Kosher Travel

 

A Taste of Puerto Rico

 

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The warm Caribbean sun that seems to kiss the sand of Puerto Rico shined brightly on us when we landed a few weeks ago for a long-weekend far from the falling temperatures and falling leaves of New York in November.  To be completely honest, Puerto Rico was never on my must-see list.  I tend to go for more exotic travel, (see my article about Thailand and Costa Rica) but the combination of a cheap direct flight and free babysitting (thanks in-laws) was too much to resist.

The beaches of Isla Verde are located about 8 minutes from San Juan Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport and since you don’t have to go through customs you can take off at 9 and dip your toes in the warm sand by lunchtime.  Although the Jewish population is only around 2,000, it is the largest community in the Caribbean islands and boasts a Reform and Conservative synagogue and a Chabad that is within easy walking distance to many beachfront hotels, including the El San Juan Hotel and Ritz Carlton, both of which I was able to experience during my stay.


 

Traveling And Keeping Kosher

 

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Name a country and one of the first things that comes to mind is the local cuisine. Italy is synonymous with pasta and basil, France has its baguettes and cheese, and what would Spain be without its famous tapas? However, for the Kosher Traveler, the thought of local cuisine in a foreign country doesn’t always elicit such a positive response. Often times, after a long day spent marveling at the beauties of a small village in Andalusia or a large city like Paris, the Kosher Jet-setter often finds himself longing for a simple meal in a local tavern, only to be confronted by walls of pork. And of course, when you do find a kosher restaurant, it’s often an over-priced imitation of Israeli food that you might as well have made at home.


 

Day in Jerusalem – Hanukkagiving

 

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A new phrase has been “coined” this year “Thanksgivukkah” as a way of describing the rare occurrence of Hanukka and Thanksgiving falling out on the same weekend. Considering that Hanukka begins first and lasts longer, I have decided to refer to it as Hanukkagiving.  So you might think this would have been a great time to post about Volunteer Opportunities and ways to “give” but we took care of that last month in our post called Volunteer Tourism.  The Thanksgiving activities in Jerusalem are scarce and the days of Norman’s Thanksgiving Feast on Emek Refaim are long gone so to celebrate Thanksgiving, I recommend a nice family turkey dinner at home.

Let’s focus on some unique ways to celebrate Hanukkah in Jerusalem.


 

Shawarma: Israeli Fast Food

 

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The most popular fast foods of Israel are by far falafel and shawarma. Both are served in either pita or lafa and with a variety of salads and dips, resulting in the perfect bite of food. Traditionally, a pita is filled with falafel and/or shawarma, a shmear of hummus, some Israeli salad, and topped off with pickles, olives, charif, and fried eggplant. The tastes and textures are phenomenal and can become quite addicting.

In last year’s Hanukkah issue the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine we created the ultimate Israeli fast food experience.  With recipes for all the Israeli fast food favorites, including salatim, pita, falafel and of course Shawarma.  To see the full story and get all the recipe order your subscription and past issue here, Subscribe. Today we are sharing here the recipe for Shawarma.


 

A Haute Market In Jerusalem: The Shuk

 

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Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda Market is a literal feast for the senses. Visitors to this outdoor market, or shuk in local parlance, are greeted with the vibrant colors of fresh produce, the guttural sounds of vendors yelling competing prices to passersby, the wafting smells of whatever is in season, and the tastes of rich halva, warm borekas, comforting stews and sweet tropical fruits. If you are a food lover, then a trip to Israel is hardly complete without a stop here.


 

Day In Jerusalem – Volunteer Tourism

 

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Did you know there is an easy and fun way to do some good while you travel?

Jerusalem is not only home to some of Judaism’s most historic sites but it is also an epicenter for goodness and chesed.


 

A to Z of Thai Cuisine

 

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What is it about Thai cuisine that makes it so very irresistible?  Anyone who has travelled in Thailand will be captured by the smells alone.

It’s the mixture of hot, salty, sweet and sour flavours that makes the food so very distinct and it’s a taste that we can replicate and make kosher when we get home from a magical Thai adventure.


 

Day in Jerusalem: Scavenge for FUN and FOOD

 

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Next time you visit Jerusalem, consider a new way to see the city. Interactive games and hunts bring the city and its past alive. The Jerusalem scavenger hunt is one of my favorite activities to recommend for tourists & locals because it keeps the kids and the adults entertained, challenged and working as a group to “feel” the history of the streets of Jerusalem.


 

The Joys of Montreal Kosher Living

 

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I was the only ten year old girl with a tanned Moroccan complexion, long pitch black hair, and a subtle French accent.  I was the only kid who ate Foxy’s kosher pizza at birthday parties while everyone else enjoyed their slice of plain or pepperoni Dominos pizza. What seemed like a grain of pepper amid a pile of salt, I grew up in the West Island of Montreal, one of Canada’s fastest growing Jewish communities and a hub for mainly secular Ashkenazi Jews. Born and raised in a Sephardic Modern Orthodox household keeping strictly kosher, I sometimes stood out from my less observant classmates.

Queen Mary’s Exceptions II terrace bistro & mini take-out bakery counter is the ‘brunch place’ with a nice choice of omelet breakfasts, "crabmeat" or vegetable quiches, salmon tartar appetizers, Italian pizzas and pastas, sushi, brioches and croissants, pastries and delicious cheesecakes


 

24 Hours in Philadelphia

 

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Although the Spirit of 1776 still lingers in the Philadelphia air, some of the most exciting things happening in Philadelphia are of a recent vintage.  From innovative and interactive museums to a surprising array of moderately-priced kosher restaurants, Philadelphia has a lot to offer and conveniently located just a short drive from Baltimore/Washington and New York City, it’s easy to spend 24 hours in Philadelphia.

Photo credit: Barnes Foundation


 

4 Refreshing Ways to Keep Cool This Summer

 

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Can’t take the heat? One of our favorite ways to cool off during the hot summer months is by escaping it all together – with trips to cooler climates where we can feel the air in our hair and excitement in our veins. Here are our picks for cool vacations this summer:


 

Kosher Rica – Jewish Travel in Costa Rica

 

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The winter snow was piled a foot tall outside of my New York City apartment, but I didn’t mind.  A cab was waiting downstairs to whisk me away for a week in Costa Rica.  Five hours cramped into coach wouldn’t bother me a bit.  It doesn’t take long to adjust to “Pura Vida” a popular local expression that rests somewhere between “Hakuna Matata” and “La Vida Loca” and essentially means “pure” or “real” living.  With Passover soon approaching and the prospect of preparing two seders for 25 people looming overhead, I thought I could use a little pure living. Costa Rica is a perfect place.

View From Horseback Riding


 

Kosher Summer Travel For Those Who’ve Seen...

 

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Think you’ve been everywhere that kosher travel can possibly take you?

You’ll be surprised to discover some of the exotic destinations now on offer for discriminating kosher travelers. Watch out, Catskills. You’re about to go for a ride.


 

10 Reasons to Be in Israel for Passover

 

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We’re already on our 26th year of hosting Passover hotels in Israel, and each year we pinch ourselves because it’s hard to believe how lucky we are to be doing this with our amazing guests. Not that you need to be convinced, but here are our favorite reasons for being in Israel for Passover. We’d love to hear yours in the comments below!

10. Seven days instead of eight days. One seder instead of two. ‘Nuff said.


 

Passover In Israel – Chol Hamoed Activities

 

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Raise your hand if the announcement, “Mommy, I’m bored!” makes you cringe. Yeah, we’re waving our hands, too. That’s why we prepare fun lists of things to do on Chol Hamoed for guests at our Pesach hotels in Israel. Here we share some of them with you:

rosh hanikra israel travel