2020 Jewish Journey to Eastern Europe Itinerary

Itinerary Highlights
subject to change

We have thoughtfully planned an ambitious and active itinerary for this trip to take our delegation on a once-in-a lifetime trip back to our roots. This year we have included new special guests and local experiences into our trip in addition to the many historic sites and we will be offering our delegation unique access to local foods, Judaic artisans, and historic marketplaces. All visits to historic locations and memorials will be framed by our Scholar-in-Residence, Tomasz Cebulski, Ph.D. along with local guides.

Day 1: Sunday, May 17

Arrival at Vilnius International Airport (Saturday arrivals are encouraged). Introduction and orientation to Vilnius, including short walking tour of historic center, followed by welcome presentation and dinner featuring local specialties.

Day 2: Monday, May 18

Guided walking tour of the Vilnius Old Towns, including former Jewish Ghetto and the Choral Synagogue, the only synagogue in Vilnius still in use. Visit to esteemed Yiddish scholar, Prof. Dovid Katz’s residence and private “mini-museum” of Jewish Lithuania, followed by visit to JCC Vilnius.

> Optional walking tour A: Visit to Hales Turgus, one of the largest and oldest markets in Vilnius featuring fresh produce and home goods.
> Optional walking tour B: Walking tour of Vilnius with stops at amber shops.
> Dinner at restaurant in Old Town.

Day 3: Tuesday, May 19

Visit to Ponary Memorial, followed by a meeting with the chairperson of the Vilnius Jewish Community, and a stop at Lukiškės Square, site where the Jewish Labor Bund was founded in 1897.  Special meeting with Fania Brantsovsky, who is the last surviving partisan of Vilna.

> Dinner on your own. Recommendations provided.

Day 4: Wednesday, May 20
Vilnius– Warsaw

Travel with Fania Brantsovsky to the Rundninkai Forest to visit the remains of the Jewish partisan fort where she lived and fought the Nazis along with up to 300 fellow Jewish partisans from 1943-44.

> Visit the site of the Treblinka Death Camp, now a Memorial and Museum of Struggle and Martyrdom.
> Travel to Warsaw. Dinner at the hotel in Warsaw.

Day 5: Thursday, May 21

Visit the historic Jewish Cemetery on Okopowa Street, including memorials dedicated to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising leaders;  visit sites connected to the Warsaw Ghetto, including Mila 18, the final bunker of the Partisans afternoon spent exploring the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

> Dinner on your own.

Day 6: Friday, May 22

Meet with the Chief Rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich, at the historic Nozyk Synagogue. Tour the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute which house the artifacts of the Oyneg Shabbes Archives.

> Optional pre-scheduled consultations at the Jewish Genealogy and Family Heritage Center.
> Optional tour A: Visit to the Polish Vodka Museum in Praga District
> Optional tour B: Visit to the Zabinski Villa, the site that inspired the book and film, The Zookeeper’s Wife and short walk in Praga District
> Shabbat dinner as a group in Warsaw restaurant.

Day 7: Saturday, May 23
Warsaw– Krakow

> Tour Warsaw’s Old Town then depart for trip to Krakow.
> Visit synagogue in Lancut, richly decorated, rare surviving example of Baroque synagogue with vaulted ceiling.
> Dinner at the hotel.

Day 8: Sunday, May 24

Daylong visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau.  Guided walk through Birkenau, followed by a memorial service. Guided visit through the Museum at Auschwitz I, followed by reflection time at Yad VaShem Pavilion.

> Dinner on your own.

Day 9: Monday, May 25

Guided tour of Kazimierz, former Jewish Quarter of Krakow, including stops at historic synagogues and followed by meeting with the JCC Krakow Director, Jonathan Ornstein.

> Free time to tour Krakow.
> Farewell Dinner at restaurant in Old Town.

Day 10: Tuesday, May 26

Transfers from the hotel to the Krakow International Airport will be arranged.