Archive for the ‘israel 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.

If you’re going to boycott Israel – do it properly!

July 3, 2007

I received this very interesting email this morning. Apparently, there was a decision on the national union of journalists in the UK in favor of boycotting Israel. Of course, this became open season for all sorts of great British journalists poking fun on the “ruling”.

Following a decision by the national union of journalists in the UK ( a
trade union) to boycott Israel, many British journalists across the board
ridiculed the decision, some even cancelled membership, but by far the most
interesting article to come out of all this is the one below.This was in The Daily Sport – British version of New York Post –

The View from Here – read below……


OK. So I understand that you are ticked off at Israel , and in love with
the Palestinians. That’s fine with me, as long as you have truly weighed all
the facts.

So, you want to boycott Israel ?????

I’ll be sorry to miss you, but if you are doing it – do it properly. Let me help you.

Check all your medications. Make sure that you do not have tablets, drops lotions, etc., made by Abic or Teva. It may mean that you will suffer from colds and flu this winter but, hey, that’s a small price for you to pay in your campaign against Israel, isn’t it?

While we are on the subject of your Israeli boycott, and the medical contributions to the world made by Israeli doctors and scientists, how about telling your pals to boycott the following…

An Israeli company has developed a simple blood test that distinguishes between mild and more severe cases of Multiple Sclerosis. So, if you know anyone suffering from MS, tell them to ignore the Israeli patent that may, more accurately, diagnose their symptoms.

An Israeli-made device helps restore the use of paralyzed hands. This device electrically stimulates the hand muscles, providing hope to millions of stroke sufferers and victims of spinal injuries. If you wish to remove this hope of a better quality of life to these people, go ahead and boycott Israel.

Young children with breathing problems will soon be sleeping more soundly, thanks to a new Israeli device called the Child Hood. This innovation replaces the inhalation mask with an improved drug delivery system that provides relief for child and parent. Please tell anxious
mothers that they shouldn’t use this device because of your passionate cause.

These are just a few examples of how people have benefited medically from the Israeli know-how you wish to block. Boycotts often affect research.  A new research center in Israel hopes to throw light on brain disorders such as depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

The Joseph Sangol Neuroscience Center in the Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer Hospital, aims to bring thousands of scientists and doctors to focus on brain research.

A researcher at Israel ‘s Ben Gurion University has succeeded in creating human monoclonal antibodies which can neutralize the highly contagious smallpox virus without inducing the dangerous side effects of the existing vaccine.

Two Israelis received the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Doctors Ciechanover and Hershko’s research and discovery of one of the human cells most important cyclical processes will lead the way to DNA repair, control of newly produced proteins, and immune defense systems.

The Movement Disorder Surgery program at Israel ‘s Hadassah Medical Center has successfully eliminated the physical manifestations of Parkinson’s disease in a select group of patients with a deep brain stimulation technique.

For women who undergo hysterectomies each year for the treatment of uterine fibroids, the development in Israel of the Ex Ablate 2000 System is a welcome breakthrough, offering a noninvasive alternative to surgery.

Israel is developing a nose drop that will provide a five year flu vaccine.

These are just a few of the projects that you can help stop with your Israeli boycott. But let’s not get too obsessed with my ducal research, there are other ways you can make a personal sacrifice with your anti-Israel boycott.

Most of Windows operating systems were developed by Microsoft-Israel.  So, set a personal example. Throw away your computer!

Computers should have a sign attached saying Israel Inside. The Pentium NMX Chip technology was designed at Intel in Israel . Both the Pentium 4 microprocessor and the Centrum processor were entirely designed, developed, and produced in Israel.

Voice mail technology was developed in Israel.

The technology for the AOL Instant Messenger ICQ was developed in 1996 in Israel by four young Israeli whiz kids.

Both Microsoft and Cisco built their only R. & D. facilities outside the US in Israel .

So, due to your complete boycott of anything Israeli, you can now have poor health and no computer.

But your bad news does not end there. Get rid of your cellular phone.  Cell phone technology was also developed in Israel by MOTOROLA which has its biggest development center in Israel.  Most of the latest technology in your mobile phone was developed by Israeli scientists.

Feeling unsettled? You should be. Part of your personal security rests with Israeli inventiveness, borne out of our urgent necessity to protect and defend our lives from the terrorists you support.

A phone can remotely activate a bomb, or be used for tactical communications by terrorists, bank robbers, or hostage-takers. It is vital that official security and law enforcement authorities have access to cellular jamming and detection solutions. Enter Israel ‘s Net line Communications Technologies with their security expertise to help the fight against terror.

So All The Noise About The Usa Listening To Our Private Telephone Calls, You Should Know It Is Israel Who Is Doing The Listening For Us.

A joint, nonprofit, venture between Israel and Maryland will result in a 5 day Business Development and Planning Conference next March. Elected Israeli companies will partner with Maryland firms to provide innovation to the US need for homeland security.

I also want you to know that Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world.

Israel produces more scientific papers per capita – 109 per 10,000 – than any other nation.

Israel has the highest number of startup companies per rata. In absolute terms, the highest number, except the US . Israel has a ratio of patents filed.

Israel has the highest concentration of hi-tech companies outside of Silicon Valley . Israel is ranked #2 in the world for venture capital funds, behind the USA .

Israel has more museums per capita.

Israel has the second highest publication of new books per capita.

Relative to population, Israel is the largest immigrant absorbing nation on earth.

These immigrants come in search of democracy, religious freedom or expression, economic opportunity, and quality of life.  Believe it or not, Israel is the only country in the world which had a net gain in the number of trees last year.

Even Warren Buffet of Berkshire-Hathaway fame has just invested millions with Israeli Companies.

So, you can vilify and demonize the State of Israel. You can continue your silly boycott, if you wish. But I wish you would consider the consequences, and the truth.

Think of the massive contribution that Israel is giving to the world, including the Palestinians – and to you – in science, medicine, communications, security.

Pro rata for population, Israel is making a greater contribution than any other nation on earth.



Baseball in Israel

July 1, 2007

Israel Baseball League

(source: Israel Baseball League)

Believe it or not, Israel now has an official Israel Baseball League. A dream for many Americans, fans now have the ability to cheer on teams like the Bet Shemesh Blue Sox and Netanya Tigers

Here’s a video about the first training of the new Israeli teams:

I’ve come across some of the player’s blogs, such as Leon Feingold, pitcher for the Bet Shemesh Blue Sox. It will be really interesting to see what all the players have to say from their own perspectives as the season goes on.

If I make it to Israel sometime in the near future, going to a baseball game will be on my list!

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:

Free dating site in Israel

June 15, 2007

Came across an interesting Jewish dating site today. Its nothing new to have Jewish dating online: JDate and many other small sites have been around for years.

The new one on the scene that I’m talking about is

Dosi Date

What is interesting about them is that they are in Israel and market to the Orthodox crowd only. Frumster used to be set up as Orthodox only too. has already matched up 200 shidduchim – way to go!

happily married Jewish couple

Travelers Unite! Your best story about traveling to Israel?

June 11, 2007

This post is to all you travelers out there.  While I’ve been to many places on the map, Israel still eludes me.  However, I’m looking to go this upcoming spring.

Until then, I’d love to hear more about your experiences in Israel.  What’s your best story about going to Israel? Birthright trip?  Bar bat mitzvah? Kibbutz? Yeshiva in Israel after high school? Pilgrimage to Israel after a lifetime in the United States?

I’d love to hear your stories.

Our special shabbos guests

June 10, 2007

We were happy to host our 2 special shabbos guests from Israel this past Friday night.  One was from Pardas Chanah, the other right outside Tel Aviv.

What’s even better is that one was quite a professional baal koreh but was Yemenite.  I had never heard anything like this before, it was truly awesome.

Hearing them both sing made me really want to go to Israel soon. G-d willing, I will be over there soon.

Pictures of Israel – nice looking gallery

June 7, 2007

I often like to get look at different stock image galleries (i.e., but I never found one that specialized in Jewish and Israel themes until I stumbled upon one today.

Check out – really quite a nice assortment of images. Some stuff I couldn’t really find elsewhere, such as
The Western Wall (Circa 1900) (search under pictures->early photography).

Keep in mind that the images (at least the ones I was checking out) are not free, and the cost depends on the way you will be using it (i.e. for-profit website vs. group family gathering). Still, a nice find.

Shawarma, the perfect food

June 2, 2007

I guess I’m still hungry after Shabbos. No good travel blog would be complete without a discussion about Shawarma. So matter how you spell it – Shawarma, Shwarma, or שווארמה, that amazingly cooked meat in a lafa with some Israeli salad and hummus – you don’t get much better than that 🙂

Here’s some hot off the presses:

shawarma - hot off the presses!
Photo by Mary B. Bloom

Here’s a great resource to some great Shwarma places in Tel Aviv.