U.S. Rabbi Leading Kosher Tour of the Pristine Land of Antarctica

Now you can visit Antarctica and have your gefilte fish, too. An American rabbi is leading a cruise to the icy continent that includes kosher catering and arrangements to avoid travel on Shabbat.

Rabbi Marvin Tokayer, who served Jewish communities in the Far East for 15 years, has been leading tours to China and India annually since he returned to the United States 17 years ago.

While in the Far East, he said, “I realized there were so many American tourists and travelers who would visit, and many of them were Jewish, but those who were religiously observant were not among the travelers.”

Over the years he has led groups of religiously observant Jews on tours of Japan, China, India, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

But he had never visited Antarctica.

The tour is scheduled to see a part of the world that has been pristine almost since Creation, said Tokayer, who referred to a Talmudic passage which states that after death one is asked if he took advantage of all the permitted pleasures of the world.

“I can say I had a chance” to see the last unexplored part of God’s Creation, said Tokayer, who lives near New York City.

In addition to the kosher meals, there will be daily religious services for participants, and Tokayer will give lectures on Jewish religious themes.

Tokayer said 50 people will participate in the mid-December tour aboard the Marco Polo, a cruise ship equipped with a kosher kitchen. Space was limited because of ecological concerns a large tour would present.

The tour, organized by Lotus Tours of New York, is slated to take place during the Antarctic summer, the mildest time of year on the harsh continent.

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