- 7 nights' accommodation at select hotels
- 7 days of touring in a luxury, air-conditioned bus with licensed, English speaking local tour guides
- Da'at tour educator accompanying the group throughout
- Individual transfers and assistance from and to the airport
- All site entrance fees and program fees as per itinerary
- Meals: daily breakfast & 3 dinners
- Portage at the hotels
- Whisper system throughout
Day One: Sunday, February 9, 2020
Day Two: Monday, February 10, 2020 | Tu BiShvat
ARRIVAL IN FRANKFURT
- Arrival at Frankfurt International Airport.
- Meet your tour educator who will accompany you on this journey of education and inspiration.
- Explore Frankfurt and visit:
- The Römerand the Römerplatz, the City Hall and old town square.
- The Book Burning Memorial - site of a Nazi book burning.
- Bartholomew, better known as the Kaiserdom - an Imperial Church and site of the elections and coronations of the Holy Roman Emperor for centuries.
- The Stolperstein (Stumble Stones) - a sobering way to commemorate the many victims of the Nazi regime.
- Proceed to the Museum Judengasse (Jews' Alley/Lane), narrating the rich culture and history of the city's Jewish community. The museum opened in 1998 on the 50th anniversary of a pogrom commonly known as the “Night of Broken Glass” (Kristallnacht).
- Stop next to the Jewish Ghetto Wall (Staufenmauer). Built-in 1180 and initially used as a defensive wall, it later became one of the walls that surrounded the first Jewish Ghetto in Germany.
- Walk along the Holocaust Memorial Wall, a memorial created by the city of Frankfurt to commemorate the 12,000 Frankfurt Jewish Citizens who lost their lives during the Holocaust, including Anne Frank.
- Check into the hotel.
- Welcome dinner and orientation dialogue with your tour educator. During this introduction session, we'll look forward to the days ahead, preview some of the highlights and themes of our trip and share personal expectations of what we will experience in Germany.
Day Three: Tuesday, February 11, 2020
THE “SHUM” CITIES
- Explore the three important centers of Jewish theology and learning in Central Europe during the Middle Ages. Known collectively as “Shum” (based on the initials of the Hebrew names of the cities - Shpira, Vermayza, and Magentza), the cities of Speyer, Worms, and Mainz maintained a lively exchange of ideas and were famous for their important yeshivas and pioneering rabbinical conferences.
- The Shum Cities and Their Impact on Judaism in Medieval Europe with your tour educator.
- Depart Frankfurt and drive to Speyer, whose Jewish history reaches back over 1,000 years. In the Middle Ages, the city of Speyer was home to one of the most significant Jewish communities in the Holy Roman Empire. The community was wiped out in 1940.
- Begin at the Jewish Courtyard, the central area of the Jewish Quarter in Speyer, and continue to the remains of the synagogue and the well-preserved mikveh (ritual bath), built-in 1128 and the oldest of its type in Germany.
- Proceed to Worms, the oldest city in Germany and a center of Medieval Ashkenazic Judaism, and pay visits to:
- The Worms Synagogue, dating from 1175 and reconstructed in 1961 after its desecration on Kristallnacht.
- The Jewish cemetery (also known as “Heiliger Sand”), dating from the 11th century and reflecting 900 years of Jewish community life in Worms.
- The Rashi House, a Jewish Museum housed in the former school in which the famous scholar once studied.
- Proceed to Mainz, which was a major center of religious teaching, known for the work of Rabbi Gershom ben Judah (Rabbeinu Gershom), whose teachings and legal decisions had an impact on Judaism at large.
- Visit the city's new synagogue, designed by architect Manuel Herz and built-in 2010 in response to the Jewish community's rapid growth rate in the city. Meet with a member of the local Jewish community, which has been growing mainly due to an influx of immigrants from Eastern Europe (pending confirmation).
- Return to the hotel in Frankfurt.
Day Four: Wednesday, February 12, 2020
EXPLORING ERFURT EN ROUTE TO DRESDEN
- Check out of the hotel and depart Frankfurt northeast toward Erfurt, where there has been a historical record of a Jewish community since the late 11th century.
- Visit the Old Synagogue, the oldest synagogue in Central Europe that has been preserved up to its roof. The Museum displays the Erfurt Treasure and has the Erfurt Hebrew Manuscripts as its central theme.
- Visit the Medieval Mikveh, which dates from the 13th century and is now a museum.
- Visit the Small Synagogue, a house of worship for the Jewish community in the 19th century which has become, since 1998, a meeting place and home to an exhibition of Jewish life in Erfurt in the 19th and 20th centuries
- Visit the New Synagogue, which was built in 1952 and is the center of congregational life today.
- Depart Erfurt and drive to Dresden, which is well-known for being heavily bombed in World War II.
- Check into the hotel.
Day Five: Thursday, February 13, 2020
FROM DRESDEN TO BERLIN
- Check out of the hotel and explore Dresden.
- View its unique reconstructed landmarks such as the Zwinger, the Semper Opera, and the renovated “Church of our Lady” (Frauenkirche).
- Get a feel for the local art scene as you explore the Kunsthofpassage, a web of artistic courtyards within the Neustadt neighborhood.
- Jewish Life in Dresden: Dialogue with a leader of the local Jewish community at the Jewish Community Center.
- Depart Dresden and drive north to Berlin
- Arrive in Berlin and stop at the Brandenburg Gate, originally commissioned by Friedrich Wilhelm II to represent peace. The gate was ironically incorporated into the Berlin Wall during the years of the Communist regime. Perhaps Berlin's best-known landmark, it now stands as a symbol of the city's reunification.
- Check into the hotel.
Day Six: Friday, February 14, 2020
JEWISH LIFE IN BERLIN
- How to Be Jewish and German Post-Holocaust - Dialogue with Sandra Anusiewicz-Baer of the Zacharias Frankel College, a rabbinical seminary established in 2013 to train Conservative Rabbis.
- What Was Built, What Was Lost: Our tour of the Jewish Quarter will explore the achievements and vitality of Berlin's Jewish community. The tour will include:
- Hackescher Market: In 1671, two hundred Jews fleeing persecution elsewhere in Europe were allowed to move to an area just outside Berlin's old city walls. We'll see this area - which is now a hotbed of entertainment and nightlife - and discuss the development of Jewish life in Berlin.
- The New Synagogue and Centrum Judaicum: This richly ornamented synagogue, which once seated 3,000 people, is an impressive example of the size, prosperity, and confidence of Berlin's Liberal Jewish community in the 19th We'll learn how the synagogue was saved from destruction during the Kristallnacht pogrom and today is once again a center of German Jewish culture.
- The Jewish cemetery: From the late 17th century, this was where many of Berlin's Jews were buried. It was bulldozed by the Gestapo in 1943. We'll view the recently restored tombstone of Moses Mendelssohn, the great philosopher, and discuss his influence on German and Jewish life and thought.
- We'll stop outside the home of Rabbi Regina Jonas, the first woman to be ordained as a rabbi, and discuss her pioneering life, her death in Auschwitz, and the role Berlin played in reforming Judaism for a modern age.
- We'll also visit two important reminders of German resistance to the Holocaust. The Museum of Otto Weidt's Workshop for the Blind honors the man who risked his life during World War Two to hide and protect Jewish workers in his broom and brush workshop.
- The Rosenstrasse Sculpture commemorates the successful 1943 protests against Nazi plans to deport the last remaining Jews from Berlin. The protest was led by non-Jewish women seeking to protect their Jewish spouses from persecution.
- Pay a visit to Gleis 17 (Track 17), the main deportation center for Berlin Jews during the Holocaust, located in the neighborhood of Grunewald. Witness the contrast between the calm atmosphere and the tragic history of the place.
- Return to the hotel to prepare for Shabbat.
- Kabbalat Shabbat services at a local synagogue.
- Shabbat dinner at a local restaurant.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day Seven: Saturday, February 15, 2020
BERLIN - PAST & PRESENT
- Explore Berlin's rich history as well as some of its hidden gems on a tour in East Berlin, including:
- Visit Alexander Platz, the city center of former Socialist East Berlin.
- Walk along Unter Den Linden, the grand central boulevard in the Mitte district.
- View the famous Humboldt University and visit the Book Burning Memorial at Bebel Square.
- A view of the Reichstag, the seat of the German Parliament and one of Berlin's most significant landmarks.
- Visit the Holocaust Memorial, the Monument to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Designed by architect Peter Eisenman, this undulating field of reflection with thousands of concrete dark gray slabs forms a gentle wave, ankle-high in some places, designed to give visitors a sense of groundlessness and of a loss of orientation; the memorial also includes a subterranean information center at the edge of the site which houses a permanent exhibition dedicated to the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
- Guided visit to the Jewish Museum of Berlin, designed by architect Daniel Libeskind. One of the most conspicuous architectural landmarks in the city, it embodies remembrance, melancholy, and departure.
- Visit Checkpoint Charlie, one of the best-known crossing points between East and West Berlin during the Cold War, frequently featured in spy movies and books.
- See the Boros Collection, a private collection of contemporary art by international artists dating from 1990 to the present. Different facets of the collection have been on public display since 2008 in a converted bunker.
- Return to the hotel.
- Three Stars in the Berlin Sky: At nightfall, we will mark the end of a special Shabbat with a communal Havdallah ceremony.
Day Eight: Sunday, February 16, 2020
FROM EAST TO WEST & PAST TO PRESENT
- Start your morning at the Berlin Wall Memorial, an open-air exhibition that explains the history of division and the impact of the Berlin Wall on the city and its residents.
- A State of Spying: Enter the sinister world of the Stasi, one of history's most repressive and pervasive espionage organizations. At their former headquarters, which is now a museum, we'll understand how Communist East Germany revolved around a vast spy network that put virtually everyone, from dissidents to countless ordinary citizens, under surveillance. See tricks of the spy trade (from a camera in a tie to hiding a rifle in a suitcase), but also experience the bureaucracy of totalitarianism as we walk through the offices of the Stasi, replete with 1960s communist-bloc décor.
- Painting Freedom on the Wall: The years 1989-1990 were miraculous as the Berlin Wall came down, the Cold War ended, and West and East Germany reunified. See how artists reacted to those remarkable days at the East Side Gallery. The “gallery” is actually the longest stretch of the Berlin Wall still in existence and was covered with murals by German and international artists immediately after reunification. Look out for the famous graffiti painting of the Soviet and East German leaders, Brezhnev and Honecker, locked in a “socialist fraternal kiss” and a Trabant - the iconic, awful automobile of Communist Germany - seemingly bursting through the Wall.
- Counterculture: Take a walk on the wild side as we check out the graffiti and street culture of The heart of bohemian Berlin, this has been an area of artists, squatters, and alternative types since David Bowie and Lou Reed lived here in the 1970s.
- The Refugee Crisis in Germany & the Israel Connection: In 2016 alone, Germany accepted over a million asylum seekers, many of them refugees from the war in Syria. Talk with a representative of IsraAID about the remarkable efforts of this Israeli-based aid organization to assist and integrate these refugees. We'll also visit a refugee shelter in Berlin and talk with asylum seekers (pending confirmation).
- Return to the hotel.
- Farewell dinner and group reflection at a local restaurant.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day Nine: Monday, February 17, 2020
UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN
- Check out of the hotel.
- Transfer to the Berlin Airport and check-in for your return flight to the US.
Need to Know
- Registration deadline: October 9, 2019
- Group rates are per person based on double occupancy and a minimum of 20 full paying participants. 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.
- Payment Policy
Da'at Educational Expeditions reserves the right to adjust its terms of payment, including cancellation policies and initial deposits. Notification of any changes will be made explicitly to the participants where relevant.
- Initial deposit of $500 per person, non-refundable, non-transferable is due at the time of reservation unless another amount is indicated for the particular trip or seminar.
- Final payment is due 90 days before the scheduled trip begins, or as specified in your invoice.
- Cancellation Policy:
Cancellations need to be made in writing. Cancellation fees will be based on the date that the written cancellation is received.
- 90 days or more prior to departure: the deposit
- 89 to 46 days prior to departure: 50% of the total trip cost
- 45 days to the day of departure/no-show: 100% of the total trip cost
Cancellation fees may also include:
- Hotel or supplier cancellation fees.
- Group airfare penalty fee.
- Hotel Accommodations: The trip 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. Standard-size rooms are generally smaller outside of North America. They usually accommodate two people and include either one queen-size bed or two single beds (pushed together and made up separately, but with one headboard). While some hotels provide an extra bed in a standard-size room for use by a child under the age of 12, we recommend that families of four or more should book adjoining or connecting rooms.
- Meals are included as specified in the itinerary.
- 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 at group meals are included.
- Transportation in the evening when dinner is on own.
- Amendments to the program: In the event that any sites, programs or meals etc are added to the program, an additional fee may be required.
- Personal extras: Items of personal nature such as laundry, wines, mineral water, beverages, coffee, tea, food other than the table d'hotel menu, passport and visa fees, insurance, and foreign port taxes, unless otherwise specified.
- Water or snacks on the bus (unless indicated otherwise)
- US and foreign airport taxes, Q fuel surcharge and border taxes when applicable.
- Gratuities for Tour Educator (Guide) and Driver. We recommend the following guidelines for tips (amounts indicated in US dollars):
TRIPS TO DESTINATIONS OUTSIDE OF ISRAEL:
- Group of 20 participants and more:
Da'at Tour Educator: $10 | Local Guide: $6 | Driver: $3 - per participant per day
- Group of 10-19 participants:
Da'at Tour Educator: $8 | Local Guide: $5 | Driver: $3 - per participant per day