Tour the Jewish Heritage of Central Europe

Touring seminar of Prague, Vienna & Budapest (July 3-12, 2022)

Exploring the world of Jewish life, literature and learning with Agnon House
Guides: Dr. David I. Bernstein and R. Jeffrey Saks

Experience the rich history of Central European Jewry in the setting where it unfolded. Walk in the footsteps of great Jewish leaders, writers, thinkers, and rabbis, from the medieval period through the confrontations with modernity, and study their texts and ideas with our outstanding scholars and guides. All tours and lectures in English. (See below for COVID information*)

Cost with roundtrip flights from/to Tel Aviv: US$3,790.00 person/double room
Cost (without flights): $3,490.00 person/double room
(Additional $450.00 for individual in room)

See registration form for cancellation and refund information.
Kosher (LORs and/or Chabad), Shabbat appropriate. Weekday full-board (breakfast, packed lunches, hot dinner), Shabbat full-board. Space limited!

CLICK HERE FOR REGISTRATION FORMS AND PAYMENT INFORMATION

Itinerary (subject to change*) Click here for Google Maps view! 

Sunday, July 3 (4 Tammuz): Evening arrival in Prague (El Al #2523 from Tel Aviv departs 5:55pm arrives Prague 8:55pm)

Monday, July 4 (5 Tammuz) / Prague: We wake up in the enchanting city of Prague and begin our tour at the city’s magnificent Jewish Museum, a campus that is a combination of buildings and artifacts — the largest collection of Judaica in the world from one geographic area. Highlights include a number of beautiful synagogues and the Old Jewish Cemetery of Prague, burial place of Maharal of Prague, Kli Yakar, and other notables. We will see the magnificently restored 19th-century Spanish Synagogue, built on the site of the earliest known shul in Prague—itself a response to modernity. We then ascend to the Prague Castle, one of the oldest and largest in Europe, with its panoramic view of the city. We walk down the hill to the famous Charles Bridge, completed in 1402, and make our way to the Old Town Square, highlighted by the world’s oldest operating astronomical clock (from 1410) with its mechanical show on the hour. We will also see the house where Franz Kafka lived. We will visit and pray in Europe’s oldest synagogue, the Atlneushul, built around 1270—according to the legend, the hiding place of the Golem of Prague.

Tuesday, July 5 (6 Tammuz) / Prague: We will travel outside of Prague to the village of Lidice, site of the Nazi reprisal for the murder of Reinhard Heydrich, head of the SS Main Security Office and one of the architects of the Final Solution. Visit Terezin (Theresienstadt), the ghetto/transit camp for most of Prague Jewry and for much of the intellectual elite of German Jewry. Terezin was known as the “show camp” for the Nazis when the Red Cross came to visit. Return to Prague for free time for walking around the beautiful city and to explore the Old Town and Jewish Town in greater depth. Evening visit to the Black Light Show.

Wednesday, July 6 (7 Tammuz) / Prague-Vienna: Travel to Vienna, the world capital of classical music. The Judenplatz, the center of Jewish life in the medieval period, with its exhibits on the important medieval Jewish community, including the archeological finds of the remains of the synagogue from the Middle Ages. The Judenplatz also contains Vienna’s Holocaust monument, a work of art to be studied and discussed. We will move on to visit the Stadttemple, the central and oldest synagogue in Vienna, built almost two centuries ago.

Thursday, July 7 (8 Tammuz) / Vienna: Walking tour through the heart of Jewish Vienna of the 19th and early 20th centuries, the home of Theodor Herzl, Sigmund Freud, Joseph Roth, Viktor Frankl, and many others. We tour the Jewish Museum in the heart of Vienna, and then on to the Schönbrunn Palace, summer residence of the Habsburgs monarchy, often compared to Versailles. The Hall of Names, a new monument to the Shoah dedicated in the Fall of 2021. Free time for shopping and exploring this beautiful city.

Friday, July 8 (9 Tammuz) / Vienna — Budapest: Morning: Choose your destination: The Albertina Art Museum, in the heart of the city: One of the most important art collections of the world, founded in 1776 featuring masterpieces by Da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Duerer, Rembrandt, and more; OR the Hofburg Palace and its Imperial Apartments; OR exploring the beautiful city center of Vienna. Travel to Budapest, arriving in time to prepare for Shabbat.

Shabbat, July 9 (Parshat Balak) / Budapest: Shabbat services in the beautiful Kacinczy Street Synagogue and meet with local members of the Jewish community. After Kiddush a walking tour of the 7th District, Budapest’s historic Jewish Quarter, once home to a community of 200,000 Jews. This area served as the ghetto during the Nazi occupation. We will see the newly renovated Rumbach Street Synagogue, the birthplace of Theodor Herzl, and the houses, courtyards, and memorials in the area. Lecture on the ideas of Theodor Herzl, comparing and contrasting him with other modern Zionist thinkers and writers. Festive lunch followed by some time to rest before the conclusion of Shabbat and Havdala. Optional night walk at City Center.

Sunday, July 10 (11 Tammuz) / Budapest: Our day begins with a tour of the largest synagogue in Europe, the famous Dohány Synagogue. Encounter the heroism of Chana Szenesh. Visit the Glass House, one of the “safe houses” created for Budapest Jews during the Shoah. We move on to visit the magnificent Hungarian Parliament building, one of the iconic structures along the Danube River. Not far away is the “Shoes Along the Danube Memorial,” commemorating the murder of Budapest Jews by Hungarian fascists. As the sun begins to set we will ascend to the Fisherman’s Bastion for a beautiful view of the city and the river. After dinner an evening boat ride on the Danube.

Monday, July 11 (12 Tammuz) / Budapest: We visit the new Holocaust Memorial Center, which tells the story of the stages in the destruction of much of Hungarian Jewry, the last major Jewish community conquered by the Nazis. Then visit the “Heroes Square” and the large and beautiful City garden. From this point there will be different options, including: Spa fans can have fun at the famous Szechenyi Baths; others can stroll along the “East Europe Champs Elysees” on the way to the city center, or visit the “Terror House,” a museum devoted to the Nazi and Communist regimes in Hungary. Shopping before dinner and packing, and a final banquet dinner to mark the end of our journey together!

Tuesday, July 12 (13 Tammuz): We say goodbye to Central Europe. El Al flight #2366 departs Budapest at 10:10am and arrives in Tel Aviv at 2:20pm.

HOTELS (as listed or 4-Star equivalent*)

Dr. David I. Bernstein is the Dean of Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, previously served as the director of Midreshet Lindenbaum, and was the director of informal education at the Ramaz Upper School in New York, where he pioneered an integrated world and Jewish history curriculum. Over the last 25 years, he has served as the historian-guide for more than 60 groups on Jewish heritage tours in Poland, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, and Berlin.

Rabbi Jeffrey Saks is the Director of Research at the Agnon House and founding director of ATID and its WebYeshiva.org program; Series Editor, S.Y. Agnon Library at the Toby Press; and Editor of the journal Tradition.

Please check that your passport is valid for 6 months from date of departure! Israeli, USA and EU passport holders do not require travel visas for any of the countries on the trip. Citizens of other countries should check visa requirements for Austria, Czech Republic, and Hungary. Contact local consulates to arrange for necessary visas.

Travel arrangements by Yehuda Chen and Shai Bar-Ilan Tours

For general inquiries or more information contact R. Jeffrey Saks
Tel. +972-52-321-4884 / [email protected]

Praise from participants on Agnon House English tours (Ukraine 2018; Lithuania 2019)
“Eye-opening and educational.”
“A good balance between general history, Jewish history, and related literature. It was very evident that the trip was well thought out in advance and it was executed beautifully.”
“I loved the variety of historical, literary, secular and religious sites and sources. It reflected the diversity and vitality of Jewry at that time and place.”
“ ‘Very Good’ is not good enough to describe the guides. Each of them exhibited vast knowledge and exceptional speaking and teaching ability. [Their] enthusiasm, warmth, helpfulness, and expertise was delightful.”
“The meals and accommodations were far above our expectations.”
“Transformative! Above and beyond other trips we’ve taken—like two university semesters in 9 days!”

*Insurance: It is strongly recommended to purchase comprehensive insurance to cover medical (including COVID-related illness), personal, baggage, and cancellation. *COVID: Proof of full COVID vaccination or recent PCR negative test will be required for each traveler. Health protocols and all local COVID-related health regulations in each destination will be enforced and are subject to change at any time. *Note that all hotels, flights, and itinerary arrangements are subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances. The itinerary may be impacted by unexpected flight-schedule changes by the airline. If necessary all efforts will be made to substitute accommodations with equivalent quality.

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