Archive for the ‘international travel’ Category

Bar / Bat Mitzvah in Israel?

July 18, 2007

Destination Weddings and Now…

Many people have heard of destination weddings. Now, imagine a destination Bar / Bat Mitzvah!

St. Thomas Synogogue

( source: OnePaper)

Some are even going as far as having a religious service in the Caribbean in the famed St. Thomas Synagogue. It’s a beautiful looking place, but allow me to introduce Israel as the best place for your milestone life-cycle celebration!

Many people come to Israel to have their Bar / Bat Mitzvah at the Western Wall: Western Wall

What is a Bar / Bat Mitzvah?

For those of you that don’t already know, here is the different between a Bar and Bat Mitzvah:

A boy attains his religious maturity and becomes responsible to fulfill all Torah commandments at the age of 13. A girl becomes equally responsible one full year earlier, at the age of 12, corresponding to her earlier maturation.


Tips for After a Bar / Bat Mitzvah

Here are some ways for the new Bar / Bat Mitzvah to “give back” to the community:

1. Participate in a charitable project.

We are very much concerned that the Bar/Bat Mitzvah process reflects the ethical and communal responsibility incumbent on a Jewish adult. To this end, we require each Bar/Bat Mitzvah student to design and complete a Tzedakah project during the Bar/Bat Mitzvah year. The Rabbi will discuss this project with the student at the initial meeting one year in advance of the ceremony and at intervals over the course of the year.

(Source: Beth Shalom of San Francisco)

2. Reject materialism

Sources such as the Washington Post have described how elaborate and expensive a Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebration can be here in the States. A trip to Israel for this major family event for some families could actually be scaling down the trip!

3. Continue to participate. The religious journey of a Jew doesn’t end at Bar / Bat Mitzvah age! In fact, it should serve as a springboard to further mitzvot (religious observance).

Here’s a great brief video of a Bar Mitzvah at the Western Wall:


The 7 Wonders of the World – Then and Now

July 13, 2007


It’s pretty cool to take a look at how the Seven Wonders of the World have changed over time.

Here is a depiction of the Seven Wonders of the (Ancient) World, as created by 16th-century Dutch artist Maarten van Heemskerck

Seven Wonders of the (Ancient) World

These are, from left to right, top to bottom: Great Pyramid of Giza, Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Temple of Artemis, Statue of Zeus at Olympia, Mausoleum of Maussollos, Colossus of Rhodes and the Lighthouse of Alexandria

(Source: Wikipedia)

…and Now

Fast forward to the present day.Here is a world map depicting the countries that contain the top 20 finalists:

Top 20 finalists

The finalists have been selected for the new seven wonders of the world. An independent Swiss panel selected the following seven winners:

Great Wall of China

1 – Great Wall of China

China’s Great Wall, the only man-made structure to be seen from outer space, makes it to the list.
2 – Petra

3 – Christ the Redeemer

Machu Picchu
4 – Machu Picchu

Chichen Itza
5 – Chichen Itza

6 – Colosseum

Taj Mahal
7 – Taj Mahal

(all images source: Wikipedia)

Other Wonders News

Great Pyramid

Also interesting to note that the Great Pyramid did not make the cut, but received an honorary mention.

In November 2006, USA Today ran a similar list, and Israel made the list with the Old City of Jerusalem.

Video of historic places in Israel

June 22, 2007

Here is a great video I found on Youtube showing different historical, mountains, and archeological finds.  Something here for everyone:

Lag B’Omer in Meron, Israel

June 1, 2007

There is a custom to celebrate Lag B’Omer in Meron, Israel. It is the Yartzheit of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.

Here is a video of this year’s celebration:

Top 10 Tips for Traveling Abroad

May 31, 2007

Tips for Traveling Abroad

If you are traveling abroad here are the top 10 tips you need to make your trip easier:

  1. Make sure you have a signed, valid passport and visas, if required. Also, before you go, fill in the emergency information page of your passport!
  2. Read the Consular Information Sheets (and Public Announcements or Travel Warnings, if applicable) for the countries you plan to visit.
  3. Familiarize yourself with local laws and customs of the countries to which you are traveling. Remember, the U.S. Constitution does not follow you! While in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws.
  4. Make 2 copies of your passport identification page. This will facilitate replacement if your passport is lost or stolen. Leave one copy at home with friends or relatives. Carry the other with you in a separate place from your passport.
  5. Leave a copy of your itinerary with family or friends at home so that you can be contacted in case of an emergency.
  6. Do not leave your luggage unattended in public areas. Do not accept packages from strangers.
  7. Prior to your departure, you should register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate through the State Department’s travel registration website . Registration will make your presence and whereabouts known in case it is necessary to contact you in an emergency. In accordance with the Privacy Act, information on your welfare and whereabouts may not be released without your express authorization. Remember to leave a detailed itinerary and the numbers or copies of your passport or other citizenship documents with a friend or relative in the United States.
  8. To avoid being a target of crime, try not to wear conspicuous clothing and expensive jewelry and do not carry excessive amounts of money or unnecessary credit cards.
  9. In order to avoid violating local laws, deal only with authorized agents when you exchange money or purchase art or antiques.
  10. If you get into trouble, contact the nearest U.S. embassy.

(as seen on the U.S. Department of State Website)