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August 28, 2009

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r PAGE 18A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 28, 2009 By Hilary Larson If you base yourself in Bar- ~Jew York Jewish Week celona, choose lodgings in the trendy Born and Ribera neigh- Chile southern Spain sim- borhoods, where boutiques m~ s in a cauldron of 100-de- and galleries are tucked into. gr. heat, thebreezy Catalan winding cobblestone lanes. co. ~ offers respite. The north- The beach at Barceloneta, ea ~rn region of Catalonia, a picturesque immigrant s wL se capital is Barcelona, quarter with the salty char- I ra~ ~iy exceeds 90 degrees; acter of a fishing-village, is a ' wields off the Mediterranean short stroll away; three other anL the Pyrenees give the aira beaches Nova Icaria, Mar fre~aness even on the hottest BellaandBogatell liejustto day,s. While the shady siesta the east, each within walking is mandatory farther south, distance of a metro station. here in the north it is usually A half-hour south is Sit- pleasant enough at midday to ges, a legendary beach resort i stroll the elegant boulevards whose crowds of European b of Barcelona and prowl the medieval alleys of Girona. the region's,second city and home to its most fascinating Jewish ghetto. Flights to Barcelona are some of Europe's best deals this summer. A recently launched high-speed train. known as AVE (pronounced AH-vay), has reduced the eight-hour schlep between Barcelona and Madrid to a three-hour caprice, giving both fliers and weekenders more options. Catalonia. home to Salvador Dalf. Picasso and Garcia Lorca, has long been the country's cultural heart, a fact that is ~'eflected in the region's busy summer arts schedule. Technically along the same longitude as the British Isles, Spain instead sets its clocks to Central European Time, meaning that sunny after- noons stretch to nearly 10 p.m. Beaches up and down the Costa Brava, as the coast north of Barcelona to the French border is known, are still thronged at 9, and restau- rants are largely empty until after sundown. tourists somehow manage not to diminish its historic charm. Withascenic medieval old town. a half-moon harbor and a string of sandy beaches, Sitges is the perfect place to while away a weekend; it has enough small museums, noteworthy architecture and shopping to keepvisitors busy. From July through Septem- ber. Sitges resonates with the sounds of jazz. opera, Spanish folkloric music and organ con- certs in its magnificent par- ish church. An international tango festival in late July and a citywide music festival (with most concert tickets only $15) are highlights; consult the city's tourism website for details. Detour inland for history and a break from the crowds. Girona, Catalonia's second city, is one of Europe's most atmospheric and ancient burgs. Straddling a lazy river, boasting ruins that date from Roman and Moorish eras, Gi- rona is a historical palimpsest of burnished brick edifices and ancient archways. You can tour 12th-century Ara- bian baths constructed in the Hillary Larson Burnished brick edifices and ancient archways highlight a trip to Girona, Spain. Romanesque style, and then head over to the Cathedral to take in its heady mix of Catalan baroque and Gothic styles. While much of it dates to the 17th century, the cathe- drars Tower of Charlemagne is nearly 900 years old, and the biblical art in its rhuseum spans much of the last mil- lennium. Girona's Call, its Jewish quarter, is more extensive and better-preserved than that of Barcelona. From the ninth through the 13th centu- ries-just before the Catholic tyranny that eventually led to the Jews' expulsion began to take hold--Gironawas in fact a center of Sephardic culture, and Jewish life thrived along the narrow cobblestone alleys and steep walls of the Call, shady and cool in summer's heat. Today, a number of private tour companies (eas- ily found by going to Google) offer guided walks that feature the city's Jewish heritage. The Jewish History Museum, run by the city, is the repository of information about Catalo- nian Jewry. The museum is a fascinating if sorrowful lookat a largely vanished civilization: Hebrew tombstones, medieval his day, he parked his towel on ritual artifacts and explana- the pebbly sand at Cadaques tory panels now stand on the (pronounced kah-da-KAYS), a site of Girona' 15th-century picture-perfect whitewashed synagogue, town about an hour away, at It's a short trip to Figue- the French border. With an res, a delightfully low-key, advance reservation, you can Untouristy Spanish town tour Dali's House-Museum, ai with tree-lined boulevards set of renovated fishing-huts and a pleasant central plaza that preserve the artist's fur- of outdoor cafes. Figueres niture, personal effects and would be entirely offthe radar" workshop. were it not for a hallucinatory Through August, world- magenta-pink castle dotted classmusiciansperformatthe withwhat looks like oversized annual Festival de Cadaques, yellow gum drops. This is one of the region's most long- the Salvador Dali Theatre- standing and prestigious arts Museum, the magnum opus of everyone's favorite surrealist. While many of Dali's famous paintings are elsewhere, the Theatre-Museum is a trippy, memorable collection of in- stallations such as the Rainy Taxi and the Mae West room; it's especially fun for children and easily worth a daytrip. But even Dali liked the beach. Along withother well- known artists and writers of events. The Prague Symphony Orchestra, Guillermo Klein and the Girona Jazz Project, and the guitarist Juan Perro are just a few of this season's headliners. Hilary Larson is a travel writer for the New York Jewish Week, from which this article was reprinted by permission. Travel resources Girona Jewish History Museum: php?idCat=20 Sitges summer festival information: 03/193/ lang, en/ Festival of Cadaques: Dali House-Museum (Port Lligat, Cadaques): www.salvador- tlligat/en_index.html Dali Theatre-Museum (Figueres): Girona Cathedral: By Gabe Levenson New York Jewish Week With a certain gradu- ate of Harvard Law in the White House. that ivy cam- pus in Cambridge, Mass.. may be ascendant in the popular imagination. But for travelers on a budget looking for an easier, but no less ivy-draped destina- tion than Cambridge, New Haven, Conn.--home to the picturesque and culturally rich Yale University is the ticket. The city and the uni- versity, only 75 miles from Manhattan. have compel- ling Jewish stories to tell. Few of the 25.000 Jews in Greater New Haven likely re- alize that a handful of dissi- dent Puritans (who founded this. Connecticut's larg- est city, almost 400 years ago) had envisioned it as a "Wilderness Zion," based on biblical law. It would be for them a "new haven" for the truly faithful, at a suf- ficient (and more tolerant) distance from Plymouth Rock. where they and their more conservative former comrades first landed. Over a century later, the first Jews. the brothers Jacob and Solomon Pinto. ~rrived in New Haven, com- ing from Dutch-held New Amsterdam to the more ac- cepting Connecticut colony. The two Pintos quickly became a part of the com- munity. Jacob Pinto's three sons--Solomon. Abraham and William served under Gen. George Washington in the Revolutionary War. In 1783. Jacob Pinto signed the petition to the state's General Assembly that brought about the formal incorporation of New Haven as a town. Ezra Stiles, president of Yale College at the time. welcomed the newcomers. He himself was fluent in Hebrew; indeed, at the Yale commencement exercises he would deliver his presi- dential speech in effortless Hebrew. During his years as president of the college (not yet a university) he made the study of Hebrew compulsory for all Yale freshmen. Stiles was devoted to the Hebrew language and culture. He had believed that such study was necessary to achieve a liberal education and a thorough understanding of the Bible. Stiles also designed the Yale seal. which is still in use. It reads "Urim v'Thumin,'" Hebrew for "light and truth." The He- brew language is no longer compulsory, but Yale Uni- versity still offers courses in Hebrew and a bachelor's degree in Judaic studies. It was Stiles who predict- ed that, ultimately, there might be enough Jews m New Haven to form a minyan and to build a synagogue. A gradual migration of Bavar- ian Jews into New Haven began some 50 years after Stiles' death. When there were enough German Jew- ish families in the city, they formed the minyan, which. after holding services in a variety of local halls, built its own house of worship and named it Congregation Mishkan Israel. Today, Mishkan Israel, self-described as Progres- sive Reform. is one of about 15 synagogues, Reform to Chabad. which serve the Greater New Haven com- munity. Mishkan offers its members and the general public a great variety of programs, from a nursery school, to a coffee shop, to a single Brotherhood for both young men and young women, to a semor center. Mishkan Israel is at 785 Ridge Road in suburban Hamden; 203-388-2077. On the Yale campus, you can enjoy kosher food on the premises of the Slifka Center for Jewish Life. It houses Claire's Corner Cafd (203-562-3888), which has been providing dairy lunches since 1975. You can dine also at the Chabad Center. on Whitney Avenue. for a complete glatt-kosher meal. but call to make reservations in advance: space is limited. At Slifka. there is a host of other activities: an energetic Hillel chapter, art classes. exhibits. Jewish education for children, and,more. Yale University, whose current president is Rich- ard Levin (a congregant of Mishkan Israel), merits at least one full day or, better, a weekend, of exploration. Often labeled as having the nation's most beautiful ur- ban campus, the ivy-covered university is also the desti- nation for visitors interested in its main library's vast collection of Judaica. At 120 Wall St., in the center of downtown New Haven, is the Sterling Memorial Library, which earlier this summer held an exhibit called "The Art of the Ketubah," which featured four centuries of marriage contracts. A pod- cast of the show is available at The cur- rent show focuses on Islamic architecture. The Yale University Visi- tor Information Center (149 Elm St.; 203-432-2300) is the meeting place for free. guided walking tours of the Yale campus; the one-hour tour takes place daily, at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Among other aspects of the tour is your realization of the dra- matic change in Yale. since the restrictive admission of Jewish undergraduates until World War II. Now, perhaps a quarter of the students and a large number of faculty members are Jewish. Look for such highlights as the New Haven Green. which occupies what was once one of the original town squares laid out by the Rev. John Davenport when he founded New Haven in 1638. Other highlights One of the courtyards on the Yale University campus. of the walk include the Yale University Art Gallery, 1111 Chapel St., designed by Louis Kahn in 1951. and exhibiting everything from Egyptian mummies to modern abstracts: the Yale Center for British Art, directly across the street at 1080 Chapel St.. possibly the best" gallery of English art outside of Great Britain, with important originals by Turner, Constable and many others; the Amisted Memorial. 165 Church St.. commemorating the 1839 rebellion (ultimately suc- cessful) of 59 kidnapped Africans. Also on the walk are the Peabody Museum of Natural History, 170 Whitney Ave.. with more than 11 million specimens; the Yale Col- lection of Musical Instru- ments, from the 1500s tothe present; the Beinecke Rare Book Library, featuring an original Gutenberg Bible. complete sets of Audubon prints and the largest col- lection of Eugene O'Neill archives; and the Ethnic Heritage Center. 501 Cres- cent St., showing the roles of JeWs. Italians, Irish. Ukrai- nians and Afro-Americans in developing New Haven. Don't feel bad for the Yalies, though, because Barack Obama is in the White House. Remember. Bill and Hill met in New Ha- ven and Bushes '41 and 43 were grads. And don't forget that almost-vice president and U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieber- man got his undergraduate and law degrees in New Haven. But whatever your politics, Yale's greenery, museums and distinctive ar- chitecture make it a splendid day or weekend trip. Gabe Levenson is a travel writer at the New York Jew- ish Week from which this article was reprinted by permission. Read the Jew- ish Week online at www.