In the Footsteps of Ashkenazi Jewry: A Study Tour of Jewish Germany
Following two highly successful tours of Jewish Germany in 2013 and 2016, Shalom is pleased to announce that this tour will be repeated in 2019 from 28 May–8 June. Focusing on the history of the Jews of Germany, the tour will be led by Paul Forgasz, who has lectured in Jewish history at Monash University’s Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation. Paul is also a regular contributor to the Jewish Museum’s adult education program.
What is special about this tour?
As with any tour, you will visit various towns, cities, and sites of both Jewish and general historical interest. Local guides will be on hand to explain the features of these sites. However, under Paul’s expert guidance, you will actively engage and interact with these places through the reading and analysis of texts, group discussions and simulations. You will thus step back into history, as you explore the amazing story of the Jews of Germany. You will re-live significant historical moments and experience the gamut of the Jewish historical experience in Germany: the earliest presence of Jews in Roman times, the highs and lows of the medieval Jewish experience, the birth of the Haskala – the Jewish Enlightenment, the encounter with the modern world during the 19th and early 20th centuries which transformed the face of Judaism and Jewish life, the dark years of the Nazi period, and the more recent revival of Jewish life in Germany.
The local travel agent is FBI Travel. At the German end, all arrangements will be handled by Milk and Honey Tours, a Berlin-based tour operator specialising in European Jewish travel
German land package
The tour price is 5750EUR per person. The cost of a single supplement is 500Euros. AUD payments will be tied to the EURO exchange rate.
Note: in order for this tour to proceed on the basis of the final quoted price, we will need firm commitments from a minimum of 14 people. You are therefore advised not to make any flight bookings until you are advised that the tour is definitely proceeding.
The following are included in the land package:
- Four star hotel accommodation (11 nights) and buffet breakfasts
- 3 evening meals
- Experienced English speaking local guides
- Entrance fees to sites and deluxe motor coach travel as per itinerary
- Tips for local guides and bus drivers
- Study sessions with Paul Forgasz as per the itinerary and study materials
Not included in the price:
- Airfare and airport taxes
- Travel insurance
- Hotel transfers to and from the airport
- Tips for hotel staff (at your discretion)
- Hotel porterage
- Hotel extras such as mini bar, room service
- Meals other than breakfast and meals designated above
If you need any help with pre and post tour arrangements, booking of flights arrangements, or organising travel insurance, Tamara Menachem of FBI Travel, would be more than happy to assist. Tamara can be contacted on 8573 0915 or via email: email@example.com
What happens next?
Click on the following link to access the online registration page.
At the time of registration you will be required to make a deposit of $2500 per person in order to secure your place on the tour.
To pay by credit card you will need to insert your card details in the registration form. A fee of 1.2% will be applied to VISA and Mastercard and 2% to American Express. If you prefer to pay by EFT, please advise accordingly in the comments box at the bottom of the registration page and relevant bank details will be emailed to you upon confirmation of registration.
Further payment of instalments will follow on dates to be advised. Payment of the single supplement will be added to the final instalment. For each instalment you will be invoiced for the equivalent Australian dollar amount based on the exchange rate at the time of invoicing. FBI Travel reserves the right to slightly vary the equivalent Australian dollar amount, as a buffer for any increase in the rate from point of invoice to paying the Italian supplier. However, appropriate account will be taken of this when calculating the Australian dollar amount of the final instalment.
Deposits will be held by FBI Travel until the first instalment is transferred to Milk and Honey Tours (Berlin), after which time deposits and subsequent payments will not be refunded if you wish to cancel your registration. You are therefore strongly advised to take out adequate and appropriate travel insurance to cover any unforeseen circumstances which might result in you not being able to participate in the tour. Also, as noted above, you should not make any flight bookings until you are advised that the tour is definitely proceeding.
Places on the tour are strictly limited and will be filled in order of receipt of registration forms.
As demand for hotels at this time of year is at an absolute premium, it is important that reservations can be secured as soon as possible. Early registration is therefore strongly encouraged.
TOUR ITINERARY (subject to revision)
DAY 1 – Tuesday 28 May
Check-in to hotel in Frankfurt
DAY 2 – Wednesday 29 May
Tour orientation and historical introduction and tour of Mainz
The day will commence with a study session which will provide a conceptual and historical framework for the opening days of the tour. We will explore how Mainz, together with Worms and Speyer, the three “foundational” cities of Ashkenazic life and culture, reflected both the highest and lowest points of the medieval Jewish experience in Europe. Hundreds of years ago, when most Jews of the Ashkenazic world were still living in small towns scattered across Europe, these three cities – named collectively ShUM after the first letters of their Hebrew names – rose to prominence as the leading centres of Jewish learning and scholarly activity. However, the ShUM cities were also victim to the armies of the First Crusade who wreaked great havoc and destruction upon their Jewish communities.
The afternoon will continue with a tour of Mainz. We will see the grave of Mainz’s most famous Jewish son, Rabbenu Gershom ben Judah (960-1040). His wisdom was such that he was named Meor Ha-Golah – “Light of the Diaspora”, and his teachings and decrees had a major impact on Jewish life over the centuries, so much so that one might consider him the father of Ashkenazic Judaism. Rabbenu Gershom founded a great yeshivah in Mainz which became the leading Torah academy of its time in Europe and attracted the likes of Rashi, the famous French commentator of the Bible and Talmud. We will also visit Mainz’s magnificent new synagogue and community centre which was inaugurated in 2011 and enthusiastically supported by the City of Mainz. The silhouette of the synagogue forms an outline of the letters of the Hebrew word Kedusha (holiness or sanctification), symbolising the revival of Jewish life in Mainz. Overnight in Frankfurt
DAY 3 – Thursday 30 May
Day tour of Worms and Speyer
We will begin the day with a tour of Worms. The fact that it was also referred to as “little Jerusalem” bears testimony to the importance of Worms´ medieval Jewish community. The city also serves as an extraordinary example of the conservation and revival of places in Germany today connected to Jewish history. We will visit the “Holy Sands” cemetery, the oldest preserved Jewish burial place in Europe which, amazingly, escaped the ravages of Nazism largely unscathed. We will stop at the gravestone of Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg, the leading figure of C13th German Jewry about whose remarkable life we will have more to say prior to our departure for Munich in a few days time. In Worms we will also visit the reconstructed C11th Rashi Synagogue and the so-called C17th Rashi Chapel.
We will end the day with a visit to Speyer and thus conclude our tour of the three ShUM cities. In the Middle Ages, Speyer was home to one of the most significant Jewish communities in the Holy Roman Empire. We will commence at the C11th Speyer Cathedral and learn about the Bishop who invited Jews to settle in Speyer in 1084 with the proclamation that “I would increase the honor I was bestowing on the place if I brought in the Jews.” We will see the remnants of two synagogues and the mikveh which dates back to 1128 and was built by the same stone masons who constructed the Speyer Cathedral. We will also explore the treasures of Worms’ small Jewish museum. Overnight in Frankfurt
DAY 4 – Friday 31 May
The morning will commence with a tour of the main Jewish sites of We will visit the Museum Judengasse, which is built over the archaeological site where one can still descend the steps of an 800-year-old Mikveh and see the foundations of houses of the former Judengasse, Frankfurt’s medieval ghetto. At the adjacent old Jewish cemetery, we will see depictions of gryphons and dragons on the medieval headstones, as well as the highly moving and evocative Wall of Remembrance, a memorial to Frankfurt’s many victims of the Shoah. We will visit the Rothschild Palace, home now to the Jewish Museum and see images and models of how the community lived over the centuries.
Continuing our journey to Rothenburg, upon arrival, we will check in to our hotel and come together in the evening for dinner to celebrate the Shabbat. Overnight in Rothenburg.
DAY 5 – Saturday 1 June
This morning we will enjoy a walking tour of the beautifully preserved medieval town of Rothenburg. The town was the home to the MaHaRaM, Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg, the leading personality of C13th Ashkenazic Jewry. We will visit a number of sites which pay homage to the important role which he played in this town and within the wider context of the Ashkenazic medieval world. In our late afternoon study session, we will focus on the remarkable life and career of Rothenburg’s famous rabbi. Overnight in Rothenburg.
DAY 6 – Sunday 2 June
Upon arrival in Nuremberg, we will visit the Palace of Justice, venue of the historical Nuremberg Trials. If Court Room 600 (where the trials were conducted) is open, a visit to the courtroom will be included in the tour. We will then proceed to the Documentation Centre Nazi Party Rally Grounds. The remains of the buildings on the former Nazi Rally Grounds, with their immense proportions, testify to the megalomania of the National Socialist regime. The Documentation Centre is located in a wing of the never completed Congress Hall which was designed by the National Socialists to house 50,000 spectators. The Centre’s permanent exhibition, “Fascination and Terror”, looks at the causes, the context and the consequences of the National Socialist reign of terror, focusing on the topics which have a direct link to Nuremberg.
We will then continue our journey onto Dresden where we will check into our hotel. Overnight in Dresden
DAY 7 – Monday 3 June
This morning will enjoy a comprehensive tour of the city of Dresden, beginning with a visit to Dresden’s New Synagogue, an architecturally challenging ‘flexible cube’, and the new Jewish Community Center.
We will drive around the 800 year-old ‘New City’, allowing us to see the C18th Jewish cemetery, the Golden Horseman, the Blue Wonder Bridge, the palaces perched on the banks of the Elbe River, as well as the new extension to Dresden’s Military Museum, designed by world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind.
We will also walk along Bruehl’s Terrace, the so-called ‘Balcony of Europe’ and marvel at the Baroque feats of architecture along the Elbe River. You will hear about the rise of Saxony’s greatest monarch, August the Strong, and his financier, the Court Jew Lehmann, patriarch of the modern community. We will see the old city’s fortifications where a young alchemist was jailed until he invented European porcelain, the Meissen ‘white gold’, which made August one of Europe’s wealthiest rulers. In the heart of the old city we will come to Jew’s Square and learn not only about the medieval Jewish community but also about the fate of the Dresden Jewish community throughout the following centuries. Moving on to the Procession of Princes, we will see 800 years of Saxony’s rulers depicted in Meissen tiles. A highlight of our tour will be the magnificent Semper Opera, the Royal Residence – a Renaissance gem – and the 18th century Zwinger, considered a perfect synthesis of Baroque sculpture and architecture.
In the aftermath of our previous day’s visit to Nuremberg, we will come together in the afternoon for a study session focusing on Stanley Milgram’s famous “obedience to authority” experiment which was inspired by proceedings at the Nuremberg trials. Against the backdrop of the issues raised by Milgram’s experiment, we will view a film adaptation of Bernard Schlink’s controversial novel, The Reader. Overnight in Dresden
DAY 8 – Tuesday 4 June
Dresden – Wittenberg – Berlin
Today we head for Berlin via Wittenberg, the home of Martin Luther. Following a tour of the city, our study session in Wittenberg will focus on Martin Luther’s troubled relationship with the Jews, and the related issue of the German churches and the Holocaust. Overnight in Berlin.
DAY 9 – Wednesday 5 June
Tour of Berlin (part 1)
The day will commence with a study session focusing on the role of German Jewry in the radical transformation of Jewish religious life in the C19th; in particular, the emergence of various Jewish religious denominations – from Ultra-Orthodox through to Reform Judaism.
We will then continue with the first part of our tour of Berlin in the historic Jewish Quarter and see where the world’s first female rabbi lived; the Old Jewish Cemetery; the site of Berlin’s first synagogue; and the Jewish High School, located in the same building occupied from 1906 to 1942 by the Jewish Free School, which included Moses Mendelssohn amongst its original founders. At the nearby Grosse Hamburger Strasse cemetery we will see Mendelssohn’s memorial stone. We will visit the C19th Moorish style New Synagogue, originally built to serve Berlin’s Liberal Jewish community. The nearby Adass Yisroel congregation was established in the C19th by Rabbi Azriel Hildesheimer, who, together with Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, was a founder of Neo or Modern Orthodoxy.
We will stroll down the Grand Boulevard Unter-den-Linden, passing by a number of classic sites such as the State Opera, Humboldt University, the Old Armoury, the Berlin Cathedral, Museum Island and Bebelplatz, the site of the infamous Book Burning in 1933. We will also see the Brandenburg Gate and Paris Square. At the Holocaust Memorial, a field of massive concrete blocks, our guide will explain the many meanings which can be gleaned from this impressive and though provoking structure. On the way back to our hotel we will see the Reichstag building and seat of Germany’s parliament, the New Chancellery, 17 June Street and the Victory Column, the Old Congress Centre and Bellevue Palace. Overnight in Berlin.
DAY 10 – Thursday 6 June
Tour of Berlin (part 2)
Today we will pass by the amazingly designed modern architectural complexes around Potsdamer Platz, see the Berlin Wall and go to the newly renovated ‘Topography of Terror’, an outdoor museum situated on the site of buildings which were formerly the headquarters of the Gestapo and SS. We will drive through West Berlin and see the famous department store KaDeWe (the “Harrods of Berlin”), the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church and Berlin’s popular Jewish Community Centre. We will visit the ‘Places of Remembrance’ memorial in the Bavarian Quarter, as well as the memorial at the site of the former Levetsow Street synagogue which served as a Nazi deportation centre. We will conclude with a guided tour of Berlin’s Jewish Museum. Designed by Daniel Libeskind, this fascinating and thought-provoking deconstructionist building, houses an immensely rich exhibit documenting two thousand years of German-Jewish history. Overnight in Belin
DAY 11 – Friday 7 June
Day trip to Wannsee
In preparation for today’s visit to the Wannsee Conference-House, the morning will commence with a viewing of an outstanding dramatized account of the Wannsee Conference where the Nazis planned the Final Solution. En-route to Wannsee, we will drive through the beautiful Grunewald district of Berlin. Along with spectacular villas, we will see a haunting Holocaust memorial site called Platform 17 where the actual deportations from Berlin took place. On our arrival in Wannsee, we will visit the Liebermann Villa, summer residence of the renowned German-Jewish impressionist painter, Max Liebermann. This beautiful villa pays homage to his work. The day will conclude with a tour of the Holocaust memorial and museum at Wannsee House, site of the infamous Wannsee Conference, where the Nazis planned the Final Solution.
In the evening we will gather for our farewell dinner and to celebrate the commencement of Shabbat. Overnight in Berlin.
DAY 12 – Saturday 8 June
Hotel checkout or extend your stay in Berlin when you can visit many of the sites not included in our itinerary
(subject to further confirmation)
Frankfurt – Jumeirah Hotel
Rothenburg – Villa Mittermeier
Dresden – Dresden Hilton
Berlin – Abba Hotel
The above hotels may be subject to revision depending on room availability at the time of making reservations. However, if bookings will need to be made for alternative hotels, they will be of a similar standard to the above.
ACCEPTANCE OF TERMS AND CONDITIONS WILL BE REQUIRED WHEN COMPLETING REGISTRATION
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
- Touring can involve a considerable amount of walking and stair climbing in places visited and it is important that tour participants have a level of physical fitness that allows them to take part in such activities without the need of assistance from others.
- Milk and Honey Tours (Berlin, Germany) is responsible for making arrangements for the tour services offered here, including transportation, sightseeing, meals and hotel accommodation. FBI Travel acts only as agents for passengers in the making of arrangements with carriers, hoteliers, and others for the tour. Accordingly FBI Travel cannot accept liability for any act of omission, whether negligent or otherwise of those carriers, hoteliers or others providing services in connection with the tour over whom we have no direct or exclusive control.
- Shalom and FBI Travel do not accept responsibility for any damage to property or person(s) incurred during the course of this tour.
- Shalom and FBI Travel are not liable and accept no responsibility for any direct or indirect loss, financial loss, consequential loss, loss of enjoyment, pain & suffering, damage, injury, accident, delay or irregularity occasioned to the individual, whether caused by act, omission, negligence or otherwise while participating in this tour.
- Shalom and FBI Travel strongly recommend that individuals insure themselves against medical expenses and loss of personal possessions, and any other foreseeable loss or expense.
- It is the responsibility of tour participants to obtain suitable advice from a recognised health authority regarding any vaccinations or applicable health precautions.
- Tour participants are responsible for ensuring that they have a valid passports, visa and permits which meet the immigration and governmental requirements of the country of travel. Passports must be valid for at least six months upon return into Australia from overseas travel.
- Before travelling overseas Shalom and FBI Travel recommend you to register your travel and contact details online or at the local Australian embassy, high commission or consulate once you arrive so you can be contacted in an emergency.
- Upon registration, payment will be required of a $2500 deposit per person. Further payments instalments will follow in the lead up to the tour. Payment of the single supplement will be added to the second instalment. For each instalment you will be invoiced for the equivalent Australian dollar amount based on the exchange rate at the time of invoicing. FBI Travel reserves the right to slightly vary the equivalent Australian dollar amount, as a buffer for any increase in the rate from point of invoice to paying the German supplier.
- In order for this tour to proceed on the basis of the quoted price, we will need firm commitments from a minimum of 14 people. You are therefore advised not to make any flight bookings until you are advised that the tour is definitely proceeding.
- Deposits will be held by FBI Travel until the first instalment is transferred to Milk & Honey Tours in Berlin, after which time deposits and subsequent payments will not be refunded if you wish to cancel your registration. Deposits held by FBI Travel will be returned if the tour does not go ahead due to lack of numbers.
- Places on the tour are strictly limited and will be filled in order of receipt of registration forms. Successful applicants will be notified once the tour group is filled. Prospective tour participants should not make any flight arrangements until advised that the tour is definitely proceeding and that their registrations have been accepted.