Day 1: Thursday, June 27 - Depart for Budapest
Day 2: Friday, June 28 - Arrival in Budapest
Transfer from the airport to the hotel. At 1:30 PM, proceed from the hotel on a brief tour of Budapest. We begin with a visit to the Buda Hill. Sit back and enjoy the panoramic vistas of the city as we travel by coach to the Castle area. Stops offer panoramic views of the city and the Danube River below. In Buda, we will also see the synagogue that was used during Turkish rule and stand over the historic synagogue that remains underground. By scenic roads, we will return to the Pest part of the city, returning to the hotel with time to unwind before Mincha/Maariv and Shabbat dinner. Hotel Continental Zara.
Day 3: Shabbat, June 29 - Budapest
Breakfast. In the morning, we will attend services at the historic Kazinczy synagogue. Lunch. Following our meal, we will meet with one of the rabbis of Budapest, who will speak to us about Jewish life in the city. Later in the day, we will have a light walking tour in the city. Seudah Shlishit will serve as dinner this day. Hotel Continental Zara.
Day 4: Sunday, June 30 - Budapest
Breakfast. In the morning we will visit the Kazinczy, Rumbach, and Dohany synagogues, and learn about the types of Judaism practiced in Budapest: Orthodox, Status Quo, and Neolog. Afterwards, we will visit the Hungarian Jewish Museum, the actual birthplace site of Theodore Herzl. After lunch, we journey to the Kosma cemetery, one of the most incredible Jewish sights in Budapest. Here we will see the “houses” of the wealthy Budapest families, and visit the graves of some important rabbis, including that of R. Shimon Oppenheimer, famous for proclaiming that the prayers of visitors to his grave will be heard in heaven. Following the cemetery tour, we will visit the moving Holocaust memorial on the Danube and Budapest’s Freedom Statue. Following dinner, there will be an optional boat trip down the Danube River. Hotel Continental Zara.
Day 5: Monday, July 1, Budapest - Eisenstadt - Sopron - Bratislava
Breakfast. Check out of the hotel. Next, travel to Eisenstadt, home to many great Torah scholars. We will visit the Jewish cemetery (where R. Meir Eisenstadt’s grave is a pilgrimage spot), the old synagogue, and the museum established by the Austrian government to teach young Austrians about Jewish history. While in Eisenstadt, we will learn about R. Esriel Hildesheimer, who established the first yeshiva to include both Torah and secular studies in its curriculum. Lunch boxes will be provided. From there, we head to Sopron, known to Jewish history as Oedenburg, and one of earliest recorded places of Jewish life in Hungary. We will wander through the streets of the old Jewish ghetto until arriving at the medieval synagogue and recently erected Holocaust memorial. Later, drive though serene countyside to Bratislava. Upon arrival, visit the local Holocaust memorial and the grave of Hatam Sofer. Following dinner, Dr. Shapiro will speak about the life and significance of the Hatam Sofer. Radisson Blue Hotel.
Day 6: Tuesday, July 2, Bratislava - Vienna - Bratislava
Breakfast. Depart for Vienna. Upon arrival, tour the majestic city, including the famous Ring Road and magnificent Schonbrunn Palace. After some free time, enjoy lunch in a local restaurant followed by a tour with focus on the Jewish aspects of the city, including the Stadttempel, the ruins of the Medieval synagogue on Judenplatz and the hidden Jewish cemetery (site of the grave of the “holy fish”). Return to Bratislava in the late afternoon or early evening. Following dinner, R. Baruch Myers, the rabbi of Bratislava, will speak to us about Jewish life in Slovakia. Radisson Blue Hotel.
Day 7: Wednesday, July 3, Bratislava - Mikulov - Boskovice - Prague
Breakfast. Check out of the hotel. Depart for the Czech Republic and its colorful town of Mikulov, which is known in Jewish history as Nikolsburg. This was the site of the Moravian Chief Rabbi, and many great scholars, including the Maharal and R. Samson Raphael Hirsch, lived here. The cemetery has 4,000 tombstones, and we will learn about some of the important figures buried there, including R. Mordechai Benet. Lunch boxes are provided this day. We will see the old mikvah (recently discovered), and lunch in what used to be a synagogue on the old Jewish street, whose houses are architecturally significant. Continue to Boskovice to visit the magnificent synagogue, and then journey to Prague. Check in at the hotel, followed by dinner and Mincha/Maariv at the Altneuschul, the world’s oldest functioning synagogue. Hotel Intercontinental.
Day 8: Thursday, July 4 - Prague
Breakfast. The entire day is devoted to seeing the Jewish sights of Prague. We begin in Josefov, the old Jewish Quarter, where we will visit the Maiselova, Klaus, Pinchas and Spanish synagogues. These synagogues (combined) house the Jewish Museum, which has many wonderful exhibits. We will tour the old Jewish cemetery and learn about the many great figures buried there, including the Maharal. The highlight of our visit to the Jewish quarter is the Altneuschul, where, according to legend, the Golem is to be found in the attic. After lunch, continue to the Prague castle area to enjoy the stunning view of the city and its many spires below. We will then stroll along the Charles Bridge. Here we will see the famous Crucifix with Hebrew writing, and hear the amazing story of its origin. We will also visit the striking statue of the Maharal, proudly standing outside Town Hall. Hotel Intercontinental.
Day 9: Friday, July 5 - Prague
Breakfast. Visit the cemetery of the Noda bi-Yehudah, the famed R. Yechezkel Landau. After hearing about this great figure, and the others buried in the cemetery, and seeing what became of the cemetery under Communist rule, we depart for Terezin (Theriesenstadt) for an insight to the horrors of the Holocaust. Lunch boxes are provided this day. Return to Prague in the late afternoon and visit the Jubilee Synagogue, the largest synagogue in Prague. In the evening, we will attend services at the Altneuschul, followed by Shabbat Dinner. Hotel Intercontinental.
Day 10: Shabbat, July 6 - Prague
Breakfast. In the morning, we will attend services at the Altneuschul. After lunch, there will be a light walking tour of Prague. Following this, we will walk to the Community Center, where Dr. Shapiro will lead a class on one of R. Ezekiel Landau’s responsa. Seudah Shlishit is served at the Community Center (serving as dinner). Hotel Intercontinental.
Day 11: Sunday, July 7 - Home Flights
Breakfast. Transfer to the airport for the return flights to Canada or the USA. The trip will be operated by Momentum Tours, FL.