Jewish Identity on the Go
How do you connect Jewishly while traveling abroad?
I’m writing this very last minute (and late! as you can tell) because I’m postponing my Drop I had planned for this week and will send it out next week instead. I want that topic to be as accurate and thorough as can be.
In lieu of my planned subject, I have a question for you:
How do you retain your Jewishness/Shabbat while traveling?
I just got back from an incredible Eurotrip (Sweden → Finland → Estonia) and had the conundrum one has as a reform but very spiritual and connected Jew: wanting to embrace the essence of Shabbat to some extent and slow down while at the same time discovering and exploring a foreign city as much as I can. I’m an adventurer at heart with no time to waste!
Last Shabbat, I wanted to go to services but wanted to go on a walking tour. I wanted to not use my phone but needed to use my GPS and connect with my group. Yes, I lit Shabbat candles but then immediately went out to the bar (It was Depeche Mode themed. I had to). It’s nice to pause and reflect and sing Jewish songs with fellow Jews, but how do I make that feeling last while abroad?
One way to stay Jewishly connected while traveling is to explore the Jewish history of that city - the old Jewish quarter that probably got destroyed during the Inquisition or Holocaust, the local Jewish museum. Then again… I don’t particularly tour the Jewish history of a city if that’s not what it’s known for. When I was in Stockholm, I heard there was a small Jewish museum, but I instead went to the Vasa Museum (and I’m so glad I did!). I also knew I was in for a very Jewish historical week ahead of me, which you will read about next week.
So I ask: how do you travel Jewishly? Have any good stories?
Here is a photo of me from last year in Lisbon when I accidentally stumbled upon the Jewish street in Alfama, one of the four Jewish quarters built in Lisbon, around 1373.
Shabbat Shalom. May you find connection and rest this Shabbos.