Travel

AACI KOSHER & FRIENDLY JEWISH BALTICS   

08 July 2018 - 12 July 2018
Locations: Estonia, Kaunas, Lativa, Lithuania, Riga, Tallinn, Vilnius

 

 

Three countries, Lithuania, Lativa and Estonia, four cities, Vilnius, Riga, Kaunas, Tallinn, and hundreds of years of rich Jewish history.  Propel yourself through time to visit great scholars and blossoming yeshivas. Walk cobbled stone once host to hundreds of Jewish cafes and stores. Come face to face with historic vibrant Jewish life which defined an era of prominence for the Jewish community and face the ever-present reminders of the Holocaust through memorials, Nazi Camps and infamous forests.

Day-1 05/7/18 Tel Aviv-Vilnius
vilnius
We will leave Tel Aviv and connect via Moscow to arrive in Vilnius at 10:20.

We start with a panoramic city tour, including the cities main sites. Begin at the top of the ancient citadel, continue from there and see the cathedral (from the outside) and the bell tower. After, we visit the century-old library belonging to the University of Vilnius. Finish our day with a  visit to the Lithuanian Parliament.

Overnight in Vilnius

Day-2 06/7/18 Vilnius(Friday)
Today is dedicated to Jewish Vilna.  Start the tour with a view from the top of the ancient fortress located in the heart of the city. We will then visit the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum, which tells the history of Lithuania’s Jews. Various rotating exhibits serve as a great introduction to our time in Vilnius.

Continue to the Jewish quarter of Vilnius known as the “Jerusalem of Lithuania.” We will begin our visit tiejimaso the “Gaon Street”, continue to the “Jewish Street”, as well as visit the home of the Vilna Gaon-Rabbi Eliyahu ben Shlomo Zalman.

After, we visit the site of the Schulhof complex, the famous Great Synagogue. The synagogue was partly destroyed by the Soviets during World War II. The ruined synagogue and the whole “schulhof” complex which had grown around it were demolished by the Soviet authorities from 1955 to 1957 and were intentionally replaced by a basketball court and a kindergarten to effectively prevent any future initiatives to rebuild a cultural monument. Late efforts are in place to rebuild the whole complex.  In addition, we stop at the location of the Strashun Library.

We will walk through the streets of the ghetto, following in the footsteps of Itzik Wittenberg and Abba Kovner to the courtyard of the “Judenrat” building. Stop next to the Jewish theater building in the Vilnius ghetto and will be awed by the fascinating story of the cultural activities of the ghetto. We will continue to Sha’ar Hashachar, the only remnant of the city wall. We also visit the home of Sempo Sugihara, to learn his tale of bravery and compassion in saving thousands of Jews.

Return to hotel to prepare for Kabalat Shabbat in the Choraline Synagogue

Shabbat Dinner and overnight in Vilnius

Day-3 07/7/18 Vilnius (Shabbat)
Morning Tefillah and Shabbat lunch.
Afternoon enjoy a walking tour around our hotel.
Return for Seudah Shlishit, and in the evening-meet with the community.

Dinner and overnight in Vilnius

Day-4- 08/7/18 Vilnius – Paneriai – Trakai – Kaunas
We leave Vilnius in the morning, to continue our journey. Our first stop is the  to the Panerai forest, the largest killing site of Lithuanian Jewry, a few kilometers from Vilnius. We will visit various monuments and small museum in the, and reflect on the destruction of the flourishing community.

Continue to Trakai, the ancient capital of the princes of Lithuania, in the heart of the lakes region. There we visit the castle and the museum. We will also visit the Karaite cemetery- Testimony of hundreds of years of Jewish presence. Founded soon after the Karaite arrived in Trakai in the late 14th century and closed in 1932, follow the history of the Karaite community in the town from the earliest crumbling headstones with Hebrew inscriptions in the northern section down to the remaining part of the low stone wall that once surrounded it complete with Western-style graves with Latin letters.

Continue to Kaunas.
Dinner and overnight in Kaunas

Day-5 09/7/18- Kaunas- Siauliai – Riga
14
Kaunas is the second largest city in Lithuania, and an important Jewish center. We will visit the Old City, see the city hall, the gymnasium attended by the poet Leah Goldberg, the streets named after the writer Avraham Mapu and Ludwig Zamenhof, the father of Esperanto.

We bid farewell to Kaunas, and continue to Slabodka, and see the famous yeshiva, currently located in Vilijampolė  See the building of the famous Yeshiva founded by Rabbi Nathan Zvi Finkel.

We will then visit the The Ninth Fort (Lithuanian: Devintas Fortas) a stronghold in the northern part of  Kaunas. It is a part of the Kaunas Fortress, which was constructed in the late 19th century. During the occupation of Kaunas and the rest of Lithuania by the Soviet Union, the fort was used as a prison and way-station for prisoners being transported to labor camps. After the occupation of Lithuania by Nazi Germany, the fort was used as a place of execution for Jews, captured Soviets, and others the fortress that became a detention and death camp during World War II.

We will continue to the direction of Latvia, to the capital city Riga, on the way we stop in Siauliai, and stroll in the city’s pedestrian mall. Continue to the Hill of the Crosses with more than 250,000 crosses, which became the symbol of the Lithuanian resistance to foreign rule.

We also will stop in Kedainiai. A  Jewish population existed in Kėdainiai (known to Litvaks as Keydan) in the 15th century, but no record of their activities at this time exists. The town gained recognition as a yeshiva, helped in part because the Gaon of Vilna ,married a local girl and studied there as a boy. On August 28, 1941, 710 Jewish men, 767 Jewish women and 599 Jewish children from the town were murdered by the Nazis. Many Jewish buildings survived the Holocaust including the yellow wooden building close to Senoji Rinka where the Goan of Vilna studied and two surviving synagogues on Senoji Rinka, of which one now functions as a multicultural center.

Continue to Riga– the ancient capital of Latvia, built on the shore of the Daugava.

Dinner and overnight in Riga

Day-6 10/7/18 Riga
We will start the tour in Riga, visit the city walls and the cathedral that was built in 1211. See the “Three Brothers”, which represent the architectural diversity of the city.

We will continue on our tour of Jewish Riga. We visit the former Jewish quarter, and stop by the monument to the Great Synagogue of Riga that was burned down by the Nazis and their local aides.

We will stop next to the first Jewish school building in the Russian Empire that today serves as the Chabad Jewish school.

We will continue to the ghetto area and locate the “Rumbula” and the “Salaspils” labor camp. Next stop the synagogue in Riga that was built in Art Nouveau style at the beginning of the last century. Today, the synagogue serves two minyanim.

We will then visit Alberta Street, a unique concentration of buildings designed in the Art Nouveau style, including the works of architect Michael Eisenstein.

Dinner and overnight in Riga

Day-7-11/7/18 – Riga-Parnu-Tallinn
We will leave Riga for Tallinn-the capital of Estonia. En route, see some of the picturesque Baltic Sea.

Our day starts with the resort town of Parnu. A picturesque town on the bay. Here an underground of the Isthmus was born against the Zochran regime and the first Estonian newspaper was printed.

We will reach Tallinn, and start with a panoramic view of the Old City.

tallinn3Visit to the “Singing field”, a place of popular folklore festivals that have been taking place every five years since 1869. In 1869 Johann Voldemar Jannsen established the Estonian Song Festival while the nation was still a province of the Russian Empire. This festival was considered responsible for fostering an Estonian national awakening. After that, the new tradition was born and the festivals are still held every five years.

Back to the city we will stop by the impressive monument “Rusalka” (mermaid).  This memorial is dedicated to the shipwreck of the Russian monitor Rusalka.

Continue to the new synagogue of Tallinn, which was open in May 2007.

We will visit the Jewish community center with a display about the Jews of Estonia.

Dinner and overnight in Tallinn

Day-8-12/7/18 Tallinn-Tel Aviv
After breakfast, we will continue our visit in the city.

We will start in the Old Town with its Town Hall built in 1402, Continue to see the town’s fortifications with 27 impressive towers. Visit Toompea Castle, which has been the seat of the government for 500 years. See the Tallinn Protestant Cathedral, from the outside including beautiful spots of panoramic view of the old city.

After we will have a light dinner drive to the airport for our flight back to Israel arriving in Tel Aviv, via Moscow at 5:25 AM on July 13th.

Flight Information
Aeroflot  505     05 JULY TLV-SVO   EPART: 0105 ARRIVE: 0510
Aeroflot  2104   05 JULY SVO-VNO DEPART: 0845 ARRIVE: 1020
Aeroflot  2115   12 JULY TLL-SVO    DEPART: 2040 ARRIVE: 2215
Aeroflot  500    12 JULY  SVO-TLV  DEPART:  0115 ARRIVE: 0525  13 JULY

Price: €2795 per person in a double room for AACI members                     Currency Converter
€2845 per person in a double room for non-AACI members
Single supplement: €350

Included in the price for this tour:

  • Flights from Israel with Aeroflot
  • 7 nights in four star hotels
  • Kosher full board including provisions to make sandwiches for lunch
  • Shabbat in Vilnius
  • Sightseeing, activities and attractions as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Tips
  • English-speaking Local guide
  • AACI escort

Not included in the price:

  • Insurance
  • Personal expenses
  • Any items not mentioned in above itinerary

Payment:

  • Deposit of 300 Euro per person at time of registration
  • Balance due 3 months prior to departure – by April 8, 2018

Cancellation Policy:

  • Cancellation from time of registration until April 8, 2018 – 200 EU per person
  • Cancellation between April 8 – May 8, 2018 – 25%
  • Cancellation between May 8-June 15th – 60%
  • Cancellation from June 15th to day of departure – 100%
  • Passports must be valid until at least December 2018
  • Please send a photo copy of your passport with application form

Minimum number of participants required.  Itinerary is subject to change
Please note there are no refunds for unused services or meals.
Land only arrangement possible.

For more information, please contact AACI  02-560-0910

Baltics Registration Form 2018     Baltics Registration Form 2018

FOR RESERVATIONS PLEASE SEND TO:

JERUSALEM:  03-526-9424, HENRIETTE_H@OPHIRTOURS.CO.ILNETANYA:  03-526-1714 SHARON_BE@OPHIRTOURS.CO.IL  RAANANA: 09-777-7100 , MARCELLE_K@CWT.CO.IL LIA_H@OPHIRTOURS.CO.IL    BEIT SHEMESH: 02-991-1474,  DAWN_M@CWT.CO.IL