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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.

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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.

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World Jewish Travel
World Jewish Travel Official July 26, 2021

Your Ultimate Israeli Festival Guide for August 2021

For those of you located in Israel August is the month of the festival.  There are several large events being held around the country dedicated to Israeli and international Jewish culture including music, beer, films, art, and more. If you are looking for an Israeli summer of fun and variety look no further than World Jewish Travel’s guide below, personally curated by a Jerusalem local. The good times start in Tel Aviv at the Felicja Blumental International Music Festival. This festival has been taking place at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art since 1999 and features a 5-day long musical program of classical, jazz, and ethnic music from around the world. This year, the event will take place from August 3rd to August 7th so you have plenty of time to fit it into your plan while exploring the rest of the city. [caption id="attachment_27638" align="alignnone" width="640"] Let There Be Laughter exhibition at the Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv[/caption] While Tel Aviv is known for its beautiful beaches and vibrant culture, the city has some of the most highly-reviewed museums in the country with temporary exhibitions that you don’t want to miss. The newly renovated Museum of the Jewish People has a new exhibit, Let There Be Laughter, looking at the origins of Jewish humor and the major contributions of Jewish comedians to the history of comedy around the world. The Eretz Israel Museum is another highly rated museum with several exhibitions of local nature, glass artifacts, and pottery-making. If you find yourself needing a break from the August heat, these museums are definitely worth a visit. [caption id="attachment_27639" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Hutzot Fair in the Old City of Jerusalem - Credit: https://www.itraveljerusalem.com/evt/hutzot-hayotzer-intl-arts-and-crafts-fair/[/caption] From Tel Aviv, head over to the Holy City of Jerusalem just in time for Shabbat. You’ll want to make sure to stop at the famous Machane Yehuda market to see the pre-Shabbat hustle and bustle, and taste the fresh halva, nuts and tahini from the local shops. There are also several restaurants located in or nearby the market where you can grab a bite to eat. Once Shabbat has started and the sun has gone down, take a walk to the Old City’s Jewish Quarter and Kotel; you’ll find a very peaceful atmosphere that you don’t usually get with all of the tourists who visit during the week. Don’t forget that public transportation doesn’t run on Shabbat, so you may want to find a hotel near the old city.    After a relaxing weekend, you will be ready for the annual international arts and crafts festival, known locally as the Hutzot Hayotzer Fair.  The festivities begin on August 9th in one of Jerusalem’s most iconic locations, the Sultan’s Pool, an ancient water basin located in the valley of Hinnom on the west side of Mount Zion.  Wrapped in the pines of Jerusalem underneath a sky of stars, visitors can peruse an eclectic variety of handmade goods and art from hammocks to paintings. This is also a spot to catch some of the hottest rock and pop stars in the Israeli music industry. You can also catch dance performances and scheduled workshops.     [caption id="attachment_27640" align="alignnone" width="600"] Band playing at the annual Safed Klezmier Festival - Credit: https://www.secrettelaviv.com/tickets/safed-klezmer-festival-2016[/caption] From the Jerusalem Central Bus Station you can hop on a bus to the mystical birthplace of Kabbalah, Safed, where the 34th annual Safed Klezmer Festival invites patrons to experience three nights of Klezmer performances starting on August 17th featuring dozens of Israeli and international bands.  During the festival, performances are held throughout the alleyways and roads of the Jewish Quarter and Artist’s Quarter beginning at 9:00 and going until midnight. During the day we recommend attending the festival's numerous workshops and activities that include glass blowing, ceramics, tours of the city, or visit the artisans selling their art in the crisp summer air.  If you need a bite to eat during the festival, be sure to check out our recommended restaurants, and make sure you visit Safed’s other must-see sites.  [caption id="attachment_27641" align="alignnone" width="770"] Jerusalem International Film Festival - Credit: https://www.itraveljerusalem.com/evt/international-film-festival/[/caption] After you’ve had your fill of Klezmer and Kabbalah, make your way back to the Holy City just in time for the 38th Jerusalem Film Festival on August 24th.  This festival screens a number of Israeli cinematic masterpieces as well as films by internationally acclaimed directors and actors with past contributors including Wong Kar Wai, Tsai Ming-Liang, John Sayles, Jim Jarmusch, Stephen Frears, Spike Lee, Quentin Tarantino, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Jane Fonda, and Robert Dinero; the star-studded list is endless. The opening event will also be held in the Sultan’s Pool with the remaining screenings to take place around the city in the presence of 5000 viewers with 200 films from 50 different countries. [caption id="attachment_27642" align="alignnone" width="640"] The Old City of Jerusalem[/caption] In case you missed taking a guided tour of Jerusalem or visiting one of the city’s many unique museums, archeological sites, historic cemeteries, and synagogues, now that it’s not Shabbat you will have the opportunity to do that. You will find that you could spend weeks in Jerusalem alone so you may have to save some of the sites for your next trip to Israel.   There is no better way to end your summer than with a trip around Israel exploring some of the country's top cultural events and sites.  Whether you’re a local or thinking of making Israel your post-pandemic vacation destination, don’t hesitate to attend any one of these festivals to experience Israeli culture, creativity, and love of life.  

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World Jewish Travel
World Jewish Travel Official June 13, 2021

Hungary Exhibit Honors Architect Lipot Baumhorn

Hungary: An exhibit honors architect Lipót Baumhorn in his 160th birthday year. And a new book highlights the stained glass windows in Baumhorn’s masterpiece, the New Synagogue in Szeged [caption id="attachment_25815" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Looking up at the dome in the New Synagogue, Szeged[/caption] (JHE) — Lipót Baumhorn, the most prolific synagogue architect in pre-WW2 Europe, is being honored with an open-air exhibit in Szeged, the city that is home to his masterpiece — the monumental domed New Synagogue, dedicated in 1903. At the same time, a beautifully illustrated new book — downloadable for free — celebrates the synagogue’s spectacular stained glass windows and documents their creation by the artist Mánó Róth in collaboration with Baumhorn and Szeged’s chief rabbi, Immanuel Löw. [caption id="attachment_25814" align="alignnone" width="670"] Lipot Baumhorn[/caption] Both are part of initiatives marking the 160th anniversary this year of Baumhorn’s birth. Some events connected to “Baumhorn 160,” including a major exhibition in Szeged, have had to be postponed because of COVID-19 measures. But a travelling exhibition about the Szeged synagogue is planned in various cities in 2021–2022 and due to open  in April in Budapest at the Páva Street Synagogue — another of Baumhorn’s synagogues, which is now part of the city’s Holocaust memorial museum complex. A documentary about the architect’s work in Timisoara, Romania, is also in the works. The open-air exhibit Baumhorn 160 opened on October 1 on Szeged’s downtown Klauzal square and will run until October 25. Organized by the Hungarian Museum of Architecture and Monument Protection Documentation Center (MÉM MDK) in cooperation with the Csongrád County Chamber of Architects and the Szeged Jewish Community, it focuses on Baumhorn’s synagogues — but mainly on his many secular buildings in Szeged and other towns. [caption id="attachment_25813" align="alignnone" width="1728"] Panels in the Baumhorn160 exhibition in Szeged. Photo: Rediscover[/caption] Curated by the art historian Ágnes Ivett Oszkó, who has researched and written widely on Baumhorn, it consists of 10  panel displays with photographs and text showcasing  Baumhorn’s work in four cities — Szeged and Budapest in Hungary; Timisoara, Romania; and Novi Sad, Serba.  Besides synagogues in each city,  the exhibit highlights buildings such as banks, homes, office buildings, schools, and apartment buildings. The new book, Windows of Celebrations in the New Synagogue of Szeged, was edited by Krisztina Frauhammer and Anna Szentgyörgyi and published by the Szeged Municipality and Rediscover, a Jewish heritage and tourism project of the EU’s Interreg Danube Transnational Program. [caption id="attachment_25817" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Cover of the book about the stained glass windows in the Szeged New Synagogue[/caption] It describes the history of making the synagogue’s stained glass windows and also discusses the extraordinarily rich symbolism portrayed — symbolism that the artist, Manó Róth, rendered in close consultation with Baumhorn and, especially, with Rabbi Löw, who “coined the visual program of the windows depicting the festive cycles of the Jewish year in the synagogue” and addressed even the smallest design details such as colors and patterns. One of the book’s aims, in fact, is to recognize Manó Róth as creator of the stained glass. [caption id="attachment_25816" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Stained glass windows with symbolic design in the Szeged synagogue[/caption] Manó was the younger brother of a more famous stained glass artist, Miksa Róth, who had commonly been thought to have designed the Szeged windows. The brothers were sons of an expert glassmaker in Budapest. The book provides evidence that Manó in fact was the artist, including a letter from Rabbi Löw which read: “Manó Róth, young glass painter from Budapest, exceedingly overcame the new and difficult challenges with artistic ambition and great success.” The book also includes a brief history of the construction of the synagogue, with a summary of the seven-page report in a contemporary Jewish newspaper of the inaugural ceremony, on May 19, 1903. Both the printed book and the downloadable PDF include exquisite photographs of the windows by János Rómer. In the hard copy book, the photos are printed on transparent sheets, to simulate stained glass.

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World Jewish Travel
World Jewish Travel Official June 29, 2021

Israeli Baseball Team Prepares for Tokyo Olympics with US Exhibitions Games

An official Israeli baseball team is going to the Olympics! For the first time since 1976, when Israel's soccer team qualified, the Israeli baseball team will be participating in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. After a strenuous year of dealing with the pandemic, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have been deferred until July 2021. However, if you're craving your Israeli baseball fix right now and can't wait until the start of the Olympics, then you're in luck. Israel's team will be participating in a training camp in the Northeast USA, where they will be playing exhibition games against local American teams until the Olympics at venues in Brooklyn, Hartford, Bethesda and Harrisburg. That being said, the journey to qualify for the Olympics wasn't an easy one; just back in 2016, Israel's team was ranked 41-st in the world, but their luck started to improve at the start of 2019. After winning a series of qualifying competitions in Europe, Israel was given the opportunity to compete in the Africa/Europe 2020 Olympic Qualification Tournament. The team’s hard work paid off when they won the tournament, thus propelling them to partake in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. After this win, the team is now ranked 18th in the world.  The 24-member team itself is pretty remarkable; the majority of players have made Aliyah, immigrating to Israel through the Law of Return. Only four of the players were actually born in Israel. Although they do not all currently live in Israel, they are members of the Jewish community and travel with the team to train and play. Not only do the players of the Israeli team share citizenship,like most Olympic teams, but they are joined by their common heritage as well. The team is a true representation of the State of Israel and the growth it has gone through, bringing together Jews from all over the globe, uniting them under one flag and one nation.  For more information on Israel's National Baseball team, check out the official website, and be sure to cheer on our team at this summer's Olympic games!  The team is also fundraising to pay their expenses to reach the Olympics, via the “25 Campaign” – you can join the 24 players as the 25th player, supporting them spiritually, emotionally, and financially.  See the JNF Project Baseball platform for more information.  

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World Jewish Travel
World Jewish Travel Official June 6, 2021

5 International Jewish Cultural Festivals Happening This Summer

For the past year, we have been unable to gather in large numbers in order to make new memories and celebrate life. As we slowly return to life in a post-pandemic world, we are able to rekindle one of the long forgotten staples of summer, the festival.  Below are five Jewish cultural festivals happening this June around the globe that celebrate the diversity of Jewish culture and Jewish history.  If you’re in the area, or able to travel this summer, consider this is your official invitation to attend.   30th Jewish Culture Festival June 25th-July 4th The Jewish Cultural Festival in Krakow has celebrated the diversity of Jewish cultural life since 1988.  Today, the festival focuses on celebrating the contemporary dynamic world of Jewish life both within Israel and the diaspora.  Patrons can attend all night jam sessions and concerts in the main tent, sip mint tea and eat hummus at the festival café, or partake in any of the other numerous workshops, lectures, discussions, guided tours, and art exhibitions.  This year’s main festival project, “Kumzits,” focuses on eight public art projects in Kazimierz, the historical Jewish quarter of Krakow; this project is a collaborative effort between artists in Berlin, Jerusalem and Krakow. [caption id="attachment_25440" align="alignnone" width="640"] Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/FestiwalKulturyZydowskiejwKrakowie[/caption] 7th Jerusalem Jazz Festival  June 22nd-24th For those who enjoy taking in the sounds of jazz while wrapped in the ambiance of art, the Jerusalem Jazz Festival is your scene.  The festival began as a joint collaboration between the Israel Festival and the Israel Museum to create a dialogue between art, music, and festival visitors.  The festival is held in the sculpture garden of the Israel Museum and the artist’s original compositions are inspired by the artworks found in the museum.  This festival engages its audience in a visual and audible feast for the soul.  This year the festival will feature solely Israeli musicians from a wide array of contemporary styles that fuse Jazz with other musical traditions from classical to hip-hop.   [caption id="attachment_25436" align="alignnone" width="640"] Avishai Cohen, the co-founder and artistic director of the event, performs on stage during the Jerusalem Jazz Festival in Jerusalem on September 8, 2020. (Photo by EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP) https://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-jazz-dares-jerusalem-festival-adapts-to-pandemic/[/caption] 29th Toronto Jewish Film Festival June 3-13 Since its debut in 1993, the Toronto Jewish Film Festival has sought to exhibit the diversity and contributions of Jewish culture through film.  Their selections represent a wide scope of Jewish cultural identity, innovation, and achievement.  The 2021 selections include Israeli Academy Award Winners, groundbreaking documentaries about marrying against one’s sexual orientation in Orthodoxy, ethnographic retrospectives, and even the first Torah to make it to outer space.  Unfortunately, this year’s festival will not be in person but rather virtual so you need not be in the Toronto area to attend; just go to their website and sign up! [caption id="attachment_25438" align="alignnone" width="600"] https://tjff.com/lineup-2021/[/caption] 5th Sababa Music Festival  June 11-13 The 5th annual Sababa Music Festival will be taking place this summer in Bethel, New York, just down the road from the site of the legendary Woodstock music festival.  This event is the ultimate Shabbat weekend uniting Jews of all denominations and backgrounds from the tri-state area in a celebration of Jewish culture and tradition.  The itinerary includes camping, bonfires, morning yoga, minyanim, and a headlining performance by the world-renown Israeli born international music ensemble, Yemen Blues. This festival combines the great outdoors with Jewish music, culture, and religion, a must for anyone trying to experience their own Jewish version of Woodstock.  [caption id="attachment_25435" align="alignnone" width="640"] Photo; Shimon Lindenblat, https://www.sababafest.com/2019-shimon-lindenblat[/caption] 16th Festival des Culture Juives (Festival of Jewish Culture) June 15-28 Le Festival des Cultures Juives, held in Paris, is the premier festival for international Jewish culture in France.  After the long year of separation between families due to the pandemic, this year the festival was curated around the concept of family entitled “Airs de Famille” (Family Resemblances).  Memory, heritage, and the transmission of culture are key pillars in each event and exhibition. There are twenty events that festival patrons can attend including film screenings, poetry readings, tours, and concerts, as well as conferences and debates on a wide variety of Jewish cultural traditions from around the world. [caption id="attachment_25437" align="alignnone" width="640"] DAFNÉ KRITHARAS : DE RHODES À TANGER[/caption] These festivals gather together people from all walks of life to absorb and commemorate the Jewish experience, past, present, and future.  In addition to a good time one can expect to learn a great deal about the diversity of Jewish life and appreciate the wide spectrum of culture that is Am Yisrael.  Whatever your preference, be it dancing the night away with a beer in your hand in Kazimierz, joining the havdalah drum circle at Sababa Fest, catching a Jazz trio at the Israel Museum, or taking in a documentary about a space Torah these festivals will certainly deliver.           

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wjt hannah June 22, 2021

6 Iconic Sites That Celebrate Jewish American Heritage

With 7.6 million Jews currently living in America, it is no wonder that the country must be filled with Jewish culture, heritage, and history. Jews have contributed to American society throughout the colonial period, the height of 20th century immigration, and continue to thrive today.  While there are endless locations in the United States that serve delicious matzo-ball soup or celebrate Jewish culture, in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month, we are sharing 6 Iconic Sites that Celebrate Jewish American Heritage.  Lower East Side Tenement Museum Have you ever wondered about what life was like for immigrants in the 20th century? Experience if for yourself at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum! Located at 97 and 103 Orchard Street in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, the museum is truly a National Historic Site. The Museum's two historical tenement buildings were home to an estimated 15,000 people, from over 20 nations, between 1863 and 2011. This museum depicts the lives of the previous immigrant tenants and includes restored apartments and shops open daily for public tours, a documentary film, tours with costumed interpreters portraying the building's former residents, tastings of their communities' typical foods, and neighborhood walks. The museum also has an extensive collection of educational programs promoting tolerance and historical perspective on the immigrant experience.   Touro Synagogue, Newport, Rhode Island  Built in 1763, Touro Synagogue, in Newport, Rhode Island, is the oldest synagogue building still standing in the United States. It also happens to be the only surviving synagogue building in the U.S. dating to the colonial era, and the oldest surviving Jewish synagogue building in North America. In 1946, it was declared a National Historic Site. The first congregation was made up of Sephardic Jews, who are believed to have come via the West Indies, where they participated in the triangular trade along with Dutch and English settlements.  Today, the Touro Synagogue offers prayer services on the Sabbath and is open to visitors through tours. The synagogue also offers exhibits and education about Jewish life in Colonial America.  Katz’s Delicatessen, New York's Lower East Side Katz's Delicatessen, originally named Iceland Brothers in name of the founders, opened in 1888. Only in 1910 was the deli officially bought out and renamed. This delicatessen served the Lower East side throughout the earlier part of the twentieth century, a time when the area was home to millions of newly immigrated families. At the time, Katz’s was a focal point for congregating. Today, the now famous spread on the delectable sandwiches, platters, and meats at Katz's brings thousands of visitors from around the world weekly. The deli prides itself on having the best cuts of beef and other fine foods and are also free of chemicals or additives. The deli's finished products can take up to 30 days to cure, unlike commercially prepared corned beef that is often pressure-injected in just 36 hours. Sherith Israel, San Francisco, California Established during America’s Gold Rush period, Congregation Sherith Israel is one of the oldest synagogues in the United States. It’s history began in 1849 when young, Jewish pioneers from around the world gathered for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services. Despite the lack of a building, rabbi, or Torah, the pioneers worshiped together again during Passover and the High Holy Days in 1850. They also formed societies to aid the needy and bought land for a cemetery. In 1851, the permanent congregation was built.  Today, Sherith Israel is a congregation widely known for its innovative approach to worship and lifecycle celebrations and is part of the movement of Reform Judaism. It’s historic sanctuary building is one of San Francisco's most prominent architectural landmarks and attracts visitors from all over the world. [caption id="attachment_22869" align="alignnone" width="640"] Sanfranman59, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons[/caption] National Museum of American Jewish History, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania The National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH) is a Smithsonian-affiliated museum founded in 1976. Professor Jonathan Sarna of Brandeis University led the development of the core exhibit for the museum. The museum collections include over 30,000 objects that range from the Colonial period to the present day.  Exhibits at the museum focus on the lives and experiences of Jews in America. There have also been past exhibitions centering on famous Jewish-Americans, such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Leonard Bernstein.  [caption id="attachment_22868" align="alignnone" width="640"] Beyond My Ken, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons[/caption] Canter’s Deli, Los Angeles, California After moving from its original location that was founded in 1931, Canter's Deli is a Jewish-style delicatessen in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles, California. It has been frequented by many notable movie stars and celebrities. The restaurant has continued to serve traditional food items, including: lox and bagels, corned beef, matzoh ball soup, and challah bread. Canter's has remained open 24/7, except on the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Note: Canter's Deli is not certified kosher, as it is open on Saturdays and offers many non-kosher menu items. [caption id="attachment_22867" align="alignnone" width="640"] ChildofMidnight at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons[/caption]  

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#WORLDJEWISHTRAVEL

Looking for good meat in Mahane Yehuda market? 🧆

Hazot is a second-generation family owned restaurant of quality meats and other home-made dishes with Jerusalem Mix flavor. The fresh, seasonal produce used in the salads and as other ingredients adds to the ambiance of the Jerusalem market.

See the link in our bio for more places to eat in Jerusalem.
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Looking to experience a traditional South American roast in Israel? 🍖

The Asado Bar, located near Kiryat Tivon, is a family restaurant which roasts fine meats on coal.

See the link in our bio for more details on this restaurant.
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Who doesn't love a family run restaurant? 🍝

Tanti Baci is a family-owned, vegan Italian restaurant in Kiryat Tivon. Every unique dish is handmade in the restaurant or Italy.

See the link in our bio for more places to eat in Kiryat Tivon.
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Got cheese? 🧀

HaMeiri Cheese Shop is the perfect place for any dairy lover to stop while visiting Safed. The shop has been supplying gourmet sheep cheese for the past 170 years.

See the link in bio for more cool places to shop, eat, and explore in Safed.
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There's much more to experience in the Dead Sea Region besides the beautiful nature!

Taj Mahal's Bedouin tent treats its visitors with excellent hospitality, Moroccan décor, Middle Eastern music and dancing, and of course, great food.

See the link in our bio for more details on this experience.
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Today, on the 9th of the Av, Jews mourn the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem.

You can learn more about Jerusalem and the times the temple stood through archeological virtual tours on our site. You can also experience what the culture, food, and buildings of this city are like today.

See the link in our bio for virtual tours of Jerusalem!
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Have you ever seen Israel from an off-road jeep? 🚙

Avi Levy is a certified jeep tour guide located in Kiryat Tivon. His tours are perfect for families and are offered throughout the country.

See the link in our bio to book your jeep tour.
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Have you seen some of this year's greatest films? 🍿

If not, you can see them at the Jerusalem Film Festival this August, along with work from local film-makers.

See the link in our bio for more events happening in Israel this August.
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Have you ever experienced Tisha B'Av in Jerusalem?

The annual Tisha B'av walk begins with the reading of Megillat Eicha which is commonly read on this day and ends with singing of Hatikvah. The path follows the historical Jerusalem sites and the participants have the opportunity to pray at the Western Wall.

See the link in our bio for more details on this event.
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Have you ever experienced the Klezmer Festival? 🎺

Once a year, free performances take over the streets of ancient Safed. It is a perfect way to experience the culture, architecture, artists quarter of Safed

See the link in our bio for details on this year's festival.
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Are you someone fascinated by documentaries and storytelling? 🎥

The DocAviv Festival in Tel Aviv showcases brilliant and creative documentaries both locally and internationally made.

See the link in our bio for more details on this event.
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How many different beers have you tried? 🍺

At the Jerusalem Beer Festival, you will find over 150 brands and flavors of beer from Israel and around the world. The beer is also accompanied by good music, food, and people.

See the link in our bio for more details on this July event.
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