Photo courtesy of Hananya Naftali
The Persian Gulf States are, one by one, signing peace agreements with Israel. This new era of acceptance, along with increased stability and security in the region, will enable Jewish travelers to enjoy experiences previously inaccessible. Moreover, visits to the Gulf States will not only offer a glimpse into the region's Jewish past and present, but also the ability to experience history in the making.
I for one like luxury. I like exotic. I like new and different. I like to have fun. I like souks. I like desert experiences – camels, henna, dun buggies! I like seeing the past, experiencing the present and dreaming about the future. I like funky architecture. I like good food with interesting tastes and textures. I like meeting people and exploring our similarities and differences. I like music. I like to dance. I mean, don’t you? Doesn’t everybody? Ok, most people. But above all, when I travel, I love exploring my Jewish roots wherever I am. I love feeling connected to our shared common history. I love walking into a synagogue and seeing the familiar – yet different – ark, Torah scrolls, prayer books. I love experiencing Shabbat in different countries – it is the same everywhere – candles, wine, challah bread and that ‘Shabbat Feeling’ but yet there is always something just a little new; a little different but there is just enough of the same to make me feel connected – no matter where I am.
Travel gives me hope in our generation and more importantly in our children – the ‘next gen.’ We hear the stories of the past and see how far we have come or how far we have to go. Travel gives me hope in people - no labels, just people. Travel reminds me that people are genuinely good and want good. Most people want to live a healthy life, enjoy their family and friends, work and play just as hard at things they enjoy and appreciate all the wonderful gifts life has to offer.
This past week we celebrated the holiday of Sukkot, when we leave the comforts of our homes and go ‘back to basics’ in our sukkah - hut. We remind ourselves of the values that we hold so dear – without the shimmer and shine. We share our sukkot with our family and friends – we remind ourselves of our priorities. We take a moment under the stars to appreciate what we have, how far we have come, where we want to go in the coming year and what we will do to help us reach out potential.
This picture – taken in Dubai – is a symbol of the new reality. An invitation of hospitality – an opportunity to dialogue, to discover commonalities, to respect our differences and to create new prospects for working together.
I am proud to work for Gil Travel - a preferred travel management company for travelers. As you begin to make plans to travel to Dubai and Abu Dhabi we will create a tailor made itinerary showcasing the culture, opulence, history, and emerging Jewish life in the Gulf. We are at the forefront of creating new 'people to people' experiences and are crafting unique tours to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Baharin, and more.
Contact us and let us give you a taste of what lies ahead in the Gulf and in our special Dubai tour packages firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rebecca Stern, Jewish Content Specialist at Gil Travel Group