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Our Mission

World Jewish Travel (WJT) is a unique non-profit organization (501(3)(c)) which provides an innovative and comprehensive digital platform to promote Jewish travel and help users discover and experience Jewish culture 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 May 19, 2022

The Jewish Story of the Shida Kartli Region of Georgia

Shida Kartli is located in the eastern part of Georgia. This region is full of cultural monuments and beautiful nature. The areas which were inhabited by Jews were Kareli, Surami, and Gori; as well as a city near the city Mtskheta, which is located in Mtskheta-Mtianeti province of Georgia. Mtskheta, located at the junctions of the rivers Mtkvari and Araks, is an old capital of Georgia. This is the place where Jews appeared and settled down. After their persecution from Jerusalem in 586 BC, they asked the head of Mtskheta for permission to let them inhabit the area, for which they would pay a relevant amount. They got a positive answer and they occupied the part of the banks of the river Aragvi named Zanavi. After a little while the Jewish moved to different villages and cities, which were trade centers. In “Conversion of Kartli'' this community is dated as the year 169 BC.  In the Georgian Chronicles Georgian Jews are connected to the crucifixion of the Christ. Eliezeri, who was from Mtskheta, and Longinus traveled to Jerusalem and they brought the cloth of Christ with them. Sidonia hugged the cloth, fell on the ground and died, and because they could not get the cloth out of her arms they buried her with it. According to the legend, the gravestone located around Svetitskhoveli territory represents Sidonia’s grave. Sidonia is also connected to Saint Nino; Sidonia traveled around with Nino, along with 6 Israeli nuns and was the witness of her miracles. In the middle centuries’ documents, it is said that many Jews were victims of kidnapping and theft; the cruel behaviour caused Jews to leave the region.      Kareli, a town in Shida Kartli, Georgia, is located on the river Mtkvari. There was a time when the number of Jews living in Kareli was fairly vast but today that is not the case, on this day the Jewish population is very small; it only consists of 400 beings. Some say the word “Kareli'' doesn't mean the “The place with wind”, and its actual origin is an Herbew word, of men, but that is just an assumption. In old times Jews were accounted as the workers of Tsitsishvili; later as the state peasants. Jews in Kareli usually were merchants and lived ordinary lives, their appearances and rules corresponded with Kareli’s population. The sites you can find in this town are Kareli Synagogue, which was built in the 20th century and a Jewish graveyard.  Gori is a city in eastern Georgia, which serves as the regional capital of Shida Kartli and the center of the homonymous administrative district. It is located at the confluence of the rivers Mtkvari and Liakhvi. The name comes from a Georgian word gora, which means, "heap", or "hill". The city has an old history about the Jews which starts from the 17th century; at first they inhabited the area around Gori tower, since on Sundays a trade was held here and Jews were very involved in it. In the year 1866 there were 281 Jews living within the overall 5000 Gori population.  Jewish inhabitants were usually merchants and craftsmen. In the 20th century the economy of Jewish population grew. In 1915 there were 104 Jews in Gori (approximately 16-17 families); they inhabited the same area. In 1946, during World War II, a legally registered community was established; under which was this community a synagogue, which was located on 16 Cheloskicenev St. The main Rabbi was Mordechay Davarashvili; he helped Zionist Aliyah in Israel. After the death of Rabbi Mordechay every holy book owned by him was handed to a synagogue. In this city you can find sites such as one big synagogue and Jewish graveyard.  Surami is a mountain resort in Shida Kartli’s side of Khashuri Municipality. Until the year 1970, before the migration of Jews started, there were 580 Jewish families living in Surami. The first stage of migration started in the 70s and continued in the 80s and from the 90s to 2000s due to migration only 10 families were left in the city. Majority of Jews sold their houses and the former district of Jews was later named Jerusalem Street.    

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World Jewish Travel Official May 19, 2022

The Jewish Story of the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti Region in Georgia

Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti is a region located in the western part of Georgia and consists of historical provinces Samegrelo and Zemo Svaneti. The area has 1 city and 7 municipalities. Areas which were inhabited by Jews are the City of Poti, the Municipality of Senaki and villages: Sujuna and Bandza.  Poti is a port city in Georgia, located on the eastern Black Sea coast in the region of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti in the western part of the country. Jews of Poti inhabited the place in 1958, once the place received the status of the city. Daniel Magashvili’s family was one of the five families who started the Jewish community in Poti. Near the middle of the 20th century there were 200 Jewish families in the city, brought by the need of viable resources. During that time the Rabbi of the city also worked for the Jews of Sokhumi and Batumi. Apart from Ashkenazi Jews there were the Jews of Sujuna, Bandza and Kutaisi. In 1886, 161 Jews inhabited Poti, 54 out of which were there temporarily. In 1945 Jewish community officially registered in the city. The Jewish site you can find at this place is an inactive Poti Synagogue, which was built in 1903. [caption id="attachment_37654" align="alignnone" width="1333"] Synagogue in Poti, Georgia[/caption] Senaki, located on the right bank of the river Tekhuri, is a town in western Georgia, specifically in Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region. We come across the Jews of Senaki or Tskhakaia for the first time in sources from the 19th century. According to one of the sources Itzhak Israelashvili had a debt of 200 Georgian Maneti (Russian Ruble). In 1869 traveler J. Chorny visited Senaki and pointed out in his writings that the Govern of Senaki promised to give him a permit to inhabit Kutaisi, because there was no place to pray in the town. There was a time when 3000 Jews inhabited this area;  the number came down to one by the 2018 statistics; by this year there was just one man named Simon Tsitsuashvili left from the community.  [caption id="attachment_37655" align="alignnone" width="2000"] Senaki Synagogue[/caption] The Jewish sites you can find in Senaki are a Synagogue, which was built in 1969 and the Jewish graveyard. In the 1940s or 1950s there were two active synagogues in the town. One, located in the center of the city, was built in 1880 and was destroyed by the government in 1946. Second one was located at the same place and was a two floor building; it was burnt down in 1963 but by the help of local Jews it was reconstructed. The synagogue was taken away from the Jews and was redesigned into a factory for cooling drinks. Sujuna, a village in Abasha municipality, is located on the bank of the river Abasha. Georgian Jews have been compactly living in Sujuna since the 18th century. During the ruling of David Dadiani Sujuna became one of the centers for trade. The last Jew living in Sujuna passed away in 2000, but Jews still visit the synagogue annually and have a good relationship with the people living in the village. Along with the Synagogue, there is also a graveyard in Sujuna.  [caption id="attachment_37656" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Jewish Cemetery in Bandza Georgia[/caption] Bandza is a village located in the western part of Georgia, in the municipality of Martvili, where in the second half of the 18th century Jewish people started to live. The first sources, where we hear about the place date back to 1639-1640 years. In the 18th century the place used to be one of the leading ones; the lord named Phagava brought Jewish Savdagori’s family to solidify the village economically; after this more Jews started inhabiting the area and they created a community. At the beginning of the 20th century Jews built a synagogue in the Jewish district of Bandza. There is also Jewish cemetery near the synagogue. The synagogue is inactive today but many Jewish people visit it very often.   

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World Jewish Travel Official May 16, 2022

The Jewish Story of Kutaisi

Kutaisi is the legislative capital of Georgia, and a current municipal center of the Imereti region. It is the 3rd most populous city and is considered to be one of the most important cities in Georgia. Jewish inhabitants have been living in Kutaisi starting from ancient times, but we do not have any official sources until the year 1644. Jews lived mainly in the north-east of the city – Kutaisi, on the left bank of the river Rioni. This place was called street Shaumyani. This area was settled more compactly by Jews than the other ones. The number of Jewish residents showed an apparent growth at the end of the 18th century but as time passed, most of the Jews left Kutaisi for their historic homeland.  A small number of the remaining Jewish families do not live compactly, and you can rarely hear that particular speech characterizing Georgian Jews. But it can be heard in the speech of Georgians who continue to live on the street Shaumyani and will continue to be heard for many years in this area. In the year 1871 there were 4702 Jews living in Kutaisi, which was the third biggest Jewish community in Georgia. Also in the 19th century the emigration of Jews in Kutaisi caused the rise of anti-sematism, which ended with blood slander in Surami and Sachkhere. It is assumed that Moshe Montefiore was involved in it even though there is no concrete evidence that there was any connection between Georgian Jews and Moshe Monrefiore.  In 1937-1938 fighting against Judaism and Jewish culture spread around Kutaisi just like many other cities in the Soviet Union. The leaders of Jewish community such as: G. Deberashvili, the Rabbi of Kutaisi during 1927-1955, and the Rabbi during 1955-1965, were arrested. After World War II Jewish refugees went to Kutaisi, some stayed there, Dov Gaponov. The Jews of Kutaisi made a great contribution to the development of the city, for instance in the 19th century the Jewish inhabitants, who mostly were merchants and craftsmen, played a big role in Kutaisi’s economy. In 1919 many Jews in Kutaisi were working in the local silk factory. In 1969-1984 thousands of Jews left Kutaisi and inhabited Israel. According to Jewish agency in 1993 there were 2300 Jews living in Kutaisi, this number fell to 600 by 1999.   

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World Jewish Travel Official May 19, 2022

The Jewish Story of Oni

Oni, located in western Georgia, is a town in Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti region and is surrounded by high mountains. Oni Jews inhabited the city in the 18th century after the annexation of Georgia by Russia. In old times a lot of Jewish families lived there; at some point Oni was the most inhabited Georgian region by Jews. In 1972 the Jewish population was 3500.  [caption id="attachment_37206" align="alignnone" width="2048"] Attribution: Bejanbejani, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons[/caption] Despite post-Soviet tendency towards migration, Oni still retains a small number of Jewish families - remnants of once powerful and large historic Jewish communities. Some of Jewish inhabitants are a part of one big family: Abraham and Simon are cousins. The main Street of Jewish district is called Baazov Street, where David Baazov used to live in 1903-1923 years; today this street is on the verge of destruction. David Baazov became the Rabbi of Oni, in 1904, after he returned to Georgia from Slutsk, where he studied.  [caption id="attachment_37207" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Synagogue in Oni, Georgia[/caption] Baazov founded Jewish public school in Oni, where he employed two qualified teachers from Russia. The school developed and became very popular among Jews of Oni; but after the revolution in Russia, the teachers left the school, which led to the downfall of the education center. The son of David Baazov, Gerzel Baazov, a Jewish-Georgian writer, was born on the same street in 1904. Except for Baazov street, there are three other districts which were mainly inhabited by Jewish communities: Vakhtang VI St. Kirovi St. and Chachashvili St. Apparently Michael Chachashvili used to be a Jewish doctor.  [caption id="attachment_37208" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Jewish Graveyard in Oni[/caption] Jewish families managed to get permission to leave The Soviet Union and go to Israel in the 70s; they protested in Moscow and opened a way for many other Jews to follow their path. This process got much better once Eduard Shevardnadze became the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia. The immigration process started in 1968 and ended in the 90s. Today many families who used to inhabit Oni visit during summer and even stay at their former homes.   

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World Jewish Travel Official May 14, 2022

Berlin: A City of Jewish Culture, History, and Resilience

The Jewish history of Germany predates the establishment of Berlin as it is known today by more than 1000 years. The community has seen success, innovation, and acceptance. It has also been subjected to the horrors of antisemitism culminating in one of the worst travesties against humanity the world as ever seen, the Holocaust. No one would ever have thought that after such trauma the Jewish community of Germany would continue, let alone rise to the heights it has today. From a Cattle Market to a Quarter and Then Near Oblivion From the time the Holy Roman empire stood Jews have lived on German soil. For hundreds of years they existed as a minority in mainly rural areas. The city of Berlin was established in the medieval period in 1237. In keeping with the tradition of European cities a small minority of Jews were granted permission to establish their own insular district. They were meant to increase the wealth and trade connections of Germany.  This district was located just outside the city walls. By 1900 the majority of German Jews lived in metropolitan cities like Berlin. Jews served as bankers, lawyers, and merchants. They were also at the forefront of major philosophical movements, both religious and secular, like the Enlightenment period and the Haskalah movement. All this success in German society came to a crashing halt with the progression of the Holocaust. Antisemitism had always existed in spades within German society but the Third Reich fanned these flames of hatred. Despite the obvious merit and contributions of the Jewish community, the general population believed them to be untrustworthy. The seed of all devastation in the nation.  In 1933, Jews were demoted to second class citizens. Their businesses were vandalized, they were not permitted to enter certain spaces, forced to wear the yellow star, and finally placed in ghettos. Then came the final hammer fall of the Final Solution. Between 1941 and 1945 Jews were shipped to work and extermination camps. By the time the allied forces liberated camps across Europe only 15,000 German Jews remained.  Most immigrated to other countries, however, some chose to stay to try and rebuild what had been lost. The latter was a widely unpopular decision. Most Jews believed that morally and emotionally they could never again call Germany home. After years of painstaking work to confront the evils of the past and rebuild, today there are more than 30,000 Jews living in the city of Berlin alone. The German Jewish Community Remembers and Thrives There is a steadfast commitment to the preservation and renaissance of Jewish history in Berlin, with special concentration on the original Jewish quarter. The city did not establish a Jewish quarter within its limits until the mid to late 19th century. The quarter was named Scheunenviertel, taken from the German word Scheune, wooden barns. This was in reference to the hay barns that were located in the Jewish district outside of the city where there once stood a cattle market. The area was the epicenter of Jewish daily life as well as cultural and religious activities.  One of the most iconic sites in the history of the Jewish German community is the New Synagogue of Berlin. This mid-19th century architectural jewel resembling the Alhambra was designed to fit almost 3000 attendees complete with an organ and choir. It was severely damaged during Kristallnacht and set ablaze. The site was saved by Lieutenant Otto Bellgardt. In a brave effort to uphold the protection of the synagogue as a historic site he ordered the arsonists to disperse. Today the synagogue stands as a testament to the resilience of German Jewry and the actions of one righteous man. There are also many sites dedicated to the memory of Holocaust victims. One of the most iconic is of course the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. The memorial was designed by Peter Eisenman in 1980 featuring 2,711 concrete slabs spaced in a grid formation. There are no names on the slabs, a symbol of the countless victims, some of whom remain unknown to this day. The Contribution of Berlin Jewry However, Jewish German history is not all doom and gloom. For hundreds of years German Jews thrived in Berlin, some of whom made large contributions to the international Jewish world. Moses Mendelsohn, born at the beginning of the 18th century, moved to Berlin in 1743. He started his own businesses, studied under renowned German philosophers and academics, culminating in his founding of the Haskalah movement. This movement proved that Jewish law and culture could be intertwined with the secular life of German culture and enlightenment thinking.              Of course one cannot talk about the heights of German and Berlin Jewry without mentioning the legendary Albert Einstein. The father of the theory of relativity, winner of the 1921 Nobel Prize, founding member of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and all around iconic personality. He is without a doubt one of the most famous Jewish names in the world. He lived, studied, and conducted his research in Berlin academies during the early 20th century. In 1933, on a visiting professorship in New Jersey, he learned that Hitler had taken absolute power. He then decided to never return to his homeland and died in New Jersey in 1955.    The Continued Story of Jewry in Berlin  Jewish Berlin has been revitalized in every sense of the word now drawing in Jewish communities from across the globe. In addition to the rising population of German Jews in Berlin, thousands of Israelis have flocked to the city for career and educational opportunities. It's a story that borders on the unreal, yet manifested all the same, a living dream that you need to experience for yourself.     

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GET CONNECTED

Connecting with WJT on social media is the best way to share your travel images, videos, and experience. If you visit a unique Jewish heritage site we want to know! So please tag us and share your travels with us whether you are dining at a local Jewish deli, attending a Jewish film festival, or visitng an old synagogue.

#WORLDJEWISHTRAVEL

"If you pay attention to the little places... you find treasure, you find tradition, and you find truth."

These are the words of Israeli restaurant critic, TV personality, and cookbook author, Gil Hovav on the @thejerusalem_post travel podcast.

Do you also chase ethnic food when you travel?

If so, check out our eBook "100 Ethnic Restaurants in Israel" through the link in our bio!

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#foodcritics #israelifood #israelfoodie #worldjewishtravel #jerusalempost
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Purim is approaching, which means it is time to go over some of the MUST have Purim foods! 🍪🍷

Our "Purim Foods and Recipes" blog includes the perfect list of hamantaschen recipes from chocolate, creme, and rocky road.

Read the Purim food blog through the link in our bio!

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#hamantashen #jewishfood #purim #worldjewishtravel #jewishblog
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You MUST visit the Yemenite cuisine flooded neighborhood of Kerem HaTeimanim.

One of our favorite stops in the Tel Aviv neighborhood 👉 Melech Ha'Marak (King of Soup)!

The kitchen follows the legacy of its founder, Shimon, by serving warm and comforting soups throughout the day. 🥣

Visit the link in our bio to discover more of Tel Aviv!

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#telaviv #telavivfood #kerenhateimanim #jewishtelaviv #worldjewishtravel
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Coming Soon....
Our new and improved "Top 100 Ethnic Restaurants in Israel" eBook highlights the most authentic, flavorful eateries in the country. 🇮🇱

Israel's population is made of immigrants from around the world and therefore its streets and markets flood with unique cuisine with recipes that have been carried for generations.

Stay tuned for the release of our new and improved eBook by following our account!

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#ethnicfood #israelifood #isrealfoodie #worldjewishtravel
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Create the flavors of Israel from your own kitchen! ⬇️

@deliciousexperiences "Instantly Israeli" virtual cooking class you will only learn how to cook amazing Israeli cuisine, but will learn about the produce and ingredients that flood the country's markets. 🥘

🔗 Visit the link in out bio to learn more about this experience!

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#israelifood #virtualcookingclass #cookingclasses #worldjewishtravel #shakshuka
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What do you look for in a luxury hotel?

@the_norman_hotel in Tel Aviv runs by focusing on 5 pillars:
🏛️ architecture
🪑 interior design
🖼️ artwork
🥘 culinary offering
🛎️ service

Learn more about the details of this luxurious spot on the new episode of the @thejerusalem_post travel podcast.

🔗 Link in bio!

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#telaviv #jewishpodcast #telavivhotels #thenorman #worldjewishtravel
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Do you chase ethnic food when you travel?

Famous restaurant critic, Gil Hovav, explains that "If you pay attention to the little places... you find treasure, you find tradition, and you find truth."

Gil shared these words on the recent episode of the @thejerusalem_post travel podcast which you can find in our bio!

Check out our FREE eBook ethnic restaurants in Israel guide also through the link in our bio!

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#foodcritics #israelifood #israelfoodie #worldjewishtravel #jerusalempost
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How much do you know about the ongoing story of the Jewish people?

The Tel Aviv based Museum of the Jewish People provides interactive exhibitions, educational programming, and acts as a center for Jewish discourse.

How can you learn more?
🔗 The link in our bio
🎙️ @thejerusalem_post travel podcast

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#Jewishhistorymusuem #jewishtravel #visittelaviv #jewishtelaviv #worldjewishtravel
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Tonight, is Yom HaShoah (Israeli National Holocaust Memorial Day).

Remembering the victims of the Holocaust is a big part of our mission to provide a connection Jewish history and heritage.

Visit the Virtual Holocaust Memorial through the link in our bio to help us commemorate this day. 🕯️

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#YomHashoah #holocaustrememberanceday #worldjewishtravel #holocaustmemorial #holocausteducation
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Discover the Jewish history, cuisine, and sites of Barcelona! 🇪🇸
How? We have two great options!

🎙️: The @thejerusalem_post travel podcast ⬇️
In Mark and David's latest travels, they taste out-of-this-world cocktails and the best kosher food in Europe.

📖: The WJT site ⬇️
Lean the story of Barcelona, one of Europe's most beautiful cities, that is rich with Jewish history, culture, and heritage.

🔗 The link to both FREE resources can be found in our bio!

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#jewishbarcelona #jewishpodcast #travelpodcast #worldjewishtravel #jerusalempost
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World Jewish Travel wishes you a Purim Sameach (Happy Purim) ! 🍷🎭🎉

Visit the link in our bio to learn more about the holiday!

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#purim #worldjewishtravel #jewishholiday #hamantaschen
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Purim is approaching, which means it is time to go over some of the MUST have Purim foods! 🍪🍷

Our "Purim Foods and Recipes" blog includes the perfect list of hamantaschen recipes from chocolate, creme, and rocky road.

Read the Purim food blog through the link in our bio!

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#hamantashen #jewishfood #purim #worldjewishtravel #jewishblog
...

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