Discover Congregation Ahavat Shalom of Ocean City

Written by Paul J. Blank on . Posted in Travel

On Shabbat afternoon between minchah and ma’ariv, the men of Congregation Ahavat Shalom of Ocean City, Maryland, sit around a small table. It is a welcomed respite from the 16-hour days they work during the week. As the rabbi discusses the Torah portion, salads are served, including traditional Moroccan dishes. Cans of soda are brought to the table, but there are few takers, as the men brag about giving up carbonated drinks.

Jamaica’s First-Ever Kosher Restaurant Opens in Montego Bay

Written by Elie Klein on . Posted in Travel

For decades, Jewish travelers to Jamaica have bemoaned the fact that the island’s signature “jerk” cuisine was off limits due to a lack of kosher supervision. Thanks to the Chabad of Jamaica, which opened the doors of the first-ever kosher restaurant in Jamaica last week, the classic Caribbean culinary experience is now within reach for the thousands of strictly-kosher tourists who visit the island every year.

My Maimonidean Dilemma

Written by Paul J. Blank on . Posted in Travel

As a member of the Jewish Text Department at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, I teach courses in both halacha (Jewish law) and theology. The goals of these courses are, of course, different. What they have in common, however, is the influence of Maimonides (1135-1205). In courses that deal with halacha, we read the Mishneh Torah, Maimonides’ codification of Jewish law. In courses that deal with theology, we read “Guide for the Perplexed,” Maimonides’ attempt to explain Judaism in a rational way. Reflected in these writings is Maimonides’ ability to accommodate different interests, despite inherent tensions and even contradictions.

Connecting to the Land, Not the Phone: A Day With Israeli-Druze Youth

Written by Aquila Mendez-Valdez on . Posted in Travel

Israel is home to approximately 140,000 members of the Druze faith, but today there are a dozen or so young students waiting patiently for me as I park my car next to the Shrine of the Prophet Bha’a Aldeen, a local Druze holy site. By this point, I have spent several months in Israel and have only heard whisperings about the Druze community. They remain something of a mystery to the outside world, with terms like “secret religion” and “hidden in plain sight” used at times to describe them. But Green Horizons, an organization that offers outdoor educational activities to Israeli youth, is hoping to shed new light on their fascinating world by connecting Druze youth with nature and Israel as a whole.

Kol HaBirah Goes West!

Written by Editor on . Posted in Travel

Rosie Kavanagh of Kemp Mill, Maryland, reading Kol Habirah with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. (Credit: Shira Kavanagh)


Saying Kaddish in Croatia

Written by Paul J. Blank Travel Columnist on . Posted in Travel

I had long wanted to travel to Dubrovnik, Croatia. I looked forward to swimming in pristine waters, sunning on rocky beaches, kayaking around beautiful islands, hiking mountains overlooking the city, attending classical music concerts, and learning about historical sites. There is also a “Game of Thrones” tour, as Dubrovnik is the filming location for that television series.

Pesach 2017 at Isabella Friedman

Written by Gabe Aaronson Special Correspondent on . Posted in Travel

(Photo Credit: Gabe Aaronson)Fresh mountain air, sublime prayer services, world-class speakers, and the best food I have ever eaten on Pesach. These were the highlights of my Pesach at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Connecticut.