Photos by Bentzi Sasson
Though the roar of the Ganges River’s foamy waters is clearly audible throughout the city, the lively Shabbos tunes recently sung in the dining room of the Divine Resort Hotel drowned out the din in what is known as The Gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas and is considered the world’s capital for Hinduism. Ten days into their 12-day journey through India and Nepal, 40 Brazilian students–and the 20 Jewish guests from Israel, Australia and England they had found touring Rishikesh’s streets that day–were enjoying Shabbos as they had never before.
Under the auspices of Brazil-based Espaco K, a Chabad social and educational center for young adults, the group was close to concluding a most memorable journey through Nepal and India, organized by Moishe Goldstein and Bentzi Sasson of Exotic Kosher Travel. Though the tourist’s path through these countries is one well-beaten, Exotic Kosher Travel is the first to provide this experience through an exclusively kosher framework, and had arranged delicious kosher meals, appropriate itinerary and accommodations.
The group had trekked through the agricultural villages of Kathmandu, enjoyed a bird’s eye view of some of the world’s highest mountains, and celebrated the first Shabbos of the trip at Chabad of Kathmandu with farbrengens that continued into the wee hours of the night. The next week had been spent in India, touring the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, and the safari at Ranthambore National Park. The group had circled the Amber Fort on elephants, visited the majestic palaces of the Pink City of Jaipur, toured its colorful marketplaces and ridden rickshaws around its outskirts. After touring Delhi’s royal palace, visiting the historic Yehuda Chaim Synagogue, Gate of India and Main Bazaar, a Shabbos in Rishikesh could only be described as “other-worldly.”
“This is the fourth consecutive year we have taken such a trip,” said S. Paulo shliach and Espaco K co-director Rabbi Moishe Libersohn, who accompanied the group together with Rabbi Pesach Kaufman. “Living Yiddishkeit for two weeks while touring these sites has had an incredible impact on the students. It is amazing to see what such a trip can accomplish,” he said.
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