‘I’m nervous about going to Europe,” my mother fretted recently, scanning the headlines about possible Al-Qaeda plots in Britain, France and Germany.
She pictured shifty-looking terrorists on the Thames, evildoers in the Eiffel Tower, villains lurking among the vines of the Loire. But I’m convinced that Europe is a big place, as safe as anywhere these days, and am planning trips abroad with no qualms whatsoever. Even if everyone else is not in the mood.
The swamp trees are already bare-limbed in northern New England, where winter tends to come early and linger late. But the first half of October is unparalleled for hillside leaf-peeping, and where better to do it than amid the lush, maple-clad hills of Vermont?
Tossa de Mar is just one of dozens of lovely little beach towns along the Costa Brava, the “Wild Coast” of Spanish Catalonia.
As the bus zigzags and stomachs churn along the looping mountain roads, the Mediterranean comes into view, and you can see where the wild part comes in. Just an hour and a half north of Barcelona, you are already in the Pyrenees foothills, and the coastline is dramatic: jagged golden rocks that slope vertiginously into a sparkling turquoise sea.
The vitality of Jewish life on the Upper East Side of Manhattan can be measured in many ways — in the myriad prestigious day schools, for instance, or the many grand temples filled to capacity with Shabbat congregants.
But perhaps the most telling sign of how vibrant Jewish life has become is the fact that the storied Second Avenue Deli, a downtown non-glatt kosher fixture for most of the last half century, chose First Avenue and 75th Street for its eagerly awaited second location.
Every year in early September, European cities explode in Jewish festivity as they simultaneously celebrate the European Day of Jewish Culture. From Bulgaria to Belgium, Norway to Luxembourg, Jewish art, music and food are in the spotlight.
But it doesn’t end there. In fact, throughout the chilly days of fall, cities across North-Central Europe host Jewish cultural festivals that go beyond mere street fairs to showcase finely curated klezmer, cinema and more.
On my first visit to Germany’s sprawling capital, I spent three weeks without a single glimpse of the sun. True, it was January. But even in August, Berlin often drizzles while other northern latitudes bathe in evening sunshine. “Would it be too much to ask,” one acquaintance sighed, “to see the sun once in a whole week — just once?”
It’s August, and just like every year, a good third of the travelers I know are doing the classic Italy triangle: Venice, Florence and Rome.
They have plenty of company, recession notwithstanding. Italy’s three most popular cities are all singularly stunning, brimming with unrivaled art and culture — in short, this itinerary is popular for good reason.
Modern Orthodox twenty- and thirty-somethings carving out their niche in established community.
Special To The Jewish Week
The Bergen County suburbs of Teaneck, Englewood and Paramus, N.J., have lured generations of Jewish families with a wealth of attractions — great schools, pretty tree-lined streets, terrific shopping and an unbeatable location, just over the George Washington Bridge from Manhattan.
The best time of year to visit Florianopolis is summertime — which, in this idyllic corner of southern Brazil, starts sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving.
That’s when a mild, pleasant spring gives way to the glorious Miami-like weather and spectacular sunsets that make this one of South America’s most popular resorts. For North Americans, Florianopolis offers an appealing alternative to the Caribbean: a winter escape to a land of wide, sandy beaches, sparkling lagoons and green mountains, wrapped in an affordable package of cultural exoticism.
There are plenty of Jewish neighborhoods around New York where the community tends toward a certain religious outlook, a predominant level of observance or a majority ethnic leaning.
And then there is Riverdale. Leafy and elegant, its stately Tudors and postwar high-rises perched along the banks of the Hudson, this corner of the northwest Bronx is cherished by residents for its religious and ethnic diversity — both within and outside of the Jewish community.