By Karen Rubin
Pacific Delight, a luxury tour operator which introduced a Jewish heritage tour of India last year, is now introducing Southeast Asia Through Jewish Eyes™ covering Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam, in partnership with Rabbi Marvin Tokayer and the Foundation for Remote Jewish Communities (FRJC). The tour departs on Jan. 3, 2018 and will be co-led by Rabbi Marcia Tilchin, founder of the non-profit Jewish Collaborative of Orange County, and Rabbi Rachel Safman of Congregation Beth El in New London, CT.
Highlights include dinner at Singapore’s historic Magen Aboth Synagogue and a night safari to observe Singapore’s nocturnal wildlife, a boat ride on Bangkok’s “River of Kings” to the Temple of Dawn and shimmering Grand Palace with lunch at “the backpacker’s shul,” a tour of the ancient UNESCO World Heritage Site at Ayutthya, a journey through Chiang Mai’s rainforests interspersed with rice paddies and waterfalls, Shabbat at the historic Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue in Myanmar, and a fascinating trip to observe the famous pagodas of Bagan. The experience culminates in Ho Chi Minh City where passengers will visit the local synagogue in addition to exploring Saigon’s past and present by boat, bus, cyclo and foot.
The tour cost is $6,988 per person, based on double occupancy, and includes roundtrip group economy airfare from New York (JFK) or Los Angeles (LAX) via Cathay Pacific Airways, with premium upgrades available at additional cost. All internal flights and transportation are included along with deluxe, air-conditioned four- and five-star accommodations, all meals (kosher or vegetarian) including memorable Shabbat dinners in Singapore and Yangon, and fascinating cultural events and sightseeing, including riverboat tours in Singapore, Bangkok and Saigon.
Transfers, all gratuities to guides, drivers and hotel staff, and all hotel taxes and service charges are included in the package cost. Airport taxes, fuel surcharges and visa fees for Myanmar and Vietnam are not included.
An early-bird discount of $180 per person applies to bookings received by Oct. 3, 2017.
The tour cost includes a $900 per person tax-deductible donation 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. Since its inception in 2003, FRJC has distributed more than $1 million for Jewish libraries, scholarships and sustainable farming projects in the Far East, Southeast Asia and India. Learn more at www.frjc.org.
Rabbi-Cantor Marcia Tilchin is the founder of the Jewish Collaborative of Orange County (JCoOC), a non-profit organization dedicated to helping OC Jewish residents and their families “feel the joy of Jewish.” Marcia’s passion for all things Jewish and love of helping people find what is meaningful to them in Judaism is a signature of her spiritual leadership and service to the OC Jewish community.
Rabbi Rachel Safman of Temple Beth El in New London, CT is a second-career rabbi. She earned a BS in biology from Harvard and a PhD in sociology from Cornell, then served as an advisor to the government of Thailand before accepting a teaching position at National University of Singapore, where she became involved with Singapore’s Jewish community.
Pacific Delight Tours has been a leading American tour operator to China and Asia for 44 years and is a member of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA). The luxury tour operator has won numerous industry awards including the TravelAge West WAVE Award from 2008-2015, the 2009 Travel Weekly Readers’ Choice Award, and the 2016 Travvy Award from travAlliancemedia for Best Vacation Packager-Pacific Asia.
Reservations, brochures and information can be obtained from travel agents and Pacific Delight Tours, telephone: (800) 221-7179 or (212) 818-1781; website: www.PacificDelightTours.com.