DAY 1, Sunday, June 18, 2017: We depart on our overnight flight to Prague.OR OPTIONAL
DAY 2, Monday, June 19, 2017: Arrival in Prague, the Czech capital, also known as "the City of One Thousand Spires" with its Baroque churches, promenades, parks and ancient city walls. Check in to hotel. Afternoon tour of Golden Prague, including the 1,000-year-old Hradcany Castle, the Charles Bridge, the Astronomical Clock and St. Vitus' Cathedral. Tonight we enjoy an orientation lecture and welcome dinner with Professor Stephen Berk. Overnight in Prague.
DAY 3, Tuesday, June 20, 2017: Breakfast. Morning lecture with Professor Berk. We enjoy a sightseeing tour of Jewish interest sites, with a visit to the Old City to view the Josefov, Prague's Jewish Town with its Old Town Hall, the Alt-Neu Synagogue, the Pinkas Synagogue, the Maisel Synagogue, the Spanish Synagogue, the Jewish Cemetery and the State Jewish Museum. Overnight Prague.
DAY 4, Wednesday, June 21, 2017: Breakfast. Morning lecture with Professor Berk. Today we travel to Terezin, the former "model" Nazi concentration camp. We visit the Fortress, Jewish Cemetery, Museum, the hidden synagogue, the Memorial Monument and the town itself. Overnight in Prague.
DAY 5, Thursday, June 22, 2017: Breakfast. Transfer to the airport for our short flight to Budapest, the capital of Hungary. Situated on the opposite banks of the Danube River, the former cities of Buda and Pest are linked by a series of graceful bridges. We enjoy a panoramic bus tour of Budapest, including Parliament, the Royal Palace, and the Castle Hill area, Fishermen's Bastion, Coronation Church, Hero's Square and Gellert Hill. Overnight in Budapest.
DAY 6, Friday, June 23, 2017: Breakfast. Morning lecture with Professor Berk. We begin our day at the Raul Wallenberg Memorial Statue, and then visit the Dohany Synagogue, the 2nd largest synagogue in Europe, and continue on to the Jewish Cemetery and Museum. In the evening, we enjoy Shabbat services at the Dohany Synagogue, followed by Shabbat dinner together. Overnight in Budapest.
DAY 7, Saturday, June 24, 2017: Breakfast. Shabbat Shalom! In the morning, we invite you to join us for optional Shabbat services. Afternoon at leisure. Overnight in Budapest.
DAY 8, Sunday, June 25, 2017: Breakfast. This morning we depart for Krakow, driving through the lovely hills and countryside of Slovakia, past the Tatras and into the Great Plains of Poland. Professor Berk lectures on the bus. Dinner and overnight in Krakow.
DAY 9, Monday, June 26, 2017: Breakfast. This morning we travel to Auschwitz-Birkenau, the infamous Nazi Concentration Camps where many Jews and others perished in WWII. Here we see the museum and pay tribute to the victims. We return to Krakow and have the remainder of the afternoon to enjoy the exhibits and/or performances at the Jewish Culture Festival (on own). We enjoy dinner together this evening at a local restaurant. Overnight in Krakow.
DAY 10, Tuesday, June 27, 2017: Breakfast. Morning lecture with Professor Berk. Our morning city tour includes Wawel Castle, St. Mary's Church, the Renaissance Cloth Hall and other ancient landmarks. This afternoon we enjoy a Jewish Heritage Tour that includes the Old Jewish District, Kazimierz, where we see the Old Synagogue (a massive fortress-like building erected in the 15th and 16th centuries), the "Temple," and the Ramuh Synagogue. We continue to the Little Museum at the Drug Store inside the Jewish Ghetto, Schindler's Factory, and the Plashow Concentration Camp. Overnight Krakow.
DAY 11, Wednesday, June 28, 2017: Breakfast. This morning we travel by train to Warsaw and check into our hotel. This afternoon we have plenty of time to enjoy a guided visit of the New Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Tonight we meet with members of Beit Warszawa, the new progressive congregation in Warsaw. We enjoy dinner and hospitality as we learn more about the Judaism alive in today's Poland. Overnight in Warsaw.
DAY 12, Thursday, June 29, 2017: Breakfast. Morning lecture with Professor Berk. Today we enjoy a city tour of Warsaw including Chopin's Monument, the Royal Castle, the Jewish Historical Society, and walk to Old Town Market Square and Lazienki Park. This afternoon we have a sightseeing tour encompassing Nozyk Synagogue (the only surviving synagogue in Warsaw, founded in 1900), Chopin's Monument, the Warsaw Ghetto, the Jewish Resistance Bunker at Mila 18, Stawski Street buildings (where the SS had their headquarters), the Gensa Cemetery (established in 1806, containing the graves of about 250,000 people and known as the largest cemetery in Poland). Tonight we enjoy a special farewell dinner together and a wonderful gala event! Overnight in Warsaw.
DAY 13, Friday, June 30, 2017: Breakfast. We transfer to the airport for our flight home.
ST. PETERSBURG & MOSCOW EXTENSION
DAY 13, Friday, June 30, 2017: Upon arrival we enjoy an orientation tour of St. Petersburg, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The stately architecture of the city's buildings harmonizes with the precise layout of its streets and spacious squares, gardens, rivers and canals, beautiful embankments, bridges and monuments. A relatively "new" city, it was founded in 1708 by Peter the Great, who engaged the finest scholars, architects and sculptors in constructing this pre-revolutionary home of the Tsars. We drive past the Smolny Institute and the famous Bronze Horseman statue, continue down the broad Nevsky Prospect shopping street, passing the Admiralty and many important historical sights. Tonight we come together for an early welcome Shabbat dinner at a local restaurant followed by Kabbalat Shabbat Services at Sha'arei Shalom with members of the congregation. Overnight St. Petersburg.
DAY 14, Saturday, July 1, 2017: Breakfast. Those who wish are able to attend Shabbat services. This afternoon we tour the Hermitage Museum with its incomparable collections of art treasures. Originally the Winter Palace of the Tsars, the Hermitage was not opened to the public until 1852. Catherine the Great was the first ruler to collect art on a large scale and the museum contains many objects of Russian culture and Oriental art in addition to its huge collection of Western masters. The Hermitage possesses one of the world's richest collections of impressionist paintings, thanks largely to the private collections of Stroganov and Yusupov families and others who commissioned such artists as Bonnet, Cezanne, Picasso and Matisse. Overnight St. Petersburg.
DAY 15, Sunday, July 2, 2017: Breakfast. Morning lecture with Professor Berk. This morning we visit Petrodvorets, the former summer residence of the Tsars, which was built by Peter the Great as the Russian answer to Versailles. A system of multiple fountains and waterfalls with an abundance of gold sculptures below the Grand Palace is still being restored following the destruction of World War II, a remarkable testimony to the skill of the restorers. From the terrace we view the cascade of the 129 fountains. This afternoon we have a guided tour of the Peter and Paul Fortress with the tombs of Peter the Great and the Romanov Dynasty. Overnight St. Petersburg.
DAY 16, Monday, July 3, 2017: Breakfast. Morning lecture with Professor Berk. We visit the Choral Synagogue. Next is an excursion to the town of Tsarskoye Selo, the home of the Imperial family from the days of Peter the Great up to the time of the last Tsar. We visit the 18th century palace of Catherine the Great, a baroque masterpiece with a facade almost 304 meters long. The building is still being restored after extensive damages from World War II. Next to the parks and palaces stands the town itself, developed mainly in the 19th century as a summer resort for the aristocracy and well-to-do of St. Petersburg. The town was the home of the great poet Alexander Pushkin, whose statue was used for target practice by German soldiers during World War II. On the way back to St. Petersburg we stop at the "Formula of Sorrow", a memorial to the victims of the holocaust. We return to St. Petersburg. The last stop today is the magnificent St. Isaac's Cathedral. This architectural monument of stupendous size has an abundance of sculptured decorations of great beauty, relief's, gilt work and marble. Tonight we enjoy dinner together at a local restaurant, followed by a very late night optional boat ride on the canals of St. Petersburg (additional cost). Overnight St. Petersburg.
DAY 17, Tuesday, July 4, 2017: Breakfast. Early morning transfer to Moscow. Upon arrival in Moscow we transfer to our hotel. Morning lecture with Professor Berk. We enjoy a guided tour of Moscow, including Red Square, the Kremlin, Lenin's Tomb, G.U.M. Department Store, St. Basil's Cathedral, and the Arbat shopping district. Overnight Moscow.
DAY 18, Wednesday, July 5, 2017: Breakfast. Morning lecture with Professor Berk. We embark upon a tour of Jewish Moscow, featuring the Great Synagogue, the former Jewish State Theater building, the apartment building where the artist Mark Chagall worked, the wooden Marina Roschcha Synagogue, the Choral Synagogue, and Nikolskaya Street. This afternoon, we tour the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center. Overnight Moscow.
DAY 19, Thursday, July 6, 2017: Breakfast. Day at leisure with optional visits to the Tretiakov Museum and or the Pushkin Museum or shopping. Tonight we enjoy a farewell dinner together. Overnight Moscow.
DAY 20, Friday, July 7, 2017: Following breakfast we transfer to the airport for our flight back to the United States.
THE MEMORIES LAST FOREVER!
*Itinerary subject to change