Jewish Journal – Travel

Entrance to the City of David

Visitors centers offer a warm welcome

BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON MAY 15, 2012
If you’ve already visited Israel, you know that the hospitality is legendary. Everyone, it seems, has a friend or cousin somewhere that you should look up. But they aren’t the only people who will welcome you. The entire country is host to “visitors centers” from north to south, from the Golan to Ashkelon, that invite you to learn, taste and explore the Holy Land’s resources. In fact, Israel boasts a wide range of these open houses, including spots of historical importance, as well as “foodie havens” for award-winning beer, wine and olive oil. While these sites are open to the public year-round, some of them offer special activities during holiday periods, so check their Web sites before your visit for the most up-to-date information.

Hamat Gader  Photo by Timo Seppa/Google Earth

Get hot: Soothe your soul at Israeli hot springs

BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON MARCH 21, 2012
That Tel Aviv and Los Angeles are located on almost the same latitude is not the only parallel between these two metropolises. Near both locales, geothermal activity deep below the Earth’s surface reveals mineral-rich thermal waters. Where to indulge in balneotherapy — treating disease by bathing — in Southern California is no secret, but some of Israel’s unique getaways may remain off your radar. Some actually date back thousands of years to the Talmud and the Roman Empire. These hot springs and “wellness attractions” are an ideal way to soothe your soul, from Israel’s north to south, in the brisk temps of winter after a long flight or any time you’d like to relax on a visit to the Holy Land.

Nevo & Ofri, a Belgian chocolate tart with hazelnut and nougat crèmes, at Tmol Shilshom. Photo courtesy Tmol Shilshom

Spice up your Jerusalem experience

BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON FEBRUARY 9, 2012
Even though the sap begins to rise on Tu B’Shevat, colder temperatures continue can drag on in Jerusalem for weeks, if not months. That means finding the right place to drop in and warm up at some of the city’s most appealing restaurants.

A group from the Jerusalem Soul Center visit the Maccabean graves. Photos courtesy Rabbi Ezra Amichai

On the trail of the Maccabees

BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON DECEMBER 22, 2011
The heroes of Chanukah are no secret. The legendary Judah Maccabee and his warrior brothers defeated the Greek Hellenists in true Israelite fashion.

Grown-up gelt

BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON DECEMBER 7, 2011
All around the Jewish world, Chanukah is chocolate season. But that doesn’t have to mean you’re stuck with the waxy chocolate coins known as gelt. In fact, a new wave of boutique chocolate makers in Israel are redefining this beloved indulgence in Israel. Many of their skillfully crafted products are already available in the United States. One taste and it’s clear: Gelt has grown up.

More from the archive…

Israeli spas may be just the thing for what ails you
BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON JUNE 28, 2007
Miracles in the Holy Land aren’t only of a spiritual nature. Israel also boasts a long list of spas with amazing healing properties. Here’s a look at some appealing and pampering clinics.

Honeymoon in the sun
BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON APRIL 19, 2007
Sunny climes are made for honeymoons. Whether you opt for a kosher cruise, a getaway to Costa Rica, a retreat to Hawaii or another warm locale, juicy possibilities await with plenty of exotic, warm weather options. So take a look and pencil something in. You may soon decide it looks better in ink.

Gear Up for an Israel Vacation
BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON JUNE 15, 2006
We’ve identified select products to help with common travel dilemmas. Peruse our list for solutions to help you pack light, avoid sunburns, save on batteries and more.

Keep Kosher, Cool on Alaska Cruise
BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON APRIL 20, 2006
Witnessing glaciers calving into crystal blue waters, humpback whales fluking their magnificent tails and clouds weaving cottony billows around the tips of waterfront spruce forests are all in a day’s work for the average Alaskan cruise-goer.

Spice Up Pesach at Ixtapa Club Med

BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON MARCH 2, 2006
Kayaking, catamarans and savory kabobs are all on the menu at the kosher Club Med program in Ixtapa, Mexico. The weather is warm, the sunsets are spectacular and the meals are to “live for.”

Families, Singles Get Ready to Set Sail
BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON DECEMBER 15, 2005
The leaves have turned, the days are shorter and Chanukah, the holiday of lights, glimmers ahead. With the winter looming, juicy possibilities await, with plenty of exotic, warm weather options. So go ahead and plan your first big escape of 2006. Or surprise a loved one by booking a post-Chanukah adventure. This might just be the trip of a lifetime.

The Treasures on Top of the Mountain
BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON NOVEMBER 17, 2005
Masada, which represents a stronghold of Jewish courage and defiance, is among Israel’s most visited sites. Located in the Judean Desert, adjacent to the Dead Sea, King Herod the Great built Masada 2,100 years ago as both his winter palace and a place where he would retreat in times of crisis.

Qumran Offers Look at Legacy of Scrolls
BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON NOVEMBER 17, 2005
Archaeologists believe the Essenes were highly concerned with maintaining their ritual purity and bathed at least twice a day. An aqueduct system caught water from the hills above and channeled it into an elaborate series of mikvahs, or ritual baths.

Bike the Big Apple
BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON OCTOBER 20, 2005
Chasidic Williamsburg, Roosevelt Island and Long Island City are easily navigable by bicycle, but given New York’s frenetic pace, you might prefer an expert take you there.

Port Town Harbors ‘Oasis of Judaism’
BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON SEPTEMBER 15, 2005
The captivating simplicity of Onset, Mass., sneaks up on you. In this quaint harbor town, the main activity is perhaps taking walks to the harbor to watch the boats sail and the sun glisten on the water. Therein lies its charm, as well as a hidden jewel of a shul near the bridge at the entrance to town.

Hit Biblical Jackpot at Timna’s Mines
BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON JULY 14, 2005
When you ascend the rose red pillars towering over the Arava desert, you hardly expect to look down upon the biblical Mishkan.

Sweet Indulgence at Chocolate Spa
BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON JULY 7, 2005
The Spa at the Hotel Hershey in Hershey, Pa., is every chocolate lover’s fantasy. With bowls of silver-wrapped kisses (certified kosher) seemingly everywhere, and hot cocoa waiting by the fire, it may be the world’s only spa that actually encourages guests to consume the stuff between treatments.

Bachelorettes Just Wanna Have Fun
BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON JULY 7, 2005
Your best friend is soon to wed. You’re in charge of the prenuptial ladies fete but your buddy is an iconoclast and so are you. If you’re looking for bachelorette parties that score points for originality, you might consider these unusual substitutes.

Raise a Glass to Herzog’s New Winery
BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON JUNE 30, 2005
California’s newest and largest kosher winemaking facility boasts the longest history.

Last week, the Baron Herzog Winery debuted its 77,000-square-foot winery in Oxnard. The label dates back to 1848, when the Herzog family established an operation in the small Slovakian village of Vrobove. Philip Herzog produced an off-dry Riesling favored by Franz-Josef, the Austrian emperor, who established the winery as his sole supplier and knighted the family patriarch with the title “Baron.” In the 1930s, his grandson, Eugene Herzog, watched the Nazis, and, later, the communists take over the winery. When he finally sailed with his family to New York, he arrived in 1948 with more children (six) than dollars. He began working for the Royal Wine Co. as truck driver, sales manager and winemaker. To supplement his meager income, the company paid him in stock. He eventually became a majority stockholder and bought the company in 1958.

Wild Ride With Wildlife in Miami
BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON APRIL 14, 2005
Stretching along the popular beachfront area of Miami, approximately 650,000 Jewish residents support more than 100 synagogues, several Jewish community centers and abundant kosher restaurants, including authentic Thai food. The South Florida city even employs a full-time kashrut supervision department.

People, Motifs Blend at The Shul
BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON APRIL 14, 2005
The Shul’s powerful sense of Jewish solidarity is well-documented. In May 1995, it hosted a meeting of the annual Sephardic Rabbis Convention, which featured an address by Rabbi Eliahu Bakshi-Doron, then the the Sephardic chief rabbi of Israel.

Hawaiian Getaway on Road to Hana
BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON MARCH 31, 2005
Far from Kihei and Lahaina rests another side of Maui. A remarkably picturesque three-hour drive leads you into the heart of a rain forest, and an astounding number of bridges, waterfalls and lookouts punctuate the trip.

Known as the Road to Hana, the route is so popular it supports a small industry of audio tours that narrate the journey and serve up the island’s history. The Hana Highway dates back to 1926, when much of it was constructed with cinders. It wasn’t until 1962 that the state paved over it with asphalt, but countless potholes helped coin the phrase, “I survived the Hana Highway.” Only in the early 1990s did major upgrades make it a much more pleasant experience.

Eat, Daven, Eat on the High Seas
BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON MARCH 31, 2005
Performing cantors, adventurous shore excursions and all-you-can-eat sushi are on the menu when Kosherica sets sail. The company’s most recent run, departing Ft. Lauderdale for seven days in the Eastern Caribbean, was no exception. Dudu Fisher inaugurated a string of shows, well supported by a handful of maritime mashgichim, midnight buffets and even Shabbat services aboard the five-star Celebrity Millennium luxury liner.

The Grand Old Jews of York
BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON MARCH 17, 2005
In 1773, when Capt. Alexander Graydon visited York, Pa., it was a married Jewish hostess who captured his attention.

Meditate on Shabbat in the Old City
BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON MARCH 3, 2005
Minutes from the Western Wall, brilliant bougainvillea grace the courtyard of an Old City apartment encased in Jerusalem’s signature stone. This is where participants in Sarah Yehudit Schneider’s women-only meditation retreats symbolically leave the rest of the week behind to embrace the healing, nurturing powers of Shabbat.

Forgo Rainy Day Woe With Spa Trip
BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON MARCH 3, 2005
When the torrential winter rains take a reprieve, don some wings and head south. This three-day itinerary for rest, relaxation and kosher cuisine creates sunny inspiration even on the cloudiest days.

Watching Whales With a Maui Rabbi
BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON FEBRUARY 17, 2005

Spiritually Found Among the Surf
BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON FEBRUARY 17, 2005
Standing on a surfboard for the first time, it felt as if time stood still. I can recall the palm trees on the shore, the dusty blue of the island’s silhouette in the distance to my left, and my teacher afloat on his board to my right. That first, miraculous ride seemed to last forever. In one unforgettable moment, every stray thought inside me was quieted, pushed aside. All I knew was a sense of harmony between myself, the board and the wave. The water must have been slapping on the sand and the birds must have been chirping, but I heard absolutely nothing. A complete and total silence enveloped me and carried me closer and closer to shore, until the board stopped and I fell. The moment was gone.

Pesach, Matzah, Maror and Massage
BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON FEBRUARY 17, 2005
Thanks to an increasing number of spas offering Passover packages, a Pesach getaway doesn’t necessarily have to lead to weight gain. There is no shortage of luxury resorts where you can nourish your spirituality, pamper your psyche and get a workout. In fact, several highly rated wellness centers are hosting seders this year for the first time, including the Caribe Hilton in San Juan,
Puerto Rico.

Jerusalem’s Old City Finds Twin in Girona
BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON FEBRUARY 3, 2005
With their narrow passageways and cobblestone streets, picturesque Girona and Jerusalem’s Old City share more than just a certain outward appearance.

We’re Off on the Roads to Sepharad
BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON JANUARY 20, 2005
An authentic medieval mikvah rests near a stone bridge and the picturesque river it spans in the Catalonian city of Besalu. Clearly marked signs identify the newly renovated “call,” or medieval Jewish quarter, in the nearby city of Tortosa.

Jerusalem’s Own Garden of Eden
BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON JANUARY 13, 2005
Atop a small hill in a corner of Jerusalem, tropical plants take root. Nearly black orchids stand amid carnivorous plants and other leafy creatures dating to ancient times. While the intense Israel sun bakes the outdoors, this treasured vegetation grows protected in a beautifully constructed greenhouse. A team of experts manages their well-being in this delicately balanced tropical environment. Their home is one of the city’s choice retreats from urban mayhem: the dome-covered University Botanical Garden and its Tropical Conservatory.

A Garden Tour of Biblical Proportions
BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON JANUARY 6, 2005
Majestic fig trees bear their succulent fruit amid enormous leaves. Boughs of olives suggest the impending harvest as their color changes from green to black. Massive citrons emit their magnificent scent.

Flying Solo This Winter? Head South
BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON NOVEMBER 18, 2004
The leaves have turned, the days are shorter and Chag Urim, the Holiday of Lights, glimmers ahead. In the meantime, if you’re single or a student, and itching to plan a winter getaway, we’ve rounded up a pair of juicy possibilities.

Freewheeling Around D.C.
BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON MARCH 4, 2004
Bike the Sites, a smart solution to the challenges of sightseeing in heavily trafficked D.C., allows visitors to enjoy Washington’s history and architecture in an environmentally friendly way.

A Desert High in Palm Springs
BY LISA ALCALAY KLUG
PUBLISHED ON MARCH 4, 2004
At the top of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, there are a host of trails — including a three-quarters of a mile loop through picturesque Long Valley, just behind the Mountain Station that introduces visitors to regional plants and animals.

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