JEWS ARRIVED IN INDIA PRIOR TO THE CHANUKAH STORY: EXPLORE INDIA THROUGH JEWISH EYESTM WITH PACIFIC DELIGHT TOURS
Pacific Delight Tours continues its kosher “Jewish eyes” tours in conjunction with the Foundation for Remote Jewish Communities featuring its annual INDIA: My Second Home program, Jan. 16-29, 2019.
Few people know that the pepper found on your kitchen table comes from a pepper exchange in Southern India located in a place called Jewtown. While this label might be deemed offensive in modern Western society, to a 2,000-year-old Jewish community in India, the name Jewtown is a source of pride that honors the long history of Jews in India and the great contributions Jews have made to Indian society.
Tour participants will learn how this isolated Diaspora community has evolved in its own unique way. For example, Jews in India celebrate every Jewish holiday except Chanukah because their society pre-dates Chanukah. This and many more fascinating, little known stories of the Jewish experience in India will be discussed by Prof. Nathan Katz, one of the world’s foremost scholars on Jews in India.
Participants will have opportunities to meet and interact with India’s diverse Jewish communities in Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and
New Delhi and join Shabbat at the Judah Hyam synagogue in New Delhi as well as at Kenesseth Eliyahoo, also known as the Fort Synagogue, in Mumbai (pictured right), which dates back to 1884. Other historic synagogues include Kolkata’s 19th century Italian Renaissance-style Magen David synagogue and the historic Paradesi synagogue in Jewtown, constructed during the Mughal era in the 16th century.
The program visits the “must-see” sights of India such as the iconic Taj Mahal and Elephanta Caves, cruises Kerala’s scenic backwaters, peddles through Old Delhi and other UNESCO World Heritage sites via rickshaw, and features a private recital featuring traditional Indian music and dance.
India is known for its antiquity and spirituality, its cultural export dubbed “Bollywood”, and its contrast of bustling cities and pristine nature-a fascinating kaleidoscope that is the world’s largest democracy. “What is typically not known is India’s long history as one of the most hospitable homes in the Diaspora, without a trace of anti-Semitism,” said Prof. Katz.
“A Jew, Sarmad Kashani, was the most celebrated patron saint of 17th century Indian poetry. So too, Jews have been among India’s great mystics, taken center stage in Bollywood, served as mayor of major cities, and produced the country’s greatest military hero, General J. F. R. ‘Jack’ Jacob,” explained Prof. Katz.
India My 2nd Home features deluxe hotels such as Mumbai’s five-star Taj Mahal Tower overlooking the Arabian Sea. Other accommodations include the Taj Vivanta Malabar in Kochi, the Oberoi Grand in Kolkata, Taj Mahal Hotel in New Delhi and ITC Mughal Hotel in Agra.
The fully-escorted tour cost is $7,195 per person, based on double occupancy, and includes deluxe accommodations, all intra-India flights and transportation, the services of an English-speaking escort and local guides including acclaimed scholar Prof. Nathan Katz, most meals (kosher or strictly vegetarian) including memorable lunches and dinners with the Jewish communities in India, fascinating sightseeing and excursions, and exclusive cultural events not open to the general public. All gratuities to guides, drivers and hotel staff, as well as hotel taxes and service charges, are included in the package. International airfare, as well as passport and visa fees, are not included.
The tour cost includes a tax-deductible donation of $900 per person to FRJC, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit educational charity that is devoted to preserving and promoting the endangered Jewish communities on the periphery of the Diaspora, including India. Since its inception in 2003, FRJC has distributed more than $1.1 million for Jewish libraries, scholarships, and even sustainable farming projects. Learn more at www.frjc.org
About Prof. Nathan Katz
Prof. Nathan Katz is distinguished Professor, Emeritus, Florida International University where he was director of Jewish Studies and founding director of the Program in the Study of Spirituality. He has written 15 books, including The Last Jews of Cochin and Who Are the Jews of India? A Fulbright scholar who has spent more than eight years in South Asia, Prof. Katz was delegate to the ground-breaking 1990 Tibetan-Jewish dialogue, hosted by the Dalai Lama, which was chronicled in the bestselling book, The Jew in the Lotus.
About Pacific Delight Tours
For 47 years, Pacific Delight Tours has been one of America’s leading tour operators to China and Asia. Among numerous industry awards, Pacific Delight is the proud recipient of theTravelAge West WAVE Award from 2008-2016, the 2009 Travel Weekly Readers’ Choice Award, and the Travvy Award from travAlliancemedia for Best Vacation Packager, Asia for 2016 and 2017. The company is also a proud member of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) and its industry-leading $1 Million Bond.
Pacific Delight is dedicated to providing unparalleled vacation experiences for discerning travelers. Its long-standing reputation within the travel agent community is a testament to its unrivaled quality assurance, extensive expertise and customer service.