Israel is one of the lesser-known vacation destinations in the western world. It's a far different experience than traveling to the likes of Thailand or Australia, for example. But for Jewish people that want to connect with their roots and explore their Jewish identity, it's the perfect, if not the only, destination to do so. Israel is a beautiful country that has a culture steeped in religious traditions. Below, we'll explore why it's the perfect destination if you're seeking to connect with your Jewish identity.
To connect with your Jewish identity, you will be connecting with Judaism. 75% of the population in Israel practice Judaism, and the rest practice Christianity and Islam. There are numerous religious sites, synagogues, and religious groups sharing the religion of Judaism with anyone that visits. Jewish people are supposed to pray three times a day, morning, afternoon, and evening, using the prayer book, Siddur.
In Israel, you'll find many synagogues open morning and night for prayer, something practicing Jews feel helps them connect with the religion further. During times of celebrations, you'll often find people in the synagogues with silver tallit clips and a prayer shawl reciting from the Hebrew Bible. If a tallit clip lands on your shoulder, remember that you'll have to recite a passage - it's the tradition of whoever is wearing the tallit clips.
What's perhaps even more essential that transcends Judaism is the land of Israel itself and how it influences the history, life, hopes, and ambitions of Jewish people. The culture is guided by religion and holy points in Israel - for example, practicing Jews will pray towards Jerusalem in prayer. It's a custom and part of Jewish culture that's been so for hundreds of years.
Much of the culture of Jewish people in Israel centers around celebration, remembering, appreciating, and acceptance. Jewish people build their lifestyles around the numerous religious holidays that fall in the Hebrew calendar, which brings a food culture with it. The food culture in Israel is incredible, with the scents of homemade dishes like the Matzoh ball soup filling the streets.
There are endless places to stay in Israel, but remember that Israel is a massive country, and where you stay should be guided by the experience you're looking for. Jerusalem is perhaps a no-brainer; it's rated the best overall place to stay in Israel. The religious roots make it perfect for discovering your Jewish identity. The area has endless things to do, like the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter, the Haram Al-Sharif, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
Tel Aviv is also rated one of the best places to stay. It's slightly cooler than the rest of Israel, which is renowned for having soaring temperatures that some vacationers can't handle. The Park HaYarkon, Suzanne Dellal Center, and Rothschild Boulevard are definitely worth a visit.
Other incredible places to stay in Israel include:
Israel is a simply beautiful country. The varied landscape, incredible architecture, and religious connections make it the ideal destination for anyone attempting to connect with their Jewish roots. The best time of year to travel is during spring or fall.