Roots and Rebirth in Eastern Europe

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June 22 – July 3, 2016


Experience the region’s cultural treasures as you glimpse your own heritage. Discover the fascinating stories of old Warsaw, Bialystok, Vilnius and more. Your travel companion and guide, historian Dr. Samuel Kassow, will bring to life the fascinating way Jewish culture helped shape these societies through the ages. You’ll meet the dynamic young Jews building new communities on ancestral ground and take in the sights and sounds of the hugely popular Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow.

We design our trips to be intimate and interactive, as well as comfortable, enlightening and memorable. You’ll experience first-rate accommodations and dining, and you’ll be guided by experts who know the local culture and its global context.

Click here to get more information or to reserve a spot.

Planned Itinerary*

Wednesday, June 22

Arrive in Vilnius

Transfer from airport to Stikilia or Kempinski Hotel. Settle into your room, and meet your guide, driver, your fellow group members. Welcome dinner in Vilnius.

Included: Welcome dinner in Vilnius.

Thursday, June 23

Vilnius – Kovno – Vilnius

Breakfast at your hotel. Full day in Vilnius including the National Library, YIVO Vilna Project, Max Weinreich memorial. Return to Vilnius and the Stikilia or Kempinski Hotel.

Included: B,L; overnight at the Stikilia or Kempinski Hotel.

Friday, June 24

Vilnius – Kovno – Vilnius

Breakfast at your hotel. Full day in Kovno, site of the ghetto and concentration camp. Kovno’s Jewish community dates back 400 years and before the war was home to nearly 240,000 Jews. Learn about the resistance group within the ghetto, the tragic events in the camp. Meet the new generation of Kovno Jews and share a Shabbat dinner. Return to Vilnius and the Stikilia or Kempinski Hotel.

Included: B,D; overnight at the Stikilia or Kempinski Hotel.

Saturday, June 25

Vilnius – Trakai – Bialystok

Breakfast at your hotel. Travel to Trakai, home to a fascinating Karaite Jewish community since the Middle Ages. Dinner in Bialystok.

Included: B,L,D; overnight at the Branicki Hotel, Bialystok.

Sunday, June 26

Bialystok – Lopuchowo – Tykocin – Treblinka – Warsaw

Breakfast at your hotel. A full day of travel, with stops along the way to Warsaw. We will visit the baroque style Tykocin Synagogue, built in 1642 and remodeled in the 1970s. Also located in Tykocin is one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in Poland. We will visit the nearby sites of the Lopuchowo Forest and Jedwabne pogrom massacres, and the Treblinka concentration camp. We will arrive in Warsaw to check into the Bristol Hotel.

Included: B,L; overnight at the Bristol Hotel, Warsaw.

Monday, June 27

Warsaw

Breakfast at your hotel. Today is spent in Warsaw, seeing the Nozyk Synagogue, the Jewish Cemetery, Jewish Historical Institute and the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, which opened in 2013. “Frank Stella and Synagogues of Historic Poland” will be on exhibit at the museum. We will have lunch in Warsaw, and return to the Bristol Hotel for the evening.

Included: B,L; overnight at the Bristol Hotel.

Tuesday, June 28

Warsaw – Lodz – Piotrków Trybunalski – Warsaw

Breakfast at your hotel. We will spend the day exploring Lodz, the third-largest city in Poland. Once a major center of the textile industry, the city has seen great regeneration in its business sector. Museum Sztuki is one of the best museums of modern art in the country, and Lodz is also home to the National Film School of Poland. We will visit the Piotrków Trybunalski Ghetto, which was the first Jewish ghetto in Nazi Europe. We will have lunch at Andel’s Hotel in Lodz, and return to Warsaw to tour the Old Town in the evening.

Included: B,L; overnight at Bristol Hotel.

Wednesday, June 29

Warsaw – Kazimierz Dolny – Lublin

Breakfast at your hotel. Visit Kazimierz Dolny, a picturesque town and one of Poland’s Historic Monuments, located on the Vistula River. Next, we travel to Lublin to see the Yeshiva, the cemetery, the Old Town and the Brama Grodzka, the so-called “Jewish Gate” which delineated the Jewish and non-Jewish parts of the city during the war. You will have the option to visit the Majdanek concentration camp. Check in to the Grand Hotel in Lublin.

Included: B,L; overnight at the Grand Hotel in Lublin.

Thursday, June 30

Lublin – Sandomierz – Dabrowa Tarnowska – Tarnow – Krakow

Breakfast at your hotel. We will make several stops on the way to Krakow—with our first stop in Sandomierz, a town which has been inhabited since the Neolithic era. Dabrowa Tarnowska is next, located on the Bren River, with a 19th-century synagogue that was beautifully renovated and dedicated as a new cultural center in 2012. Forty-five miles east of Krakow is Tarnow, where Jews have had a presence since the mid-fifteenth century, where they developed a once-thriving hat and garment manufacturing trade. We head next to Krakow, to check into the Stary Hotel. The evening will end with a performance at the Jewish Cultural Festival, celebrating its 25th year.

Included: B,L; overnight at the Stary Hotel in Krakow.

Friday, July 1

Krakow

Breakfast at your hotel. You may choose to visit the sites of the concentration camps at Auschwitz and Birkenau today, and return to Krakow in the afternoon. We will share Shabbat dinner together, and stay at the Stary Hotel.

Included: B,L,D; overnight at the Stary Hotel in Krakow.

Saturday, July 2

Krakow

Breakfast at your hotel. A full day of cultural exploring in Krakow: visiting Schindler’s Museum, the Kantor Museum, and the Galicia Museum. At night, we will have a farewell dinner and attend an open air concert in Szeroka, the neighborhood which was once the heart of the Jewish district of Krakow.

Included: B,L,D; overnight at the Stary Hotel in Krakow.

Sunday, July 3

Krakow

Breakfast at your hotel. Transfers to the airport.

* Program, meals, speakers and hotels are subject to change

Important Information

  • Trip price is $4,286 per person, based on double occupancy; $1,048 single supplement, subject to extremely limited availability. Transportation to Vilnius is not included; the program begins in Vilnius and ends in Krakow.
  • Trip is open to donors of $1,000 or more, per person, to the Forward or YIVO in calendar year 2016. Donations are tax-deductible in the United States and minimum commitment may be fulfilled by June 30.
  • A $600 deposit is required to hold your place on the trip; the balance is payable in equal installments, due no later than April 7 and May 5. Cancellation after March 3 will result in forfeiture of your deposit, after April 7 will result in forfeiture of 1/2 of the trip price, and after May 5 will result in forfeiture of the full trip price.

The price is based upon the following included services:

  • All private services throughout the tour
  • Transfers on arrival and departure day (June 22 & July 3)
  • Deluxe hotel accommodation in Vilnius, Warsaw, Lublin & Krakow
  • First class hotel accommodation in Bialystok
  • Full breakfast buffet daily at the hotels
  • 7 lunches including 3 lunch boxes. Lunches are based upon single course serving. Alcoholic beverages are not included).
  • 5 dinners including 2 Shabbat dinners (in Vilnius & Krakow). All dinners will include cover charge, water and coffee/tea). Alcoholic beverages are not included. Options are provided for travelers requiring special meals such as a vegetarian or fish option.
  • 1 concert festival ticket in Krakow
  • All taxes and fees
  • Tips (except to drivers, guides and Tour Director)

Click here to reserve a spot.

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Roots and Rebirth in Eastern Europe

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