M-Th 9am-5:30pm EST

CSP Jewish Roots Trip, co-sponsored by Congregation B'nai Israel of Tustin
1,000 Years of History: The Power of Memory

price per person from $3875

to view departure dates and pricing click register now!

Over 1,000 years ago, Judaism took root and grew in the rich soil of the boundary-shifting area that would become known as Poland. Before America, before modern day Israel, before the Holocaust, Lithuania and Poland were home to the largest and most significant Jewish community in the world.  On the eve of the Shoah, some 3,300,000 Jews lived in the area where the influential Jewish leader “the Vilna Gaon” taught cadres of students, the Baal Shem Tov created Chasidism and young David Ben-Gurion and Shimon Peres dreamed of establishing an independent homeland in Land of Israel. From Vilna to Warsaw, Lublin to Krakow, and Treblinka to Auschwitz, join us as we walk in the footsteps of some of greatest rabbis and thinkers of European history, learn about the complexities of life in the shtetls and cities, draw inspiration from examples of heroism and solidarity during the darkest times, experience the radical changes and surprising continuities of Eastern Europe after Communism, and meet those involved in the recent rejuvenation of Jewish communal life that was unimaginable just a generation ago.

Pre-arrival options: We are happy to introduce you to a genealogist to help you research your family history in the area as well as arrange a pre-arrival tour to your ancestral villages in the area. Extra costs apply.

Space is limited and there will be a maximum of 33 people on the trip. 

Tour includes:
Flights as listed in the air section of this program (Taxes and fuel charges are included and are subject to change by the Airline).
10 nights’ accommodation at select hotels
8.5 days of touring in a luxury, air-conditioned bus and one half-day walking tour in Warsaw (Shabbat) with licensed, English speaking local tour guides
Da’at tour educator accompanying the group from arrival to departure
1 group transfer and assistance to and from each airport
All site entrance fees and program fees as per itinerary
Meals: daily breakfast, 5 lunches and 6 dinners
Porterage at the hotels
“Whisper” system throughout the tour

Over 1,000 years ago, Judaism took root and grew in the rich soil of the boundary-shifting area that would become known as Poland. Before America, before modern day Israel, before the Holocaust, Lithuania and Poland were home to the largest and most significant Jewish community in the world.  On the eve of the Shoah, some 3,300,000 Jews lived in the area where the influential Jewish leader “the Vilna Gaon” taught cadres of students, the Baal Shem Tov created Chasidism and young David Ben-Gurion and Shimon Peres dreamed of establishing an independent homeland in the Land of Israel. From Vilna to Warsaw, Bialystok to Krakow, and Treblinka to Auschwitz, join us as we walk in the footsteps of some of greatest rabbis and thinkers of European history, learn about the complexities of life in the shtetls and cities, draw inspiration from examples of heroism and solidarity during the darkest times, experience the radical changes and surprising continuities of Eastern Europe after Communism, and meet those involved in the recent rejuvenation of Jewish communal life that was unimaginable just a generation ago.

Day One: Sunday, July 7, 2019

  • 3:10 p.m. Depart Los Angeles on Lufthansa flight #457, arriving to Frankfurt at 10:55 a.m. the next day.

Overnight: Flight

Day Two: Monday, July 8, 2019

  • 2:55 p.m. Depart Frankfurt on Lufthansa flight #896.
  • 5:55 p.m. Arrival at Vilnius International Airport.
  • Vilnius, Lithuania's largest city and capital, has been known by many names over its long and remarkable history, including, most famously for Jews, as Vilna. It was a midsummer Wednesday year 1812. On this day, the 24th of June, Napoleon Bonaparte crossed the Nemunas River with his huge army, heading for Vilnius. Napoleon stayed in Vilnius for 18 days, until the 10th of July, awaiting the Russian Tsar's reply to his new peace offer. It is said that Napoleon himself became very surprised on what met him in Vilnius, a city so far away from the European mainstreams and still with a lively Mediterranean mood and life. Napoleon was the one who started calling Vilnius ‘Jerusalem of the North', and it was the first and only "Jewish city" Napoleon would ever see. He was no doubt aware of the Crusades, Inquisitions, pogroms and laws designed to discourage Judaic life. But there it was, right before his eyes, an exception to the rule.
  • *Note: Lithuania is 10 hours ahead of California PST. The local currency is the euro (until January 2015, its currency had been the Lithuanian litas).
  • Welcome by our representative and assistance with arrival formalities.
  • Check into the hotel.
  • 8:00 p.m. LaDa'at Focus 1,000 Years of Jewish History - Connecting with our Roots: Private welcome dinner at the hotel and orientation at the hotel with our tour educator, Mike Hollander. We'll preview the journey we're about to embark on together, review the itinerary, and discuss the themes and multiples narratives we'll explore during the trip. There will also be the opportunity to share our goals, both as individuals and as a community, for our tour.
    • Mike Hollander was born in Canada and made Aliyah in 1988. Before making Aliyah, he completed his BA degree at York University, Toronto in History and began his MA degree in Middle Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University. He completed his MA from the Cambridge Center for Jewish-Christian Relations in 2008. Jewish education has always been Mike's passion and he began to guide in 1994. From 2001 - 2004, he was a Jewish Agency educational emissary in Great Britain for the Federation of Zionist Youth. He was also a consultant to the “Israel Experience” and helped British youth movements and organizations design new programs and construct their educational storyline for their short-term summer Israel programs. Mike's diverse and extensive experiences and opportunities have influenced his ability to provide a rich Israel experience to a wide range of groups, including Federations, Birthright, Interfaith groups, political groups, congregational trips, families, adults and more. His areas of expertise include history, politics, Middle Eastern and interfaith studies. Mike is married to Michele and has 3 Israeli-born children. When not guiding, he enjoys running, reading, and music.
  • Sunset: 9:54 PM

Overnight: Pacai, Vilnius.  Set in the heart of Vilnius' Old Town—home to a university, a presidential palace, and an abundance of museums, embassies, churches, bookshops, and the city's coolest spots for dining and drinking—Hotel Pacai perfectly echoes this quarter's 17th-century Baroque grandeur yet augments it with a contemporary twist. Famous for being the most magnificent mansion in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the stately building has been reborn thanks to the inspired efforts of a passionate team of local architects and designers. Rich historic elements are masterfully blended with present-day design to showcase soft, deep tones and elegant materials that heighten the structure's classical style and complement its relaxing spa. The 104 rooms and suites, the inviting restaurants and bar, and the four meeting rooms all celebrate Lithuania's rich past and Baltic culture, while also pointing it forward in a direction that is young and vibrant in spirit. Indeed, rounding out the hotel's world-class offerings is the restaurant Nineteen18, which explores new Baltic cuisine while celebrating the rich culinary heritage of the region immediately around Vilnius. Also intriguing is the hotel's expansive courtyard, which evokes the atmosphere of the city's surrounding historic buildings. Here, guests enjoy local art events, dinners that stretch long into the night, and more—making this transformative property a new cultural hub in Vilnius.

Day Three: Tuesday, July 9, 2019

  • Sunrise: 4:54 AM
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • We'll begin our tour by visiting Vilnius' Old Town, one of the largest surviving medieval centers in Europe. First mentioned in written sources at the beginning of the 14th century, the Old Town was recognized as a UNESCO Heritage site in 1994. Our tour will include:
    • The Hill of Three Crosses, a striking monument to the long Catholic influence in Lithuania. Wooden crosses used to mark the place where, according to legend, seven Franciscan monks were beheaded for their efforts to bring Christianity to the country. In 1916, they were replaced by concrete rosses designed by the Polish sculptor Antoni Wiwulski. Torn down by the Soviets in 1950, the monument was reconstructed in 1989, as the Soviet empire began to dissolve, by Henrikas Šilgalis.
    • Visit Peter and Paul Church.
    • View the Vilnius Castle Complex, a group of defensive fortifications and cultural and religious buildings. While some of the castles were destroyed or damaged followed attacks on the city over the centuries, others survive including the Gediminas Tower, a key symbol of Vilnius and of the Lithuanian nation.
    • Visit Cathedral Square.
    • Anne's Church is a Gothic masterpiece. Largely unchanged since it was rebuilt around 1495, it is so beautiful that Napoleon is said to have wanted to take it back with him to Paris “in the palm of my hand.”
    • The Old University, founded in 1579 by the Jesuits, is Lithuania's largest university and one of the largest in Eastern Europe. The university buildings exhibit a considerable range of architectural styles and are an example of the exciting variety of historical influences we will experience in the Old Town.
  • LaDa'at Focus Yerushalayim De Lita: Join your tour educator and begin to unravel the story of Jewish life, thought and culture in Vilnius. With a Jewish population before the Holocaust of over 100,000, Vilnius was such an influential and dynamic Jewish center that it was often called the “Jerusalem of Lithuania.” We'll discuss its renowned yeshivot (advanced religious schools) that developed a highly intellectual method of Talmudic study that still influences Jewish life and learning. We'll also see how Vilnius had, by the early twentieth century, developed into a powerhouse of modern Jewish culture, literature and institutions.
  • Visit the uncovered heart of Lithuanian Jewry, the Great Synagogue. A team of archaeologists uncovered the remains of the synagogue and other buildings which were destroyed by Nazis 70 years ago. The dig of the Great Synagogue is led by Richard Freund, professor from Hartford University.
  • A guided visit through the Jewish Quarter will allow us to understand what was created and what has been was lost in this capital of the Jewish world. We'll discuss its most famous resident, Rabbi Elijah of Vilna. Known as the Vilna Gaon (the Genius of Vilna), he was a legendary religious thinker and legal authority. He was also a fierce opponent of the Hasidic movement that in the late 18th century was bringing a revolution among Eastern European Jews. Even today, many religious Jews around the world follow the customs and rulings of the Genius of Vilna.
  • Lunch on your own, en route.
  • The Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum, a national institution under the Ministry of Culture of Lithuania that collects, conserves, investigates, restores and exhibits the historical, material and spiritual heritage of Lithuanian Jews, traditional and modern Jewish objects of art and documents and objects connected with the Holocaust. In 1989, the government of Soviet Lithuania permitted the re-opening of the Jewish Museum after 50 years of non-existence (history of Jewish museums in Lithuania goes back to 1913). Part of the artifacts were returned to the re-established State Jewish Museum in 1991. In 1997, on the 200th anniversary of the death of the renowned Torah scholar the Gaon (genius) of Vilna, the institution was renamed the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum.
  • Walk through the Vilna Ghetto where around 40,000 Jews were imprisoned by the Nazis from 1941 to 1943. We'll learn of the suffering and death in the ghetto before its liquidation and the murder of nearly all its inhabitants. But we will also pay tribute to the heroic attempts to maintain Jewish life and culture in the ghetto, including its famed ghetto theater. It was in the Vilna Ghetto that one of the first Jewish resistance organizations dedicated to fighting the Nazis was established. It included members from all the local Jewish political parties and movements. We will view the building which housed the Judenrat (Vilna Ghetto Jewish Council) and assess the controversial role of its leader, Jacob Gens, during the Holocaust.
  • Return to the hotel.
  • 7:30 p.m. Dinner at Restoranas Grey with special guests: Rokas Rudzinskas, Darius Udrys and Phil and Aldona Shapiro at local restaurant.
  • Philip (“Phil”) S. Shapiro is an attorney and real-estate investor. He is a native of Baltimore, where his great-uncle in 1901 founded what today is probably the oldest existing Jewish family society, bayl.org. The group was established by relatives who had emigrated from northeastern Lithuania for the purpose of helping more relatives emigrate to the U.S., South Africa, and Palestine. Today, Phil is the society's co-president and historian.  Phil and his brother David first visited Lithuania in 1997.  After a second visit in 2007, they established a non-profit organization, Remembering Litvaks, Inc., www.litvaks.org, which undertakes various small projects to remember the Jewish communities of Lithuania and Belarus.
  • Aldona Shapiro is a native of Lithuania's highlands and a graduate of the Vilnius Pedagogical Institute. For many years she taught advanced high-school English in Vilnius. During her summer vacations, she served as a guide-interpreter for English-speaking visitors to Lithuania, many of whom were Jews who wanted to see where their ancestors once lived.  Aldona has been involved from the beginning with the work of Remembering Litvaks, gaining government approvals and negotiating contracts with private firms.  Separately, on her own initiative, she translated into Lithuanian the yizkor-book article on the history of the Jewish community that once existed in Kavarskas, where she attended high school.  Her translation was first in that language to be accepted for posting by JewishGen's yizkor-book project, https://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/pinkas_lita/lit_00556l.html
  • Phil and Aldona married in 2013. They live in Florida from October to May and in Vilnius from June to September.
  • Sunset is 9:53 PM

Overnight: Pacai, Vilnius

Day Four: Wednesday, July 10, 2019

  • Sunrise: 4:55 AM 
  • Breakfast at the hotel. 
  • 8:30 a.m. at the hotel, Is Lithuania Facing up to its Painful Past? Dialogue with Egle Bendikaite, a historian who has written about the Jews in Lithuania and the history of Zionism. We will learn about Lithuanian Zionists reactions towards the geopolitical challenges in the mid and late 1930s, Jewish history in Lithuania and new trends on Lithuanian Jewish history.
  • Visit the Vilnius Choral Synagogue. Built in the so-called Moorish style in 1903, this beautiful synagogue on the edge of Old Town is the last surviving Jewish house of prayer in a city that once boasted of over 100 such places before the war. Getting its name from the inclusion of a choir section on the second floor, an unusual if not controversial design feature at the time of its construction, the interior is quite stunning to see and well worth a visit when it's quiet.
  • Visit the Ponar Forest Holocaust Memorial. Before the war, this forested area just south of Vilnius was popular with Jews as a vacation site. The Nazis turned it into a place of mass murder, executing an estimated 100,000 people, most of them Jews. It is now one of Lithuania's most powerful sites commemorating the Holocaust.
  • Return to Vilnius.
  • Lunch on your own, en route.
  • We'll then experience a very different slice of modern Vilnius in the self-proclaimed “Republic” of Užupis. On April Fools' Day, 1997, local residents, many of whom are artists, light-heartedly declared this bohemian neighborhood to be independent from Lithuania. It has its own constitution (the motto is “Don't Fight, Don't Win, Don't Surrender”), an anthem, and an army of around 11 men. We'll enjoy its wonderful atmosphere, cafes and art.
  • The Gate of Dawn is the only gate that survives out of the ten that were built in the 16th century as part of the defensive fortifications surrounding Vilnius. Over time, religious artifacts and monuments were added near the gate for added blessings and protection for the city. We'll visit the chapel which houses a famous icon, The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy. This painting, dating from the early 17th century, is believed to have miraculous powers and has long attracted worshippers, including Pope John Paul II.
  • Meet at 5:00 PM with Simon Gurevicius, economist, lecturer, long-time Jewish Community volunteer, former executive director of Lithuanian Jewish Community.
  • Return to the hotel.
  • Dinner on your own and evening at leisure. Restaurant recommendations will be provided, but for best Baltic cuisine, check out Lokys, Lauro Laps, Druskos Namai and Holy Mikos. Other great places include Restaurant Balzac, The Kitchen, Restaurant Rene and Telegrafas (Considered to be one of the top five restaurants in Vilnius, if not in Lithuania).  More at this link.  For vegetarians, options include: Gyvas Baras, Rosehip Vegan Bistro, Vegafe, Maghrib, Alive and Zatar Felafel and Hummus - more at this link.
  • Sunset: 9:52 PM

Overnight: Pacai, Vilnius

Day Five: Thursday, July 11, 2019

  • Sunrise: 4:56 AM
  • Breakfast at the hotel and check out.
  • 8:00 a.m. Depart Vilnius and drive southwest towards the Polish border. {The drive from Vilnius to Biaylstok will take approximately 5 hours}. Don't forget to take your passport and valuables with you from your hotel room safe.
  • *Note: Poland is 9 hours ahead of California PST. The local currency is the Zloty (though part of the EU, Poland has not adopted the euro).
  • Boxed lunch, en route.
  • A Once Jewish, Multi-Cultural City: A visit to Bialystok provides a powerful example of the Jewish experience in Poland. At the start of the 20th century, Jews were the largest part of this traditionally multi-cultural city, living alongside German, Russian, and Polish populations. We'll learn about what was once a thriving and diverse Jewish community and see where the Great Synagogue once stood. {Side note: Bialys are one of those foods that can be traced, if not to a specific inventor, to a particular place and time. They come from Bialystok, Poland. They didn't call bialys “bialys” there, but rather Bialystoker kuchen. Jews from Bialystok were known as “kuchen eaters” (Bialystoker kuchen fressersin Yiddish) for indeed bialys were their staple bread. Bialys could be acquired on virtually every street in Bialystok, and we're usually eaten hot, topped with butter or farmer's cheese}. 
  • Meet with the remarkable journalist, short-film-maker, researcher, historian and activist, Tomasz Wisniewski, who is among many other things, the founder of Bagnowka. He has written several books, including a guidebook to Jewish Bialystok and surroundings, and created 2,000 films presenting Jewish history of the region. He has documented Jewish cemeteries and runs the site, which collects data on almost 40,000 tombstones, mainly Jewish ones, and also present other heritage information. In 2018, Tomasz was named winner of the POLIN Poland Award, presented by the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews for his work over the past 30 years to preserve the memory of the Jewish communities of Poland's eastern borderland.
  • Depart Bialystok. (expected drive time is 2 hours)
  • Visit what was once the Death Camp of Treblinka. Leveled down by the Nazi's, there aren't any remains left of what was one of the largest death camps in Poland. It is now a large complex of monuments. Walk on the rebuilt train tracks to the striking monument built from 17,000 stones, marking the number of communities killed and wiped out in Treblinka.
  • Continue the drive to Warsaw {expected drive time is 2 hours}.
  • The capital of Poland, Warsaw flanks both banks of the Vistula River. A city of 1.3 million inhabitants, Warsaw was the capital of the resurrected Polish state in 1919. Before World War II, the city was a major center of Jewish life and culture in Poland. Warsaw's prewar Jewish population of more than 350,000 constituted about 30 percent of the city's total population. The Warsaw Jewish community was the largest in both Poland and Europe, and was the second largest in the world, second only to New York City.
  • 8:00 p.m. Dinner and “to life” (le-chaim) vodka tasting at Momu The guys behind MOMU.gastrobar have keenly observed the popular trend of street food and decided to apply their own twist by serving it indoors. MOMU.gastrobar is a cosmopolitan bistro that combines an eatery with a bar. The menus are interestingly published in consecutive chapters, each one focusing on a particular street food tradition within a different region of the world. For example, currently in Chapter 4, MOMU is transporting diners to the streets of the Middle East, where they can try the Mo'Mezze (hummus, tabbouleh, Israeli chopped salad, guacamole, tapenade, Korycinskicheese and flatbread). In the evenings, the place continues to flourish as it focuses on cocktail mixology.
  • Check into the hotel.
  • Sunset: 8:54 PM

Overnight: Bristol, Warsaw.  Situated in the heart of Warsaw, on the famous Royal Route - next door to the Presidential Palace and just minutes from the Olde Town, Hotel Bristol has served as the city' s most remarkable landmark and distinguished destination since 1901. The main founder and first owner of the hotel was the famous Polish pianist, composer and Prime Minister - Ignacy Jan Paderewski. Since its foundation, it has been renowned as the most luxurious hotel in Poland, setting trends in art and design, keeping pace with modernity. The 112-year-old Art Nouveau style building survived both World Wars and has welcomed guests as varied as Queen Elizabeth, Michael Jackson, German chancellor Angela Merkel and now CSP!

Day Six: Friday, July 12, 2019

  • Sunrise: 4:28 AM
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • 8:30 a.m. The Jewish Community in Poland - Past, Present, & Future: Talk with Sebastian Rejak about how modern-day Poland deals with the Holocaust and whether there is a future for the small Jewish community in the country. Dr. Rejak is a Polish-Catholic historian who has spent decades studying the relationship between Poland and its Jews. He has written extensively on Polish-Jewish identity, worked on major Polish Holocaust memorial programs, and is Senior Policy and Program Officer at the American Jewish Committee. Prior to joining the AJC, Dr. Rejak served as Special Envoy of Poland's Minister of Foreign Affairs for Relations with the Jewish Diaspora.
  • 10:00 a.m. Visit the Nozyk Synagogue - built between 1898 and 1902 in a neo-Romanesque style, this was the only Warsaw synagogue to survive the ravages of war {note: The Nozyk Synagogue was named for the man who founded it in 1900, Zalman ben Menasze Nozyk and his wife Rywka bat Mosze}. Meet with Rabbi Michael Schudrich, the chief Rabbi of Poland. Playing leader to a small but stalwart Central European constituency of roughly 8,000 that is still dusting off the ashes of the Holocaust requires some dexterity. Chief rabbi since 2004, Schudrich has lived in Poland since the early 1990s so seeing from the perspective of both Jew and Pole isn't a foreign concept.
  • The World That Was: Guided visit to the Gensha Cemetery, one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in the world. Bring back life to the names on the unique tombstones of the famous Jewish leaders, artists, Rabbis and intellectuals, including: Yiddish writer, author of “If Not Higher” L Peretz; “Esperanto” language creator Ludwig Zamenhoff; The Warsaw theater Diva Ida Kaminska; and Adam Czerniakow, the beloved head of the “Judenrat”. The cemetery is a testimony to hundreds of years of Jewish life in Poland.
  • Lunch on your own at POLIN Museum.
  • 2:30 p.m. Introduction to the museum by Joanna Fikus, the leader of Exhibitions Department, who is responsible for the functioning and development of the core exhibition and for the organization of temporary exhibitions.
  • 3:15 p.m. Visit the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews located in the center of what once was the Warsaw Ghetto. Opened in 2013, this is a major and massive (over 43,000 square feet) museum that explores and celebrates the rich history of Polish Jews from their arrival over one thousand years ago until today. We'll learn about the development of Polish Jewish life and hear many individual stories through multi-media installations, rare and valuable art, photos, orals histories and other extraordinary exhibitions.
  • Return to the hotel with free time to prepare for Shabbat.
  • 8:00 p.m. Kabbalat Shabbat services at Nozyk Synagogue. The oldest synagogue in Warsaw sits squarely in the middle of the city, tucked in between office buildings and skyscrapers that offer a little seclusion from surrounding car horns and sirens. Nozyk Synagogue symbolizes both the long history of the Old Country and the reinvigoration of a new Jewish Poland. It's a modest building, made of old stone and brick, but it stood through the German and Russian shellings and demolition campaigns of World War II that destroyed 85 percent of the city.
  • Private shabbat dinner with Helise Lieberman, director of the Taube Center for the Renewal of Jewish Life in Poland and Zbyszek Nizinski, the creator and President of The Lasting Memory Foundation.
    • Helise Lieberman is the director of the Taube Center for the Renewal of Jewish Life in Poland. A former Hillel director, she was the founding principal of the Lauder-Morasha Day School in Warsaw and has served as consultant to the Rothschild Foundation Europe, the Westbury Group, and the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. She is an educational consultant for JDC in the Baltics. In 2007-2008, Ms. Lieberman received a scholarship to participate in the Senior Educators Program of the Melton Centre for Jewish Education at Hebrew University. As a Jewish Peoplehood educator, she is a member of the International Task Force on Jewish Peoplehood Education and is helping shape the Koret-Taube Initiative on Jewish Peoplehood based in San Francisco. Ms. Lieberman, born in the U.S., has lived in Warsaw since 1994 with her husband, Yale Reisner, and their daughter, Nitzan. In 2015 Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs presented Ms. Lieberman with the Bene Merito medal for her contribution to Polish-Jewish relations.
    • Since 1999, Zbyszek Nizinski has been travelling across Poland and searching for disappearing Jewish cemeteries and mass graves of the murdered Victims. He has visited more than 600 cemeteries and the sites of mass extermination. He has reached elderly witnesses to the extermination as well as people with the title of the Righteous among the Nations of the World. He was awarded the diploma by Embassy of Israel in Poland and Jewish Historical Institute for his activity supporting the preservation of Jewish heritage. At the request of the Association of “the Children of the Holocaust”, he was honored with the medal by the Association of Jewish War Veterans. In 2008, he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Order of the Rebirth of Poland by the President of Poland. In 2010 he was granted the Honorary Membership of the Polish Association of the Righteous Among the Nations. {Note: we were referred to Zbyszek by OC resident Jack Pariser, a long-time supporter of Zybsek's work in Poland}.
  • Sunset: 8:53 PM

Overnight: Bristol, Warsaw

Day Seven: Saturday, July 13, 2019
SHABBAT IN WARSAW | walking tour

  • Sunrise: 4:29 AM
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Optional: Shabbat Services at a local synagogue (Orthodox and Reform services available) or morning at leisure to explore the city on your own.
  • Optional: Visit the Keret House the narrowest house in the world, which was named after an Israeli writer of Polish descent, Etgar Keret. Designed by architect Jakub Szczesny, the steel-framed construction is finished with Styrofoam and plywood with its widest point being 152cm and its narrowest just 92cm. The son of a Polish Jew who spent 3 years of the war hiding from the Germans in a compartment under the floor of a Warsaw house, Keret sees this project as an ‘external eye' on Warsaw and its cultural landscape. He wants to show that Warsaw is a lively and multicultural city totally at odds with the image created by the Ministry of Education in Israel who he feels indoctrinate Israeli youth in a ‘pilgrimage of hatred'. The location is also significant. Found on what was the border between the large and small ghettos of WWII Warsaw, the building can be found perched between a Communist era block and a pre-war tenement which is meant as a comment on the neighborhood's divided past ‘The buildings were not touching each other which is symbolic of the ignorance during the Communist period' says Szczesny. If a symbol was needed for the district this surely should be it in our opinion.
  • 12:00 p.m. The Road to Renewal and Rediscovery - The Polish Jews of Today: What are the key issues facing Polish Jews today? Shabbat lunch at Kosher Delight with leaders of the Warsaw community including Monika Elliot, Program Director of JDC, and Magda Dorosz, Director of Hillel Warsaw. We'll learn how young Polish Jews are both confronting the country's tortured past as well as rediscovering and celebrating their Jewish roots.
    • Monika Elliot. During her 14 years of work with the JDC, she has served in many fields (children and youth department, visitor and mission groups, etc.). For the past several years, she has been responsible for multiple major initiatives within the Jewish community: LimudKeszet Poland, Inbal, and [email protected] (Night of the Synagogues in Krakow). Monika was born and raised in Warsaw, Poland. She studied in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Warsaw, where she wrote an MA about the life and work of Abraham Joshua Heschel. In addition to working with the JDC, Monika has served as an editor at the academic journal Znak, an events coordinator for the Philosophy Commission of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and a press monitor concerning the coverage of Israeli affairs by the Polish media.
    • Magda Dorosz was born in 1984 in Wroclaw, Poland. She holds an M.A. in public administration from the University of Wroclaw. During her studies she took a year off and spent it traveling around South Africa. Magda first became involved with Jewish life in Poland in 2011, and from 2012 until 2015 she served as the executive director of the Jewish Community of Wroclaw. As part of her role, she established Chidusz, a monthly magazine dedicated to educating and promoting cooperation between Poles and Polish Jews and sought to bring the Polish Jewish community closer to Jewish communities throughout the world. Magda is currently the executive director of Hillel Warsaw, the first Polish branch of Hillel International, that provides social and educational activities for Jewish young adults who are looking to explore their Jewish heritage and gain a deeper understanding of their Jewish identity. She also works with Taglit Birthright Israel and Masa in Poland, through which hundreds of young adults are sent on educational programs to Israel to help strengthen their Jewish identity.
  • Visit Warsaw's Old Town. Established in the 13th century but destroyed by the German army during WWII, the Old Town has been meticulously rebuilt using the original stones. We'll walk through market place, once a thriving center of European cultural life and now once again a vibrant and exciting area of fashionable restaurants and shops. Highlights of the Old Town include its beautiful, medieval walls and the Warsaw Barbican, part of the historical fortifications that once encircled Warsaw which has been carefully reconstructed after damage due the war. Another prominent example of the Old Town's rebuilding since the carnage of WWII is John's Arch cathedral, which has been reconstructed according to its original 14th century Gothic style.
  • Return to the hotel.
  • 6:00 p.m. Private early Seuda Slishit meal at the hotel and dialogue with leaders of The Forum for Dialogue, a non-profit Polish organization whose mission is to foster Polish-Jewish dialogue, eradicate anti-Semitism and teach tolerance through education. Forum recognizes that the traces of ties that were ruptured in World War Two remain in memories and family stories, but also in misunderstandings and prejudices harbored. Their work in Poland focuses on raising awareness of the histories of Jews in Poland, including the way these histories were conveyed to descendants of Polish Jews. They show different perspectives on shared historical events. Internationally, they facilitate the formation of bonds between Jews and the country of their ancestors. They build people-to-people trust. They confront difficult questions. They connect people and their histories. The Forum work with thought leaders, activists, teachers and students from Poland and from abroad. Together they hope to write a new chapter in Polish/Jewish history.
  • Enjoy a free evening in Warsaw. Once considered Europe's “city of lights,” check out the atmosphere of modern Warsaw with restaurants and cafes serving local and international cuisine.
  • Sunset: 8:52 PM

Overnight: Bristol, Warsaw

Day Eight: Sunday, July 14, 2019

  • Sunrise: 4:31 AM
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Take a guided visit to the Warsaw Ghetto. Here, we'll see the Remnants of the Ghetto Wall and the Nathan Rapoport Warsaw Ghetto Memorial and retrace, at the Path of Remembrance, the steps taken in 1943 by heroic fighters during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. At Mila 18, we will commemorate the doomed uprising and at Umschlagplatz, the holding area before transportation to the Treblinka death camp, reflect on the fate of the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto.
  • 10:00 a.m. “Let the World Read and Know What the Murderers Have Done": Explore the Ringelblum Archives, an eye-witness record of life and death in the Warsaw Ghetto. These diaries, letters, underground newspapers, and studies were collected and collated, at great risk, by a group of Jewish historians and leaders living in the Ghetto. We'll see the milk cannisters and metal boxes where Emmanuel Ringelblum and his “Oneg Shabbat” team hid this material and examine what they reveal about Jewish life under Nazi terror.
  • 11:00 a.m. Visit the Jewish Genealogy & Family Heritage Center and meet with their staff for a conversation on roots exploration. Thousands of individuals, from Poland and abroad, turn to the Genealogy Center to help them uncover documents, contact long-lost relatives, or research their ancestral home.
  • Lunch (not included in package), en route.
  • Explore the Warsaw Rising Museum, which traces the history of the city's uprising against German occupation in 1944. Opened on August 1, 2004, to mark the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the fight for Warsaw, the museum displays all aspects of the battle, as well as everyday life in Warsaw against the background of the German Nazi occupation. Additionally, the exhibition explains the complicated international situation of that time, including the communist terror after the end of World War Two and the persecution of insurgents in communist Poland. More than 500 exhibit items, 1,000 photographs, films, and sound recordings depict the days leading up to the outbreak of the uprising, its day-by-day development, the forced evacuation of the civilians from Warsaw, and the insurgents' experience after their heroic fight was over.
  • 4:00 p.m. The Jewish Community in Poland - Past, Present & Future: Dialogue with Agata Rakowiecka, Chief Executive Officer of the Warsaw Jewish Community Center, at the JCC. The JCC, located in a 3,000 square feet multi-level building, has become a vibrant center of Jewish life in Warsaw. Agata graduated from Polish Philology and Speech Language Therapy at the University of Warsaw and from Melton Program at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She is a Jewish educator with years of experience in informal Jewish education in Poland and abroad.
  • 6:00 p.m. Attend a Chopin concert and enjoy the music of Poland's greatest composer, and Warsaw's favorite son. Frédéric Chopin, French in full Frédéric François Chopin, Polish Fryderyk Franciszek Szopen, was born on March 1, 1810 in Zelazowa Wola, near Warsaw, Duchy of Warsaw [now in Poland] and died October 17, 1849 in Paris, France. A pianist of the Romantic period, he is best known for his solo pieces for piano and his piano concerti. Drawing on his Polish upbringing, the 1830s saw Chopin enjoy an impressively productive spell, composing a series of acclaimed polonaises and mazurkas. Although he wrote little but piano works, many of them brief, Chopin ranks as one of music's greatest tone poets by reason of his superfine imagination and fastidious craftsmanship.
  • Return to the hotel.
  • Dinner on your own and evening at leisure. There are lots of places to choose from for your dinner out in Warsaw. Some of the City's best spots include Zapiecek. Bar Mleczny Prasowy, Polka. Restauracja Kameralna, Restauracja Belvedere (located in the famous Lazienki Królewskie Park - one of the finest settings of any restaurant in Warsaw), U Kucharzy (a charming Michelin-starred restaurant located not far from the Old Town, located in a beautiful 17th-century Warsaw Armory building - combines traditional Polish food with a pinch of French elegance) and Restauracja Polska Rózana (an elegant old-style restaurant that specializes in Polish cuisine). For more details, visit this link.  If you are looking for vegetarian options, consider Krowarzywa Vegan Burger, Veg Deli, Momencik, Chwast Food - visit this link for more ideas.  Chocolate lovers should check out Wedel Chocolate Lounge (the Szpitalna Street location is a definite must-see thanks to its opulent 19th-century interior with Art Nouveau elements and mahogany furniture, which will make you feel like you've travelled back in time).
  • Sunset: 8:51 PM

Overnight: Bristol, Warsaw

Day Nine: Monday, July 15, 2019

  • Sunrise: 4:32 AM
  • Breakfast at the hotel and check out.
  • 8:30 a.m. Load your luggage onto the luggage truck, which will be separately transferred to Krakow. Remember to take a day bag with you with your passport, valuables, etc.
  • 9:30 a.m. Shelter from the Storm: Local guides will escort us to the site of a remarkable display of heroism. During World War Two, hundreds of Jews were hidden at the Zabinski Villa at Warsaw Zoo. Learn how zookeeper Jan Zabinski smuggled Jews to the zoo from the Warsaw Ghetto and see the cellar and abandoned animal enclosures where they hid. We'll also view the piano on which Jan's wife, Antonina Zabinski, would play a special tune to warn that Germans were approaching. Honored by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations, the story of the Zabinskis inspired the book and film, The Zookeper's Wife. In May 2015 Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews launched a virtual exhibition "The House Under a Wacky Star" which presents the story of Jews who survived the war at the Warsaw ZOO. The exhibition is available at the page org.pl
  • Transfer to Warsaw train station.
  • 11:50 a.m. Depart Warsaw and travel by train to Krakow. {The journey is approximately 2.5 hours.} Kraków(also Cracow) is the second largest, and one of the oldest, cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River, the city dates back to the 7th century and has been one of the leading centers of Polish academic, cultural and artistic life. Jewish history in the city can be traced back to the 14th or 15th century. At the start of World War II, there were 60,000 Jews living in Kraków, one-fourth of the entire population.
  • Boxed lunch, en route.
  • 2:19 p.m. arrive in Krakow and drive by the first Beis Yaakov School. The idea of establishing religious schools for Jewish women emerged in Kraków in the early 20th In 1917 Sarah Szenirer, born to a family of Hasidic Jews from the town of Belz, founded the first school for Orthodox Jewish women under name “Beit Yaakov” ("House of Jacob” in Hebrew) in a tailor's workshop at the corner of Krakowska and Sw. Katarzyny Streets. In the beginning of its existence, the school was attended by 25 students. The school curriculum incorporated lessons on the Torah and practical subjects that could prove useful in the life of every Jewish woman. The school was later relocated to a building at 30 Augustianska Street. In the years 1917-1919, it was attended by 250 female students. The Beit Yaakov school could operate thanks to funds provided by influential Orthodox Jews from Kraków: Mojzesz Deutscher, M. Luksemburg and A. Szapiro. Starting from 1919, it was supported by Agudath Yisrael, an Orthodox Jewish party, which contributed significantly to the expansion of the network of schools into the whole territory of Poland (after Kraków, two other religious schools for Jewish girls were established in Tarnów and Ostrowiec). In 1922 a two-year seminary for Beit Yaakov female teachers (so-called higher education courses) was established in Kraków on the initiative of Rabbi Meir Szapiro. The opening ceremony was accompanied by a speech delivered by Aron Lewin, a rabbi and a Member of the Sejm for Agudath Yisrael. The lecturers of the seminary came from Germany and Switzerland and all had university degrees. n 1924 Kraków hosted a session of the Agudath Yisrael World Central Council, during which a decision was made (after an inspection) to include the Beit Yaakov school in the Religious Education Fund (Keren ha-Tora). In 1928 a four-floor building of the religious school for girls was constructed at 10 Sw. Stanislawa Street according to the design of Roman Weindling, a Jewish architect from Kraków. At that time similar establishments developed at a fast rate, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe, and Palestine. By the mid-1930s, the school was attended by about 450 students, including girls from Great Britain and the United States. By 1938, 250 branches of the school had provided education to 38,000 female students in the whole country. “Beit Yaakov” operated in Poland until 1939.
  • The Kazimierz Jewish Quarter (the district south of the Old Town between the Wisla River and ul. Dietla - where a tributary of the Wisla once flowed) has been the heart of Jewish life in Krakow for 500 years and is now one of the city's most attractive and bohemian areas. ell-known for its associations with Schindler and Spielberg, traces of Kazimierz's Jewish history have not only survived, but literally abound in the form of the district's numerous synagogues and Jewish cemeteries. In fact, no other place in Europe conveys a sense of pre-war Jewish culture on the continent better than Kazimierz. As a result, the district has become a major tourist draw and pilgrimage site for Jews, which has led to the return of contemporary Jewish culture in the area. Each summer since 1988 the massively popular Jewish Culture Festival has filled Kazimierz's streets and cafes with music, while educating Kraków's residents and guests about the city's pre-war Jewish history and celebrating modern Jewish culture. The fact that it's one of the year's biggest parties proves that there's more to Kazimierz than sepia photographs and old synagogues. Here you'll find the heart of Kraków's artistic, bohemian character behind the wooden shutters of dozens of antique shops and art galleries. Peeling façades and obscure courtyards hide dozens of bars and cafes, many affecting an air of pre-war timelessness. Centered around the former Jewish square now known as Plac Nowy, Kazimierz has emerged as the city's best destination for cafe culture and nightlife. Our tour will include:
    • The Altshul. Built in the 15th century, this is the oldest synagogue still standing in Poland and an important example of Jewish architecture in Europe. It was designed as a fortress synagogue to assist in the defense of the city. We'll visit its museum which celebrates Krakow's Jewish heritage through exhibits based on life-cycle events.
    • The Rema Synagogue, named after Rabbi Moses Isserles (the “Rema"), a great Talmudic scholar and codifier of Jewish law. Reconstructed many times, the synagogue still includes some of its original features from the 16th century. It is one of the few synagogues in Krakow still active today.
    • The Rema Cemetery, which was established in 1535. Many renowned rabbis, including the Rema himself, are buried here. But this is also the burial place of a man who may not have existed. A tombstone marks the grave of “Yossele the Holy Miser,” a legendary figure of Polish Jewish folklore.
    • The Tempel Synagogue. Built in the 19th century and repeatedly extended, this Reform synagogue with its 36 stained glass windows is evidence of the growing power of non-Orthodox religious movements in Poland before the war. No longer used as a synagogue, it instead hosts artistic events and is a key venue in the revival of Jewish culture in the city.
    • 5:00 p.m. The Galicia Jewish Museum, with its powerful photographs of Jewish life in Polish Galicia. It includes exhibitions on the richness and diversity of Galician Jewish culture as well as haunting images of its destruction.
  • Check into the hotel.
  • 8:00 p.m. Dinner at Hawelka with organizers of the Krakow Jewish Festival, a key element in the recent revitalization of Jewish life and culture in Krakow. The Festival was first developed as a scholarly conference aiming to strengthen mutual understanding among Jewish and Polish cultures. Today the Festival offers over 100 events featuring international performers and participants. Klezmer music, Hasidic, classical, and Jewish folk music, films, performances, presentations, exhibitions, and workshops in klezmology, Hebrew calligraphy, Jewish cooking, Hasidic dance and song are all Festival activities.
  • Sunset: 8:19 PM

Overnight: Indigo, Krakow.  Right in the heart of the city, between Stary Kleparz and Plac Matejki, this lovingly restored historical building from 1836 is an artsy boutique hotel. Paying homage to the neighborhood and nearby Academy of Fine Arts, the design of each floor is dedicated to one of three local artists: Matejko, Wyspianski or Nowosielski. The past and the future meet in the streets around the hotel, where Wawel Castle and the Renaissance Cloth Hall on the old town's medieval square rub shoulders with new museums, cutting-edge galleries and buzzing bars. The old town, Florianska's shops and the vibrant nightlife of the Kazimierz district are all easily accessible on foot.

Day Ten: Tuesday, July 16, 2019

  • Sunrise: 4:53 AM
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • 8:00 a.m. Depart the hotel. {The drive to Auschwitz is approximately 1 hour}.
  • 9:30 a.m. In This Place: Guided visit through the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex, the largest of the Nazi concentration and extermination centers. Over 1.1 million people lost their lives in these camps which have become the ultimate symbol of the Holocaust. Its first victims were Polish political prisoners but soon the camp was transformed into a center of the mass extermination of Jews according to Hitler's idea of a “Final Solution”. Our experience will include reflections on personal stories and texts and a visit to the original Auschwitz concentration camp. Its museum, located in the original camp block blocks, includes powerful artifacts and haunting footage of the lives and deaths of prisoners. We will then make the short drive to the Auschwitz II death camp, also known as Birkenau. This camp, barely touched or renovated since the war, provides intimate insight into the tragedy that occurred here.
  • Boxed lunch en route.
  • 3:00 p.m. mincha at the Oswiecim synagogue - we will reflect, as individuals and as a group, on what we have experienced. This synagogue stands as a silent witness to the horrors of the Holocaust. Oswiecim (in German, Auschwitz) was before the Holocaust an ordinary Polish town with a Jewish majority and many synagogues. Jews began to settle in Oswiecim in the mid-16th century and soon built their first synagogue. In the 1920s the Jewish community formed 40% of the town's population. The Auschwitz Jewish Center (AJC) in Oswiecim, operated by the Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, is just two miles from the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps. The only Jewish presence in the vicinity of Auschwitz, the Center opened its doors in September 2000 so that people from around the world could gather to learn, pray, and remember the victims of the Holocaust. Meet with Tomasz Kuncewicz, director of the Oswiecim Jewish Center. Tomasz received his Masters' degrees in English Studies from Poznan University and in Jewish History from Brandeis University. His major interests are Polish-Jewish history, the Holocaust, antisemitism, other forms of xenophobia, and anti-discrimination education.
  • Once upon a time, so long ago, long before the end of the story, the Jews of Central Europe would take trains to Auschwitz for the privilege of dying in its mystical terrain. In “Sefer Oshpitzin,” the town's yizkor book, compiled by residents of the now extinct shtetl, one man recalled those “whose entire lives revolved around the desire that, after their demise, they should be interred in Oshpitzin,” as the town was known in Yiddish. Over the centuries, the village, once near the Prussian border, was called Auschwitz by Germans and Austrians; Oswiecim by Poles; and Oshpitzin by Jews, a word-play on Oswiecim and Ushpizin (the welcoming of biblical guests to one's sukkah), for this village was famous for its hospitality. Every Avrum, Yitz and Yankev seemed to know that if you were detained at the border while passports or merchandise awaited approval, you could find a good shul, a good bed and a good meal here, as if you were as special as Ushpizin's Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Before Auschwitz was haunted it was famous for hearth and home. The New York Jewish Week, June 11, 2014.
  • Return to Krakow.
  • Time permitting, we will drive through the site of the Podgorze After being forced into the ghetto, many were then deported to the death camps. Others were killed in Podgorze when the ghetto was liquidated in 1943. Our visit will include:
    • The Krakow Umschlagplatz memorial, now called Ghetto Heroes Square, which was the center of the Podgorze ghetto. Its “lonely chairs” are a remarkable monument to those who have vanished.
    • A stop by the Oscar Schindler Factory Museum. The museum is located in the enamel factory owned by Schindler and his wife Emilie, which they used to protect over 1,000 Jews from deportation to Auschwitz
  • 7:00 p.m. The Krakow Jewish Community of Today and a Vision for the Future: Evening program at the Krakow Jewish Community Center with Jonathan Ornstein, the JCC Director. Enjoy dinner followed by Klezmer music concert, performed by Urszula Makosz and her band.
    • JCC Krakow Opened in 2008 by Prince Charles of Wales, the beautiful four-story JCC is located in the heart of the old Jewish quarter where seven pre-war synagogues still stand. As the hub of Jewish activity and learning and a one-stop shop for all things Jewish going on in the city, the JCC runs a baby nursery, a Sunday school, a newspaper, a choir, a sports and health facility, workshops and classes of all kinds and clubs for NextGeners, middle-age “Schmoozers,” and Holocaust survivors. Additionally, the JCC offers facilities for seniors with their own dedicated space for yoga, physical rehab, languages, computers and arts and crafts. Though the Center's 550 members are Jewish or have Jewish roots, many programs are open to the community at large.
    • For the past nine years, Jonathan Ornstein has been the founding Executive Director of the Jewish Community Centre in Krakow, Poland. Today it boasts a membership of 630 Jews in a city that only a few years ago was considered a Jewish wasteland where Jews lived no longer. And the numbers keep growing. Jonathan believes there are still thousands of Poles with Jewish roots living in Krakow and his mission is to find them, bring them back to the JCC and give them a chance to return to Jewish life. He lives, breathes, chants and repeats his slogans every day, all day: “building a Jewish future in Krakow”, “Krakow, the city of Jewish rebirth”, “we can't change the number of those murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust, we can, however change the number of those Jewish Poles lost to the Jewish world”, “Judaism is defined not by death and destruction but by life, survival and our ability to adapt to new circumstances”, “If we can rebuild Jewish life down the road from Auschwitz, what does that say about the resilience of the Jewish people”?
    • Urszula Makosz is a classically trained singer and actor and has toured Poland and abroad.  She became interested in Yiddish language and song after her first time attending the Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow.  Makosz' award-winning Jewish musical performances typically include songs about the ghetto, the resistance, and the Holocaust, as well as more everyday issues, such as love and family. She often sings the songs of Mordechai Gebirtig, a composer and lyricist Piekarski calls “Krakow's bard.” Gebirtig, who was from Kazimierz, the Jewish district of Krakow, was killed in the city's ghetto in 1942. Like many young Poles who have an interest in Jewish culture and tradition, Makosz has a family connection to Judaism. Her grandmother was Jewish. But, Makosz said, her grandmother never passed Jewish culture on to her children or grandchildren.
  • Sunset: 8:20 PM

Overnight: Indigo, Krakow

Day Eleven: Wednesday, July 17, 2019

  • Sunrise: 4:49 AM
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • 8:00 a.m. Depart Krakow and visit a village participating in the Forum for Dialogue's “School for Dialogue” program. The School of Dialogue is an educational program that aims to get non-Jewish Polish students of secondary-level schools acquainted with the history of Jews in Poland as well with their contribution to the social, cultural and economic development of the country. Workshop participants learn about the history of their region, often uncovering forgotten facts related to the local Jewish community that co-created the social landscape of their towns. Young people search and reconstruct the local Jewish heritage on their own, commemorating their town's Jewish past. In the course of four workshops led by Forum's trained educators, students embark on their personal journey toward discovering their town's past. They conduct interviews with members of their own families, sift through archives, talk to local activists, all with the aim to reconstruct the Jewish community that once inhabited their town. It is them - the students - who become guides and present what they've learned through various activities to their parents, neighbors, friends and local authorities. They organize walking tours and events on Jewish culture, create films, websites and brochures dedicated to local history as well as self-guided walking tours and routes they publish online and in local tourist information centers and institutions. Students become teachers of their own teachers, parents and town officials. Thanks to their actions, Jews cease to be “others” and again become neighbors who, despite having perished, are not forgotten.
  • Visit the school and meet with students and embark on a walking tour with the students following the Jewish history of their town
  • Boxed lunch, en route.
  • Return to Krakow.
  • Time permitting: Guided visit to one of Kraków's most famous landmarks, the Wawel Royal Castle. The glorious ensemble that is Wawel, perched on top of the hill of the same name immediately south of the Old Town, is by far the most important collection of buildings in Poland. A symbol of national pride, hope, self-rule and not least of all fierce patriotism, Wawel offers a uniquely Polish version of the British Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey rolled into one. A gorgeous assortment of predominantly Romanesque, Renaissance and Gothic architecture dating from around the 14th century onwards, Wawel is the crown jewel of Kraków's architectural treasures and required visiting for Poles and foreigners alike. Made up of the Castleand the Cathedral, of which the former contains most, but by no means all of the exhibitions, Wawel's must-see highlights include the opulent State Rooms, a tantalising glimpse of Poland's very own crown jewels inside the Crown Treasury, the historical interiors of the Cathedral, and - weather permitting - a leisurely stroll around its courtyards and gardens.
  • Guided walk to Krakow's Historical Market Square (“Rynek”), with its medieval architecture, basilicas and sculptures. This UNESCO World Heritage site, once the capital of Poland, was not destroyed during WWII and bears witness to the rich history of the country. Originally designed in 1257 - the year Kraków was awarded its charter - the grid-like layout of the Old Town and its central square has changed little in the years that have followed. Measuring 200 metres square, the Rynek ranks as one of the largest medieval squares in Europe, and is surrounded by elegant townhouses, all with their own unique names, histories and curiosities. Through the centuries it was in Kraków's Rynek that homage to the king was sworn and public executions held. Most famously it was here that Tadeusz Kosciuszko roused the locals to revolt against foreign rule in 1794. The Rynek has always been the natural stage for public celebrations, with everything from parades of sausage dogs to Christmas crib competitions taking place. Not all the events have had been happy affairs however, and back in the 17th century King Jan Sobieski III was privy to a firework display which ended in bloodshed when some of the explosives were accidentally fired into the crowd. More recently the market square was subjected to a Nazi rally attended by Der Führer himself when the square's name was changed to ‘Adolf Hitler Platz' during German occupation. Fortunately, the moniker didn't last long and today the Rynek occupies itself by hosting annual Christmas and Easter markets, as well as numerous festivals and outdoor concerts.
  • Return to the hotel.
  • 7:30 p.m. Thoughts and Feelings: A farewell dinner at Wierzynek will allow us to reflect and share about our journey together. Some history the restaurant: Quite a launch party this place: according to legend the opening night back in 1364 was attended by five kings and nine princes. Since then it's been one esteemed guest after another, with former diners including De Gaulle, Bush, Castro and other world leaders, as well as starlets like Sophie Marceau and Kate Moss. The immaculate interiors of original period furnishings, tapestries, oil paintings and incredible timber ceilings aren't too dissimilar from a tour of Wawel Castle (making it a perfect backdrop for the frequent Chopin concerts) and you can expect a royal treatment from the staff. The seriously high-end menu is based on the traditional feasting habits of the Polish monarchy, but it hasn't failed to adopt modern influences as well, meaning you'll eat like a king and remember the experience - one you could only have in Kraków - for quite a long time. If you aren't ready for a white glove dinner, you can now visit their champagne bar.
  • Sunset: 8:42 PM

Overnight: Indigo, Krakow

Day Twelve: Thursday, July 18, 2019

  • Breakfast at the hotel and check out.
  • 7:10 a.m. Transfer to Krakow International Airport.
  • 9:40 a.m. Depart Krakow on Lufthansa flight #1621, arriving to Munich at 10:55 a.m.
  • 12:00 p.m. Depart Munich on Lufthansa flight #452, arriving to Los Angeles at 3:05 p.m.

Da'at Educational Expeditions itineraries may contain suggestions for activities for your leisure time; these suggestions do not constitute a recommendation nor an endorsement of any specific service provider and the decision to participate in any such activities should be made independently.

To book this package, please contact one of our reservation agents at 888-811-2812.

Flight Details

Accommodation Details

Pacai Hotel Image

Pacai Hotel

PACAI hotel is the first Design Hotel in the Baltic states, opened its doors in the Spring of 2018. Combining the noble traditions of 17-18th century bon-vivant lifestyle, historical architecture and vibrant modern design, PACAI hotel enjoys the most privileged position in the heart of Vilnius Old Town, on the main Didžioji street

Hotel Bristol Image

Hotel Bristol

The hotel is located on fashionable "Royal Route", near the Old Town, Royal Castle, National Theatre, and in the neighborhood of Presidential Palace.

Hotel Indigo Image

Hotel Indigo

Right in the heart of the city, Hotel Indigo® Krakow – Old Town blends historic Polish art with contemporary style. The past and the future meet in the streets around the hotel, where Wawel Castle and the Renaissance Cloth Hall on the old town’s medieval square rub shoulders with new museums, cutting-edge galleries and buzzing bars.

  • Group rates are per person based on double occupancy and a minimum of 20 full paying participants per bus. Should the number of participants drop below the minimum listed above, we will adjust the cost of the trip to reflect the additional expense of operating the program.
  • Tour prices are per person in U.S. dollars. All hotel accommodations, motor coach transportation, special dinners, sightseeing, admissions, luggage handling and the services of local guides, drivers, and the tour guide/educator are included.
  • The initial deposit for this tour is $300 per person. This deposit is non-refundable.
  • Final payment for this tour is due April 23, 2019.
  • Cancellation policy for this tour:
    • Cancellations received up to 75 days prior to departure (i.e. until April 23, 2019): entail a cancellation fee of $300 per person (the initial deposit)
    • Cancellations received between 74 and 31 days prior to departure (i.e. from April 24, 2019 to June 6, 2019): entail a cancellation fee of 50% of the tour cost.
    • Cancellations received between 30 and zero days prior to departure or no-shows (i.e. as of June 7, 2019): entail a cancellation fee of 100% of the tour cost.
  • Airport Taxes & Fuel Surcharges are estimated and subject to change at any time. 
    Airport Taxes & Fuel Surcharges are not guaranteed unless the group air tickets have been issued. Group air tickets are issued approximately 35 days prior to departure. Group air tickets are only issued upon receipt of full payment from all of the trip participants. 
    Air and land packages are open for registration until March 08, 2019 (based on availability), thereafter the tour will be available for land-only services. Cancellation of group air reservations after March 08, 2019 (and before the group flight tickets are issued) will entail a penalty of $100 per ticket. 

    Airfare to the tour departure point and from the tour ending point is not included. 
    Airfare may be purchased from us for travel originating in the United States. Please see Flights tab in the right-side toolbar.

    Hotel Accommodations: The tour price includes all hotel accommodations, in hotel rooms with private baths. Our standard is to provide the best available hotels while considering value. Although the level of the accommodations may differ slightly from hotel to hotel, we are committed to your comfort. Two-bed rooms are reserved in most hotels. Triples are two-bed rooms with a rollaway cot where available and are not recommended when considering the comfort of those in the room. King-size beds are not available in most hotels; what is considered king-size usually consists of two single beds pushed together and made up separately, but with one headboard. Some two-bed rooms may have two twin - not full- or queen-size - beds.
  • Meals are included as specified in the itinerary.
  • Expedition Director / Tour Educator or Guide: All trips are conducted by our tour educators or local guides who remain with the group throughout the tour.
  • Gratuities Included: All gratuities for restaurant staff are included.
  • Baggage: All tour packages / group tours allow one piece of luggage per person and one carry-on bag. Excess luggage will be subject to charge of up to $100 per piece. The Travel Agent and/or Tour Operator, shall not be held responsible for any damage to or loss of luggage/personal items. All damage/loss must be reported at time of incident and documented in writing by local authorities for submission to the insurance company. With regard to airline baggage allowance, different carriers have different regulations for business and coach, please check with your individual carrier with regard to permitted number of pieces, weights and dimensions. The tour operator is not responsible for fees levied by any air carrier for the transport of personal belongings of any kind.


Not Included

  • Personal Expenses: All personal expenses such as: laundry, valet service, cables, telephone calls and postage are not included.
  • Guide and Driver Gratuities:
    In keeping with normal standards in international tourism, we recommend the following for tipping:
    • 20 passengers and more: ARZA World tour educator $8, local guide $5, driver $3 - per participant per day


Additional Information

  • Airline Security Measures: In the U.S., you must provide identification in the form of a passport at the time of airport check-in for travel to international destinations. Your passport name must match the name on your tour reservation and airline ticket or you may be denied boarding.
  • If you are traveling from an airport outside the jurisdiction of the U.S, you will need to determine what travel documentation and identification is required for that particular airport.
  • Due to heightened security regulations, certain items such as a metal nail file, pocketknife, cigarette lighter or tweezers, and some liquid, gel, or aerosol items may not be permitted in your carry-on luggage. Please call your airline prior to departure to obtain current information on non-permissible carry-on items and recommended airport check-in times. You may also wish to visit the Transportation Security Administration website at www.tsa.gov to obtain more information on acceptable identity documentation and prohibited luggage items.
  • Air Services: Once issued, tickets are non-refundable. Airline schedules and flights are subject to change without notice. We will not be responsible for penalties incurred for tickets, international or domestic, not issued by us due to schedule and/or flight changes. Airlines reserve the right to demand immediate issuance of tickets whenever they determine that specific flights are heavily booked even when normal ticketing rules do not require tickets to be issued until a later date. In this instance, we will require immediate and full payment of the airfare and airport taxes and fees as itemized on the invoice. This situation overrides invoice terms and conditions and payment due dates. If full payment is not received, seats will be cancelled by the airline and may not be available to be rebooked on the same flights or at the same airfare. Any replacement air arrangements and airfare will be the sole responsibility of the passenger. We suggest you contact your travel agent or the carrier several weeks prior to departure for seat assignments. Passengers are responsible to reconfirm their flights 72 hours prior to departure for all flights. Package is based on discount fares for group travel. Group members deviating from group dates will be charged a $75 deviation fee per person.
  • Holidays and Museum Closures - Museum visits and personal shopping time may be disrupted due to unforeseen circumstances or the many religious, state and local holidays locally observed in the destinations being visited
  • Photography During Tours: We will occasionally use photographs taken by fellow guests or your trip director for promotional purposes. If you prefer that your photo not be used in any marketing activities, please notify us at the start of your tour.