Posts tagged with "spirituality"

Elena Brody "Rock Steady" image via Jon Bleicher for use by 360 Magazine

Elana Brody Q×A

By: Emily Bunn

Celebrating the beauty of human experience and the universality of dance, Elana Brody enchants fans with her exhilarating dance-pop music. Her most recent single, “Rock Steady,” showcases the singer’s joyous choreography and passionate songwriting ability. The “Rock Steady” music video can be viewed HERE. The bold, emotional ballad was produced by Max Martin protégé, Dominic Fallacaro. Brody spoke with 360 Magazine about the spirituality that courses through her songs, her music production process, and upcoming releases.

Your recent material was written during the pandemic. How did you manage to find inspiration during lockdown?

As a songwriter, lockdown – with all its grief and deep, life-changing themes- was a very fertile time for me. For one, I retreated from NYC to my childhood homestead in Virginia – in one of the most remote places East of the Mississippi. While there in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, with the music world at a stand-still, I found myself with very little to do but be in nature and play music. My then-partner had come with me, and we spent much of our time playing music together. I also felt called to offer musical prayer services online for those who needed inspiration and connection to Spirit. Because of this, I began by writing new prayer music – which felt right for the time. But, after my partner decided to split with me, as you can imagine – the folk songs started pouring out. This break-up, combined with being my original creative habitat, the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter uprising, the political election-year insanity, and a life far from community, took me the deepest I’ve been in my writing for a long time – especially as a lyricist. I think some of the lyrics you will hear on my upcoming EP are possibly my best yet.

What does your songwriting process look like?

It depends on the song. Sometimes snippets of lyrics, with a bit of their melody, come first. Sometimes a really awesome piano hook comes first. Over the last many years, I have found my songwriting process to be mostly a long-winded jam session where I sing out my heart for hours, creating spontaneous free-style lyrics. Many of those lyrics disappear forever, but at least a few of them make the cut! Once I get a sense of the general narrative of the song, I think about phrases that will help move the story along, and then build new lyrics around the original “spontaneous-gems” to flesh it out. Over the pandemic, lyrics were everything – and I found myself caring more about them than the music. The music could have been 3 chords, and I’d be totally okay with that, as long as the lyrics were telling the story. But, in other phases of my life as a writer, I would basically compose a piano concerto! And then, lyrics come in afterwards. I love and live music. And honestly, I don’t have to work hard to have music flow through me. I have found the best music and lyrics that I have written, have written themselves. It’s actually that simple. “Rock Steady” was a bit like that.

Are you still looking to release your EP eventually, or have you decided to shelve it in favor of tracks like “Rock Steady”?

Yes, to the EP! If all works out with piecing it together (because it was recorded in many different settings over the pandemic) then I would really like to release it in the late fall. But! Because “Rock Steady” is such a banger and I want to make more songs like that, I decided to quickly write and record a new song called “Quicksand,” which is another pop-influenced song, to release as a follow up – before I transition into my folk music.

Why did you choose Costa Rica as the location for the “Rock Steady” music video?

It chose me! My friend lives there and she invited me to come out to visit. I said I would, but under the one condition – that we film a music video! She is a great networker and knows so many people to reach out to and work with. She also happens to be an ecstatic dance facilitator and DJ and was planning a dance on the weekend of my visit. So, naturally, we organized to film the dance party at an already scheduled and high-vibe (to use a very Costa Rican term) dance party! It couldn’t have been more perfect. We also did all our beach filming at a beach called Roca Beach – aka Rock (Steady) beach!

How does your spirituality factor into the way you create music?

Once, after I auditioned for the first season of USA’s XFactor, I left the stage (a story for another time!) and was interviewed by a faceless producer speaking to me from behind a black curtain. This producer asked me, “When you sing, it seems as if you are connecting to some higher power. Is this true for you? And what is that higher power?” At the time, I wouldn’t have considered myself a prayer-leader or religious at all, but I knew the answer to that right away. I said, “Yes. God.”

God can bring up a lot for people. And for me too. Growing up in rural Virginia, the idea of “God” sometimes felt like some kind of angry, repressive, overpowering righteousness. But – in my family – and in my own experience – God was gentler than that. The spirit between things. As a youth, I was surrounded by the most beautiful, untouched nature – and witness to the seasons in their full force. With below-zero cold and windy winters, slow-to-pop springs, abundant green summers with my folks’ organic gardens in full bloom, and then the rainbows of colorful Appalachian autumns – I knew what Spirit had to offer us humans. And music had always been my human way to offer Spirit back to Spirit, if that makes sense. It’s a giving and receiving from the big, wild wonders of creation, and then music is my way to return it back. Now that I have dived into my Jewish roots, and studied the traditions, I would say that song is the modern equivalent of sending burnt offerings up to the Creator. Instead of smoke, we let our voices rise. And I don’t see prayer music and pop music as all that different. Different themes, different stories, but ultimately, what we sing or speak is all prayer. And, especially now that I am very involved in prayer-leadership, as I create more songs, I do think about that in my writing.

What do you anticipate the reaction to “Rock Steady” will be like?

A fun one! Hopefully one that makes people dance and dance some more! Because I haven’t released much of my other music yet on the bigger platforms, most people won’t know the difference. Like, how did that happen? All of a sudden, I’m a pop star! The truth is, I’ve always been a pop star. Christina Aguilera and Celine Dion were my first vocal idols, and all of the first music I ever wrote sounded like it could have been in a Disney Channel original movie. Anyhow, I had this thought that I should go about my career in the opposite way of other folk artists, a la Jewel circa “Intuition,” and drop in with the fun and danceable stuff first. I don’t see myself ever being too genre-confined, anyway. Life is too short not to write whatever you feel and whatever is coming through you! I did think, “oh, maybe I should sell this song to Rhianna or another artist who could do it amazingly.” But honestly, this route of self-producing is very fun, and maybe even better. Now I get to be heard singing like a pop star too!

What other artists, musicians, or bands serve as inspirations for your music?

It’s a long list…

Joni Mitchell is my in-utero and post-utero,songwriting teacher. I used to call her my piano teacher, because I learned to play by playing so many of her songs. Several other musicians of my parents’ 60s/70s era also come in close as primary inspirations – including Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Carole King, and the Beatles. They have shaped what a well-written song could be for me.

It’s hard to decipher what is an influence now because it’s just one big, long-cooked stew or spicy mole at this point.

I have always liked lyric-forward music, with bands like Of Montreal (his candidness in writing was life-changing for me!) and Death Cab for Cutie (the simple metaphors and speaking-style of his writing) and the Decemberists (storytelling, bard-like songs.) And the orchestral and lyrical artistry of the Fleet Foxes is stellar.

I have also always liked some good classic, chunky, Rock’n’roll and music that gets ya’ dancing, like Led Zeppelin and CCR. And the blues, especially blues piano music, has played a role in my music education since early childhood.

Then, there’s the eternal list of female influences. My most listened to, other than Joni, from the beginning are Ani DiFranco and Sarah McLachlan. Then: Jesca Hoop, My Brightest Diamond, Regina Spektor and Kate Bush. And now: artists like Gillian Welch, Brandi Carlile, Sylvan Esso, and Sarah Jarosz have taken up a lot of my listening time. Sarah Jarosz’s album World on the Ground was really powerful to listen to last year during the pandemic. I hope that I can achieve that level of presence and intelligence in the instrumentation when I go to make my full-length album next year!

I also derive a LOT of influence from pop music. I can’t help it. I definitely fell in love with Ariana Grande’s album positions this year, and right now I am going down a Dua Lipa rabbit hole. I would say Rhianna is my number one, though. And I finally fell in love with Lady Gaga after seeing A Star is Born and listening to Joanne. Her belt has inspired me a lot. And I love vocalists in general. I have spent a lot of time really listening to vocalists like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Judy Collins, Barbra Streisand. These days, Elvis is my number one!

I will also never not want to listen to albums of bands like Nickel Creek, the [Dixie] Chicks, Bela Fleck, Mandolin Orange/Watchhouse, or the band Solas, to bring me the feeling of my early mountain roots and make me feel good.

I am truly a world music fan. I love to listen to the magic of music across the world. I am really inspired to hear virtuosity, no matter what genre. I love vocal virtuosos and am listening right now to the artist Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. I am curious as to when I’ll be able to imitate him. (I’m really good at imitating!) Bobby McFerrin has also been a teacher in real life. He inspires me to become more accurate in my improvisations.

I also listen to prayer music, but mostly of the Sikh or Kundalini yoga genre. Sometimes you’ll find me jamming out to Jewish artists (many of them friends of mine) or Gospel music. Anita Wilson, a modern gospel singer, has been a vocal inspiration for me because she really sings with the lows of her range.

Musical theater music is also a major influence. That Roger and Hammerstein stuff pours out of me like it were an extension of my soul! Lastly, at this point, after spending time at Berklee College of Music, I have been greatly inspired by jazz and R&B.

Besides “Rock Steady” and the EP, can fans look forward to any other releases to come in 2021-2022?

Yes! I mentioned that I am wanting to get cracking on my full-length album that will be mostly in the Americana, New Orleans blues, Rock-and-Roll, and folk pop styles. I am really, really excited about it. But I’m not sure yet who I will work with on it. An exciting unknown. I imagine it will end up feeling like a magnum opus when it is finished because I’ve been with these songs for so long. Nothing will be more amazing than when they are out in the world surrounded by strings, the right instrumentation and arrangements. I also would like to produce my song “City of Man” in a big vaudevillian, brassy style. [I want to] make a little music-video theater piece out of it. I have also been sitting on this one for a long time. It sort of harkens to the fall of capitalism…that is going on in our world and the post-Trump era– it’s due time that I get that one out. Look out for it all!

Image via Infamous PR for 360 Magazine

Meya Platform Announces Partnership with Artists Jamie Jones and Lee Burridge

Music and Meditation Platform MEYA Announces Jamie Jones and Lee Burridge as New Partner

Artist Partners to Contribute Exclusive Productions Fusing Electronic Music, Psychoacoustics, and Meditation to Bridge the Gap Between Music and Mindfulness

Download the MEYA App to Experience the Exclusive Music Mind Journey via the App Store and Google Play Store

Well-being, music, and meditation platform MEYA has announced electronic music’s leading artists Jamie Jones and Lee Burridge as new equity partners. Jones and Burridge will contribute exclusive tracks and meditation remixes to the app as part of their Music Mind Journey series, which bridges the gap between music, meditation, and mental health.

The collaborative project aims to transcend the typical confines of meditation, interweaving multi-level brainwave entrainment and vocal guidance with the deeply immersive experiences and psychoacoustic effects achieved through music. This unique fusion allows users to make meditation as empowering as an unforgettable experience on the dancefloor or as deep and emotional as listening to your favorite songs.

Download MEYA to Hear Exclusive Music from Jamie Jones and Lee Burridge via Apple and Google Play

Fans of electronic music know the genre has an ability to trigger states of deep presence, elevation, and connectedness, similar to those achieved through meditation. MEYA harnesses and infuses specific sound frequencies and rhythmic arrangements in its meditation practices in order to trigger the same peak moments that Jamie and Lee are renowned for.

MEYA’s new partners bring their own experience with both meditation and the stresses they’ve faced in the world of dance music to the platform, helping others overcome the hurdles of mental health felt around the industry and beyond.

Speaking on the MAYA platform, Jamie Jones stated What I like about MEYA is that I’ve always found the different frequencies that are used to record music very interesting. I came across 432 a few years before I discovered the MEYA app. I was really intrigued to find out whether your body did feel differently listening to music tuned to this frequency. I noticed I only had to meditate for half as long to get the same feeling. I felt that the combination of mediation and the sounds available made it much easier and more effective in a shorter period of time. I was gaining the same benefits in half the amount of meditation time. In my opinion, it definitely feels like you get more out of it without having to be as advanced or meditate for as long.

Jamie’s first exclusive MEYA production sets the stage for a special Music Mind Journey titled Choice. It’s a dreamlike track featuring delicate piano and relaxing synth work that is perfect for letting go and giving yourself a moment of calm. This feeling is enhanced by embedded vocal guidance that, like a guided meditation, invites listeners to breathe and achieve a deep state of presence, acceptance, and self-love. Its empowering lyrics remind listeners that you always have a choice to love yourself while building on your strengths.  

Lee Burridge’s first contribution to the platform is a unique remix of his iconic track Float On from the collaborative 2019 album Melt on Lost Desert. The song pulls listeners into the melodic and entrancing world that All Day I Dream has fostered over the past decade at events around the world. Now, a meditation remix of the song is available to MEYA users looking to dig deeper and understand the concept of awakening and achievement more fully, featuring vocals inviting listeners to change your perspective on life…from a victim mentality to a victorious reality. 

The revolutionary MEYA platform harnesses the human affinity for rhythm and connectivity through dance to help users reduce stress, quieten the mind, and reach meditative states more easily and deeply. The peak experiences and flow states felt on the dance floor can be translated into science-backed practice, bringing moments of awakening into everyday life.  

Each stage of the MEYA journey – Music, Mind, and Awakening – is enriched with binaural beats and is recorded in 432hz, a healing frequency used in ancient traditions that facilitates relaxation and alleviates physical and emotional stress. Each meditation session is available with a wide selection of music genres: from ambient soundscapes to organic downtempo shamanic rhythms and uplifting electronic beats in order to assist with focus, sleep, meditation, movement, motivation, relaxation, and inspiration.

In MEYA founder Raffaele Ricci’s own words, We are very excited to have Lee and Jamie on board, sharing the same vision to create electronic music to help more people with their mental and spiritual wellbeing. Our aim is to make meditation as easy and enjoyable as listening to a song and extend “beyond meditation” by sharing practices and insights to help unleash the inner power that we all have inside. Our mission is to help our users achieve an empowered and awakened mindset, equipping them with the tools to transform any life challenge into an opportunity.

With clubs and festivals having been impacted globally, MEYA and their artists believe there has never been a more pivotal time to remember the unifying power of music and its quantifiable psychological and physiological benefits. In this way, MEYA also provides a way forward for music industry professionals to overcome the stresses and anxieties surrounding the uncertainties of the field and around the clock commitments.  

A recent study from a Help Musicians UK commissioned survey found that 71% of musicians experienced anxiety and/or panic attacks, while 68.5% experienced one or more episodes of depression during the course of their career. In response to this and the issues that impact mental health regardless of industry or location, MEYA aims to bring training into everyday life to relieve anxiety and give users control of their minds with the help of bespoke music content.  

With over 15,000 users, 200 specially crafted tracks, and 100 guided meditation courses, MEYA offers a complete toolbox for those looking to maximize their mental and emotional potential in a turbulent world. 

Download MEYA today to begin your mindfulness, meditation, and awakening journey. 

More About MEYA

Why does MEYA combine Music, Dance, and Meditation?

Music has the ability to shift our state of mind – from mood enhancement and relaxation to a sense of connection with others in a shared space. Similarly, meditation reduces the stress hormone cortisol, improves sleep, and rewires the brain.

Those who have attended dance music events and concerts know the feeling of connectivity shared between crowds, creating a single entity made from many unique participants. MEYA harnesses this idea of a vibe in a quantifiable psychological and physiological method.

Combining music and meditation is not a traditional way to meditate, but it has proven to work. When we are lost in music we get a taste of nirvana naturally without any rigorous training. MEYA leverages the power of music to switch off the mind, making meditation easier and more enjoyable than ever.

MEYA App Content

MEYA Music – Productions categorized by focus, chill, sound healing, sleep, and binaural beats. 

MEYA Dance Meditation – A full category dedicated to Dance Meditation journeys: a combination of uplifting dance tracks combined with embedded vocal guidance, well-being practices, insights, positive affirmations, and visualization.

MEYA Mind – A multi-level course to master your mind, overcome your limiting beliefs, and achieve your personal goals. Also included are guided meditations, affirmations, mental coaching, NLP and hypnotic visualization aids to help sleep, and a specialized performance and productivity optimization section.

Music Awakening –  A seven-level course with over 50 Music Mind Journeys aimed to help to trigger an awakened mentality through providing insights and practices which train the mind to find the opportunity in all of life’s challenges.

Follow Meya via their Facebook and Instagram.

Art by Mina Tocalini for use by 360 Magazine

YouTube’s Most Popular Rabbi

World-Renowned Author Manis Friedman Turns to Technology to Help People Rediscover Balance, Becomes YouTube’s Favorite Rabbi

Way before anyone has even thought about the concept of social media, Rabbi Manis Friedman was already helping people rediscover balance, purpose and spirituality. A well-loved author, philosopher, counselor and lecturer, he is best known for his ability to clearly explain and combine age-old Torah wisdom with modern wit to captivate audiences around the world.

For those unfamiliar with him, Rabbi Friedman received his rabbinical ordination from Rabbinical College of Canada in 1969, he also a Biblical scholar and the author behind the acclaimed books “Doesn’t Anyone Blush Anymore?” and “The Joy of Intimacy”.  He founded Bais Chana Institute of Jewish Studies in Minnesota, the world’s first yeshiva exclusively for women back in 1971, and continues to serve the institution as its dean.

As times changed, he recognized that he also needed to change the way he reaches people. His first foray into the world wide web happened in 2005 when he created his website, It’s Good to Know,  which provides sound solutions to everyday problems stemming from relationships, marriage, intimacy, and grief among many others. As social media gained popularity and became more central in people’s lives, he saw the potential that YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin and podcasts hold in helping him bring everyone the wealth of wisdom that he has acquired from years of studying the scriptures.

Today, Rabbi Manis Friedman is known as “YouTube’s Most Popular Rabbi.” His channel, which has already surpassed 100,000 subscribers, allows him to bring the wisdom of Kabbalah closer to people and counsel them regardless of their religious affiliation.

“Ultimately, the goal is to reach the billions of people on the web and bring them closer to God; to bring healing and help people rediscover morality and balance,” he shares. “With everything that is happening in the world right now, it’s easy to find yourself feeling loss and losing balance, and along with it, losing your cherished relationships. You have the power to fix that, but you need to be open to learning.

Rabbi Friedman has made it his mission to help people improve their relationships and deepen their connection with God. He thanks technology for allowing him to do this despite the pandemic and even giving him a bigger platform to reach a wider audience.

To know more about Rabbi Friedman, you may visit the It’s Good to Know website or follow him on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin.

Oprah Winfrey illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

Creating A Limitless Life

Creating A Limitless Life”

Register for free on their website.

Chopra Global, the leading whole health company founded by Dr. Deepak Chopra, today announced the final release of the wildly popular 21-Day Meditation Experience titled “Getting Unstuck: Creating a Limitless Life,” led by Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey. March 2021 marks one year since the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed daily life, with many people remaining “stuck” at home. The free, 21-Day program begins today and will help participants cultivate presence, tap into potential and unlock creativity to release stagnation and improve mental health.

Registration also includes access to an exclusive talk with Deepak Chopra reflecting on these challenging times and offering meditation and tools for cultivating mindful awareness. The program and talk are designed to help people tune into the power of the present and find joy and fulfillment in the everyday.

“Getting Unstuck: Creating a Limitless Life,” offers a 20-minute audio meditation each day and a series of thought-provoking reflection questions designed to anchor the teachings with a centering thought and mantra. The meditations are easily accessible from a tablet, computer, or Chopra Global’s new Meditation and Well-being App available in the Apple App Store and on Android.

“For the past eight years, Oprah Winfrey and I have joined forces to offer the 21-Day Meditation Experience programs. Now, we invite you to join us one last time to develops tools to guide you through these challenging times and create a limitless life in mindful awareness,” said Deepak Chopra.

“Getting Unstuck: Creating a Limitless Life” follows “Creating Peace from the Inside Out, which was re-released in November 2020. The 21-Day Meditation Experience series featuring Deepak and Oprah Winfrey first launched in 2013, and has since become a global phenomenon, with millions of participants and meditation groups around the world. The franchise currently features a catalogue of 18 different programs and features beautiful soundscapes, mantra-based meditations, and centering thoughts. For a limited time, the full library is still available for purchase at chopra.com/oprah.

Below is an overview of what participants can expect throughout this experience:

Week One: Creative Living is Here and Now

Week One will focus on expanding awareness of living in the present moment, which, in itself, is a renewal that brings new possibilities to the surface. By actualizing the present moment, the eternal “now,” we see ourselves in the limitless place where thought, feeling, and action can emerge in unique creation.

Week Two: Activating Your Creative Potential

Week Two is about expanding our participation in being alive by expanding our daily awareness of our own existence. The expansion of awareness holds the key to living from the creative source. Instead of struggling to change your life, you allow a growing awareness to create the change you want to see.

Week Three: Living the Complete Spirit of Creativity

The third week focuses on allowing newly awakened creativity to impact our lives at every level. Then, having awakened our fuller potential, we share the spirit of creative awareness – and spread the energy of “getting unstuck” to the people around us. The key is closing the gap between the self we see in the mirror and the true self. When those two are merged, anything becomes possible.

About Chopra Global

Chopra Global is a leading whole health company that is empowering personal transformation for millions of people globally to expand our collective well-being. Anchored by the life’s practice and research of Dr. Deepak Chopra, a pioneer in integrative medicine, Chopra Global’s signature programs have been proven to improve overall well-being through a focus on physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Chopra Global has been at the forefront of health and wellness for more than two decades with a portfolio that includes an editorial archive with more than 2,000 health articles, meditations, masterclasses, teacher certifications, live events and personalized retreats. By providing tools, guidance and community, Chopra aims to advance a culture of well-being and make a healthy, peaceful and joyful life accessible to all. For more information, interact with the team on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About Deepak Chopra, M.D.

DEEPAK CHOPRA™ MD, FACP, is founder of The Chopra Foundation, a non-profit entity for research on well-being and humanitarianism, and of Chopra Global, a modern-day health company at the intersection of science and spirituality, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation. Chopra is a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego and serves as a senior scientist with Gallup Organization. He is the author of over 90 books translated into over forty-three languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. For the last thirty years, Chopra has been at the forefront of the meditation revolution and his latest (and 91st) book, Total Meditation (Harmony Book) helps to achieve new dimensions of stress-free living and joyful living. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.” To learn more, visit his website.

Where Angels Meet: A Cinematic VR Experience

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be an angel? Where Angels Meet, a new cinematic VR experience, launching today exclusively for Oculus Rift, follows the life of a young African-American man named Marcus from the perspective of his guardian angel. The VR experience allows viewers to don their wings and visit heavenly landscapes, as well as transcend time to witness key moments in Marcus’ life.

Where Angels Meet is available for $4.99 at: Oculus.com/experiences/rift/1741878345881014/

Where Angels Meet was created by Angeles Vista Creative Ventures (AVCV), one of the winners of 2017 Oculus Launchpad program. AVCV has released a trailer for the experience at WhereAngelsMeet.com/trailer/

Where Angels Meet is a unique, narrative VR experience which touches on themes of the afterlife, spirituality, faith, racism and the common challenges of life. The story follows important milestones and events in Marcus’ life. Having grown up with the understanding that his mother died in childbirth, Marcus finds solace in his imagination and strength in his beliefs, as he transports himself to the marvelous “Garden of Light” where he can meditate and find comfort from life’s worries.

“Although Where Angels Meet is a fictional story, the aim is to provide insight into the life of a young African-American man, from a unique perspective,” said Micah Jackson, CEO of AVCV and creator of Where Angels Meet. “Marcus’ story parallels many of the issues and challenges that people of color face in the modern age and virtual reality is a powerful medium to convey this message.”

The “Garden of Light” is a wondrous, lush and beautiful place and serves as the central hub of the experience, as throughout the story different sections of the Garden will be visited. The “Garden of Light” is one of the most beautiful environments to ever be created in virtual reality. It will truly leave a lasting impression on viewers and can only be seen using the Oculus Rift.

PACIFIC DELIGHT TOURS × JEWS × INDIA

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

Consult your travel agent or contact Pacific Delight at (800) 221-7179 or visit www.PacificDelightTours.com for more information.

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.