Moldova hides Europe's largest Jewish cemetery

One of the odd facts about Moldova is that it’s home to Europe’s largest Jewish cemetery. On the outskirts of the capital city, Chisinau, it’s a place many Moldovans I spoke with vaguely knew existed but had never visited. In a city with so few sites of touristic interest it was a bit stunning that this place where 23,500 people lay is nearly forgotten.

Prior to World War II, Moldova (then “Moldavian SSR“) was home to nearly 110,000 Jewish people before the Axis powers in 1941, including Romania, began an invasion of the Soviet Union. Estimates of the those who died as part of the Holocaust during the 3 years before the Soviets were able to occupy present-day Moldova vary widely. According to the Romanian government, 280,000-380,000 Jews may have been killed in what is a very complicated regional story. Like the history of this synagogue, only pieces of the story remain. And it seems there may not be enough left for it ever to be accurately reassembled.

Walking around the grounds of the cemetery can easily take more than an hour as it did for me; especially if you walk toward the graves that are quietly being eaten by the surrounding earth and trees deep inside. Several headstones stuck out, a pilot’s with a large propeller atop for instance, along with this synagogue that barely remains. Aside from the few beers bottles around and those who had drank them, it’s evident these graves don’t get many visitors.

Entry to the cemetery is free and to find the synagogue you’ll have to make an immediate left and walk about 10 minutes following the exterior wall. From

Swedish Hotel Allows You To Pay For Your Room With Art

If you're in the unique position of owning more artwork than actual cash, you may want to hear about an offer from the Clarion Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden.

For a limited time, the hotel will be accepting any piece of art in lieu of currency, which will be redeemable for 1 night of lodging. The GM's grandfather was an artist, and he decided to honor his memory with this unique promotion. And if you're not sure your piece of art will be good enough to pass their qualification guidelines, don't worry. Any art piece will be accepted.

 "Who are we to be judgmental about art?" explains Tess Mattisson, the hotel's marketing manager. "Accommodation is what we know and we're happy to provide it. Everyone is welcome here, from young and upcoming artists to those that are already established."

 All works must fit on an A4 piece of paper, and be signed by the artist. Pieces should be presented upon arrival to the hotel. If you're interested in submitting a piece, click here.

Kosher cruises will be departing for Stockholm and the rest of the Baltics throughout the summer!

Barcelona Travel Guide

Kosherica will be heading to the Western Mediterranean this summer, and one of the highlights is the beautiful Spanish city of Barcelona. The guests on one of our most popular kosher cruises will get to experience the city intimately. Here's a quick breakdown of things to do in Barcelona:
WHAT TO SEE One of the most attractive streets in the city is La Rambla. Here you can see street vendors alongside living statues and mimes. You can pick up trinkets and jewelry here, if you are ready to haggle. This is also the street for street performers. Is also home to the city’s opera house and bird market. The former is a 19th century structure, while the latter is an 18th century one. Both are worth visiting. At the end of La Rambla stand the Monument of Columbus and the city’s harbor. A visit to the Gothic Quarter is a must. This is the old part of the city and is famous for being the home of Picasso from 1895 to 1904. Even Joan Miro was born here and called it his home. In this area, you will be able to admire Gothic architecture from the 14th and 15th centuries. The old medieval buildings and cobblestone streets lend a unique air to the area. When you are in the city, you should visit Tibidabo. This is the highest hill in the region and offers a spectacular view of the city. It is also home to a family fun park and a cathedral. You can take a glass lift to go up 115 meters to the observation platform in the telecommunication tower here. The view from the platform is mind-blowing. SHOPPING The best time to shop here is during the yearly sale, which starts from middle of January and lasts till the end of February, and then again from beginning of July through August. However, you can also pick up great souvenirs from La Rambla. Here you can pick up porrons, ceramics and Catalan music CDs. If you want to take home authentic gifts, the best places are the shops around the museums. GETTING THERE The city has two airports – Barcelona Girona Airport and Barcelona International Airport. The former is around 103 kilometers from the city, while the latter is just 13 kilometers. Many airlines, such as US Airways, Air France, Air Canada and British Airways, service the city. If you are looking for budget plane tickets, travel to the city between March and April, October and November and from December to February. Of course, fares are high during Christmas and New Years, so it is best to avoid travel then. When traveling during off-peak season, buy airline tickets a few days before your travel to get the best discounts

Feature: Rabbi Basil Herring

We would like to feature Rabbi Dr. Basil Herring this week. His will be the Scholar in Residence on the Panama Canal Kosher cruise departing December 21st.
Rabbi Dr. Basil Herring is the Executive Vice President of the Rabbinical Council of America. He has served in that position since July 2003. From 1994 till 2003, Rabbi Herring served as Executive Chairman of The Orthodox Caucus, a dynamic national group of leading rabbinic and lay leaders. In this capacity, Rabbi Herring was responsible for implementing a broad array of national as well as regional and local projects and initiatives on critical issues confronting the Orthodox and Jewish communities. Over the course of a distinguished 30 year career in the congregational rabbinate, Rabbi Herring led congregations in Kingston NY, Ottawa Ontario, and Atlantic Beach NY. Rabbi Herring has authored a number of books and articles on a variety of topics. These include studies in Jewish philosophy and Biblical commentary, several widely used and quoted volumes dealing with Jewish ethics and contemporary issues, a manual for rabbis and synagogues on practical aspects of the modern rabbinate, a volume of sermons, and another on Jewish prenuptial agreements. He has also edited and published a monthly subscription newsletter for rabbis. For more info, you can view Rabbi Basil Herring's profile at