The JCCNS Travel Group in Iceland.

JCCNS’s Travel Group chases the Northern Lights in Iceland

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JCCNS’s Travel Group chases the Northern Lights in Iceland

The JCCNS Travel Group in Iceland.

The Jewish Community Center of the North Shore’s adult travel group recently returned from a visit to Iceland. Of the total population of Iceland – about 345,000 – the Jewish population of this remote island country totals approximately 300, or less than 1%.

According to the only rabbi in Iceland, Rabbi Avraham Feldman, “We do not yet have a synagogue or JCC, but that’s about to change. In the meantime, we gather in our home in Reykjavik on Shabbat and holidays.”

Ruth Estrich of Marblehead observed that the JCCNS group increased the total Jewish population in Iceland by almost 10%. “On Friday evening we came together after dinner to create a minyan for one of our fellow travelers to say Kaddish during the shloshim period for her father,” she said.

Some of the sites the group enjoyed included a soak in two different hot springs, a walk between two continents, lunch at the tomato greenhouse Fridheimar, dramatic bubbling geysers, a volcanic lava tunnel tour, waterfalls galore, black sand beaches, a geothermal bakery, and a heart-racing trek through the Katla Ice Cave.

Said Bethany Roditi of Swampscott, “I never thought at my age I would be trekking with crampons on a glacier and hiking into ice caves. Our awesome group all helped each other throughout these memorable experiences.”

Iceland is a country with virtually no crime. “After visiting Iceland, it is easy to see why tourism is the country’s main industry: the outdoors is the country’s playground,” wrote Salem’s Judy Mishkin.

“There were people of all ages on this trek: married couples, singles, single travelers, all of which made for fun and interesting conversations, and way too many side-splitting laughs to mention,” said Anne Tassel of Marblehead.

The JCCNS group went in search of the elusive Northern Lights, but interestingly enough only found them once back at home in Swampscott and Marblehead … together as a fully bonded group. Θ

For more information about upcoming travel with the JCCNS, contact Sara Ewing, Director of Adult Programs (sewing@jccns.com or 857-285-7913) or Group Leader Diane Knopf (dmillknopf@gmail.com).

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