Traveling University
Musical Trip to Romania
Led by Professor Yale Strom
October 18-29, 2020

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Tour Overview:

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Led by the engaging and enlightening Prof. Yale Strom, we'll uncover the stories of Romania and Moldovia. We will stroll through former Jewish neighborhoods, marvel at stunning synagogues, and wander centuries-old shtetls as we bring the past to life through historical documents, poetry, and photographs. Prof. Strom's presentations and touring commentary help create an immersive educational experience that won't soon be forgotten.


Prof. Yale Strom

Professor Yale Strom (acclaimed violinist, composer, filmmaker, writer, photographer, playwright) is a pioneer among revivalists in conducting extensive field research in Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans among the Jewish and Roma communities. Initially, his work focused primarily on the use and performance of klezmer music among these two groups. Gradually, his focus increased to examining all aspects of their culture, from post-World War II to the present. For more than 3 decades and 75 such research expeditions, Strom has become the world's leading ethnographer-artist of klezmer music and history. Strom has lectured extensively throughout the United States and Europe and taught at NYU for 4 years, where he created the course "Artist-Ethnographer Expeditions". At present he is Artist-in-Residence and professor in the Jewish Studies Program at San Diego State University.

Tour Itinerary:

Romanian and Moldavan Jewish history is rich with famous Jewish artists originating here: playwright Eugene Ionesco, actors Molly Picon, Edward G. Robinson and John Houseman, opera star Alma Gluck and writer Elie Wiesel, among many others. Yiddish musical theatre was born in Iasi, Romania and today there is still a Yiddish theater in Bucharest. Yiddish musical theater immigrated to New York in the late 19th century, giving birth to what we know as Broadway - the contributions from this region have had a global impact on culture today. Yale Strom (historian, ethnographer, musician) will lead a tour to these fascinating and less traveled countries. A world-renowned ethnomusicologist and klezmer violinist, Yale will perform two concerts during the tour featuring local musicians. Playing a repertoire of klezmer tunes, Yiddish songs and Roma melodies, we'll come to know the musical roots and heritage of this region. This is the ultimate backstage pass to the performance and the rich living history behind it all!

DAY 1: Sunday, October 18, 2020: DEPARTURE

• We depart the United States on our overnight flight to Chisinau.

DAY 2: Monday, October 19, 2020: ARRIVAL IN CHISINAU

• We arrive in Chisinau, capital of Moldova, and are met by an Ayelet Tours representative.
• Transfer on own to the hotel (private transfers available at additional cost).
• This afternoon, we meet in the lobby for a short orientation before beginning our walking tour.
• We set out to view the highlights of the Moldavian capital, including the main boulevard Stefan cel Mare, the main square of the General National Meeting, the two central parks, churches and the Central Market.
• We return to our hotel to refresh, followed by a welcome dinner at our hotel.

Overnight in Chisinau

Day 3: Tuesday, October 20, 2020: CHISINAU

• Breakfast at our hotel.
• Today, we enjoy a Jewish heritage tour, including the Jewish cemetery, memorial to the Victims of the Kishinev Pogroms and the former Jewish ghetto.
• Along the way, we also visit the Synagogue of Glaziers and the Jewish History Museum.
• We stop for lunch on own in the city center before continuing to meet with representatives from the United House of Jews in Moldova, the local JCC, and their library.
• Tonight, we enjoy dinner on own in the Moldavian capital.

Overnight in Chisinau

Day 4: Wednesday, October 21, 2020: IASI

• Breakfast and check out of our hotel.
• Early this morning, we depart Chisinau and cross the border to Iasi (Jassy). Iasi is the second largest city in Romania, birthplace of Yiddish theater, and formerly the largest and most sophisticated Jewish community in Romania. Professor Strom will lecture on the bus.
• We begin at the one remaining synagogue, the Great Synagogue, headquarters of the Hakham Bashi in the 17th century and built in 1671. It is no longer in use, but serves as a museum, open by appointment.
• Next, we visit the Palace of Culture, Trei Ierarhi Church, Copou Park and the Golia Monastery, where we see a beautiful panorama of the city.
• We check into our hotel and enjoy dinner together this evening.
• Later tonight, we meet with local Jewish community members, followed by a short klezmer concert coordinated by Yale.

Overnight in Iasi

Day 5: Thursday, October 22, 2020: IASI TO PIATRA NEAMT

• Breakfast at our hotel.
• Today, we drive to Piatra Neamt, home to the only original wooden synagogue in Eastern Europe. It is here where “Baal Shem Tov”, Rabbi Eliezer Ben Israel, served for years.
• We take a brief tour of the city and meet with a representative of the community.
• We return to Iasi for an evening at leisure and dinner on own.

Overnight in Iasi

Day 6: Friday, October 23, 2020: BUCHAREST

• Breakfast and check out of our hotel.
• Morning lecture with Professor Strom.
• Today, we transfer to the airport for our flight to Bucharest.
• Upon arrival, we enjoy a sightseeing tour during which we see the Royal Palace, Arch of Triumph, Romanian Opera and the Military Academy.
• We check into our hotel and prepare for Shabbat.
• As the sun sets, we travel to the Choral Synagogue for Kabbalat Shabbat, followed by
Shabbat dinner together.

Overnight in Bucharest

Day 7: Saturday, October 24, 2020: SHABBAT IN BUCHAREST

• Breakfast at our hotel.
• Today, we enjoy a day at leisure to see all that the Romanian capital has to offer.
• Optional: This afternoon, we meet for a walking tour of Bucharest, including Constitution Square and the Parliament Palace, also known as the “House of the People”, which is the heaviest and second largest building in the world after the Pentagon.
• We meet for dinner together this evening before we join the
local Yiddish State Theater for a performance relishing in the past Jewish culture revival in modern day Romania.

Overnight in Bucharest


• Breakfast at our hotel.
• This morning, we visit the Holocaust memorial, which was opened in 2009, then continue to the Mamulari Synagogue for an inside visit and explanation.
• Next, we see the Great Synagogue, founded in 1845 by a congregation of Polish Jews. This was the first major place of worship for the Ashkenazi community of Bucharest, and it was designed as a spacious, multipurpose edifice.
• We continue to the Lost Synagogue before we continue to the JCC of Bucharest.
• Our final stop is at the newly renovated Choral Temple, which is without a doubt the most impressive synagogue in Romania, dating back to 1864.
• We return to hotel

Overnight in Bucharest

Day 9: Monday, October 26, 2020: BRAN AND THE PEARL OF THE CARPATHIANS

• Breakfast and check out of our hotel.
• This morning, we drive to Zarnesti to visit the Libearty Bear Sanctuary, the largest brown bear sanctuary in the world.
• We continue to Bran to visit the castle made famous by Bram Stoker's novel Dracula. The castle was built by the German Saxons to guard the trade route through the Carpathian Mountains between the regions of Transylvania and Wallachia.
• Next, we stop at Sinaia, Romania's most famous mountain resort also known as the "Pearl of the Carpathians". Here, we will visit the Peles Castle, which was the former summer residence of the First Romanian King Carol I of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen.
• We continue to Brasov, check into our hotel, and enjoy an evening at leisure with dinner on own.

Overnight in Brasov

Day 10: Tuesday, October 27, 2020: SIBUI

• Breakfast at our hotel.
• This morning, we travel to Sibiu, listed as the European Capital of Culture in 2007. The original town of Sibiu was built in the 13th century and was protected by walls and brick towers. The buildings were joined by tunnels and narrow passageways, with heavily grated windows to cover the stairways and corners where intruders might be ambushed. Everywhere you look, there is evidence of Sibiu's historical past. We enjoy a walking tour during which we will see the baroque style Roman Catholic cathedral, the Evangelical cathedral, the Liar's bridge and the Old
• We return to Brasov and enjoy dinner on own.

Overnight in Brasov

Day 11: Wednesday, October 28, 2020: BRASOV

• Breakfast and check out of our hotel.
• This morning, Professor Strom gives a closing lecture.
• Later this morning, we enjoy a tour of Brasov, including the synagogue, Sinagoga Neologa, and the Black Church.
• Lunch on own in Brasov.
• We transfer to Bucharest and check into our hotel.
• Tonight, we enjoy a farewell dinner together, along with a klezmer concert and a performance by Yale.

Overnight in Bucharest

Day 12: Thursday, October 29, 2020: DEPARTURE

• Breakfast and check out of our hotel.
• We transfer to the airport for our flight back to the United States, landing later today.



Day 12: Thursday, October 29, 2020: SIGHETU MARMATIEI

• Breakfast and check out of our hotel.
• We transfer to the airport for our flight to Satu Mare.
• Upon arrival, we transfer to Sighetu Marmatiei. Professor Strom will lecture on the bus.
• Upon arrival, we visit the synagogue in Sighet, one of the only remaining examples of a completely intact Romanian Sephardic synagogue with full Moorish architecture, dating from the mid-19th century.
• We visit the world-renowned Elie Wiesel Museum, birthplace of the late Nobel Prize winner.
• We continue to Satu Mare to check into our hotel and enjoy dinner together, along with a klezmer concert and a performance by Yale.

Overnight in Satu Mare

Day 13: Friday, October 30, 2020: CLUJ-NAPOCA

• Breakfast and check out of our hotel.
• Today, we travel south to Cluj-Napoca.
• Along the way, we stop in a shtetl to see how some of the locals live.
• Upon arrival, we transfer to our hotel to check in, then enjoy dinner on own.

Overnight in Cluj Napaco

Day 14: Saturday, October 31, 2020: DEPARTURE

• Early morning breakfast and check out of our hotel.
• We transfer to the airport for our flight back to the United States, landing later today.

The Memories Last Forever!!
*Itinerary subject to change