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    Jewish Vacation


Traveling And Keeping Kosher

Name a country and one of the first things that comes to mind is the local cuisine. Italy is synonymous with pasta and basil, France has its baguettes and cheese, and what would Spain be without its famous tapas? However, for the Kosher Traveler, the thought of local cuisine in a foreign country doesn’t always elicit such a positive response. Often times, after a long day spent marveling at the beauties of a small village in Andalusia or a large city like Paris, the Kosher Jet-setter often finds himself longing for a simple meal in a local tavern, only to be confronted by walls of pork.…

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Dec 9, Negev Israel Things to do

Negev Israel things to do; there are so many activities in the desert for all ages and interests. For adventure seekers, there are exhilarating Israel jeep jeep tours, mountain biking, horseback riding, rappelling, camel rides, and sand surfing. Yes, sand surfing; similar to snowboarding but on a sand dune instead of a ski slope. 

Growing cherry tomatoes in the Desert by Yoav Lerman on Flickr

Of course, there are the numerous desert attractions and settlements, many of which have been designated UNESCO World Heritage sites, with fascinating histories dating back thousands of years.…

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Bay Ridge Family-Friendly Restaurants: An Old New York Soda Fountain and Eats from Around the World

You're always close to great restaurants when you're in Bay Ridge. It's one of the many reasons we love living here. In fact, there are so many diverse culinary choices, my husband and I have been known to spend the first hour of our date nights strolling up and down Third Avenue before finally settling on a spot, always delicious.

But when we have our four kids in tow, indecisiveness is not an option.…

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Educational Toys for Kids: 7 Construction Sets that Teach STEM Skills Through Play

STEM isn't just a big education buzzword. Hands-on science, technology, engineering and math experiences for kids are all the rage outside the classroom, too, from interactive makerspaces, to studios for aspiring inventors, to state-of-the-art museums focused on math, technology and science.

But you don't need to leave your apartment to inspire a love of STEM subjects. A few months back I shared some of my family's favorite board games that make math fun.…

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Dec 7, Mitzpe Ramon and Makhtesh Ramon

I still remember my first visit to Mitzpe Ramon. We were on our way south to Eilat and we stopped at the Ramon visitor center to take a break from driving. “Mitzpe” Ramon (literally meaning ramon observation point) sits on the northern cliff of the the ramon crater (makhtesh ramon in Hebrew) providing breathtaking views of the the Ramon crater; the largest in the world at over 400 meters deep (over 4 football fields), 40 km (24 miles) long and 9 km (5.5 miles) wide.…

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‘Do you know Marrakech? You must go’

Time stopped for me when I visited the Maghreb, especially when I landed in Morocco – known and once feared as part of the treacherous Barbara Coast. You see, Morocco can play havoc with your imagination; a mirage can appear in front of you at any moment.

One day I found myself in the Atlas Mountains on my way from Fez to Marrakech, via a shortcut through the mountains, a drive which would save several hours of travel.…

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This Week: Holiday Windows & Santaland Photos, Best December Events for NYC Kids, Local Holiday Shopping Guide, Polar Express

It's beginning to look a lot like… well, you know. Over the past week, my daughter and I have been rushing around playing tourist, seeing all of NYC's iconic holiday sights like Santa at Macy's, the spectacular department store holiday windows and the tree at Rockefeller Center. Admittedly, we experienced that last one from the comfort of an MTA bus. We're not crazy enough to try to get close!…

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Macy’s Santaland with NYC Kids: Best Times to Go and Tips for this Special Santa Experience

Once you see this sign welcoming you to Macy's Santaland, you know you've almost made it to the big red guy! This animatronic tree is one of the first sights you see inside Macy's Santaland Although Santaland doesn't change much from year to year, my family and I love looking at all the little details… There are so many toys, trains, dolls, stuffed animals and more to gawk at My daughter always wants a pic in front of the giant animated globe It's fun to meet the elves along the way, most are really chatty Singing along with the snowmen Meeting Santa is always memorable Scenes from Macy's old Miracle on 34th Street windows are on display outside Santaland Along with a giant Santa train

While there are plenty of places to see Santa in New York City, none really compares to Macy's Santaland.…

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Weekend Fun for NYC Kids: Christmas Tree Lightings, Holiday Festivals, Santa Sightings, Laurie Berkner Concert December 7-8

Santa is hearing wish lists, Christmas trees are lighting up, Nutcrackers are twirling and holiday department store windows are attracting crowds. Yup, the holiday season is in full swing in NYC!

This weekend brings some of our favorite annual tree illuminations, the New York Public Library's Holiday Open House and the premiere of the New Victory Theater's holiday-themed circus spectacle Mother Africa.…

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Holiday Shopping in Queens: 8 Great Stores for Unique Gifts for Kids

When looking for truly unique presents for my family, I skip the big chains and shop locally at some of my favorite independent stores. Lucky for me, many of my go-to gift spots are located right in my home borough of Queens.

Over the past few years, lots of cool, locally owned Queens boutiques have been opening up or expanding. These are the kind of places where you can pick up interesting (and often eco-friendly) toys, clothes, books, gear and other items for children and sometimes adults, too.…

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NYC Holiday Windows Walk 2013: Seeing Department Store Christmas Displays with Kids

Macy's windows depict a child's imaginary winter wonderland As he dreams, you see the beauty of Christmas through the eyes of a child at Macy's In one interactive Macy's window, kids can manipulate the swirling snowflakes by waving their arms Lord & Taylor's fashionable windows evoke NYC's old Ladies' Mile Traditional holiday images and early 20th-century glamour intermingle in Lord & Taylor's windows Santa looking rather Zeus-like in Lord & Taylor's windows Saks Fifth Avenue's windows follow the adventures of a young yeti as he leaves home to make it big in the snowflake industry The yeti finally makes it to NYC and creates snowflakes for Saks Fifth Avenue's windows Saks Fifth Avenue's adorable yeti windows were definitely one of our favorites!…

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Unusual Fun Facts About Traveling

Its the holiday season so time to perk up!  Have a little fun!  Laugh and bring cheer!

So, we searched high and low for some of the most unique, unusual, and unknown fun facts about parts around the world.   Here are our Top 10!  Be prepared to “LOL”.

10. An unbelievable amount of 250 people have fallen from the Leaning Tower of Pisa


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Celebrating the first Jewish migration to the Holy Land

Just as the Passover Haggadah says that we should see ourselves as though we came out of Egypt, Avital Efrat, director of the First Aliyah Museum in Zichron Ya’akov says that we should also see ourselves as though we were part of the First Aliyah.

The First Aliyah Museum, which opened in 1999, is located in the quaint tourist town of Zichron Ya’akov, and recounts the journey of the pioneers who came to Eretz Yisrael during the First Aliyah, 1882-1903.…

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Saratoga & North Creek Railway Polar Express: No-Car Santa Train Getaway

Posing with the man of the season The dancing chefs share Chris Van Allsburg's popular story book The illuminated North Pole set Writing a letter to give to Santa The conductor and other characters from the book make appearances The cotton candy dessert at Circus Cafe Hit Kilwins for a sweet stop in town

The Polar Express book and film have spawned lots of holiday train rides that bring the story to life.…

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Bay Ridge with Kids: Top 30 Things to Do for NYC Families

The majestic Verrazano-Narrows Bridge can be seen from many points in Bay Ridge Lots of local playgrounds boast incredible views As does the 69th Street Pier, where you can fish and watch the boats go by Bay Ridge's commercial avenues are chock-full of cute shops and great restaurants Meanwhile the side streets feature quaint town houses The 24-acre Owl's Head Park is a neighborhood oasis that frequently hosts family events No matter where you are in Bay Ridge, there's sure to be a park or playground nearby

As my husband and I discovered when we decided to move from the Upper West Side to Brooklyn to accommodate our growing family, Bay Ridge is an amazing place to raise kids.…

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The Child’s Place: Free Special Needs Programs at Brooklyn Public Library Branches

Ever since we moved to southern Brooklyn from the Upper West Side, I've been on the hunt to replace all of the amazing special needs activities we had access to in Manhattan with only limited success. That's why I was really excited to stumble across the FREE Child's Place program. Sponsored by the Brooklyn Public Library at five borough branches, The Child's Place is a lot more than just books.…

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Best Things to Do with NYC Kids: December 2013 Go List

Santa isn't the only one making a list and checking it twice. Our carefully curated December Go List is packed with the absolute best things to do with kids in NYC throughout the month. These aren't your run-of-the-mill tree lightings or Santa sightings. Our top picks include one-of-a-kind holiday gatherings like the activity-packed Winter's Eve at Lincoln Square, offbeat seasonal fun such as the MTA's Nostalgia Trains, performances by legendary kid rockers Dan Zanes and Laurie Berkner, plus two of our favorite annual parades for families.…

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Nov 30, Dimona; the third largest city in the Negev

Dimona is the third largest city in the Negev with over 33,000 residents and growing. Originally, a development town created under the leadership of David Ben Gurion during the 1950s, this town was initially settled by immigrants from Northern Africa known as the “Black Hebrews”, but now contains many Russian immigrants as well. It is situated south of Beersheba and west of the Dead Sea equidistant about 36 Km.…

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Nov 30, Beersheba, Gateway to the Negev

Beersheba is the capital of the Negev and serves as the Northern gateway to the region. An ancient city dating back to the 4th century BC, this amazing desert town is experiencing a revival with an influx of younger residents due to the growth of Ben Gurion University. Many new bars, cafes, and restaurants have recently sprung up all over the city.…

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The Travel Adviser: Turkeys and getting the spin

Gobble Tov. Happy Thanksgivukkah. While all of Israel is celebrating Hanukka, Americans throughout the world will have just finished Thanksgiving.

Replete with terminology such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, what most unifies this US holiday is having a stuffed turkey lying front and center at the holiday laden table. Avoiding a bigger turkey, Uncle Sam and American Airlines/US Airways recently removed the last roadblock to construction of the world’s largest airline.…

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