Tomorrow is the first night of Hanukkah, the Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, at the time that the Maccabees were revolting against the Seleucid Empire. If you're celebrating the holiday by giving 8 gifts--one for each night of the festival of lights, we've got some ideas for gifting travel, or gifts that are travel-related.
1. Visit Israel
So, this one is probably pretty obvious, but a trip to Israel is a great gift. Many of our preferred tour operators and travel providers have great itineraries to Israel, and, if you're so inclined, you can include Jordan as an add-on.
We're not going to dwell on this. If you're Jewish and you don't know why you should visit Israel, well, we're flummoxed by that, actually. Call, us, though, and we'll start planning it for you.
2. Warsaw, Vienna, Budapest, and Prague Jewish Heritage Tour.
From one of Huckleberry Travel's preferred travel providers, Tauck, our second suggestion is a spectacular 14-day itinerary, where you can become immersed in the cultural legacies and poignant history of the Jewish communities of Warsaw, Budapest, Vienna, and Prague. Emotionally stirring historic sites are inextricably linked to your Jewish heritage, offering a chance to explore them in depth, reflect and remember the sacrifices that were made there.
Sites you'll visit include the Ghetto Memorial, the Jewish Historical Institute, Nozyk Synagogue and the Museum of the History of Polish Jews (Polin Museum) in Warsaw; Kazimierz (the former Jewish Quarter) and Plaszów concentration camp in Krakow, with a stop at Oskar Schindler's factory; and the poignant museum and memorial in Auschwitz-Birkenau. In Budapest, you'll visit Dohány and Kazinczy synagogues in the Jewish Quarter; the Holocaust Memorial; and you'll enjoy private access, prayer and a Q&A with the Rabbi at the Frankel Synagogue. A walking tour of Old Town Bratislava offers insights on the Jewish Holocaust in Slovakia. Explore Leopoldstadt, the Judenplatz, the synagogue and the Jewish Museum in Vienna; and Terezin concentration camp, the Czech Republic's Memorial of National Martyrdom, the Museum of the Ghetto and Josefov, Prague's historic Jewish Quarter, during a stay in Prague.
If you're interested in exploring your Jewish heritage, we can hardly think of a more exciting trip. We're happy to help you make it a reality, and a quick email to email@example.com is all it takes to get us started!
3. A trip to Iceland.
We can practially hear you, now: "Iceland? For Hanukkah? Are you kidding me?"
No, we're not kidding. Some Jews in North America and Israel have taken up environmental concerns in relation to Hanukkah's "miracle of the oil", emphasizing reflection on energy conservation and energy independence.
That's why we think giving someone a trip to Iceland could be a perfect way to celebrate Hanukkah. Almost all of the energy used in Iceland comes from renewable sources. On our last trip to Iceland, part of our "Golden Circle" tour stopped off at a geothermal power plant where we learned all about how Iceland harnesses the power of wind and (volcanic) water to heat and power their country.
Huckleberry Travel has sent more travelers to Iceland this year than just about anyplace else, so we're more than prepared to make sure that your trip there exceeds expectations. One thing to note--the currency is Icelandic Krona. They don't take Euros. They don't take Dollars. And they don't take Hanukkah Gelt.
4. Jewish Heritage River Cruise
Avalon Waterways is one of our favorite operators of river cruises, and on their 13-day Jewish Heritage and Danube Discovery itinerary, you'll cruise from Budapest to Nuremberg, with many opportunities to reconnect with your faith and heritage along the way.
This itinerary features special guest lecturers on board, as well as special excursions in Budapest, Vienna and Regensburg, all focused on Jewish heritage. The trip includes an excursion to Terezin Concentration Camp, as well as a Jewish walking tour of Prague.
In addition to all of that, you'll be able to see many different places in Europe, while only having to unpack once. The beautifully-appointed boats of Avalon feature floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows that open up, turning your entire room into a virtual balcony. Plus, as you may have seen on the commercials, all of their beds face the view. There's no better way to see the spectacular scenery along the Danube.
5. An Oceania Cruise
If you keep kosher, I'm sure one of your concerns is whether you'll be able to eat on vacation. And if you keep kosher, but you're also a certified "foodie" the challenge can be even greater. Fortunately, many of Huckleberry Travel's preferred cruise lines can check both of those boxes for you, including Oceania, which is widely regarded as the best cruise line for foodies, among those who cruise frequently.
Oceania partnered with Gourmet Kosher and Anny's Bread Factory a few years ago to provide even better kosher options for guests. But virtually all of our cruise partners can accommodate your dietary needs, provided that we're able to give them advance notice. And, after all, that's why you're using a travel agent, right? Having someone with relationships in the industry can ensure that you have worry-free travel experiences.
6. New York City.
Huckleberry Travel is based here, so we sometimes forget that a trip to NYC can be really special for people who've not yet been here. And, since Jewish culture permeates the city, and because it's so close, you could easily gift someone a long weekend in the Big Apple for Hanukkah.
Lunch at Katz's Deli. A visit to the Tenement Museum on the lower east side. Do some family history research at Ellis Island. There are so many things to do in New York, that you won't get bored, for sure. Oh! Don't forget to see a Broadway show, while you're here!
7. Buenos Aires.
Maybe you know this already, but Argentina has the largest Jewish community in Latin America, predominately in and around Buenos Aires. It's probably not going to be the centerpiece of your trip to Argentina, but it just so happens that Buenos Aires has the only kosher McDonald's restaurant outside of Israel. Okay, maybe that's not actually a selling point, here.
Stroll around the neighborhoods of Once and Abasto, or visit the AMIA -- the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association. There's also the Buenos Aires Holocaust Museum and the Gran Templo Paso, one of South America's most beautiful temples. Or, you could learn to tango, sample incredible Argentinian wines, or take a short excursion across the water to neighboring Uruguay. We absolutely love Argentina, and we'd love to help you get there!
8. Visit Spain.
Spain is a beautiful country to visit, for anyone, but if you're interested in exploring Sephardim history and heritage, it can be even more meaningful. From the historic synagogues of Toledo, to the Jewish quarter of Segovia, Spain is rich with Jewish history and culture, right up to the 1492 Expulsion of the Jewish community, during the Spanish Inquisition. There's always something new and unexpected to discover: synagogues built like mosques and converted to churches? What? Spain has so much to see and do!
Of course, Huckleberry Travel can book any of these trips for you. Just let us know where you'd like to go!