operator, Anat Levi Cohen, whose mother is from Morocco. One of the tourists, Zehava Benabu, was born in Tangier and had not been back in Morocco since immigrating to Israel in 1955; she told this reporter that her brother, Shlomo Ben-Ami, is a former Israeli foreign minister. Another member of the Abuhatzeira clan, Rabbi David, the Baba Sali’s brother, was killed in 1919 and is buried in the Jewish cemetery of Rissani. Reuven Elharrar of Montreal, a consultant to a project that is organizing the cemetery’s renovation as well as the on-site construction of an Ohel, or shrine, to Abuhatzeira and a kosher kitchen for visitors, said the builder had told him there are some 6,000 tombs on site. While the cemetery was in the midst of renovations during a visit in November, Elharrar told New Jersey Jewish News/The Jewish Week on Dec. 17 that much of the work had been completed, with the kitchen and ohel almost finished as of press time. ◆ Lori Silberman Brauner, deputy managing editor at New Jersey Jewish News, visited Morocco in November with a delegation of Jewish journalists hosted by the Moroccan National Tourist Office.



The Anne Frank House, part of the city’s mixed legacy of tolerance and hatred.

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A Tale Of Two Amsterdams

Grappling with the complex Jewish narrative in a unique travel destination.

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NATHAN JEFFAY Contributing Editor


he same spirit that made Amsterdam a center of Jewish life centuries ago makes it a delightful destination today. There is one connection between the Netherlands’ “coffee shops,” where cannabis is sold legally, and the remarkable Jewish community that used to exist in Amsterdam — the relaxed attitude of openness that dominates this beautiful city. The historian Simon Schama portrays Amsterdam, where Jews first settled in the 16th century, as an exceptional case of tolerance in an otherwise-hostile Christian Europe. “There was no Amsterdam Ghetto, no yellow badge, hornedhat or lock-up curfew behind gates,” he wrote. It is an easy story to explore as a tourist, because some of the buildings and monuments narrate it for you so clearly. The size and design of the Portuguese Synagogue, or Esnoga as it was known in Ladino, scream confidence and wealth and capture the feel of Amsterdam Jewry during the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century. Walls can talk, and at this 1675 synagogue, the walls — with their height, their tall windows shining light onto the wooden bima and benches, and evening illumination by beautiful chandeliers — tell a story of exiles who excelled. They arrived from Spain and Portugal, where the Inquisition made it impossible to live openly as Jews. Dutch Jews had often fled Spain or Portugal, or in the case of Spaniards who tried to resettle in Portugal until things turned sour there, both. Yet they found acceptance and built communities and businesses in Amsterdam. The quote from Psalms chosen for the doorway was an obvious one for people forced to wander, who found a stable pot in a turbulent continent. “Because of Your great mercy, I come to Your house,” it says. Amsterdam is a tourist-friendly destination, perfect for the traveler who wants to zip between sites that tell a Jewish story and the more general tourist trail. See it like locals and hire a bike. Or walk along the iconic canals and take advantage of the smooth public transport system. The city works even for a stopover

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Jewish Journeys ■ The Jewish Week & NJJN ■ January, 2020


Jewish Journeys ■ The Jewish Week & NJJN ■ January, 2020


The striking chandeliers in the sanctuary of the Portuguese Synagogue tell a story of exiles who thrived. WI KI M EDIA COM MON S

Two Amsterdams continued from previous page

Check LOT Polish Airlines’ new connections to Europe! Reservations: 1-212-789-0970

visit. If you need to change planes on your way elsewhere in Europe, or en route to Israel, try to integrate a few hours in Amsterdam. My last visit was shorter than others — a day-long stop during a journey from America to Israel — when a UKbased friend came to join me. Even with limited time the city was a delight: we met at the airport, took a train downtown, ate a hearty lunch at the Hacarmel Kosher Restaurant, explored, and then returned to the airport for our evening flights. We all know the story of Anne Frank, both the tragedy and the story of how righteous non-Jews tried to keep her safely hidden. If you have not been to the Anne Frank House, where she hid in the secret annex behind the hinged bookcase, you should definitely pay a visit, however long or short your time in Amsterdam. You will see the setting where she wrote her diary, and various other exhibits that help you to put her legacy in context. One of them is a film featuring 22 writers, actors, visitors, and people who knew Anne. They discuss what she has meant to them. Again and again as you explore Amsterdam’s Jewish story, you will find yourself feeling the mixed legacy of the place — tolerance, acceptance, flourishing communities; and also the hatred and the Holocaust that the Nazis brought. Nazis murdered more than 100,000 Jews, over 70 percent of the community. “This city is really a chance to grapple with the creativity and the tragedy of Jewish life,” said Mike Hollander, a Jewish educator

who leads trips for Da’at Educational Expeditions. In addition to visiting the Anne Frank House, he recommends heading to a monument that tells the moving story of World War II-era solidarity. Late on Feb. 22, 1941, police began a large-scale arrest of Jewish men, rounding them up in a square and sending some to camps. The underground communist party responded by organizing a strike, which was an unprecedented act of resistance. Go to see the Dock Worker Monument, showing a dock worker who became a symbol of the indignation and resistance of Dutch people towards the Nazis. The 1952 statue depicts a simple dock worker as a symbol of the Dutch population in the face of the persecution of Jews. On Feb. 25, people will gather there for the annual ceremony to remember the defiant strikers. The Jewish Historical Museum does a good job of exploring the different eras and the different emotions of the Dutch and worldwide Jewish story, and of ensuring that visitors leave with a sense of contemporary Jewish life as well as the past. Even if you are travelling without kids, go to the JHM Children’s Museum, meet the adorable animated guide (and rapper) Max de Matze (Max the Matzah) and see Jewish texts come to life with a large book, from which rabbis and other scholars leap out to debate with each other and teach visitors. It is a fitting way to end a visit to Amsterdam — a place designed to give non-Jewish youngsters a glimpse in to Jewish life and build tolerance, in line with the old Dutch tradition. ◆

FROM NEW YORK TO ISRAEL TO ARGENTINA AND BACK TO CALIFORNIA, JEWISH JOURNEYS HAS YOUR WORLD COVERED. Please look at the information from our advertisers. Contacts are below so that our advertisers can answer all your pertinent questions. Look for the next Jewish Journeys on December 18, 2020. Safe and exciting travels, everyone! AMIT CHILDREN

49 West 37th Street, New York, NY 10018 212-477-4728 Contact Person: Shelley Labiner Website: JOIN AMIT FOR OUR 95TH ANNIVERSARY MISSION

Celebrate AMIT’s 95th anniversary with its not-tobe-missed Mission to Israel in May 2020. Showcasing the accomplishments of Israel’s #1 school network with an exciting itinerary of culture, celebrity, arts, athletics, high-tech, and more, a pre-mission Poland heritage tour option is also offered. Highlights include: • Shabbat dinner on Jerusalem’s Mamilla Rooftop • Celebrity extravaganza at the Tower of David with actors from “Fauda,” “Shtisel,” “Srugim” and “Beauty and the Beast” • Touring tracks of interest: High-Tech and Innovation, Culture and Arts, Dynamic Outdoors, and Foodie. • BBQ and midnight bike ride • Graffiti tours, hiking and surfing, Segway tours, and optional helicopter tour. • VIP Tour of SpaceIL • Luxurious accommodations at Jerusalem’s Inbal Hotel For information, pricing, and registration visit our mission site or contact Julie Reisberg at 212.792.5399 or or visit https://amitchildren. org/95missiontoisrael/


4 Queens Gardens, London, UK NW42TR +1 917-336-1182 Contact Person: Ben Robbins Website: Bespoke Kosher Travel specializes in understanding the needs of Kosher travelers. We create bespoke travel itineraries to destinations around the world, and ensure that you have access to fresh, kosher meals throughout the duration of your trip. Our dedicated

team are passionate, experienced Kosher travelers, and can provide you with first-hand knowledge of many of the locations we cover. We always take time to listen to what’s important to you and work with you to craft your perfect holiday. Bespoke Kosher Travel can organize your trip for you from start to end, taking care of every one of your needs. As well as accommodation, transport, activities and tours, we are able to ensure that you have kosher food delivered directly to you throughout your stay.

COSTA RICA KOSHER ADVENTURES 6013 West Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036 323-746-5313 Contact Person: Marlene Website:

Kosher Tours to Costa Rica and Passover.


421 7th Avenue, Ste. 1210, New York, NY 10001 212-684-7370 Website: ERETZ ISRAEL MOVEMENT TOURS has been providing 34 years of exploring ancient and modern Israel from a kosher, Shomer Shabbat outlook, with excellent English speaking guides travelling along with you throughout Israel instilling the love of Eretz Yisrael from a biblical historic and modern perspective. The 2-week trips are based in Jerusalem with day trips in and around the area including Hevron and Gush Etzion, with Shabbat spent in Jerusalem. During the spring and among other summer months, the tour spends 3 nights, 4 days in the north exploring the Golan Heights, Galil, and Zfat highlights. In the fall/ winter the program heads south to Eilat and the Negev. We can arrange special tours for synagogue groups, schools or special missions as well as private tours for large families. Check out our website or call us at 212-684-7370.


3725 N. 37th Terrace, Hollywood, FL 33021 516-734-0840 Contact Person: Alan Berger Email: Website: Passover Holiday Retreat at the Waldorf Astoria in Orlando, FLA


216 Crystal Gade, St. Thomas, VI 00804 (340) 774-4312 Contact Person: Stella Minion Website: Located on the tropical island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the St. Thomas Synagogue is a National Historic Landmark as the oldest synagogue in continuous use under the American Flag, and it only welcomes visitors for worship and life-cycle events. One of only five synagogues in the world with a sand floor, the Hebrew Congregation of St. Thomas has been a fully functioning congregation since 1796, having held services in the current building since 1833. This architectural gem still has all the original elements from its construction with the pews built by shipbuilders from local mahogany and other fascinating aspects. Plan your destination Bar/Bat Mitzvah, wedding or vow renewal with the Synagogue’s helpful staff. It will truly be an event to remember.


+54 9 11 3307 9628 Website: Jewish Adventure Argentina is a family owned travel company specializing in Jewish heritage tours. We are based in Buenos Aires. Valeria Duek, founder of Jewish Adventure Argentina, excels at bringing the guests close to the local community by creating experiences that allow the interaction with Argentines in order to discover the authentic flavor of the Argentinean culture. In Jewish Adventure Argentina, we take care of

Jewish Journeys ■ The Jewish Week & NJJN ■ January, 2019




Jewish Journeys ■ The Jewish Week & NJJN ■ January, 2019


every aspect of each trip with great attention to detail, customizing itineraries for groups and individuals in Buenos Aires, Iguazú Falls, Northern Argentina, the Glaciers at Calafate and Patagonia. We also provide fine kosher dinning in Buenos Aires and other destinations in Argentina. Since 2007 we’ve been introducing our clients to the largest Jewish Community in Latin America making each trip unique and special. Hope to see you soon in Argentina! Hasta pronto!


379 Hendon Way, London, UK NW43LP +1 646 448 0348 Contact Person: Zak Jeffay Website: JRoots is a non-profit organization with education at its core facilitating inspiring Jewish Journeys for all ages and backgrounds to international destinations of Jewish interest. JRoots Journeys connect Jews from all walks of life with their heritage by taking them out of the synagogue or classroom and into the historical arena, engaging with the epic story of the Jewish people. JRoots has facilitated the most inspiring and momentous Jewish travel experiences worldwide over the last 15 years. JRoots has developed a large number of diverse itineraries that will suit the needs of all. There are groups from every background. The JRoots immersive experience creates an extraordinary bond between the leader and their group.


145-98 Guy Brewer Blvd. Jamaica, NY 11434 718-528-0700 Contact Person: Robert Frucher, CEO Website: For over 60 years, Leisure Time Tours has been a recognized specialist in innovative group travel programs geared to the Jewish market. Our name has become synonymous with integrity, quality and professionalism. Leisure Time Tours “invented” special kosher Passover programs and introduced them to some of the finest hotels in the United States and abroad. Last year we were hosts to almost 5,000 Passover guests in programs that have become the standard for the industry in creativity, service and impeccable adherence to Kashruth. Over the years we have developed close relationships with our guests who have become friends as well as clients. We evolved into a caring “family,” looking forward to seeing one another each Pesach. For more than six decades we have worked tirelessly in order to bring the very best programs possible to our guests. As in the past, we will continue


our efforts and hope to have the opportunity to serve you, our loyal friends and clients.

Markelstraße 7, Berlin, Germany 12163 +49-30-61 62 57 61 Contact Person: Catherine N. Laron Website:


212-789-0970 Website: Welcome on board LOT Polish Airlines! LOT proudly celebrates its 90th year of operation and boasts one of the youngest and most modern fleets in Europe. For long-haul flights, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is the exclusive aircraft for enhancing passenger comfort. LOT’s Dreamliner offers travelers a choice between 3 classes: Business Class, Premium Economy and Economy Class. A Star Alliance member since 2003, LOT is the only airline in the region to offer non-stop flights from New York, Newark, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami to Poland, as well as, from New York to Budapest. LOT continues to expand its route with its newest non-stop connection from San Francisco to Warsaw beginning in August 2020. Thanks to convenient transfer possibilities, you can easily reach almost any region of Europe when flying on LOT. For reservations call our Call Center at 212 789 0970 or visit

20 years, 5 continents, 165 destinations, and 45 countries. Milk&Honey Tours is proud to continue exploring, presenting and strengthening Jewish heritage in 2020! Milk&Honey Tours is one of the most prestigious tour companies for Jewish tours over the world, providing personally tailored, individually designed Jewish heritage tours by hundreds of engaged, professional and super motivated experts: guides, teachers, and scholars. From private tours to shore excursions, from city breaks to multiple day small group packages or life cycle events, the booking team, guides, and drivers make sure Milk&Honey Tours’ guests are indulged in luxury and comfort from the start, and they make the most of their stay in every destination, enjoy the experience and go home with the wish to go back.

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900 N. Federal Highway, Suite 206, Hallandale Beach, FL 33009 954-458-2021 Contact Person: Robyn Morse O’Keefe Website: Margaret Morse Tours, family owned and operated since 1980, provides the ultimate Israel experience for active seniors, families, and Bar and Bat Mitzvah. Tours are comprehensive, five-star deluxe, and carefully designed from start to finish with Israel’s finest guides. Join our tours for an unforgettable experience! No one does Israel better! For more information … 954-458-2021 info@


332 East 86th Street, New York, NY 10028 212-579-7700 Contact Person: Mark David Website: MD Hospitality is pleased to announce our new home for Passover 2020. We continue the MD Passover tradition in partnership with The Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort. We look forward to welcoming new and old MD Passover guests. Passover guests will enjoy the luxury resort, award-winning amenities, unique entertainment, programming for adults and children of all ages and the one-of-a-kind MD food experience.


Offering the most authentic Jewish tours of New York: • Visit iconic Jewish cultural and political landmarks • Explore beautiful historic synagogues • Indulge in local unparalleled Jewish cuisine


774-353-0170 Contact Person: Bruce Backman Website: www.PESACHINTHENORTHEAST.COM Bruce Backman’s Pesach in the Northeast at the stately Westfields Marriott Resort welcomes you with style, substance, and a prime location in the nation’s capital, just nine miles from Dulles Airport. Home to “The Best Food in The Business,” our resort provides a true retreat with elegant accommodations featuring deluxe pillow-top bedding, marble bathrooms, and high-speed Internet access. Located on over 30 wooded acres, the resort features a modern fitness center, indoor/outdoor pools, scenic walking trails, spa services, and six lighted tennis court. Its prime location makes it easy to explore the museums and sites of Washington DC, the superb shopping of Tysons’ Corner or the exciting attractions at the nearby Udvar-Hazy Space Center. We look forward to hosting you and your family this Passover.


1-855-737-2247 Contact Person: Schneur Wineberg Website: Pesach on the Mountain is proud to give you the opportunity to spend Passover skiing on Whistler Blackcomb, one of North America’s best destinations for skiing and winter sports. Our Five-Star Accommodation at The Four Seasons Resort is the perfect setting for an unforgettable skiing vacation. Daily apres-ski, evening entertainment, and world-renowned speakers are just some of the reasons our guests are returning for our 9th consecutive year. Passover falls during the skiing season, and with our extended option for Passover 2020, you can enjoy 13 full days in Whistler, maximizing your time on the mountain. Speakers for 2020 include Bethany and Seth Mandel.

PRESIDENTIAL KOSHER HOLIDAYS 35 West 94th St. #4, New York, NY 10025 718-332-3900 Contact Person: Brian Gurien Website:


Presidential Kosher Holidays, founded in 1945, as an outgrowth of a family business, has been setting the standard for high-end Glatt Kosher Passover vacations at warm-weather destination resorts for more than 25 years. We have organized more than 50 Passover programs at luxury resorts in the Caribbean, Mexico and the United States, creating memories for more than 25,000 guests from all over the world. Joining Presidential Kosher Holidays for your Passover vacation means becoming a part of a special community. Guests of all ages come together to celebrate the holiday and enjoy Passover vacations with their families and friends.

Our Passover programs include all the traditions of Passover and are at resorts selected to ensure our guests have the “Best Passover vacations under the Sun.” We have developed the expertise, relationships, and teams of staff to operate our highly-acclaimed Pesach programs.


Farm 1519a, Nakatindi Road, Livingstone, Zambia 10101 +27 82 904 5507 Contact Person: Daina Johnstone Website: Kosher Offering – two Kosher kitchens on site both following the laws of kashrut The River Club, a boutique privately owned lodge that is part of The Explorer Club near the Victoria Falls in Zambia, offers the opportunity for those wishing to remain observant to enjoy the splendor of the Zambezi River and the magnificence of the Falls.


267-970-1817 Contact Person: Joseph Benatov Website: Dr. Joseph Benatov leads annual Jewish heritage trips to the Sephardic Balkans. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches Hebrew. He is originally from Bulgaria and a member of Sofia’s Jewish community. Joseph has over 15 years of experience leading travelers across the Balkans, including UNESCO representatives, 92nd Street Y visitors, JDC board members, and Anti-Defamation League officials. He lectures on the history of Jewish life in the Balkans and on the fate of Bulgaria’s Jews during the Holocaust. Joseph takes a keen interest in Balkan cuisine and winemaking, so be prepared for some fine wine-and-dining along the way. Join

Dr. Benatov on an intellectually invigorating journey, and experience the rich history and culture of Bosnia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, and North Macedonia.


1 East 65th Street, New York, NY 10065 212-507-9580 Website(s): streickercenter trips/ THE ISRAEL CULINARY TRIP 2020: TASTE HISTORY IN THE MAKING!

June 19th - 28th 2020 Sample the Israeli melting pot and discover what makes Israel the most cosmopolitan country in the world! Israel is abuzz with avant-garde eateries – fancy restaurants, trendy street food, artisanal bakeries, wineries, organic farms and craft distilleries that reflect the melting pot of its cultures. Their worldrenowned tables are set for you!


6 East Main Street, Ramsey, NJ 07446 877-500-1556 Contact Person: Mark Ceslowitz Website: Travmark has insured tens of thousands of travelers and our protection plans have paid millions of dollars in claims. For your next vacation, business trip or even to insure summer camp tuition Travmark can protect your investment. Travmark’s plans also cover you during your trip for medical expenses, evacuation and baggage. Please visit our website to obtain a quotation today!

From: Dorit Leshnick Subject: PDF LOGO Date: July 23, 2017 at 3:57 AM To: Barry Judelman

Discover New York as it was over a century ago, and glimpse the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood that it is today.


23 Jewish Journeys ■ The Jewish Week & NJJN ■ January, 2019


Jewish Journeys ■ The Jewish Week & NJJN ■ January, 2020


JUNE 19-28, 2O2O

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9/25/19 3:36 PM

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