Daydreaming about the UAE… or other (better) Jewish vacation spots

This is a guest post by Emily Cutts.
Since I’m getting ready for a weekend vacation, you can imagine that I wanted to do anything but work when I sat down at my computer today. So I started daydreaming about vacation spots. Specifically, where I could go on vacation as a Jew? I am not saying that I need a separate Jewish vacation, I just wondered where I could go that was filled with Jewish people to see and things to do.
Just because the song says “Wherever you go there’s always someone Jewish,” doesn’t mean there are Jewish things to do.  Have no fear. I’ve made you a list.
It’s a no brainer, Israel is the place for Jews (even though a former white house reporter doesn’t think so.) The country is filled with historical places to visit and learn from. If you are a college student or under the age of 26 you can even get a trip to Israel for free! And it’s only a short 13-hour flight from New York.
Once in Israel make sure to hit the biggies like the Wailing Wall, the Dead Sea, Masada, but don’t be afraid to venture beyond.
Who knew there were Jews in Venice? I sure didn’t but then again I should have just sung the song (see above) to myself and I would have know. Venice is home to the world’s first Jewish ghetto. An article on Eurocheap says:

This site was the first Jewish ghetto in the world and was created in 1516, after the authorities of Venice decided that all Jewish people living in Venice (mainly on the island of the Giudecca) had to move to a confined area and could not hold any job apart from those indicated by the Republic of Venice. Among the jobs that Jewish people were allowed to do were money-lending and mercantilism.

Staycation Minneapolis/St. Paul
Even if you can’t afford to go anywhere there are plenty of Jewish things to do in the Twin Cities. The best part about a staycation is that you can experience new things in your city while still being able to sleep in your own bed. Head over to Highland Park and eat at Cecil’s deli where they offer matzo ball soup and latkes. Or grab a bite at Fishman’s Kosher Deli in St. Louis Park. If you are looking for something cultural the Sabes JCC in Minneapolis has a photo exhibit of female Israeli soldiers by Rachel Papo. Check out TC Jewfolk’s list of top Jewish events in June while you’re at it.
If all else fails and you are looking for something really exotic, head on over to the United Arab Emirates.
United Arab Emirates
If it’s good enough for the ladies of Sex and the City, then it must be good enough for me. I haven’t actually seen the movie but Leora was kind enough to give me a brief synopsis:

Charlotte York (played by Kristin Davis) goes with the girls to the United Arab Emirates. She’s Jewish (converted for the man she loves) and her married name is Goldenblatt. However, when Charlotte visits UAE with the girls, she goes by the name York instead. Carrie calls her on it, asking her, “what happened to Goldenblatt?” and Charlotte’s like, um… it’s the UAE? I think the moment is missed on anyone who’s not Jewish, but it’s like, duh, if you’re Jewish, hide it in the UAE. Definitely an “a ha”.

Okay, maybe the UAE is not the best place for Jews, but you could head to Morocco where the movie was actually filmed. Now Jews make up less than one percent of the population, but before the creation of the state of Israel around 300,000 Jews lived there. The Jews that are left tend to live in Casablanca or Fes. One of the best things about Morocco is that it is still relatively inexpensive.
For me, for now, most of these places are just spots to dream about exploring. What about you? Are you heading off to some place exciting this summer?
(Photos: Emily Cutts, Wikimedia Commons)