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January 17, 2017 / 19 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘vacation’

Israelis Ignore Warnings, Flock to Turkey for High Holiday Vacation

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

Despite warnings by the counter-terrorism center against travel to dangerous Middle east destinations, Israelis this Rosh Hashanah are flocking to the clear blue waters of southern Turkey. Search indicators of the tourism website HotelsCombined show a 40% rise in searches from Israel for hotels in Turkey, again, despite specific warnings against going to Turkey this season. The demand is greatest for the coastal cities along Turkey’s southern Mediterranean shore: Antalya, Belek and Alanya, but demand for Istanbul vacations has also gone up by 30% compared with last year.

Israelis are taking warnings regarding Egyptian vacations more seriously, and while Israeli demand for Cairo hotels is up, requests for the Sharm Al Sheikh hotels at the southernmost tip of the Sinai peninsula have dropped by 22% compared with a year ago.

HotelsCombined CEO Eyal Segal says the sharp rise in Israeli demand for Turkish vacations is the result of an increase in the number of flights between Israel and Turkey, the thawing in the relationship between the two countries, and the reduced hotel prices in Turkey, just in time for the Jewish holidays.

“Israeli tourists by now have figured that every place is dangerous, which is why eco

nomic considerations overcome security concerns, and the average Israeli is not quick to panic about a flight to a country about which there have been warnings,” Segal said, noting that “regarding the Sinai, there we see a greater adherence to the warnings because tourists stand out and can be easily marked in the desert, as opposed to the big cities where they feel that the disappear in the crowd.”


On the Kinneret

Monday, August 29th, 2016

On the Kinneret

On the Kinneret

On the Kinneret

Photo of the Day

It’s My Opinion: Israel, More Than A Vacation Destination

Monday, August 1st, 2016

I’m back from a summer visit to Israel and processing the amazing experience. The Eretz Yisrael Movement Tour, as always, proved to be the perfect vehicle for exploring a country that is so much more than a vacation destination.

Despite ongoing torrents of negative worldwide negative publicity, Israel continues as a stable and steady environment – and the homeland and birthright of every Jew. For those who fear Israel is unsafe, I suggest they open their eyes and take a good look around. Israel, more than any other country, is ready to deal with the challenges that exist in the world today.

Our tour guide, Margalit Frydman, was the perfect escort. Margalit is equally adept at taking out a Tanach and quoting a relevant passage, discussing history, current events, and archeology – or encouraging her charges to participate in song and dance. Her obvious love and devotion to the land make the journey very special. Her upbeat attitude is contagious.

My family and I were blessed to travel the length and breadth of the Jewish state. We were in Tzefat, Tiberius, and the Kineret. We were in Tel Aviv, the Shomron, and the Jordan Valley. We were in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Gush Etzion, and Hebron. We were in the Negev and Beersheba.

It is truly humbling, as a Jew, to be able to stand at holy sites that had been inaccessible to us for two thousand years. I remember coming to Israel as a kid in 1965. There was no Jewish access to eastern Jerusalem, Har Habayit, or the Kotel. There was no Jewish access to Hebron and Kever Machpelah (the burial cave of the Patriarchs). There was no Jewish access to Bethlehem and the tomb of Rachel.

Margalit Frydman (front center) with her Eretz Yisrael Movement group at the Lone Tree in Gush Etzion.

Margalit Frydman (front center) with her Eretz Yisrael Movement group at the Lone Tree in Gush Etzion.

Unfortunately, as we went about our tour, a 13-year-old Israeli girl was stabbed to death in her bed in Kiryat Arba by a Palestinian terrorist and a father of ten was murdered in his car in an attack near Hebron. His wife and three family members were injured in the unprovoked drive-by shooting.

Is Israel a uniquely unsafe place to be or visit? The savage acts of Islamic extremism are not restricted to Israel. Recent events in France, Belgium, and many other locations including America can attest to the fact that the epidemic is worldwide.

On June 13, Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old American security guard, pledged allegiance to ISIS and then killed 49 innocent people and wounded 53 others in an attack in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Orlando had in the past been associated with Disney World. Now it will forever be tainted by this carnage.

I found it quite ironic that the day before our group journeyed to Hebron, an Israeli man in a store asked me where I came from. When I replied that I lived in Florida, he was aghast. “Florida, it’s such a dangerous place,” he said. “They shoot you up in nightclubs and then the alligators snatch you!” He shook his head. He could not imagine why I allowed myself to live in such a menacing environment.

Don’t worry. Be happy. Go to Israel. Send your children. It is, indeed, home.

Shelley Benveniste

Parashat Behaalotecha: Summer Vacation

Friday, June 24th, 2016

The Torah in Parashat Behaalotecha tells of Beneh Yisrael’s departure from Mount Sinai, where they had been stationed for nearly a year: “Va’yis’u Me’har Hashem” (“They journeyed from the Mountain of G-d”). The Gemara comments that this departure from Sinai was a calamity. It was such a grave calamity, in fact, that the Torah had to insert two pesukim after this verse to serve as a “buffer” between it and the next story, which tells of the tragedy of Kibrot Ha’ta’ava. Reporting two tragedies one after the other would be a source of great shame to Beneh Yisrael, and therefore the Torah made an interruption between them. The obvious question arises, why is this calamity? Were Beneh Yisrael meant to remain at Sinai forever? Didn’t G-d want them to leave and proceed to the Land of Israel?

Tosafot answers that the calamity lay not in the departure itself, but in the mindset with which Beneh Yisrael left. In Tosafot’s words, Beneh Yisrael left “as a child flees from school.” They left Sinai joyfully, as though “escaping” school.

Rav Mordechai Gifter ztl explained Tosafot’s comments by noting that throughout the day, children are bound by a schedule and a set of expectations and responsibilities. The moment the bell rings, they are free from the school’s demands until the next day. And this was the tragedy of Beneh Yisrael’s departure from Sinai. They relished their perceived newfound “freedom.” They felt that their journey from “the Mountain of G-d” meant their “release” from the constraints and obligations, which the Torah demands. They felt “free” like a child who hears the bell at the end of the last class.

This is indeed a tragedy, because a Jew must never feel “free” from the Torah’s obligations. We are bound by G-d’s laws when we are in yeshiva, at home, in the synagogue, in the office, at a social event, or on vacation. Even when we “journey from the Mountain of G-d,” when we – for entirely legitimate reasons – leave our familiar religious surroundings, the obligations and values which were taught at Mount Sinai must accompany us in our travels.

Unfortunately, many people – children and adults alike – approach summer vacation as “a child fleeing from school.” They see it as a time to relax their religious standards, to take a break from the regular schedule of prayer and study, and to enjoy a period of “freedom.” As Gemara teaches us, this is tragic.

There is never a break or vacation from religious commitment. When it comes to spiritual growth, momentum is critical. Once the momentum is broken, we can fall back to where we were at the outset. We all know that it is far easier to break than to build. An exquisite crystal vase can take days or weeks to make, but can be smashed in a split second. And this is true of spirituality, as well. We can all attest to the fact that it takes time and hard work to grow in Torah and in our connection to Hashem. But losing our achievements is very easy. It takes a lot less time than the 75 days of summer vacation.

As the summer unfolds, many of us will “journey from the Mountain of G-d,” and spend some time outside our ordinary framework of Torah and Misvot. We must ensure that even during this period of departure, we maintain our momentum of religious commitment and ensure even as we “journey from the Mountain of G-d,” we will not, Heaven forbid, journey from G-d Himself.  

The Torah and Big Ben

At the beginning of the parasha the Torah briefly discusses the mitsva of the menorah, which was lit each day in the Mishkan. The Torah (8:3) makes a point of informing us that “Va’ya’as Ken Aharon” – Aharon did as he was commanded. Rashi comments that this verse was added to give praise to Aharon “she’lo shina” – for not “deviating.” He fulfilled the mitsva precisely as he was commanded, without any changes or modifications.

Rabbi Eli J. Mansour

Summer Break Fun

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016
Asher Schwartz

EasyJet Claims ‘Disruptive Passengers’ to Blame for Separation, Removal from Flight

Monday, May 9th, 2016

EasyJet Airlines categorically denied having removed and separated Jewish passengers from the rest of the travelers on board a flight from Barcelona to Paris on May 1, in a statement to media on Monday by Andy Cockburn, the airline’s director of public relations.

“Flight EZY3920 from Barcelona to Paris Charles de Gaulle on 1 May 2016 with 180 passengers on board returned to the gate in Barcelona and was met by police due to a group of passengers behaving in a disruptive manner,” said Cockburn, as quoted by JTA in several Jewish publications.

“All passengers were asked to disembark at the request of the police so they could speak to a small number of passengers in order to investigate the incident…. [EasyJet] does not tolerate abusive or threatening behavior on board,” he added.

JewishPress.com and Cockburn exchanged phone calls numerous times on Monday but each time JP returned the call, Cockburn was unavailable or could not be reached. Messages were left on both sides and emails were exchanged as well, but contact was elusive.

Even if some passengers were “disruptive” it still is not clear why an entire flight was forced to disembark, nor why only the Jewish passengers were required to remain secluded for six hours in a separate section of the terminal under armed police guard, nor why their captors refused to answer their questions.

Cockburn’s contention that the Jewish passengers were separated at the request of the police so they could be questioned under investigation does not make much sense, unless the police were only probing Jews. However, the spokesperson’s final comment that the airline “does not tolerate abusive or threatening behavior on board” seems to imply that Jews were behaving in an abusive or threatening behavior on board prior to takeoff.

Hana Levi Julian

A Soldier’s Mother: A Vacation Day in Israel

Friday, April 29th, 2016

There is nothing like Chol Hamoed in Israel. There are two major holidays in Judaism that have what is considered a “holy” day at the beginning and a “holy” day at the end, with what is referred to as the “intermediary” days being considered as…wait for it…half-holy. What this means is that the first and last days are like the Sabbath – we don’t drive, use electricity, phones, computers, etc. and have special prayers. These two holidays are Sukkot and Passover (Pesach). The intermediary days are called Chol HaMoed and while you are allowed to drive, use electricity, phones, etc. it is considered holiday-like and hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions, of Israelis take vacation and take to the parks, the beaches, the streets.

It isn’t about shopping; it’s about just relaxing. Some families go different places every day; others use the time to catch up on resting and just doing nothing. Yesterday, we went north.

For once, I’ll use pictures to speak, rather than words. It was an amazing day…







Paula Stern

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/a-soldiers-mother/a-soldiers-mother-a-vacation-day-in-israel/2016/04/29/

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