Example of a Tour of Vienna, Prague and Budapest, Duration: 10 days
Come to the centres of Europe’s Jewish renaissance! Vienna, Budapest and Prague, historical capitals of Jewish Europe, are now again hotspots of Jewish life: salons, conferences, music, theatre and Jewish religious life are enriching these cultural capitals. It is the tension between Jewish past and present which makes a visit to these cities intriguing and a sought-out destination for Jewish visitors world-wide. Our 10- day tour brings you to the heart of Europe: history and hope, past and promise in every cobblestone, at every turn, astonishing architecture, beautiful works of art, world-class culture, embedded in a palimpsest of history.
In Vienna, discover the unique Jewish Austrian ironic charm. Visit the Habsburg palaces, the Seitenstettengasse Synagogue, the opulent Ringstrasse and excellent Jewish museum. In Prague, explore the labyrinthian pathways that fed Kafka’s imagination and listen to the stories of Rabbi Low and the Golem. In Budapest, enjoy the grandeur of World Heritage sites like Andrássy Avenue and Buda castle. In each city, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the current flow of Jewish life. You will meet community members and gain a true sense of what it means to be Jewish in 21st century Europe.
Our tour starts and ends in this quintessential European Jewish city. Home of Viennese waltzes and apple strudel with schlag, of the magnificent Hofburg (Habsburg Imperial Palace) and the rooms where Freudian analysis was first practiced. Experience the opulent homes of the Ringstrasse, the Opera and private palaces of Jewish families. In a city where once every tenth citizen was Jewish, find out how the Austrians are finally dealing with their role in the Holocaust and how today’s vibrant and diverse Jewish community plays an important role in current social and cultural life of the city.
The tour includes the Jewish Museum, the neo-classical Seitenstettengasse Temple and Rachel Whitehead’s powerful “Nameless Library” Shoah memorial. You will tour Leopoldstadt to find hidden cemeteries, hear a Jewish tale about the Ferris Wheel, and learn about the plans for an Eruv (symbolic boundary for Shabbat). Finally, give in to the temptation of trying kosher and other international delicacies at the Naschmarkt, Vienna’s renowned food market!
The Golden City on the Elbe River is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. We will begin at the bustling and colorful Charles Bridge and enter the old city which boasts one of the richest and best-known Jewish histories on the continent - Jews have lived here since the 10th century. Among many inspiring sights, you will see the Old Town Square with its famous astrological clock, the medieval Jewish centre of Josefov with its 13th century Altneu Synagogue - still in use today - and the 16th century Jewish Town Hall. The old Jewish cemetery with its layered stones leaves an indelible impression. Followers of the great Rabbi Low still pray at his grave. We will visit the beautiful Jubilee Synagogue and follow the trail of Franz Kafka. Through cobblestoned alleys and romantic nooks, we will reach the Hradčany, the castle district and see the spectacular Prague Castle. This magnificent “city within a city” includes the St. Vitus Cathedral, the Old Royal Palace, the Basilica of St. George, Golden Lane and the Royal Garden.
Today’s 90,000-strong Jewish community is served by 23 synagogues and prayer houses, 2 colleges, 3 high schools, a Jewish hospital, Jewish newspaper, and kosher restaurants, butchers and bakers. The Dohány Street Synagogue, in its august Byzantine-Moorish style is one of the most magnificent synagogues in the world and the largest in Europe, holding 3,000 people. We will pay our respects at the majestic Kerepesi Cemetery, the oldest in Hungary and visit the Orthodox Kazinczy Street Synagogue to learn about the split in the Hungarian community in 1869 into the Neolog and Orthodox branches. Those who refused to split built a separate “Status Quo” Synagogue. We will visit the Buda Castle and Andrássy Avenue - both World Heritage sites - as well as the spectacular neo-Gothic Parliament Building, the National Opera, Saint Stephen’s Basilica, the Széchenyi Chain Bridge and Danube promenade.