Category Archives: Philosophy

Jewish philosophy and belief

The Jewish Travelers Manifesto

I don’t personally live this way but I greatly admire the minimalist lifestyle. In my opinion we own and carry around with us far too many belongings. It’s not just a problem of Emuna (belief) that one won’t take their  possessions beyond the grave (though ancient Pharaohs believed otherwise).  The more you own – the more you have to worry about maintenance, support, insurance, safety and upkeep of all your stuff. That’s why traveling can be GOOD FOR THE SOUL and why we have a Jewish Travelers Manifesto. Here’s why: Continue reading The Jewish Travelers Manifesto

How to Enjoy non-Kosher Food

Enjoy non-Kosher FoodOne of the things that really fascinates me about Italy is the food. I discovered that eating Italian isn’t only about pasta and spaghetti, pizza, tomato sauce and olive oil. There’s a huge repertoire of beautiful and (I assume) delicious foods and tastes. Continue reading How to Enjoy non-Kosher Food

The Advantages of a Spiritual Wilderness

Advantages of a Spiritual Wilderness
Jewish Bookstore in Venice

For someone living in a very sheltered and homogeneous religious community in Israel there’s something really special about visiting Italy. It’s not only the fact that one hardly sees Jews in the street or that everywhere you go there are churches and religious symbols (which is an issue worth discussing it itself). For me it’s the reality that there is hardly any Jewish infrastructure to depend on. I’m on my own. Of course in the main cities there are small Jewish communities and one can find a few Shuls spread around and even a Kosher restaurant here and there. The point is that I need to actively seek Jewish resources. They won’t automatically fall into my lap. Continue reading The Advantages of a Spiritual Wilderness

How high should your standards be?

Preparing for a trip

Part of the fun in going abroad for a vacation after so many years is learning about how much the world of travel has changed. I don’t mean how much our destinations have changed, because I’ve never been in Florence and Venice before. It’s the process of preparing for a trip that’s so different.

For example, how did we book hotels 20 years ago? Ask a travel agent? Look up possible hotels in travel guides, magazines and brochures? Then phone the hotel to book and confirm and hope it’s the best possible deal for our needs. Now it’s completely different. Continue reading How high should your standards be?

Tunnel Vision in Venice

Have you ever been so spellbound by a scene that everything else in your surroundings totally disappears? Something like Tunnel Vision? That’s what happened to us when we stepped foot in the old city of Venice, Italy last Tuesday.

A Sense of Direction

Tunnel Vision
Venice

In general I have a lousy sense of direction.  I’ve lost my way in every city I’ve been. In fact I even landed up in the wrong country once…while driving between cities in Holland I took the wrong turn and crossed the border into Germany… 🙄 In the end I usually get to my destination B”H; after all I wrote this post from home and not lost in Europe… 🙂 Continue reading Tunnel Vision in Venice

I Can’t Escape My Jewish Identity

Hi everybody!

It’s been nearly three months without a single post and I’m finally back. After 70 posts without stopping I simply hit a wall and dried up. It was probably because I realized that one can’t keep writing about travel without experiencing it first hand. See my post – Walk Your Talk in Travel and Life.

I’ve lived in Canada, Holland, England and Israel and traveled to other countries but in the past 20 years I haven’t really traveled anywhere just for the sake of traveling.

Till last week. Continue reading I Can’t Escape My Jewish Identity

Follow Your Dreams

Follow Your Dreams

follow your dreamsIn last week’s post I wrote about how one should “walk their talk” when it comes to travel writing. In the spirit of changing my reality and doing some traveling so that I’ll have authentic first-person material to write about, I did some serious thinking.

It would seem that there are four steps to carrying it out: Continue reading Follow Your Dreams

Walk Your Talk In Travel and Life

The Armchair Traveler

walk your talkI have to admit to myself (because it’s probably obvious to everyone else by now 🙂 ) that I’m an armchair traveler. At least for the moment. Twenty-five years ago we lived in Holland, had our summer vacations in England, shopped for Kosher food in Belgium and made short trips here and there including Canada and USA. Since we returned home to Israel my entire repertoire of travel boils down to three work trips to Poland with a two-day stopover in Italy. That’s it. Not much to show in two decades. Continue reading Walk Your Talk In Travel and Life

A Car Mezuzah and Good Luck

Car Mezuzahs

Have you ever heard of a Car Mezuzah?

Car MezuzahWhen I saw this picture my mind went totally blank. A Car Mezuzah? What’s that? Is it for real???? I started thinking that maybe I’m forgetting an important Law in the contemporary Rabbinical writings. Or maybe this is a modern form of Jewish voodoo… Continue reading A Car Mezuzah and Good Luck

What Do Jews Have In Common?

The past few years I’ve given a lecture to foreign (non-Jewish) visitors on “Basic Jewish Terminology”.  They’re fascinated by how diverse we are as a religion and a culture. Even in the Holy Land we are like a collection of unconnected tribes struggling to find a common denominator.

We argue about everything under the sun, from social issues and synagogue traditions to defining the best Kashrut organization in the country and the right balance between religion and democracy. Nevertheless we share something in common.

Do Jews Have In Common?

What then do Jews have in common  that make us distinctly Jewish? Is it the food we eat? Can’t be. Every Jewish community has its culinary traditions. European Jewish food includes Kugel, Gefilte Fish and Borscht. The Eastern Jew would likely prefer Pita, Hummus and Bourekas. The American Jew eats  Bagels & Lox at the Sunday morning breakfast in Shul and maybe can’t fathom the strange Israeli snacks.

Is it our nationality? Definitely not. Jews carry passports from nearly 193 countries and some have two nationalities with passports to match. Admittedly there are a few million with Israeli citizenship, but there are many Arabs with Israeli passports too…

Jews Have In CommonIs it our clothes? Jews across the globe wear a huge range of styles. Not only those who adapt to the local fashions, but even the very religious and traditional. There’s nothing similar between the garments of a Yemenite from Sana’a and apparel of Hasidim from Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Is it our religion? That should be a no-brainer, but unfortunately it isn’t. There are far more non-religious Jews in the world than those who keep the traditions, yet any Jew irrespective of his or her level of observance is my brother & sister.

The Jewish People are a Family

I liked the description that Tracey Rich gives in his incredibly “rich” website on Judaism – JewFAQ – “The Jewish People are a Family“.

Like a family, we don’t always agree with each other. We often argue and criticize each other. We hold each other to the very highest standards, knowing that the shortcomings of any member of the family will be held against all of us. But when someone outside of the family unfairly criticizes a family member or the family as a whole, we are quick to join together in opposition to that unfair criticism.

With that (not so) simple thought in mind, have a Good Shabbos !

David