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
One 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
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?
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
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
This month I’m super busy with academic finals and am studying day and night for tests, so I’ll make it very short this time:
How is this Tisha B’Av Different?
Tonight and tomorrow, Friday and Shabbat is Tisha B’Av (9th Av) and in principle we should be eating the Seuda Mafseket (the meal before the fast) right now and start fasting on Shabbat. Since this fast is only a Rabbinical Decree (unlike Yom Kippur), the fast is delayed until Saturday night (10th Av).
This means there are a few differences on how we prepare for the fast. Continue reading Tisha B’Av in Six Minutes
The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears or the sea.
(Isak Dinesen 1885-1962)
The Cure For Anything
There’s something about the sea that captivates my soul. I don’t need to go into the water to be drawn into its embrace. Just sitting on the beach in the shade, hearing the crash of the waves, smelling the salty air and feeling the sand between my fingers. No matter how much pressure I’m under at the moment, a tranquil hour near the water rejuvenates my soul and empties my mind of all the junk that’s frantically spinning around inside. Continue reading The cure for anything is salt water
Follow Your Dreams
In 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
The Armchair Traveler
I 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
The Dutch Tram
When I was in my twenties, I served for a few years as a synagogue Rabbi in Amsterdam, Holland. It was a beautiful Shul in the center of town, built at the end of the 19th century and the members did everything to keep an active Minyan going week after week. It was according to strictly Orthodox traditions, but the one of the Gabbaim came to morning prayers every Shabbat by public transportation via the tram (trolley, streetcar).
This man was an elderly Jew in his 90’s who survived the Holocaust and lost his family in the camps. He was totally dedicated to the synagogue and I didn’t have the heart to tell him that there might be a Halakhic problem with the tram. After all I was only there for a few short years and he had served the Shul for decades. There was no way he could walk all the way from his house and he definitely wouldn’t give up coming to Shul on Shabbat. It was his entire life and he served faithfully till passing a few years later, but it made me wonder. Was there any Halakhic support to use public transportation on Shabbat?
These memories flash back in my mind when I read the following article: