Finding Jewish Roots Along the Appalachian Trail

Written by Paul J. Blank on . Posted in Travel

The Appalachian Trail is the longest hiking-only trail in the world. It extends 2,200 miles from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. Over the years, I have hiked sections of the Appalachian Trail in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. It is my dream to one day complete the entire trail.

Healing With Dolphins?

Written by Paul J. Blank on . Posted in Travel

In the Jewish tradition, dolphins are described with mythical qualities. In the Talmud (Bekhorot 1:5), we are told that dolphins “are fruitful and multiply like human beings.” Some manuscripts, however, say that dolphins “are fruitful and multiply with human beings”! Rashi, in discussing these passages, considers dolphins to be half human and half fish, using the old French word, syrene (mermaid).

Descending a Mountain, Honoring a Memory

Written by Paul J. Blank on . Posted in Travel

In the summer of 2008, I trekked in Nepal to the base camp of Mount Everest. After nine challenging days, I stood at an altitude of 18,100 feet, atop Mount Kala Patthar, and from there I had an unobstructed view of the summit of Mount Everest. It was truly magnificent and I was quite proud of my accomplishment. However, the most meaningful experience of the trek did not occur until two days later.

The Most Accomplished Student

Written by Paul J. Blank on . Posted in Travel

As a teacher at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School (CESJDS), I am always in awe of the impressive professions that former students have entered. There are accomplished university professors, successful entrepreneurs, skilled surgeons, and prominent rabbis, to name just a few. In my opinion, however, there is one student who attained a profession that surpasses all the others. I think of her often, particularly during the holiday of Chanukah.

International Street Safety: Look Both Ways and Check ASIRT

Written by Paul J. Blank on . Posted in Travel

Writing a travel column for Kol HaBirah has allowed me to share my experiences of visiting interesting and exotic places. Perhaps my articles have even inspired others to travel! This, of course, would be very flattering. It also, however, would impose upon me the responsibility to make my readers aware of the dangers of travel, as well as provide them with information that will encourage safe travel decisions.

Visiting Israel With Israel Bonds

Written by Editor on . Posted in Travel

Carolina Gartenberg of Washington, D.C., visited the Beit Ambousa Ethiopian Cultural Center as a member of the Israel Bonds National Women’s Division 2017 Israel Delegation last month. Co-chair of Israel Bonds’ Young Investors Society, Gartenberg also serves on the social action committee at the DC Minyan.

My Experience in Israel With Jewish National Fund’s Caravan for Democracy

Written by Isabel Josephs on . Posted in Travel

This winter, I had the privilege of participating in Caravan for Democracy, a 10-day mission organized by Jewish National Fund (JNF) designed specifically for American, non-Jewish student leaders from various universities to visit Israel for the first time. From the moment we arrived at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, the itinerary was packed: We would meet with high-ranking politicians, journalists, and businessmen and women, as well as visit important religious and political sites around the country.

A Toast for the Past, A Toast for the Future

Written by Paul J. Blank on . Posted in Travel

Holding up my glass, I made eye contact with the other volunteers. The protocol was to then say “Egeszegetekre”— “To your health,” the traditional Hungarian toast — and take a sip, inviting the others to follow. We had performed this ritual every night for two weeks. I continued to hold up my glass, but I hesitated before saying egeszegetekre

A Student's Primer: Four Steps to Surviving an Extended Stay in Israel

Written by Catherine Green on . Posted in Travel

While Israel draws substantial numbers of tourists due to its rich history, diverse culture, and range of naturally beautiful locations, the country also plays host to thousands of high school and college students from North America, U.K., EU, South Africa, and Russia because of its innovative educational programs.

Local FIDF Leaders Join Exclusive Mission for a Look into the Lives of Israeli Soldiers

Written by Editor on . Posted in Travel

More than 60 leaders and supporters of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) from all walks of life and from across the United States traveled to Israel Nov. 10-17 as part of the FIDF National Leadership Mission, getting an exclusive look into the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and showing their solidarity with and appreciation for Israel’s brave soldiers. Mission participants received in-depth geopolitical briefings by senior military officers, met with state leaders, toured strategic IDF bases to get a behind-the-scenes look into the Israeli military, and experienced Israel in an entirely new way.