Example of Thematic Tour "Germany: Once Again a Homeland for Jews": Munich, Frankfurt and Berlin
Experience Germany’s Jewish Renaissance in three historically rich and culturally varied cities! In Munich, Frankfurt and Berlin, Jewish communities have thrived over hundreds of years and are thriving once again after the devastation of the Holocaust. For years after the Shoah, an oft-used metaphor for Jews in Germany was “sitting on packed bags”—that is, expecting to leave. In a recent speech, Charlotte Knobloch, head of the German Jewish Council, made a reference to this metaphor and suggested that this period of “packed suitcases” is over at last—that Germany has once again become a “homeland” for Jews.
Munich, Frankfurt and Berlin are representative of this religious and cultural revival that has made Germany the fastest growing Jewish community in Europe. All three cities are hotspots of Jewish life and Jewish guests worldwide are packing their bags to come to and witness the developments. We invite you to discover the roots and the revitalization of Judaism in Germany, along with the stunning architecture, beautiful works of art, and world-class culture that make these cities international destinations. In Munich see the stunning baroque architecture of the Nymphenburg Palace, and visit the Jewish Museum and the Menorah Monument where the original synagogue once stood. In Frankfurt walk the medieval Judengasse, and marvel at the modern city’s impressive skyline, with skyscrapers rivalling those of New York. In addition, explore the ShUM-cities of Speyer, Worms, and Mainz, once the most important centers of Jewish learning world-wide. In each city, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in Jewish life, past and present, by visiting museums and memorial sites and meeting today’s community members. No other city in Germany has faced the crimes of the past like Berlin and no other city has been rewarded with such a growing Jewish community. This is a dynamic city of contrasts. Visit the contemplative Eisenman Holocaust Memorial next to the grand boulevard Unter den Linden. Pay tribute to Moses Mendelssohn and trace his insights that led to the Hascala through to the magnificent New Synagogue and the ordination of the first female rabbi. Let your guides in each city help you gain a true sense of what the Jewish renaissance in Germany looks like today.
One of Germany’s most beautiful cities with a view of the Alps, Munich has recently come into its own as home to a revitalized Jewish community. Start with the countless delicacies on offer at the daily Viktualienmarkt, and go on to major sites such as Marienplatz and the impressive neo-Gothic New City Hall, Munich Cathedral, BMW World and Olympiapark. Munich is a challenging city, historically the original home of the Nazi party. See how Bavarians struggle with this legacy at the Menorah Monument with the inscription “Remember that the enemy scorned you.” A visit to nearby Dachau will show how Germany takes its duty to educate about the Holocaust very seriously. It is all the more impressive that Munich now hosts the largest Jewish city-centre complex in the country at St. Jacob’s Square: the architecturally stunning new Ohel Jakob Synagogue, Jewish Museum, kindergarten and community center. Munich is more than Octoberfest and beer...it is home to a unique, Bavarian-style Jewish community!
Both a financial centre and a metropolis of art and literature, Frankfurt’s economic prosperity has long been linked to that of the Rothschilds, one of Germany’s wealthiest and most influential families. Visit the famous humanist school of the Enlightenment, the “Philantropin,” founded by the family patriarch Mayer Amschel Rothschild. Experience the “Museum River Bank” with nearly two dozen museums including Frankfurt’s Jewish Museum. Along with the medieval Judengasse, visit the Jewish cemetery and the Holocaust “Wall of Remembrance.” See the birthplace of Goethe, Germany’s most beloved writer, and learn of his connections to the Jewish community. Finally, visit the magnificent Westend Synagogue, built in 1910 and the Jewish Community Center with Sohar’s kosher restaurant.
See the famous Rashi synagogue in Worms, the mikve in Speyer dating back to 1128, and the extraordinary design of the new synagogue in Mainz based on five Hebrew letters! Find out how these important remnants of Jewish history are playing a role in the renaissance of Jewish Germany today: old synagogues are once again used for services, the Rashi house becomes a site of learning and Jewish cultural days are flourishing.
Everyone is coming to Berlin! Israelis, Americans, South Americans, young people, artists, architects, tourists. Berlin has become the number one destination in Europe. This city has a significant Jewish history and a large modern-day community. Home of the Hascala, the Reform movement and one of the hubs of the Zionist movement, Berlin is chock full of Jewish sites and memorials. Visit the magnificent golden-domed New Synagogue where Albert Einstein played a violin concert, see Daniel Libeskind’s deconstructionist Jewish Museum and the immense field of grey stele which is the powerful Holocaust Memorial. Our tour will also include Weissensee, the largest Jewish cemetery in Europe, and the House of the Wannsee Conference, an important site of Holocaust education. Next door, the impressionist painter Max Liebermann’s villa is now a museum dedicated to his life and work. Unter den Linden, the Brandenburg Gate, the Olympic Stadium—Berlin is a city of superlatives. It is also the city of the wall and the Cold War. You will visit the wall and Checkpoint Charlie and learn how the fall of the wall in 1989 enabled the new Jewish community to grow and thrive. A stop at a kosher bakery, where you might run into someone in town for the Jewish film festival or to celebrate a bar mitzvah, will help you see why so many people are unpacking their suitcases and staying awhile.