web analytics
October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » Sections » Travel »

An Italian Experience

Flancbaum-020113-Piazza

I find travel difficult. I am not crazy about flying, to say the least, and I am most happy and comfortable staying close to hearth and home. On the other hand, my husband, Lou, has an astounding amount of boyish curiosity and an unending desire to see new places.

Debby and Lou Flancbaum

Debby and Lou Flancbaum

One of his favorite sayings is: “It’s a big world out there.” So, when Lou brought up the idea of ten days in Italy on a kosher bus tour, I thought of a million reasons why a trip to Loch Sheldrake would be a better option. I imagined myself happily cuddled up with a book on our screened-in porch, reading about Jewish life in Rome, Florence and

Venice. But, this time he prevailed upon me. “None of our kids are having babies this

Summer, our mothers are Baruch Hashem holding their own and we are young enough and healthy enough to do it.” What could I say? I booked the trip and we packed our bags only three weeks before our scheduled departure.

Even if I am not too keen on getting to our destinations, I do enjoy planning a trip. But since we arranged this holiday so last minute, my total focus was on finding comfortable shoes and a hat with SPF protection. We kind of glanced at a guidebook on the Shabbat before we left, but decided to leave this trip up to chance.

Flancbaum-020113-LouWe left JFK in the midst of a horrible thunderstorm and spent six hours out of an eight and a half hour flight in non-stop turbulence. I took three Dramamine, yet every time the plane rock and rolled, I felt queasy. I told Lou that this would be my last trip anywhere—EVER! After what seemed like an eternity, our plane landed safely in Rome. We met our Israeli tour guide and well-known journalist, Michael Tuchfeld, who schlepped us and the twenty other folks on the tour to the awaiting bus. Hungry, tired, hot and dirty, I certainly was in no mood for the news that our bus was broken and that a new one would arrive—–eventually. Rome is exceedingly hot and humid in August, so Michael cheerfully bought us ice-cold bottles of water. I glared at my husband.

Finally, we got on the road and I believed that I would get a cold shower and a hot meal post haste. The itinerary clearly stated, “day of leisure in Rome.” Apparently, though, Michael had not read our day’s schedule or he had a different interpretation of the word “leisure.”Flancbaum-020113-Museum

On the ride into Rome, I began to soften. Even I could not resist the incredible beauty of this ancient city, and the promise of gelato later in the day. I was overwhelmed by the grandeur of the Coliseum and awe struck by the beauty of St. Peter’s Basilica. Our first stop was the Jewish Ghetto. I was shocked to see how small an area had housed Rome’s entire Jewish population (along with Jews from other parts of Italy and Spain) from dusk till dawn for over three centuries. I imagined those who perished there when the Tiber River overflowed, as well as those who were persecuted and starved.

But now, the Ghetto of Rome is fluttering with Jewish life. Kosher restaurants dot the cobbled stone walkways and offer foods reflective of Roman Jewish (this is where the famous fried artichoke is available), Italian and Israeli cuisines. There is a 1500 student yeshiva in the Ghetto, though there are only twenty or so Jewish families remaining. The others sold their residences for astronomical sums and have moved to different neighborhoods. The Ghetto is considered a trendy area with apartments selling for over a million Euros. But, many of Rome’s Jews still come to daven at the shul.

Flancbaum-020113-RestaurantWhen we walked into the shul building, I could see why Michael pushed us so hard to make it the first thing we visited on our tour. The shul was re-built after a fire in 1904, and only thirty years after the Jews were finally free to live wherever they wanted. They could have erected their house of worship on any available piece of land in Rome. However, they wanted the shul to be a symbol of their survival and a symbol of hope for their children’s futures.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “An Italian Experience”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Colin H. Kahl, VP Joe Biden's new national security adviser.
Biden’s New NSA Chief Mocked Israeli Nuke Fears
Latest Sections Stories
Israeli winery

“You want to know what this wine looked like, which wine King David drank, white or red…. We can see if it’s red or white, strong or weak.”

Mindy-092614-Choc-Roll

I should be pursuing plateaus of pure and holy, but I’m busy delving and developing palatable palates instead.

Schonfeld-logo1

Brown argues that this wholehearted living must extend into our parenting.

If we truly honor the other participants in a conversation, we can support, empathize with, and even celebrate their feelings.

I witnessed the true strength of Am Yisrael during those few days.

She writes intuitively, freely, and only afterwards understands the meaning of what she has written.

“I knew it was a great idea, a win-win situation for everyone,” said Burstein.

Not knowing any better, I assumed that Molly and her mother must be voracious readers.

“I would really love my mother-in-law …if she weren’t my mother-in-law.”

For each weekly reading, Rabbi Grysman begins with a synopsis of the Torah portion, followed by a focus on a major issue.

It’s Rosh Hashanah. A new year. Time for a fresh start. Time for a new slate. Time for change.

Governor Rick Scott visited North Miami Beach/Aventura on the morning of Wednesday, September 17.

While the cost per student is higher than mainstream schools, Metzuyan Academy ESE is a priceless educational opportunity for children with special needs in South Florida.

Challah-pa-looza helped get the community ready and excited about the upcoming Jewish New Year.

More Articles from Debbie Flancbaum
Flancbaum-020113-Piazza

I find travel difficult. I am not crazy about flying, to say the least, and I am most happy and comfortable staying close to hearth and home. On the other hand, my husband, Lou, has an astounding amount of boyish curiosity and an unending desire to see new places.

Flancbaum-072012-Bakery

Most couples establish their own routines. They have their own rhythms that may include where they eat, when they vacation, and what they read. My husband Lou and I are no different. We like to eat Israeli food on Tuesday nights and we usually order the same—shwarma for him, grilled chicken for me. Our regular […]

This past December 5, I became a Savta again. My mother always told me not to count my grandchildren, so I won’t. Suffice to say, Baruch Hashem, our little tribe has expanded greatly since our first granddaughter, Aleeza, was born eight years ago. And since they all came on the scene, my husband Lou and I have spent countless hours enjoying them.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/travel/an-italian-experience/2013/02/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: