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Our Mission

World Jewish Travel (WJT) is a unique non-profit organization (501(c)) which provides an innovative and comprehensive digital platform to promote Jewish cultural travel and help users discover and experience Jewish heritage around the world.

Travel

Traveling is the best way to learn about a new culture and the history of a specific location. If you aren't quite sure where you want to go, read our travel blogs and eBooks to learn more about a city, and check out our cultural calendar to see what exciting events are happening around the world. These sources will help you get a better feel for each city and understand the history that transformed the city into what it is today.

Discover

Once you choose a destination, you can explore all the city has to offer. We make this easy for you by pointing out the top sites, and even local events that occur in that city. Whether you want to visit historical monuments, attend the annual Jewish music festival, or eat traditional food in the city's Jewish quarter, we will help you discover the best parts of the city.

Connect

During any journey to an unfamiliar part of the world, it is important to connect with the new culture and environment. We give you the tools to do that by providing top-recommended restaurants, tours, guides, and hotels - all of which will help you connect to and learn about the city's local culture.

Our Story

Our story starts with our founder Jack Gottlieb's trips to his mother's shtetl in Voronovo (Belarus) and his father's shtetl in Sarny (Ukraine). Each trip took 6-12 months to plan. This gave World Jewish Travel its kick-start.

2011
WJT was founded
WJT starts in Jack Gottlieb's living room with IDC students who wanted to  advance interest in their Jewish heritage. These students were part of the Hillel project, which provided students with work experience while strengthening their Jewish cultural roots.
2013
Israel's Top 100 Ethnic Restaurants eBook
WJT's first digital eBook is released. It explores 100 unique, well-known, and recommended ethnic restaurants throughout Israel.
2014
Instagram Campaign
WJT opens its first Instagram account (@wtj.restaurants), followed by @World.Jewish.Travel and @wtj.events to promote Jewish restaurants, events, and sites around the world.
2015
A Journey Through the Venetian Ghetto eBook
WJT's second eBook is released, taking a look at the history of Jews in Venice in the world's oldest ghetto. It shows the top Jewish sites, events, synagogues, restaurants, and tours in the Venetian ghetto.
2017
WJT eBook Library
An eBook collection offering both inspiration and practical guidance, while encouraging travelers to broaden and deepen their journey wherever their destination may be.
WJT Calendar
Includes both cultural days and cultural events taking place around the world
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2020
WJT Website Launch
This website is a digital Jewish tourism platform where all WJT content is accessible and users can share their own content and services. The website launched in 2020 and includes an eBook library, events calendar, Jewish heritage sites and tours, cultural trails, tour guides around the world, kosher tours, and much much more.

Get Involved

We receive messages from writers, bloggers, city officials, and enthusiastic travellers from around the world. They want to know how they can contribute to World Jewish Travel. There are several way to help out (and we provide all of the tools you need). Here is how you can get involved:

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World Jewish Travel Official February 18, 2021

Purim Foods and Recipes

The most commonly known Purim food is the hamantaschen (Yiddish for “Haman’s pockets”), also known in Hebrew as oznay Haman, meaning “Haman’s ears.” These delicious triangular pocket cookies have Ashkenazi roots and are often filled with prune jam, chocolate chips, berries, and apricot filling. In addition to hamantaschens, there are several other purim foods such as the extensively braided Purim challah, known as keylitsh, which is a reminder of the braided rope used to hang Haman. Kreplach, another purim food, is commonly eaten whenever a “beating” takes place. Though these beatings are uncommon in modern times, they traditionally took place before Yom Kippur, on Hoshanah Rabbah, and on Purim when Haman was beaten. During purim, it is also common to eat bean dishes such as salted boiled beans or chickpeas. This tradition reminds us of the many beans and peas Esther ate at the court of King Ahashuerus because she would not eat unkosher foods. Nosher, by My Jewish Learning, offers a variety of unique hamantaschen and purim recipes. Whether you prefer a classic hamantaschen or want to spice yours up with sprinkles, chocolate, and creme filling, there's a recipe for everyone! Purim Recipes Hamantaschen Cannoli Hamantaschen Rocky Road Hamantaschen Chocolate and Sprinkles Dipped Hamantaschen Milk and Cereal Hamantaschen Triple Chocolate Hamantaschen Rosewater and Pistachio Hamantaschen Tagalog Hamantaschen Rice Krispies Treats Hamantaschen Speculoos Hamantaschen Coconut Cheesecake Hamantaschen Chocolate Hamantaschen With Irish Creme Filling Fassoulyeh b’chuderah [caption id="attachment_22245" align="alignnone" width="640"] Red lentil soup with tomatoes and lemon close up horizontal. top view[/caption] Kreplach Debla Candy Infused Vodka [caption id="attachment_22246" align="alignnone" width="640"] Cocktails in copper and silver cups, Moscow Mule, Martini and Cosmopolitan.[/caption] Link to original article printed on MyJewishLearning: https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/purim-foods/

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World Jewish Travel Official January 26, 2021

Holocaust Memorials in Berlin, Budapest, and Amsterdam

There are hundreds of Holocaust memorials around the world, including many in cities where we run walking tours. We sat down with scholars in Berlin, Budapest, and Amsterdam to learn more about some of the most significant Holocaust memorials around the world, and to get their insight into some of the trickier aspects of interpretation and memorialization. Berlin’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe; photo by Alphamouse via Wikipedia Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin Once you’ve interacted with Berlin’s “Holocaust memorial”, as it’s commonly known, you won’t forget it. Conceived by American architect Peter Eisenman, the site is a Field of Stelae, a sprawling network of 2711 upright stone slabs–all grey, and of varying sizes and angles, in the heart of Berlin’s tourist district a few steps from the Brandenburg Gate. “The effect when walking through the monument, which descends into a valley in which the stelae are at their tallest, is quite staggering,” says Context docent Finn Ballard, one of the scholars who leads our Jewish Berlin tour. “The memorial engages on a visceral level, inciting feelings of bewilderment, entrapment, isolation, dizziness, claustrophobia.” Walking between the pillars and descending the overall depth of the monument, as visitors are encouraged to, it’s difficult not to feel awed and slightly uncomfortable. Though many have drawn comparisons with a cemetery, Eisenman’s intention was to keep the design purposefully abstract. The number of stelae is arbitrary, and the architect wanted to convey an ordered system that “has lost touch with human reason”; a labyrinth of uncertainty. Construction of the memorial began in 2000, but its history stretches back decades into the 20th century. An idea was first floated in the 1980s by a small group of German citizens who saw a need to acknowledge the lives and deaths of the six million Jewish people who were murdered by the Germans during the Holocaust. The campaign gathered momentum and in 1994, the government announced a competition. After a failed round of submissions and judgements that ultimately dissatisfied then chancellor Helmut Kohl, Eisenman’s design was selected as the winner of a second contest. From the government’s perspective, the monument was built “to honor the murdered victims, keep alive the memory of…inconceivable events in German history and admonish all future generations never again to violate human rights, to defend the democratic constitutional state at all times, to secure equality before the law for all people and to resist all forms of dictatorship and regimes based on violence” (Bundestag Resolution 1999, via Humanity in Action). Officially, the monument is called the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, and it is considered one of the most significant and high profile Holocaust memorials around the world. Some have criticized the passive language, which identifies the victims but not the perpetrators. Others have countered that that’s exactly the point–the answer is so obvious as to not require further explanation. “Eisenman’s work has courted much controversy,” explains Finn, “with some critiques of the monument focusing on the behaviour of visitors, for whom the artist has built a photogenic structure which is used by some as a playground.” Yet anyone who has spent time exploring Berlin’s layers of history will understand how the country, through its pockmarked capital, is doing an impressive job of being present with the uneasy weight of its past. “Although it’s a contentious sculpture, I find it a resounding success as a memorial – but to experience its full effect, it’s really necessary to visit the underground Information Center as well,” concludes Finn. This small space beneath the monument  is continually commented on by our clients and docents alike to be one of the most moving and excellent exhibitions in the city. The memorial is visited during our “Story of Berlin” Sightseeing Tour of Berlin and Nazi Berlin Tour, as well as our Jewish Berlin tour, and can be included as part of a custom private tour of Berlin. Dohany Street Synagogue Holocaust Memorial and Shoes on the Danube Bank in Budapest Budapest, with its thriving contemporary Jewish culture, has several Holocaust memorials. One was set up by a community itself, in a closed space and through mostly Jewish funding. The other was set up by non-Jewish Budapest intellectuals, in a public space via independent funding. One is dedicated to all victims of the Holocaust, the other for victims of a specific type of persecution by a specific group of people. One does not mention perpetrators, the other one specifically mentions those to be blamed. “I think both are very moving and very symbolic memorials,” says Context docent and Jewish expert Szonja Komoroczy, one of several scholars who lead our Jewish Quarter of Budapest tour. “Both are successful and respectable in their own form and with their own goals, and they complement each other extraordinarily.” Dohany Street Synagogue Holocaust Memorial, Budapest The Holocaust Memorial in the garden of the Great Synagogue on Dohany Street memorializes the Holocaust for the Jewish community. “For me, the most interesting elements are the spontaneous original tombstones from the graveyard in the synagogue garden, now replaced by uniform tombstones,” explains Szonja. The original tombstones are on the wall at the back of the garden. Soon after the liberation of the ghetto and the burial of the corpses here, people started to light memorial candles for their lost ones, then put up plaques and tombstones – mostly for those who died in the ghetto, but eventually also for anyone else who did not have a memorial elsewhere. “The Jewish Archive and Museum has been working on identifying who actually is buried there – and now they have their uniform tombstones, the spontaneous ones were kept and moved to the back of the garden, the side of the synagogue,” she adds. The weeping willow part of the memorial is probably its most famous. “It’s beautifully designed,” says Szonja, “with the two stone tablets ‘emptied out’, the branches of the willow showing an upside down menorah, the leaves of the willow crying in the wind, and the moving talmudic statement about the person who saves one life saving the entire world.” Shoes on the Danube Bank, Budapest; photo by Nikodem Nijaki via Wikipedia Shoes on the Danube Bank is a memorial that honors the Jews who were killed by fascist political militia in Budapest during World War II and is one of the more conceptual Holocaust memorials around the world. Conceived by film director Can Togay and sculptor Gyula Pauer, the rows of empty shoes–iron yet detailed and lifelike–were installed in 2005. The memorial pays tribute to the lives lost under Hungary’s Arrow Cross party, which shared many ideologies with Germany’s Nazis, including a particularly violent anti semitism, and took to the streets to shoot Jews during 1944 and 1945. “The shoes are very touching in their simplicity: This was the scene that Budapest residents woke up to on various locations along the Danube embarkment after a night of violence.” says Szonja. “It shows the void, that something is missing, something is terribly wrong. It is a beautiful initiative and effort of non-Jews, civilians, and locals trying to commemorate, to face, to understand a shameful part of their history, of the common history of the city. To show guilt as well as emptiness.” Explore the Dohany Street Synagogue on our Jewish Quarter tour or Hungarian Jewish Food Tour. The Shoes on the Danube Bank can be visited during our Introduction to Budapest Walking Tour and custom tour of Budapest. National Holocaust Memorial in Amsterdam Amsterdam’s National Holocaust Memorial is part of the city’s Jewish Cultural Quarter, which today also comprises the Portuguese Synagogue and Jewish Historical Museum and is the last o the Holocaust memorials around the world that we’ll look at. Until 1940, what is now the Hollandsche Schouwburg was a popular theater, but in 1941 the Nazis, who were then occupying the city, changed its name to the Joodsche Schouwburg– Jewish Theatre. Initially, it became the only theater Jews were allowed to act in or attend, but over the years it took on an even more sinister role. Tulips on the wall of the Holocaust memorial, Amsterdam; photo by Juliane H. via Wikipedia “It was also used as the holding centre for the Jews of Amsterdam prior to them being sent to the Westerbork Camp (the transit camp for Dutch Jews. From Westerbork people were sent to the concentration camps of Central and Eastern Europe),” explains Context docent and expert Michael Karabinos. After the war ended, authorities initially wanted to revive the Hollandsche Schouwburg to its former use as a people’s theater, but the attempt was met by strong protest. In 1947, the Hollandsche Schouwburg Committee took possession of the building and in 1962 the city council installed a monument in remembrance of the Jewish victims of Nazi terror. Later, in 1993 a memorial room was added, which included a list of the 6700 family names 104,000 Dutch Jews murdered in the war. “It’s a room meant for reflection and recollection,” explains Michael. The space is meant for survivors and relatives of those who perished, who have no grave. Explore Amsterdam’s Jewish Cultural Quarter with Michael or another of our local experts during our Jewish Amsterdam tour. Original blog can be found here: https://blog.contexttravel.com/holocaust-memorials-around-the-world/

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Jack Gottlieb December 9, 2020

Virtual Hanukkah Celebrations

From dreidels to latkes and everything in between, Hanukkah has become a holiday filled with joy and celebration. Known as the Festival of Light, Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem, freedom of worship and religion, and of course, the oil miraculously lasting 8 days when it was expected to last one. This year, continue your favorite Hanukkah traditions through a variety of virtual Hanukkah events and activities right from your home! Don't let this holiday season be any less exciting than the last. Hanukkah is meant to be celebrated, and thanks to the many virtual celebrations and activities listed below, this year will be just as exciting, tasty, and special as it has ever been before!  Festival: Virtual Israeli Cultural Evening and Chanukah Celebration December 10th, 2020; 8:00 PM to 9:30 PM EST Come join the Virtual Historic Tour of Hanukkah to not only celebrate this holiday season, but also to experience a virtual visit to Israel! Explore the rich history of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron, and Tel Aviv in a cultural and diverse Israeli-based evening. An expert tour guide will explain the origins of this joyous holiday, but it doesn't stop there! Take part in virtual Israeli cooking and wine demonstrations, with interactive and engaging musical and dance presentations from native performers. There will also be classic Hanukkah traditions and games for people of all ages to enjoy! Festival: Hanukkah - The Festival of Lights, Virtual Edition December 9th, 2020; 6:00 PM EST This Hanukkah, join The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and J Arts for a meaningful and exciting virtual celebration! There will be a variety of family-friendly programs and activities involving Hanukkah music, arts and crafts, Hanukkah stories, and digital Hanukkah animations. Honor the significant history and rich traditions through cultural music, dances, artist conversations, and a special community candle lighting ceremony. Film Festival: 8 Nights of Films for Hanukkah December 10th-17th, 2020; Time Varies for Different Events  To celebrate the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival's 40th anniversary, the Jewish Film Institute has organized a special and unique event, containing a drive-in movie and online screenings to honor the many decades of their history. Don't miss out on guests and remembrances relating to the Jewish cinema, with additional clips and trailers from the past 40 years. Join these 8 days of programming and have the opportunity to watch some well known Jewish classics such as “Film About A Father Who”, “Sublet”, and “Born in Jerusalem and Still Alive” to say a few. Make sure to light your candles, grab some latkes and sufganiyot, and enjoy a variety of films in honor of Hanukkah. Festival: Virtual Hanukkah Event December 11th-18th, 2020; Time Varies for Different Events  Let the JCC bring some added Hanukkah fun and excitement to you this holiday season! Creating beautiful crafts, taking a virtual photo gallery tour of unique Hanukiahs, and singing and dancing to a variety of Hanukkah music is only just the beginning of what this virtual event has to offer. Come hungry because you can find many new delicious recipes and view pre-recorded cooking demonstrations as well! Enjoy daily Maccabee Warrior intensive training with personal trainers, read nightly Hanukkah stories, and of course, don't miss out on virtual candle lighting ceremonies. You never know, maybe you’ll even discover new traditions to include in your future Hanukkah celebrations! Holiday: Hanukkah at Home - Virtual Worldwide Lighting December 22nd, 2020; 6:00 - 6:30 PM EST  Don't miss out on Lab/Shul Ritual Team for special Hanukkah inspired songs, stories, poetry, and more! Feel the joyous celebration as Rabbi Amichai and The Lab/Shul Team lead people of all ages and religions worldwide to light the symbolic holiday candles, illuminating so many houses around the world. Families with young children have an additional opportunity to join an 'Online Virtual Play Time' event. Here, join superstar kiddie rocker ShirLaLa, Lab/Shul Executive Director, Sarah Sokolic, and special guests of all ages including our favorite puppets! Holiday: Latkes & Light, A Virtual Family Hanukkah Celebration  December 13th, 2020; 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM EST  While people may not physically be together this Hanukkah, no one should ever be celebrating alone! Join the Jewish Community Center of Denver to light and bless the Hanukkah menorahs together, as one large community. This celebration is geared towards children ages 2-10, who will have the opportunity to sing, dance, and play Hanukkah themed activities. This event will feature educators from Jewish Explorers, Judaism Your Way, Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center, and PJ Library. Additionally, in honor of this celebration, The Tzedakah Project will benefit the JFS Weinberg Food Pantry, and there will be further discussions about the significance and impact that Tzedakah has on the world!  Festival: Holiday of Holidays December 10th-20th, 2020; Time Varies for Different Events  This Hanukkah, take part in the unique Holiday of Holidays Festival and contribute to promoting tolerance and mutual respect through culture and art! While exhibits are unfortunately unable to be physically displayed, join the online events showcasing art exhibitions and artist meetings, allowing one to be exposed to the beautiful array of culture and diversity within Israel. This festival provides the opportunity to take part in activities highlighting the positivity and benefits of developing relationships with other cultures. Learn the significance of breaking these unnecessary barriers, and develop or strengthen your trust between a variety of nationalities, ethnic groups, and religious groups throughout the Holy Land.  Festival: Hanukkah 2020 Gift December 10th-17th, 2020; Time Varies Based on Location Come and join eight international tour guides as they guide us on a virtual trip around the world! Explore Jewish geography, discover the captivating history, and even take a hot air balloon tour, all while meeting other Jewish participants in this exciting virtual opportunity!  Expand your Jewish community to people you never thought you would meet and connect with groups from Australia, Uganda, Turkey, Italy, Spain, and so much more. Give the gift of learning this Hanukkah season and get exposed to the significance and beauty of Jewish diversity all around the world.

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World Jewish Travel Official October 6, 2020

Top 10 ways to fix Jewish American Heritage Month

10 ways the month can become the best answer to the anti-Semitism epidemic sweeping the US May is American Heritage Month. Detail of Persin, Max. Farewell my dear parents Jewish folk song. Joseph P. Katz, New York, New York, 1920. (Library of Congress) May 1 marked the start of Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM), a month dedicated to highlighting the significant achievements that Jewish contributors have made to American culture and history. Yet, as in years past, a few days before the official launch at the White House, it is still one of America’s best kept secrets! You hear very little about it in the Jewish media, even worse from Jewish organizations, Jewish museums, and Jewish educational institutions. That lapse of attention has not gone unnoticed in the past which is why every few years pundits write articles with such titles as “Why Does No One Care About Jewish Heritage Month?” This year, more than ever, American Jews should truly care. It is perhaps the best answer to the epidemic of hate and antisemitism that has recently swept the United States. Until now the variety of responses (condemnations, vigils, etc.) by the Jewish community to these threats has been reactive. These actions are strong, but there is another, more positive and proactive approach we could take, that is, making a concerted effort to celebrate JAHM. JAHM ceremony at the White House in 2012 (Source: Pete Souza / White House Archives) Why can JAHM be an effective answer? Since hatred stems from fear, and people fear what they don’t understand, cultural education is still the strongest antidote to hate. This is why Congress set up a governmental mechanism to commemorate the contribution of different ethnic heritages (Indian, Irish, Jewish, etc.) to the story of the United States. Typically, the government sponsors a government website dedicated to the month, an archive of virtual exhibitions, and a kick off ceremony at the White House. We just finished celebrating African-American Heritage Month in February and Irish-American Heritage Month in March. It is clear that such a dedicated time of education and cultural activity can teach citizens about a culture to which they might not normally be exposed. Thus, the JAHM in May is a golden opportunity to promote and highlight the achievements and contributions of Jewish Americans to the American narrative. Until now, unfortunately, the lack of promotion of the JAHM has rendered the event a severely underutilized asset. To go further, we need a stronger top-down approach to unify our work to honor the story of American Jews. Clockwise: Betty Friedan – a writer, activist, and a leading figure in the women’s movement in the United States (Source: Fred Palumbo / Library of Congress. New York World-Telegram & Sun Collection); Dr. Gertrude B. Elion – Nobel Prize winner in Physiology and Medicine (Source: WikiMedia Commons); Estée Lauder – co-founder of world renowned company, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom (Source: Bill Sauro / Library of Congress. New York World-Telegram and the Sun); Joe Lieberman – US politician, and former Senator to Connecticut (Source: WikiMedia Commons). Fortunately, we do not need to reinvent the wheel. Every September, a European Jewish heritage organization (the AEPJ) celebrates Jewish Heritage week throughout Europe, and their incredible annual celebrations are truly the gold standard. In 2016, they logged about 126,000 visitors to 1,245 activities in 363 cities across Europe. We need only look towards our European brethren for inspiration and clear directive on how we can improve our efforts. It is important to note that a good percentage of the visitors were NON-JEWS! Here are 10 specific ways the US can step up to the plate this May, taken straight from the Old World’s playbook: 1. Plan far ahead: The European event is planned nearly a year in advance. As late as March 2017, the official website for the US May heritage month still reflected old 2016 events. We must be much more advanced in our thinking if we are going to have any kind of far-reaching impact. 2. Choose a meaningful theme in a timely fashion: only on March 6, 2017, barely two months in advance, did the current JAHM management make an announcement that this year’s theme is the contribution of American Jews to medicine. An announcement of this order 1 1/2 months before the launch of an event of this magnitude is too little too late. Curators need a good 6-12 months to research, organize and produce meaningful exhibits. 3. Appoint regional coordinators: Each observing region in Europe has it’s own coordinator (about 30 coordinators in total), and America should be no different. Such a coordinator would serve as a liaison between local municipalities and the national movement, as well as to foster cross-pollination and exposure within their own territory. 4. Create a strong, centralized website: The European website is clean, engaging, and, most of all, consistently updated. It provides easy access points for communities who’d like to get involved, clear avenues for assuming local or regional leadership, and a thorough detailing of events. Such accessible infrastructure is one of the first necessary steps to building a strong and enduring event cycle. 5. Expand the number of cultural heritage professionals in the national steering committee: A movement about cultural heritage simply cannot be effectively conceived or executed without the guidance of pertinent professionals representing diverse areas of the country. Europe has consistently elevated such professionals to leadership positions, and it shows in the heart and foresight behind its annual commemorations. America has no shortage of such professionals, and must make use of them to its best advantage. Synchronize global activities. (left: JAHM, right: AEPJ) 6. Produce annual outcome reports: Was 2016 a success? Was 2015? Does anyone know? How do we measure it? Unfortunately, the answer in the US is that we don’t measure it. The European effort includes annual evaluation reports of the successes and shortcomings of the year’s activities, including a variety of metrics and outcomes. It’s only by turning a critical eye on what we’ve accomplished and where we can improve that such improvement could be possible. 7. Invite Jewish organizations and corporation to be activestakeholders: The American Jewish community already has strong, wide-reaching infrastructure in place. Few localities are untouched by wider Jewish organizations. By inviting these umbrella organizations to be stakeholders in the event, many other pillars of the month will naturally fall into place. By not issuing this invitation, we also risk alienating those who could be our strongest leaders. Europe has demonstrated the importance and doability of uniting various Jewish communal arms for a concerted cause. 8. Institute a pay-to-play methodology for issuing high-profile invites: For some years (before substantial budgetary cuts), the White House held a special reception for Jewish American Heritage month. Recognizing and including those who put the sweat in (whether organizationally or financially) is an obvious and necessary way to encourage greater independent leadership in the movement. The more you “pay” into the production of the event, the more you should get to “play” at its culminating moments. 9. Synchronize global activities: Many thanks to Assumpcio Hostas de Rebes, an AEJP leader, for this suggestion. Why not have the American, Canadian, and European festivities occur at the same time, with the same theme? This would encourage cross-pollination of ideas, tourism, and create a camaraderie and united front among global Jewish communities. As Anshel Feiffer of Haaretz noted, this recent spate of anti-Semitism “could be a pivotal moment, not only for American Jews, but for the creation of a new global Jewish identity.” This is our chance to come together. 10. Remember forgotten heroes: Every culture highlights its deepest values and greatest achievements through memorials to its heroes, and Judaism is no exception. Curiously, however, Jewish American heroes are relatively unknown compared to those in Europe. Kudos to the Schusterman Foundation for pushing this idea. By the way, who is your Jewish American hero? What are your ideas for Jewish American Heritage Month? Let me know in the comments below or email your thoughts here. U.S. and Israeli flags. (Source: Maj Stephanie Addison / Wikimedia Commons) Let me make it clear: there is leadership in place to make this work, if the highest echelon can give a strong initial push. My organization, World Jewish Heritage is ready and eager to contribute to making JAHM a shining example of how promoting cultural heritage can mitigate hate. Identification of the contributions of members of different American populations, such as Irish, Italian, African-American and Jewish heroes, makes everyone understand that the United States was built on the backs of immigrants who represent a diverse palate of cultures and ideas. It also makes us understand that American cultural heritage is part and parcel of a bigger collective heritage. This message could not come at a more crucial time when anti-semitism is running rampant in our society, and we must decide to take the reins. The road to capturing the imagination of this generation and generations to come is to shine a light on the sterling examples of our past.

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Rediscover Szeged December 20, 2020

City Story: Szeged

Szeged is not only known as the City of Sunshine, but also as a place of abundant experiences and recreation. The city offers colorful programs and spectacular architectural features. Szeged, the third largest town in Hungary, lies on the southern part of the country, at the junction of Rivers Tisza and Maros.  By far, the city’s significance not only lies in its size, but in its rebirth after the Great Flood of 1879, becoming one of the most influential towns of the region by the early 20th century. It is mainly characterized by colorful cultural offers, vibrant college life and unparalleled built heritage. The city of Szeged can be directly approached from Budapest via M0 and M5 highways, by train or by bus. The devastating Great Flood had almost entirely destroyed the city, after which it was carefully redesigned based on Parisian city planning, earning its nickname Paris of the Great Plain. Its grandiose palaces, which appeared at the turn of the 19/20th centuries, reflect competing architectural styles, yet creating harmony. The local Jewry played a pivotal role in science, arts and literature as well as in rebuilding the city. Their splendid palaces and new synagogue mark the heyday of Szeged’s Jewish community. The New Synagogue is the second largest synagogue in Hungary and the fourth largest one in the world, designed by renowned architect Lipót Baumhorn (inaugurated in 1903). Besides Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque style elements, Art Nouveau plant motifs make the interior of the New Synagogue special. Lipót Baumhorn (1860–1932) who designed and (re)built over 42 synagogues and numerous public and residential buildings in Austria-Hungary, considered the Szeged synagogue his most outstanding piece. The rebirth of Szeged not only had an great impact on its built heritage, but also affected its social and economic life giving floor to outstanding local Jewish entrepreneurs and industrialists, such as the Lengyel and Seifmann families who played crucial role in the process of rebuilding. Mór Seifmann’s talent is marked by several prestigious orders; he made the furniture for the Szeged–Csongrád Savings Bank, the National Theatre of Szeged, the spa (later known as the Anna Baths), the Hotel Europa, the Hotel Kass and that of the assembly room of the City Council. Another nationally famous Jewish family that produced furniture of outstanding quality was the Lengyel family. For instance, all the furnishings for the grand Hotel Tisza on Széchenyi Square were made here. The family bought a residential building for the company at the corner of Klauzál Square and Kelemen Street, (currently, the Kis Virágpatisserie can be found here). Professional reconstruction of the downtown Klauzál Square and Kárász Street earned the prestigious Europa Nostra Award in 2004.  Further reconstruction works included Kölcsey Street, Dugonics Square and Somogyi Street. As a result, significant buildings from the pre-flood era – the Rector’s Office of the University of Szeged,  the Kárász House and the Dávid  Kiss Palace, as well as palaces of the early 20th century that were mainly owned by Jewish families – flourish in a new surrounding. The Milkó Palace is an outstanding one among the latter mentioned residential buildings.  The Milkó family, who held a lot of irons in the fire, were involved in real estate development, timber trade, railway construction and brick production. Along with running a steam saw factory and a gravel quarry, they were shareholders in the Szalán pharmaceutical company. One can discover the hidden treasures of the town during various thematic tours on Art Nouveau, gastronomy, literature, theater and Jewish heritage offered by local tour guides and the Tourinform Agency. The Anna Medicinal-, Thermal and Wellness Spa offers an excellent place for recreation; medicinal and wellness pools, infra- and Finn saunas await their visitors in a heritage-site building. Families can also choose from colorful programs. The Szeged Zoo is one of the youngest, largest and most peculiar ones in the country. Szeged offers a multitude of adventures for the lovers of active tourism. It is easy to get around town by bike (can be rented at the Tourinform Agency). Also, pawed cycle tracks lead to sites of the surrounding settlements. The Botanic Gardens of the University of Szeged in Újszeged are also well worth visiting, which host a more than 90-year-old collection of plants among them the largest outdoor Indian Lotus population in Central Europe. Szeged’s outstanding buildings, squares and parks can be discovered during a 45 min trip on the sightseeing train. These guided tours introduce the rich local heritage in multiple languages. The downtown area of the city is relatively small and compact that can be easily explored on foot as well. The rich Jewish cultural heritage of Szeged can be discovered in self-guided tours offered by the free-to-download mobile application Jewish Heritage Szeged. The Herzl family The Herzl family was one of the most notable Jewish families in Szeged; among their ancestors was Mihály Pollack, founder of the local Jewish congregation. Pollack was involved in commerce and moved from Kisbér to Szeged in 1781, although Jews were only permitted to settle in town as a group from 1786. Mihály Pollack was the first Jewish person in Szeged to buy a house where religious gatherings could be held before the first synagogue was built.  Although Pollack had no sons, his daughters’ children played a significant role in the Jewish community. For instance, Mózes Herzl, a merchant, was one of the first trustees of the Talmud-Torah Chevra (an association dealing exclusively with Hebrew teachings), which was established in 1820. His wife, Perl Grünwald, was a founding member of the first Hungarian Jewish women’s society in Szeged (established in 1835).   Béla Balázs – internationally renowned film theorist  Béla Balázs (1884–1949) author, symbolist poet, screenwriter and influential film theorist, was born in Szeged on 4 August 1884, as Herbert Bauer. His talent was revealed at an early age. He attended university in Budapest, where he befriended world-renowned composers Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály. In 1908, when he earned his Master of Arts degree, his works were published along with those of the most outstanding Hungarian poets of the time, Endre Ady, Mihály Babits and Gyula Juhász, in the A Holnap (Tomorrow) anthology. His main book on film theory, A látható ember (The Visible Man) was published in 1925.   He lived in Berlin from 1926 until 1930, where he worked closely with Bertolt Brecht and became friends with the famous actress Leni Riefenstahl, for whom he wrote scripts. He received the highly prestigious Kossuth Prize in 1948 and passed away the following year. He has a memorial tablet at the Weiss or Vajda House and a bust on Dóm Square in the pantheon, while a projection room for art films bears his name in the local cinema, Belvárosi Mozi. In 1958, a studio in Budapest for young experimental filmmakers was later named in his honour as was a national prize for filmmakers.

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Photo: @GilHovavIsrael
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Spread the love of Jewish & Israeli food with our #JewishRestaurantChallange:

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Winner will have their photo featured on our page!

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>>> Tap the link in bio for more tours
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2020 hasn't been easy, but at least we can end with some delicious fried latkes, jelly donuts, and gelt!

#Hanukkah2020 #VirtualHanukkah #HappyHanukkah #Chanukah #Chanuka #jellydonuts #Sufganyot #latkes #potatopancakes #chocolatecoins #hanukkahgelt #JewishHolidays
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2020 hasn't been easy, but at least we can end with some delicious fried latkes, jelly donuts, and gelt!

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