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Semiteseeing

Some families go to the Caribbean to enjoy the sun. Ours visited out-of-the-way shuls. I took a recent trip to the Mediterranean island of Corsica and was reminded that Jews travel to see other Jews.

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Sarah Lazarovic

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Delightful! A great way to meet people and learn something. I always do it also.

Shoshanna says:

Loved it!

irv Osterer says:

I have to confess that my wife and I “semitesee” whenever we have the opportunity to travel. Thanks so much for sharing the experience and your wonderful artwork.

Marian says:

Same here. I have photos of pictures taken in Moracco and recently Cozemel. Glad to hear that I am not the only crazy Jewish tourist.

I’ve been doing this for decades and wrote two books for those similarly inclined: The Complete Jewish Guide to France and the Complete Jewish Guide to Britain and Ireland (St.Martin’s Press).

I guess it’s the rare Jewish traveler who doesn’t do this (alas for the self-deleting Jew). A very well-told and -pictured tale (I especially like the playfulness). Thank you!

PS: The last panel made me cry. Thanks again.

Let’s see — there was the beautiful shul my family went to in Barbados, then the one in Barcelona, Madrid, Paris, the one in London — you get the picture. Great strip! Thanks.

Ellen Rapkin says:

Made me remember how my mother, who never went to services, would go to a synagogue while on vacation. She was disappointed that other Jews on a trip to Hong Kong didn’t want to got to High Holidays services. Their answer to her was that if they wanted to go to synagogue, they would have stayed at home. (She also had a great time at Friday Night services in Salt Lake City!)

And don’t forget the Jewish cemeteries, remnants of disappeared communities: Penang (Malaysia) and Nagasaki were both emotional places.

Berta Calechman says:

I wish I had known about Toni Kamins’ book, “The Complete Jewish Guide to Britain and Ireland,” when I traveled to Ireland, the last two times. I love Ireland, and have many (non-Jewish) friends there, but only one was able to find me a synagogue in Dublin, when my trip coincided with Rosh Hashona. Interestingly enough, she came up with the same synagogue I found, a lovely Orthodox shul in Terenure. I am not Orthodox, but visiting the shul, and sitting upstairs with the women, brought back the memories of the many times I went to shul in CT, with my grandparents, and sat upstairs with my grandmother, while my grandfather sat downstairs with the men. I confess I am also a “semiteseer,” as are most of my traveling Jewish friends. But next time, I will have Toni Kamens’ books, and save my feet some tsuris. Thank you for the great strip!

david ben ari says:

This was absolutely hilarious and beautifully rendered! I just got back from vacation with my family – enjoyed services, Shabbat dinner with a Chabad rabbi, met up with the daughter of my rabbi – all in-between beach, fishing, pool and shopping state-side…

As a manager of technical businesses, we have traveled extensively on business,spent a year working in Singapore, Reston Virginia, Tulsa Oklahoma, and Santa Rosa, California. We get rapidly into the local Jewish Community by going to and “joining” a local synagogue. We meet interesting people and get invited to events that tourists don’t read about.
As tourists we stumble across Jewish settlements.We go back as tourists to places we have lived in. We have gone on Jewish Elder Hostels, as one on important Sephardic communities in Portugal and Spain. A month in Xi’an China took us to a nearby “extinct” community , the Kaifeng Jews, ran a Rosh Hashona service in Xi’an for 27 volunteers teaching with us, went to a Bar mitvah in Beijing. In Santa Rosa found Kosher Jewish Vineyards, a Jewish raspberry farm, and How Japanese chicken farmers who were interned in WWII had their businesses run by Jewish farmers and returned in good shape afterwards.We visited the “blue mosque” in Xi’an, built by Middle east Merchants, who married Chinese wives and became half of Xi’an’s population. They also invited Jewish merchants who crossed the Gobi Desert to use the Mosque for Sabbath services, as Muslim Sabbath ends at Sunset Friday, and a mosque has no religious art work.
I was temporary “Rabbi” for Friday night services in Reston for a group of young Jewish Veterans from Vietnam War who married Vietnamese women and had Jewish “Vietnamese” children, and could only support a Sunday School. The Jewish Ambassador to Singapore and his wife,a fine painter, had a two page spread in the Malaysian Times, aided by my wife’s friends in publishing. WE met them again at dinner in Jerusalem two years later. Our life has been enriched by these encounters.

Earl Ganz says:

In 2004, my first year in Lake Charles, Louisiana, I decided to visit the
quaint synagogue that was located downtown next to the Masonic lodge. They were doing a kol nidre service and the singer was the chairwoman of the McNeese State music department. My wife couldn’t go because she was working so I was there alone. I looked forward to it, the building like the tiny synagogue I used to attend as a teenager in Staunton, Virginia. I took a seat toward the back and a man, recognizing that I was a new face, came up to me and introduced himself. Ah, I thought as we shook hands, it’s good to be among lantsmen. Then as the conversation went on he asked me where my wife was and I said that she was working. Working tonight, he noted. I said that she wasn’t Jewish though I’m not sure if
that’s what he meant. I remember his face changing. Intermarriage, he said, would be the end of Judaism. I said I didn’t think so. He turned angrily and resumed his seat at the front. I stayed to the end of the
singing but never went back. In fact it was the last Jewish site I ever visited.

Wally says:

sweet cartoons… nice job.
Wally, Auckland NZ

Steve Fix says:

Pretty clever article.

I’ve done the same thing and enjoyed every minute of it.

Experienced Sinchas Torah at a shul in Marrakech, Morocco, visited a 500 year old shul in Istanbul where the bimah was shaped like Noah’s Ark and went, along with my wife and teen children to Guatemala during “Holy Week” and attended a Seder while there.

Great experiences every one.

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Semiteseeing

Some families go to the Caribbean to enjoy the sun. Ours visited out-of-the-way shuls. I took a recent trip to the Mediterranean island of Corsica and was reminded that Jews travel to see other Jews.