Category Archives: Travel

General topics of Jewish Traveling

What is Kosher to eat anywhere – Part 1

Eat Kosher Food Anywhere

One of my first concerns when traveling to a new place is how I can eat Kosher food. If I’m going to a city with an established Jewish presence or a Chabad Center then I can manage just fine by buying food in a Kosher store or restaurant or at Chabad.

If I’ll be going to a city without any “official” Kosher stores but there’s a branch of a big supermarket chain, then I might find many products with a Kosher symbol on them (like OU).

If I load up with Kosher products in my suitcase before embarking on my trip and have enough to last me till I get home, then that’s wonderful.

Nevertheless sometimes I may find myself “at the end of the world”  (Jewish-wise), like Tanzania or French Polynesia  without a single Kosher product on the shelves or in my suitcase and that’s when the real challenge starts. This kind of situation tests the basic premise of this website:

A Jew can practice Judaism in every spot on the globe. Sometimes its simpler and sometimes more complex, but it is always possible to fulfill one’s obligations as a Jew anywhere at all time, with a little planning and foresight.

I’ve done some research on the products that don’t need any official Kosher supereat kosher foodvision which can suffice to “keep body and soul together” wherever you go. Assuming one needs proteins, carbohydrates. grains and vegetables, then the following is available anywhere in the world.

Foods That Don’t Need Kosher Certification

  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Coffee (unflavored)
  • Tea (unflavored)
  • Rice
  • Beans
  • Grains
  • Flour
  • Oats
  • Semolina
  • Corn Meal
  • Pure Honey
  • Nuts (dry roasted without oil)
  • Dried Fruits (without oil)
  • Pure Spices (pepper, paprika, sesame, cumin, ginger etc.)
  • Bottled Water
  • Pure Orange, Grapefruit or Pineapple Juice

It’s a very basic diet but livable in a pinch at least until you can get a larger selection of Kosher food.  Of course you’ll need a few cooking utensils and a heat source, but those are basic things anyone can handle.

There is a much larger list of “Foods Which Don’t Need Kosher Supervision” in Rabbi Eliezer Eidlitz’s website – KosherQuest though some of the products he mentioned might be valid only in North America or in Western countries and not in every spot on the planet. I would advice contacting Rabbi Eidlitz directly for clarification.

In addition there are some Halachic concerns about the products in my list (Kosher Laws for stuff grown in Israel, bug infestation, blood in eggs and others), which I’ll deal with in a later post.

Enjoy !

What is Kosher to eat anywhere – Part 2

Jewish Living On The Go – Introducing Jewish Traveling

Observing Jewish Tradition while traveling can be a challenge for the uninitiated yet in my opinion it can be also empowering and inspiring if you know the basics of Jewish Living On The Go.

So what are the primary issues that one needs to know and deal with when you travel, whether it’s for business, pleasure or any personal reason?

I’d divide it up into a few basic requirements:

Kosher food

Kosher fast food Mcdonald's - Jewish Living On The Go
A Kosher McDonald’s in Israel

The saying goes that an army marches on its stomach. Well so do regular civilians. Of course some places have plenty of Kosher stores and restaurants. One can also contact the local Chabad Center which usually has a basic Kosher store. But some places are so far from Jewish culture that you really have nowhere to buy labeled Kosher products. Therefor you need to know what are the ingredients and products which can be purchased literally anywhere with being concerned about Kashrut. We also need to know how to prepare and cook the food when you don’t have a regular kitchen. All this and more will be elaborated on in further posts.

Sabbath & Festivals

shabbat challah candlesticks - Jewish Living On The GoKeeping the Sabbath and Festivals involves observing many Do’s and Don’ts even in an absolutely religious environment. In fact as the Chafets Chaim wrote in his introduction to the six volume set of Jewish Law “Mishna Berura”, that if one doesn’t constantly review the various Laws of the Sabbath they will definitely end off transgressing them. So when one is in transit, whether simply in a non-Sabbath observant locale without an “Eruv” (see Wikipedia link) or in a hotel with electronic doors it can get a bit sticky.

Synagogue and Prayer

Great Synagogue Plzen Czech Republic - Jewish Living On The Go
Great Synagogue Plzen Czech Republic

Men are required to pray in a Minyan (quorum of 10 male adults) three times a day. There are thousands of synagogues across the world and even websites showing you where the closest one is, but sometimes there aren’t 10 Jews in a city, never-mind a synagogue. So how does one find a local synagogue and what to do when you’re without? Also how does one pray when one is in a public place like an airport?

Belief

How do we deal with issues of interacting with other religions, whether visiting houses of worship or talking to clergy of other faiths?

Modesty

boys and girls dating - Jewish Living On The Go
Dating Abroad

When traveling abroad we often arrive in places where modesty in dress is rather liberal (sun, sand & beaches…). How do you cope? Or do you avoid them totally? Interacting with the locals might involve additional challenges like shaking hands with or being secluded with members of the opposite sex. When can one be more lenient and what to do when you’re stuck in a challenging situation?

All these issues and many more, will G-d willing be discussed in further posts.

I must emphasize in advance (and I’ll mention this repeatedly) that anything I will write is my personal opinion for informative purposes only and to arouse new venues of thought. Or as they say: “A good question is half an answer”. It does not come to replace the advice of a qualified authority on Jewish Law.