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SPAIN AND PORTUGAL

From the Golden Age to the Inquistion and Explusion, the Jewish story of Sepharad is one of triumph and despair.  As we journey through Spain and Portugal, we will meet some of the most influential thinkers in the Jewish world and beyond-Torah scholars, philosophers, poets, physicians, astronomers, cartographers, global traders, linguists, and more.  We will explore the flowered lanes of the old Juderias (Jewish neighborhoods), visit the few remaining synagogues, and delve into the Jewish legacy forged over 1000 years of settlement in the Iberian Peninsula.  We will also meet members of the renewed Jewish communities, made up of conversos returning to Judaism, Sephardi Jews returning home, Israelis, and Ashkenazi South Americans.   Other highlights include Flamenco dancing in the Albaicin, Gaudi’s architectural monuments in Barcelona, the magnificent Alhambra in Granada, and the impressive collection at Madrid’s Prado Museum.

MOROCCO

 
 
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 A largely Muslim country, Morocco has a rich twothousand-year Jewish history, and welcomes visitors from all over the world, including over 50,000 Israeli Jews, each year. Beginning in the famed city of Casablanca, we will journey 
through Rabat, Fez, Mechnes, and the magical city of Marrakesh, with day trips to the Sahara Desert and Atlas Mountains.  We will experience the hospitality of the warm and welcoming Jewish community, and meet journalists, artists, musicians, and local Muslim students exploring the Jewish roots of their own country.

ITALY

Ancient Rome was also the city whose leaders Destroyed the Temple and burned Jerusalem, exiled the Jews and brutally quashed the Bar Kokhba rebellion.  In addition, it is the seat of the Vatican whose Popes saw themselves as the “New Israel”.  Today and tomorrow we will explore the sites and institutions that played a major role in shaping Jewish and western world history. 

ETHIOPIA

Ethiopia is a country with a long Jewish history. From the kingdom of the Queen

of Sheba, to the Jews who left in Operation Solomon; the Beta Israel have been

sovereigns and slaves; rulers over large areas of land, and suffered exile because of

their faith.

We will meet the Jews who remain and spend Shabbat with them. We will view the

astonishing architecture of Amhara and Tigray – where Christianity is suffused with

Jewish practice – and visit lost kingdoms that to this day are barely known to the West.

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE

 

Explore the roots of Jewish culture in Russia, with an optional Ukraine extension. For those of us whose families emigrated from the area of the Pale of Settlement and Russia, this is an intimate journey into our own history and culture.  


Highlights include:
Experience Russia with Rabbi Jonathan Porath, one of the foremost experts on Jewish life in Russia and the Former Soviet Union. Jonathan was on the Senior Staff of the JDC (“Joint”] Russian Department for 15 years and has visited Russia more than 175 times.
Tour world famous landmarks in Moscow and St. Petersburg, including the Kremlin, Red Square, Lenin’s Mausoleum, the Tretyakov Gallery, the Moscow Metro, the Hermitage Museum and Tsar’s Winter Palace, Catherine’s Palace, Peterhoff (by hydrofoil). 

Visit off-the-beaten-path sites like Stalin’s Secret Bunker, Izmailova Flea Market, Graveyard of Soviet Fallen Monuments, Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad.

 

Explore Russian Jewish history and experience the richness of contemporary Jewish life and meet with rabbis, academics, student leaders, activists of all ages, including Natan (“Anatoly”) Sharansky’s Hebrew teacher.


Visit multiple Jewish sites in depth, including the Moscow JCC, Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, Kosher supermarket, synagogues, the Russian State Ethnographic Museum Jewish Collection, the YESOD JCC, Pushkin Holocaust Memorial, Jewish tour of the Hotel Metropol (à la A Gentleman in Moscow), Center for Holocaust Research Exhibition.

 

Videos courtesy of Ministry of Tourism.

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