Over the last 15 years, the religious landscape in Santiago has undergone a true transformation. This is largely due to the establishment of NCSY (National Conference of Synagogue Youth) within Chile; its first chapter outside of the North America and Israel.
Santiago is home to Chile’s 13,000 out of 15,000 Jews. The ba’al teshuva community is alive and well here, along with a successful Orthodox day school. Ten out of Chile’s eleven synagogues are located in Santiago. One of the best things about a thriving Jewish community? Readily available kosher food, and terrific kosher restaurants. As the Italian designer Elsa Schiaparelli said, “eating well gives a spectacular joy to life and contributes immensely to goodwill and happy companionship.”
One grocery store that I am looking forward to checking out is the Kosher Market, which is located in the neighborhood of Quinchamali. The Kosher Market is a meat and pareve facility, and is under the supervision of Rabbi Yitzjak Shaked. It is said to be very reasonably priced, too. Quinchamali is also a great place to find beautiful hand-painted pottery. Local artists sell a variety of objects that are made from the black clay that may be found in this area. While in the Quinchamali, I look forward to also visiting their orthodox synagogue, Hafetz Hayim. They hold daily services, Friday evening services, Shabbat morning services, and even welcome tourist visits.
A restaurant that I simply cannot wait to try is Via Lactea. They have a whole delicious array of choices on their menu, from Asian and Chinese cuisine, to Italian fare. Of course with Italian fare comes one of my favorites, pizza. Via Lactea is a dairy and pareve facility, and received a rating of 5 out of 5 stars by Shamash. The restaurant is located in the Santiago metro area, which also hosts a great number of tourist attractions.
One of the things that makes Santiago such a great vacation spot is the diversity of its attractions and attributes. Santiago is filled with rich vegetation, and is filled with orchards and wineries. Beautiful parks are situated the foot of the Andes ridge. At the same time, it is brimming with chic neoclassical architecture and modern high-rise apartments. Santiago is home to a whopping population of more than 6 million people, many of whom get around on the city’s convenient and elaborate underground Metro system. Because of its diversity, Santiago offers a great vacation for everyone to the skiing fanatic, to the museum hopper, to the sightseer, and of course the vacationer who just wants to lay back and relax.