The Community Synagogue's
Tour to Central Europe
Led by Rabbi Irwin Zeplowitz
May 7 - 19, 2023


Tour Rates & Dates:

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May 7, 2023
The Community Synagogue's
Tour to Central Europe
Led by Rabbi Irwin Zeplowitz
May 7 - 19, 2023
[+ Hotel Details]
$4,610$4,475Sold Out
*Please note that all rates displayed are based on standard room double occupancy.
All rates above are in US Dollars, and are based on full payment by credit card unless otherwise noted.
Discount for check payment available after clicking “BOOK” above.
(Deposit can still be paid by credit card).
Upgraded room categories may be available to book later in the booking process.
If Land & Air price is displayed, the air portion includes tax and fuel surcharges, which are subject to change until ticketed.

Tour Overview:

Download a PDF version:

Video invite from Rabbi Zeplowitz:




Jewish history in Europe neither begins nor ends with the Holocaust. Together we will explore 1,000 years of Jewish history. We'll confront the horrors of the past, experience the nascent Jewish renewal of the present, and discuss the challenges that face a Jewish future in Europe.

INCLUDED IN YOUR JOURNEY:

3 nights
The Westin Grand Hotel, Berlin
3 nights
Hotel NH Collection Prague Carlo IV, Prague
2 nights
Intercontinental Hotel, Warsaw
3 nights
Radisson Blu Hotel, Krakow
Train from Berlin to Prague
Internal flight from Prague to Warsaw
All touring and sightseeing in a deluxe air-conditioned vehicle with expert English-speaking guides
Breakfast daily
Boxed lunch on Terezin tour day
2 dinners in Berlin, including a welcome dinner
Shabbat dinner with members of the Prague Jewish community
Dinner with the JCC Warsaw's Boker Tov Club
Dinner with JCC Krakow's Director, Jonathan Ornstein
Farewell dinner in Krakow
Jewish heritage touring in Berlin, Prague, Warsaw & Krakow
Day trips to Potsdam, Terezin & Auschwitz-Birkenau
Concert at Berlin Cathedral
Meeting with members of a progressive congregation in Warsaw
Forum for Dialogue in Warsaw
Airport transfers if arriving/departing with the main group
Entrance fees per itinerary
Porterage
Whisper headsets

NOT INCLUDED:

Roundtrip airfare, departure taxes and fuel surcharges
Border taxes or visa fees
Tips to guides, drivers and dining room personnel ($20 per person, per day; pre-collected)
Meals not listed above
Items of a personal nature
Travel insurance (recommended -
group policy available)
Any costs associated with Covid-19 testing or vaccination


Tour Itinerary:

Day 1: Sunday, May 7, 2023: DEPARTURE

• We depart New York on our overnight flight to Germany.

Day 2: Monday, May 8, 2023: ARRIVAL IN BERLIN

• This morning, we arrive in Berlin, Germany's capital, reunited in 1989, and home of Germany's largest Jewish community. We are met at the airport by our local guide and begin our tour.
• We visit the Frank Meissler monument to the Berlin Wall, then stop for a photo opportunity at Checkpoint Charlie, the old border crossing between East and West Berlin.
• Next, we view the Reichstag, the meeting place of Germany's Bundestag, the lower house of the nation's legislature, first passing by the famed Brandenburg Gate along the way.
• This afternoon, we check into our hotel and have a chance to refresh.
• We continue with a visit to the largest open-air gallery in the world, Berlin Wall's East Side Gallery, a 1.3km-long section of the wall near the center of Berlin. Approximately 106 paintings by artists from all over the world cover this memorial for freedom.
• Late afternoon time to either relax or stroll on the main shopping thoroughfare of Bikini Berlin.
• Tonight, we enjoy a welcome dinner together at our hotel.

Overnight in Berlin

Day 3: Tuesday, May 9, 2023: JEWISH BERLIN

• Breakfast at our hotel.
• This morning, we visit the insightful Topography of Terror Museum, built on the site of the former SS and Gestapo headquarters.
• We see Potsdamer Platz, known as "no man's land" and the current site of major redevelopment projects, followed by a stop to view the striking Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (Holocaust Memorial).
• Next, we enjoy a walking tour along Hamburger Strasse to view the Residential Monument and Moses Mendelssohn's grave, as well as visit the Burning of the Book Memorial at Bebelplatz. This memorial was created by Israeli sculptor Micha Ullman and dedicated to the remembrance of the book burning that took place 90 years ago.
• We depart for the Mitte, Berlin's historic center district. Here, we stop to view the Rosenstrasse Memorial, site of a significant peaceful protest by Aryan wives and relatives of Jewish Germans rounded up for deportation.
• We continue with a visit to the small but fascinating Otto Weidt Museum & Workshop for the Blind. During the Second World War, the brush manufacturer and righteous gentile Otto Weidt employed many blind and deaf Jews who produced brooms and brushes here in a heroic effort to save them.
• We walk through the Hackesche Hofe Courtyard, which hosts over 40 business, including a cinema, cafes, shops and apartments, and is one of Berlin's most popular areas for nightlife!
• Later this afternoon, we visit the beautiful Rykestrasse Synagogue, Germany's largest, reopened 70 years after being damaged severely during Kristallnacht (pending security confirmation).
• This evening, we enjoy dinner together at a local restaurant.
• Those who wish may return to the Mitte to explore the unique nightlife now thriving in Berlin's former Jewish district or attend a possible evening performance (separate cost).

Overnight in Berlin

Day 4: Wednesday, May 10, 2023: THE ROAD TO POTSDAM

• Breakfast at our hotel.
• Today, we travel outside Berlin, viewing many important historical sites along the way.
• First, we visit Wannsee Villa, site of the infamous “Final Solution” decision, with its memorial museum across the Glienicke Bridge, a famous exchange point for Soviet spies during the Cold War.
• We continue to Potsdam, stopping for lunch on own en route.
• Following lunch, we visit the Zacharias Frankel College, where many prospective rabbis come to study Jewish texts and train to become Masorti/Conservative rabbis. The graduates from this college are the first to become ordained as rabbis in Germany since WWII.
• Next, we continue to the Cecilienhof Palace, site of the Potsdam Conference, where Allied leaders met in 1945 to decide the fate of Germany, which had surrendered weeks earlier.
• We drive by the Palace of Sanssouci, with time for a brief photo stop before returning to Berlin.
• On our way, we stop at the Grunewald Train Station, site of the deportation of the majority of Berlin's Jews, and view Gleis (Track) 17, the memorial to the deported.
• Enjoy dinner on own.
• Later, tonight, we attend an evening concert at the Berlin Cathedral (pending confirmation).

Overnight in Berlin

Day 5: Thursday, May 11, 2023: BERLIN TO PRAGUE

• Breakfast and check out of our hotel.
• This morning, we depart Berlin and board the train to Prague, the Czech capital, also known as "the City of One Thousand Spires," with its Baroque churches, promenades, parks and ancient city walls. (Our luggage will be transferred by bus).
• We meet our local guide and cross the Charles Bridge, stopping to see the Astronomical Clock on the way to the Old Town Square. Here, we see the statue of the Czech revolutionary, Jan Hus, who reformed the Czech universities and inspired the Hussites, who rebelled against Catholic doctrine.
• We check into our hotel and have time to refresh, then set out to explore and enjoy dinner on own.

Overnight in Prague

Day 6: Friday, May 12, 2023: DAY TRIP TO TEREZIN

• Breakfast at our hotel.
• Today, we travel to Terezin, the former “model” Nazi concentration camp. We visit the fortress, Jewish cemetery, museum, the hidden synagogue and the memorial monument. While here, we see the plaque dedicated in memory of Regina Jonas, the first woman ordained a rabbi. We'll also hear stories and see photos of some of the great rabbis imprisoned here, including Leo Baeck.
• We enjoy a boxed lunch en route.
• Before returning, we stop for a special reflection on the 15,000 children imprisoned in Terezin.
• We return to Prague for a chance to relax and process today's visit.
• Tonight, as the sun sets, we join progressive congregation Ec Chajim led by Rabbi David Maxa, the first Czech born rabbi since World War II, for Shabbat services followed by Shabbat dinner with members of the community.

Overnight in Prague

Day 7: Saturday, May 13, 2023: SHABBAT SHALOM!

• Breakfast at our hotel.
• This morning, we enjoy a tour of Golden Prague at the 1,000-year-old Hradcany Castle. We stroll down the Golden Lane, consisting of small brightly painted houses, souvenir shops and a museum of medieval armory as our guide tells us stories about Franz Kafka, the famous Jewish author who lived in a home near the bottom of the hill with his sister for a short period of time.
• Next, we visit Petrin Hill and the Petrin Lookout Tower, built as a mini version of the Eiffel Tower in 1891 for the Jubilee Exhibition. Those who venture to the top are rewarded with a magnificent view overlooking the city.
• We complete our tour at the John Lennon Wall, filled with ever-changing artistic graffiti, Beatles lyrics and designs pertaining to important global causes.
• Evening at leisure and dinner on own tonight.

Overnight in Prague

Day 8: Sunday, May 14, 2023: JEWISH PRAGUE/WELCOME TO POLAND!

• Breakfast and check out of our hotel.
• This morning, we set out to tour the Josefov, Prague's Jewish town, where we see the Old Town Hall, the Alt-Neu Synagogue, the Pinkas Synagogue, the Maisel Synagogue, the Jewish cemetery and the State Jewish Museum. The area, site of the former Jewish ghetto of Prague, offers a unique window into the past.
• This afternoon, we transfer to the airport for our short flight to Warsaw, Poland.
• Upon our arrival, we check into our hotel and have a chance to freshen up.
• This evening, we meet for dinner with members of the JCC Warsaw's Boker Tov Club, that usually meets every Sunday for brunch and community togetherness.

Overnight in Warsaw

Day 9: Sunday, May 15, 2023: DISCOVERING WARSAW

• Breakfast at our hotel.
• This morning, 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, our sightseeing tour encompasses the Nozyk Synagogue (the only surviving synagogue in Warsaw, founded in 1900), the Warsaw Ghetto, the Jewish Resistance Bunker at Mila 18, the Stawski Street buildings (where the SS had their headquarters) and the Gesia Cemetery (established in 1806, containing the graves of about 250,000 people and known as the largest cemetery in Poland).
• Next, we enjoy a guided visit of the POLIN Museum (The New Museum of the History of Polish Jews). The Hebrew word Polin means either Poland or “rest here” in English and is related to a legend of the arrival of the first Jews in Poland. The museums sits on the former site of the Warsaw Ghetto and features multi-media narrative exhibitions about the vibrant Jewish community that has flourished in Poland for a thousand years.
• We drive to the Warsaw Zoo, where we visit the Zookeeper's house owned by the couple that saved many Jews during the Holocaust, now memorialized in the movie “The Zookeeper's Wife”.
• Tonight, we meet with members of the local progressive congregation in Warsaw.
• Afterwards, we set out for dinner and exploration on own.

Overnight in Warsaw

Day 10: Monday, May 16, 2023: DIALOGUE FOR CHANGE/TRACING THE PAST

• Breakfast and check out of our hotel.
• Today, we enjoy a discussion with representatives from the Forum for Dialogue, an organization dedicated to inspiring new connections between contemporary Poland and the Jewish people. Pending confirmation, we meet with some of the children from the local community.
• Next, we join the artist collaboration Mi Polin for a moving tour through Warsaw's Praga District to discover the traces of pre-War Jewish history by following the outlines of mezuzahs that once adorned the doorways throughout the neighborhood.
• We drive to Krakow this afternoon. Upon arrival, we check into our hotel and freshen up.
• Tonight, we enjoy dinner with guest speaker Jonathan Ornstein, Executive Director of the Krakow JCC, who updates us on the many exciting projects they have undertaken in what is now a growing and flourishing Jewish community in the heart of Galicia and became a center for Ukrainian refugee support after the war began.

Overnight in Krakow

Day 11: Tuesday, May 17, 2023: FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT

• Breakfast at our hotel.
• This morning, we travel to Auschwitz-Birkenau, the infamous Nazi concentration camp, where many Jews and others perished in WWII. Here, we see the museum and pay tribute to the victims.
• Before Auschwitz became the ultimate symbol of the Holocaust, it was an ordinary Polish town known as Oswiecim with the majority of its citizens being Jews. We have a group conversation and short memorial service at the Oswiecim Jewish Center on the site of one of the many pre-Holocaust synagogues.
• We return to Krakow for a quiet evening and dinner on own.

Overnight in Krakow

Day 12: Wednesday, May 18, 2023: EXPLORING JEWISH KRAKOW

• Breakfast at our hotel.
• Today, see the Wawel Castle, St. Mary's Church, the Renaissance Cloth Hall and other ancient landmarks.
• We continue with a Jewish heritage walking tour beginning in the old Jewish district known as Kazimierz, where we see the Old Synagogue (a massive fortress-like building erected in the 15th and 16th centuries), the “Temple” and the Remuh Synagogue.
• We drive by the site of the Plaszow Concentration Camp, then continue past Schindler's Factory and the Little Museum at the Drugstore.
• This evening, we enjoy a festive farewell dinner, recalling all the amazing experiences we have had on this journey together.

Overnight in Krakow

Day 13: Thursday, May 19, 2023: FAREWELL

• 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