While working on our upcoming trip to France, I came across a wonderful resource that would be very helpful for any history buff.
The website is called “The Cultural Guide to Jewish Europe.” It was created in the 1990s by a group of historians and journalists with the goal of “leading the curious traveler to discover an unknown Europe.” The site is very easy to use: just click on the link
Mark Your Calendars: Irene’s Zoom Lecture on January 13th “Revealing the Secrets of Jewish History in Malta”
Dear friends, readers, followers,
Many of you asked if and when my presentation on Malta will be repeated. Yes, it will be! On Friday, January 13th, 2023, I will be presenting my Malta lecture via Zoom at the event hosted by a British educational organization Abraham Presentations.
The event is FREE and open to the public, but you will need a link to attend. Next week, the link will be available, and I will email it to all of you in a follow-up Newsletter.
If you are not on my Newsletter mailing list, please send me an email at [email protected], and I will forward you the link once it is available.
About the Presentation:
The Maltese Jewish narrative manifests a spellbinding trajectory still under the radar for most historians: from Israelites sailing there with Phoenicians three thousand years ago, to the first Jewish traveler, the Biblical Paul, arriving in Malta in the first century CE, through the dark times of Jewish slavery during the Knights of St. John’s rule in the 16th century, to today’s blossoming Jewish community.
This lecture is presented in commemoration of the approaching in two weeks (January 27th) 2023 Yom HaShoah, International Holocaust Memorial Day. HMD Trust in the UK which organizes, runs, and streams country-wide commemoration has announced its 2023 theme as “Ordinary People.”
And therefore, we will discuss today – within the detailed context of Maltese history – Gemilut Hasadim or the Unknown Acts of Loving Kindness during the Holocaust.
The tiny archipelago of Malta was the only country in the world during WWII that did not require entry visas, therefore – due to the Gemilut Hasadim of the non-Jewish Maltese – saving the lives of untold thousands of European refugees.
The lecture concludes with the Lessons Learned from the “acts of loving kindness” and Jewish stories in Malta and the Q&A.
Save the date for our upcoming virtual lecture on January 30, 2022: “Acts of Loving Kindness During the Holocaust: Unknown Stories from Corsica and Malta.”
Date: January 30th, 2022 Time: 2:00 PM EST US/20:00 Italy/21:00 Israel
Hosted by the Italian Jewish Cultural Center of Calabria and Synagogue Ner Tamid del Sud, Serrastretta, Italy
Presented by Irene Shaland
This virtual lecture is free and open to the public. No registration is required. To attend, click on the zoom link a few minutes before the starting time: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83848871371
The Jewish story of Corsica is not well known, and many are surprised to hear that the island has any to reveal. However, in 1763, Corsica was the first modern country to proclaim social and political equality for the Jews: 27 years ahead of the US and 28 years ahead of France. The history of the Jews in Corsica goes back at least a millennium. Reconstructing that history in its entirety what firmly comes across, is the welcoming Corsican heart, always open to those who seek refuge from cruelty and injustice. In addition, the island’s Jewish narrative reveals an irony of Omerta (mafia’s code of silence) that led many Corsicans to risk their lives in saving thousands of Jews fleeing the Nazi-occupied mainland France to escape deportation and death.
The Maltese Jewish narrative manifests a spellbinding trajectory still under-the-radar for most historians: from Israelites sailing there with Phoenicians three thousand years ago, to the first Jewish traveler, the Biblical Paul, arriving in Malta in the first century CE, through the dark times of Jewish slavery during the Knights of St. John’s rule in the 16th century, to today’s blossoming Jewish community. The tiny archipelago of Malta was the only country in the world during WWII that did not require entry visas, therefore saving the lives of untold thousands of European refugees.
The lecture concludes with the Lessons Learned from the “acts of loving kindness” and Jewish stories in Malta, Corsica, and Q&A.
This book is full of Jewish survival stories and fascinating tales. It shines the light on the history of Jewish communities in ten countries of Europe, Asia, and Africa.” – GTA Books.
Two and a half millennia ago, a small party of Jews explored new trading routes for King Solomon, settled in the south of India, and lived there peacefully until today. Similarly, during the ancient Roman period, many Jewish merchants traveled to China over the Silk Route and some made it their permanent home.
Also, before the Edict of Expulsion in 1492, Sicily was home to over 50 Jewish communities, possibly numbering 50,000 people. So, how did the Diaspora bring these wandering Jews to so many places around the globe? And why did Jews live happily in India and China for centuries and not experience antisemitism, while the story of the Jews in Europe went from persecutions and massacres to unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust? Finally, why do we see the rise of antisemitism and violence again in the 21st century?
You will find answers to these questions and much more in the current edition of Irene Shaland’s artfully illustrated book The Dao of Being Jewish and Other Stories. She collected these fascinating stories while visiting ten countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa and interviewing the locals in their homes, synagogues, and even cemeteries. Now, Irene Shaland’s book, replete with her husband’s photos, takes you on your own exciting journey of discovery from Austria and the Czech Republic to Scandinavia, from India and China to Sicily and Sardinia, and from East Africa to Stalinist Russia.
Are you going to Iceland on vacation or business? Take a look at this Insight Guides Iceland. This book is a great trip companion. Invaluable for trip planning and once you arrived, for exploring. Lots of historical and current information and photos. Articles are well written and maps are some of the best.
We went to Iceland in November seeking the land of fire and ice, volcanoes and glaciers. We imagined endless days of complete darkness and the magic of dancing lights in the Arctic sky. We expected the sub-zero temperatures and winter storms.
All visitors to Iceland fall into two distinctive categories: those who saw the northern lights and those who did not. When Irene set her trip target on Iceland, she was determined to place herself, our daughter, and I squarely in the first category. The problem was that unlike the predictable crowds at JFK on the way to Iceland, the famous northern lights of Iceland are highly unpredictable. However, the best time to see them is from November through December. So mid-November looked pretty good. Oh, and it also happens to be one of the coldest months of the year.
It was great news when our Swiss Alps article appeared in Europe. The UK/French travel magazine Holiday Magazine published Irene Shaland’s latest travel article “The Non-Skier’s Guide to Enjoying the Swiss Alps.” This used to be a legendary travel US magazine that was reborn in its new home, Paris, recently.
The majestic Alps were often on my mind as an ultimate travel destination. However, unlike our many friends, my husband Alex and I never took up skiing or hiking. So, when considering an Alpine resort for our Spring 2015 trip to Switzerland, we first thought: Oh, my, all this money for just staying in an expensive hotel, drinking overpriced hot chocolate, and watching young people skiing…Then we thought: “Heck, why not? I am glad we did. The two days and two nights we spent in the Swiss Alps was a time of absolute enjoyment… Continue reading the article and enjoy the photos at http://www.holidaymag.co.uk/murren.html
Irene Shaland is an internationally-published art and travel writer, educator, and lecturer. Irene has a life-long passion for travel with a higher purpose. Together with her husband-photographer Alex, Irene has visited over 70 countries. Her research trips result in numerous publications and series of educational lectures and slide-shows. Learn more about Irene Shaland
I recently attended an Educators meeting at the Jewish Federation building in Beachwood. The meeting centered on a fascinating exhibit of old photographs from shtetls or Jewish Villages before World War I. Titled “The Way We Looked,” the Beachwood exhibit marks the first time these photographs have been shown in North America. The collection was loaned to Cleveland by the Center for Judaica Studies from St. Petersburg, Russia. The co-curators of this exhibit, two scholars from the Center, Drs. Alexander Ivanov and Valery Dymshitz, presented an exciting lecture/slide show based on their in-depth research.