Ayelet Tours Traveling University's Tour to Cuba
with Professor Stephen Berk
December 4 - 11, 2022


Tour Rates & Dates:

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Tour Overview:

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Cuba: land frozen in time - so close, yet decades away. A Jewish community dedicated to its heritage across half a century of isolation and prevalent atheism. A rich and vibrant island culture, filled with dance and song, classic cars and donkey carts, rum, and cigars. Experience all this and more as we step back in time together.

ON OUR 7-NIGHT JOURNEY WE WILL...

  • Hear fascinating lectures by Prof. Stephen Berk
  • Enjoy a week of vibrant cultural discovery and a Jewish humanitarian effort via a special US State Department license
  • Experience Cuba with all our senses amidst a mixed, vibrant and vital culture locked in time; step back to 1959 and see the cars smell the unique foods, hear the incredible music and sway to the sounds of Cuba!
  • Visit the communities of Santa Clara, Cienfuegos, Trinidad and Havana, and experience their unique joie de vivre
  • Visit with Cubans and see their culture, art and Latin flair!
  • Share Shabbat with locals in a land essentially absent of anti-Semitism
  • Meet with community leaders and hear their rich stories going back 500 years to Columbus

INCLUDED:

Roundtrip international airfare from Miami, FL
7 nights Hotel Grand Aston La Habana, Havana
All touring on an air-conditioned vehicle with an expert English-speaking guide
Breakfast daily
6 dinners, including Shabbat dinner in Havana
5 lunches
Entrance fees and activities per itinerary
Exit tax
Cuban emergency medical insurance

NOT INCLUDED:

Roundtrip domestic airfare
Cuban travel visa (purchase directly from airline on day of departure - Religious Activities category CFR515.566)
Tips to guide, driver & waiters
Meals not listed
Items of a personal nature
Gifts and aid (suggestions provided in advance)
Any costs associated with testing or related to proof of Covid/vaccine status.
Travel insurance (group policy is available)

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1: Sunday, December 4, 2022: DEPARTURE

• We depart Florida on our non-stop flight to Cuba!
• We arrive at the Jose Marti Airport and meet our English-speaking guide and driver.
• This afternoon, we enjoy a panoramic overview of the city, including Revolution Square, dominated by the José Martí Memorial. This square is where Fidel Castro delivered the majority of his lengthy political addresses. We pass by the Rosenberg Memorial, Lennon Park, and Havana University.
• We check into our hotel and enjoy a welcome drink and orientation with Professor Stephen Berk.
• This evening, we join together for a welcome dinner at El Mediterraneo.

Overnight in Havana

Day 2: Monday, December 5, 2022: HAVANA VIEJA

• Breakfast at our hotel.
• We begin with a lecture with Professor Stephen Berk.
• Next, we stop at the Partagas Cigar Factory. Here, we learn about the history of tobacco and the tradition of cigar rolling in Cuba and interact with some of the rollers and locals.
• We visit the Sephardic Center and meet with Mayra Levy, President of the congregation, who discusses the role of Sephardic Jews in the resurgence of Jewish life in Cuba. We also deliver aid to the community and interact with locals. While here, we view the first Holocaust exhibit displayed in Cuba.
• Lunch at Ivan Justo paladar.
• After lunch, we enjoy a walking tour of Old Havana (Havana Vieja), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We learn about the history of Havana as we visit highlights of the city and the colonial plazas. We also visit Jewish points of interest, such as the Raquel Hotel, a Jewish-themed hotel, and Adat Israel, the Orthodox synagogue, where we will meet with Jacob Berezniak to deliver our gifts and aid to the community.
• Tonight, we enjoy dinner at Café del Oriente.
• Option to attend the world-famous show at the Tropicana, an old-world Vegas-style show in production since 1939 (cost not included - sign up during registration).

Overnight in Havana

Day 3: Tuesday, December 6, 2022: HAVANA

• Breakfast at our hotel.
• This morning, we enjoy a lecture with Professor Stephen Berk.
• Next, we visit the Patronato, where we meet with community leaders. We tour the center and learn about the Pharmacy and Sunday school, with time to deliver our gifts and aid.
• We continue with a visit to the Jewish cemetery in Guanabacoa, including a special stop to the site of the Holocaust Memorial.
• We stop for lunch at Fina Yoandra/Il Divino for a glimpse into this organic urban farm and community project with a private restaurant in the outskirts of Havana.
• We continue to Finca Vigia, the villa that Hemingway called home for 21 years. His home is now a museum with many of his personal belongings. Learn how Cuba influenced his writing.
• Return to hotel to relax and refresh.
• Free evening to explore Havana's restaurant and night life culture!

Overnight in Havana

Day 4: Wednesday, December 7, 2022: SANTA CLARA TO CIENFUEGOS

• Breakfast and check out of our hotel.
• Today, we depart for Santa Clara, an important city founded in the 1600's. Here, in 1958, Che Guevara and his troops won a crucial battle in securing victory for the Cuban Revolution.
• We stop at the Che Guevara memorial for a photo opportunity in the square and visit the Che Museum underneath.
• Lunch together at Aldaba paladar.
• This afternoon, we meet with David Tacher, a leading representative of the Santa Clara Jewish Community, where we will learn about the local community and deliver our gifts.
• We continue to the beautiful port city of Cienfuegos, Cuba's “Pearl of the South".
• We check in to our hotel and refresh for dinner together at D'Carmelino.

Overnight in Cienfuegos

Day 5: Thursday, December 8, 2022: TRINIDAD

• Breakfast at our hotel.
• This morning, we travel to the beautiful colonial town of Trinidad, a charming city settled in 1514 which is a UNESCO heritage site since 1988.
• We enjoy a walking tour of historic Trinidad, which is a 500-year old city with Spanish colonial architecture. Only a few square blocks in size, historic Trinidad is famous for its lovely cobblestone streets, pastel houses with wrought iron grills, as well as beautiful palaces and plazas. We learn about the efforts to preserve the city's heritage.
• This afternoon, we meet with the famous Santander family, well-known local potters, and visit their workshop and gallery. These artists have been making handmade pottery for over 100 years.
• Lunch at San Jose paladar.
• We return to Cienfuegos where we meet with Rebecca Langus and learn about the local Jewish community with time to deliver gifts.
• We enjoy a performance by Cantores de Cienfuegos at Museo Provincial de Cienfuegos.
• Dinner at Finca del Mar together this evening.

Overnight in Cienfuegos

Day 6: Friday, December 9, 2022: A HAVANA SHABBAT

• Breakfast and check out of our hotel.
• This morning, we tour Cienfuegos including Parque Marti and the Thomas Terry Theater. We learn about this UNESCO World Heritage Site, founded by French immigrants in 1819
• We depart for Havana. Lunch on own en route.
• We stop at the impressive Fuster house/studio to see this unique mosaic masterpiece and learn about the artist's project to beautify and help the community in which he lives.
• We check in to our hotel and refresh.
• This evening, we join together for Shabbat services and dinner at the Sephardic Synagogue with community members.

Overnight in Havana

Day 7: Saturday, December 10, 2022: SHABBAT SHALOM!

• Breakfast at our hotel.
• We begin with a visit the Habana Compas Dance headquarters to enjoy a performance and interact with the dancers and instructors.
• Next, we stop at Almacenes de San Jose market, where we stroll through the stalls of arts and crafts made by the locals.
• Lunch at Mambo.
• This afternoon, we explore the Museum of the Revolution, where we gain an understanding of the momentous change that has occurred in Cuba due to the Revolution over 50 years ago.
• We gather this evening and enjoy a classic car ride from our hotel to our farewell dinner at Rio Mar paladar, recalling all that we have experienced together.
• Late evening visit to the artists of Fabrica D'la Arte, a former cooking oil factory, which comes alive on weekend nights and features the best avante garde art in the country.

Overnight in Havana

Day 8: Sunday, December 11, 2022: DEPARTURE

• Breakfast and check out of our hotel.
• We transfer to the airport for our flight back to Florida.

The Memories Last Forever!!
*Itinerary subject to change

ABOUT PROF. STEPHEN BERK: Prof. Stephen M. Berk is a Professor of History at Union College in Schenectady, New York, Chair of the Department of History, Director of the Program in Comparative Communist Studies and Faculty Advisor to the Jewish Student Organization. He is author of Year of Crisis, Year of Hope: Russian Jewry and the Pogroms of 1881-1882 (Greenwood Press, 1985). At the present time Professor Berk is writing a book entitled, Our People Are Your People: American Jewry and the Struggle for Civil Rights 1854-1965. The book provides an interesting discussion of an extremely important chapter in the history of the civil rights movement and attempts to dispel the myths and misunderstandings that surround the Black-Jewish relationship. Professor Berk is also the author of many articles on Russian History, Russian Jewish History, anti-Semitism and American Policy in the Middle East. Professor Berk is frequently consulted by newspaper reporters and by television and radio stations including the BBC. He has lectured in numerous universities in countless cities and towns in the United States and Israel and is a primary speaker for the UJA, Israel Bonds and B'nai B'rith. Professor Berk is considered an absolutely superb lecturer and teacher. Touring with him has been compared to attending a “traveling university…his lectures are outstanding.” He is always informative, interesting and entertaining. He has lectured as scholar-in-residence for us on many trips to Russia, Spain, Italy, Cuba, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe and Israel. It is a privilege to have him with us!