WHAT WE DO

We travel to the four corners of the earth in search of little-known Jewish stories in the familiar and unexpected exotic places. We set these stories against the broad background of the local history, culture, traditions, and beliefs.  Then, we share these stories with you in our lectures, books, blog posts, and magazine articles.

Our mission is to foster cross cultural diversity, tolerance, inclusion, and understanding around the world with an emphasis on Jewish history.

But wait, there is more! Over the years, we explored more than 70 countries of Europe, Asia, Africa, the Americas, and many islands. So, in addition to the fascinating Jewish history, we tell stories about exotic places, people, and cultures. Our followers keen on adventure and special-interest travel will find plenty of practical advice and useful information. Browse our blogs, come to our lectures, and we are sure that you will find something interesting to read, listen to, and watch.

RECENT & UPCOMING EVENTS

Most virtual and in-person lectures and other events are free and open to the public. Please check our schedule for dates and times.

January 9, 2024 at 11:00 AM, Irene Shaland presents her virtual lecture “Rediscovering Portuguese Secrets: Little-Known Jewish History that Changed the World.” This event is hosted by the Baltimore Zionist District organization.
January 28, 2024 at 7:00 PM, Irene Shaland presents her virtual lecture Acts of Loving Kindness During the Holocaust: Unknown Stories from Cuba, Corsica, Malta, and Calabria.” This event is hosted by the Baltimore Zionist District organization.
February 27, 2024 at 11:00 AM, Irene Shaland presents her virtual lecture“The Hidden History of Jewish People on the Islands of Madeira and Azores and the Unsolved Mystery of a Sefer Torah.” This event is hosted by the Baltimore Zionist District organization.
March 13, 2024 at 5:30 PM, Alex Shaland presents his writing and publishing workshop How to Become a Published Author.” This event is hosted by the Artists Archives of the Western Reserve.
April 19, 2024 at 11:00 AM, Irene Shaland presents her virtual lecture Rediscovering Portuguese Secrets: Little-Known Jewish History that Changed the World.” This event is hosted by Abraham Events of London, U.K.
May 6, 2024 at 7:00 PM EST, Irene Shaland presents her virtual lecture “In search of a Jewish Story in China.” This free zoom event is hosted by New City Library, New York.
May 19, 2024 at 12:00 noon  EST, Irene Shaland presents her virtual lecture “Portugal Part II.” This zoom event is hosted by the Society for Crypto Judaic Studies.
June 1st, 2024 at 1:00 – 2:30 PM  EST, Irene Shaland presents her in-person free lecture “The Mosaic of Singapore.” This free in-person event is hosted by the Artists Archives of the Western Reserve, 1834 E 123rd St, Cleveland, OH 44106. Call 1-216-721-9020 to register.
For a complete list of our lectures and photography shows please see our Schedule 

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PROGRAMS OFFERED

Ready to Travel the Jewish World? We will take your interest group on a virtual trip to the most exotic and unexpected places on earth searching for treasures of Jewish history. Our Memories of the Holocaust series examines the painful past and often controversial present. Based on our exploration journeys around the globe and first-hand experience, our Meet New People and Cultures series will open new horizons and foster cross-cultural diversity and understanding.

  • Great Synagogue of Burma
  • Berlin Holocaust Memorial
  • Irene Shaland enters Masai village surrounded by Masai Women

What audiences say: “Last night’s presentation… was simply mind-blowing! I wish you could turn it into a documentary or a movie. Obviously, the questions that you are posing are not just about Jews, they are about tolerance, humanism, and probably even fate of the civilization.” – J.M. Read more audience comments.

Select Blog Posts

SELECT BLOG POSTS

A few select blog posts below will give you a good idea about our writing. In our complete blog roll, you will also find announcements about upcoming events you may want to attend, book releases and promotions, links to our articles published in various magazines, and articles written by contributing editors.

Sardinia

Discovering Jewish Connections in Sardinia

Sardinia is an island famed for its unearthly beauty. Sardinia is second only to Sicily in its size among the Mediterranean islands. Like Sicily, Sardinia attracted waves of invaders: Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, the Italian city-states of Pisa and Genoa… [Continue reading this blog post]

Masai people

Masai – the Lost Tribe of Israel

As we drove through the vast plains of Masai Mara and Serengeti reserves, we saw the light-skinned, tall, slender people dressed in red. Surrounded by their herd of cattle, they leaned on their long spears or stood on one leg. Bearing remarkable similarities to ancient Romans from North Africa, most had classical profiles, wore red togas and sandals… [Continue reading this blog post]

Mr. Jin

Preserving Jewish identity in China

Kaifeng, China. We are at the oldest Jewish burial place in China – with Mr. Jin in front of his life-long project, his family memorial. Our new friend dedicated his life savings and his entire life to create this marble memorial book which presents – engraved in English and Chinese – the 900-year story of Mr. Jin’s family within the context of Chinese history… [Continue reading this blog post]

Magen David Synagogue, Mumbai, India

Meeting the Jewish Community of Mumbai India

Jews settled in Mumbai (Bombay) in the 18th century. First, the Baghdadi arrived in the 1730s. Then, the Bene Israel began migrating from the countryside into the city in the 1740s. Today, Mumbai has the largest Jewish community in India: 3,500 to 4,000 people, most of whom are the Bene Israel… [Continue reading this blog post]

Girls playing a ball mosaic in Villa Romana

Villa Romana Sicily – Must See for Italy History Buffs

Villa Romana del Casale located in Piazza Armerina in the Sicilian heartland is a not-to-be missed site for all history and art enthusiasts. It is a treasure trove of the best Roman mosaics in existence today. Built in Sicily in the 4th century AD by Marcus Aurelius Maximianus who was Roman co-emperor during the reign of Diocletian (286-305 AD)… [Continue reading this blog post]

Click here to browse through all short articles, announcements, and descriptions of events.

SOCIAL MEDIA FEEDS

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Review of Jackie the Penguin Goes on Safariamzn.to/3FjmS6QBy: CB, Amazon reader ★★★★★ A Fantastic & Adorable Adventure“Since I was a small chick, I always wanted to be an explorer...”Jackie the Penguin Goes on Safari is a delightful gem of a book by Alex Shaland. The story is told from the point of view of a South African penguin exploring the safari with Alex and Irene, his new human friends. Each page focuses on a different animal found in the African savannah. Everything from iconic lions to lesser known antelopes are given attention and bite-size stories full of interesting facts, humor, and stunning photographs. The story is immersive from its first page as we meet Jackie and fall into easy, penguin-sized steps to journey through the safari. Readers are pulled in easily as each animal is described charmingly in their natural habitat, and we begin to anticipate what could be next. Jackie is truly charming, and even uninterested readers will find themselves wanting to become an explorer like him. There is a gradual character arc as Jackie becomes braver during his safari adventure, learning about the animals and asking questions just as a child reading might. “‘I would hate to be an antelope,’ I thought: ‘they seem to be running all the time! Give me some water, and you will see a champion swimmer, but running - no way!’ Wait, who do I see in front of us - another antelope with big horns?” Even as an adult, I learned something new about each animal and found myself giggling over the clever humor, so parents are sure to enjoy it too. It’s the kind of book that would be perfect to read to young children of all ages, and it can grow with them as they learn to read it themselves as they get older. Jackie the Penguin would make a fun bedtime story as children can marvel over the pictures and giggle over Jackie appearing in various photographs. It could be a useful teaching tool for showing children animals they might only have seen previously in a zoo, but here come alive on the pages. But be careful - your child might ask for a penguin friend or a safari adventure for their next birthday!(Also as a note, for sensitive readers, while there are kid-friendly explanations of a carnivore’s diet, the pictures are all very wholesome and no animals being harmed is shown. Each one is lovely, and showcases each animal’s uniqueness.)Check this book out: amzn.to/3FjmS6Q ... See MoreSee Less
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