From Devastation to Renewal

Berlin, Germany

October 13–20, 2020

Museum Island Berlin |

Traveling with You...

Scholar in Residence

Chaim Seidler-Feller recently celebrated his fortieth year of working with students and faculty as the Executive Director of the Hillel Center for Jewish Life at UCLA. Currently Director Emeritus, also serves as Director of the Hartman Fellowship for Campus Professionals. An ordained Rabbi, he also completed a Masters in Rabbinic Literature. Chaim has been a lecturer in the Departments of Sociology and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at UCLA and in the Department of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University. He is also a faculty member of the Shalom Hartman Institute, North America, and of the Wexner Heritage Foundation and was rabbinic consultant to Barbra Streisand during the making of the film Yentl. The International Hillel Center has granted Chaim the Hillel Professional Recognition Award “for blending the love of Jewish tradition with the modern intellectual approach of the university.”

Trip Leader

Dr. Aryeh Maidenbaum is Founder and Director of the New York Center for Jungian Studies. He has a strong background in the fields of history, psychology, and Jewish Studies, and over 25 years of experience in organizing and leading educational travel programs — both for mental health professionals and trips focusing on Jewish heritage, history and culture

Trip Guide

Lucy Rapoport has guided and accompanied many previous Jewish heritage tours — all to great acclaim. Born and schooled in England before moving to Italy as a young adult, Lucy is fluent in Italian, German, French, and Spanish and has been a tour manager for more than twenty years. Specializing in Europe, Lucy has accompanied previous Jewish groups to such places as Lithuania, Krakow, Prague, Berlin, Croatia, Spain, Romania, Serbia, France, Northern and Southern Italy, and Sicily. With Lucy’s attention to detail, knowledge of history, and considerable expertise in guiding groups, participants will be well served on this trip.

Program Overview

Explore Berlin — its Jewish past and present, art, architecture, and culture. This unique, first-of-its-kind study tour with the Museum of Jewish Heritage will feature daily lectures as well as visits to the great Berlin museums and the numerous Jewish memorials that dot the city’s landscape. Additionally, we will travel to Wannsee, site of the notorious conference that unleashed the “final solution” and the nearby home famous Jewish painter Max Liebermann which is now a small museum.

During our time in Berlin, we will encounter young Jews who have revived Jewish life in what has become the fastest-growing Jewish community in Europe. Lectures and study sessions will be led by our accompanying scholar, Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller, who will analyze the emergence of German anti-Semitism against the background of remarkable Jewish achievements and draw our attention to Berlin as the creative center of modern Jewish culture prior to the Holocaust. Lectures will include: “Beloved Germany: The Pity of It All”; “From Nietzsche to the Nazis: German Nationalism and the ‘Despised’ Jew”; “Moses Mendelssohn, ‘Nathan the Wise,’ and the Berlin Jewish Enlightenment”; “From Moses (Maimonides) to Moses (Mendelssohn), There Was None Like Moses”; “Berlin and the Birth of Dysfunctional Judaism”; “The Birth of Denominational Judaism”; and more.

Tentative Daily Itinerary*

Tuesday, October 13

Arrive in Berlin; check in to five-star deluxe Regent Berlin Hotel. Rest and relax from our journey.

Afternoon: optional walking tour to orient ourselves to the area, including Bebelplatz, (with a memorial commemorating the burning of over twenty thousand books by the Nazi regime), the Unter den Linden, and Museum Island.

Evening: Overview of our trip, and presentation by Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller, followed by orientation, brief introductions, and an opening dinner (included) at our hotel.

Wednesday, October 14

Morning presentation by Rabbi Seidler-Feller, “Beloved Germany: The Pity of it All,” before we depart our hotel for a visit to the impressive Berlin Jewish Museum, largest Jewish museum in Europe — designed by the famed architect Daniel Libeskind. At the museum, we will enjoy a private guided tour which will include a break for lunch.

Evening presentation by Berlin scholar Karsten Kreiger, followed by dinner on our own.

Thursday, October 15

Following a morning presentation by Rabbi Seidler-Feller, “Moses Mendelssohn, ‘Nathan the Wise,’ and the Jewish Enlightenment,” depart hotel by coach for a city tour, including stops at Brandenburg Gate and the remainder of the Berlin Wall before visiting the Holocaust Memorial. Designed by Peter Eisenman, the controversial memorial, honoring and remembering the six million victims of the Holocaust, consists of 2,711 concrete slabs (“stelae”) arranged in a grid pattern, an underground information center, and a small museum displaying the names of all known Jewish Holocaust victims — obtained from Yad Vashem in Israel.

Following lunch on our own, visit the Neue Synagogue — now a meticulously restored landmark and museum — and walk through what was once known as the Jewish Quarter, including Sophienstrasse cemetery (the oldest and smallest in Berlin).

Evening free for cultural activities; dinner on our own.

Friday, October 16

Morning: visit Wannsee House (an elegant mansion, overlooking the Great Lake Wannsee) where the notorious “Final Solution” meeting conference was held. En-route we will stop at “Railway Track 17” Memorial commemorating deportation of Jews by Deutsche Reichsbahn during the Nazi period. From Wannsee House, walk to the nearby home of Impressionist artist and art collector Max Liebermann before returning to Berlin.

Late lunch and afternoon free.

Evening: Attend services at Oranienburg Synagogue followed by Shabbat dinner at local restaurant (included).

Saturday, October 17

Following a leisurely breakfast and presentation by Rabbi Seidler-Feller, “The Birth of Denominational Judaism: Rise of Reform Judaism,” enjoy a free day or (optional) a walk to nearby Museum Island for a tour of the famed Pergamon Museum (noted for its superb collection of ancient Middle Eastern and Islamic art) as well as other museums on the island, including the Altes and Neues Museums.

Evening free for cultural activities and dinner on our own.

Sunday, October 18

We will begin with a visit to the Weissensee Jewish Cemetery. Located on the outskirts of Berlin, and housing over 115,000 graves, it is the second largest Jewish cemetery in Europe and one of its most impressive.

Following lunch on our own, tour Charlottenburg Palace — the largest and oldest surviving royal residence in the city.

Evening presentation by Karsten Kreiger, followed by dinner on our own.

Monday, October 19

Following a morning presentation by Rabbi Seidler-Feller, “Modern Jewish Philosophy: Between Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig,” visit the rebuilt Reichgstag for lunch and a tour. Originally built to house the Reichstag Parliament of the German Empire, it was opened in 1894 and housed the Reichstag until 1933 when it was severely damaged in a fire said to have been set by the Nazis when they seized power. After WWII, the building fell into disuse until German reunification in 1990 when it was redesigned by the internationally renowned architect Norman Foster. Since then, it has again become the meeting place of the German Parliament.

Rest of the afternoon free for visiting sites of interest on our own, and/or shopping or relaxing.

Evening: Closing dinner at our hotel (included).

Tuesday, October 20

Depart for U.S.


*Please Note: Daily schedule may be modified subject to weather or unanticipated changes.


  • Regent Berlin guest room

Regent Berlin

The deluxe five-star Regent Berlin hotel, is known for its personal service and classic elegance. The Regent overlooks Gendarmenmarket Square and its magnificent eighteenth-century cathedrals and concert hall. Only a short distance from the hotel are Museum Island, the famed Friedrichstrasse shopping mile, and several of the city’s most significant sites, including the historic Brandenburg Gate, the Bebelplatz, Reichstag, and opera house.

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Program Details

Program: $5,460 (plus $54 Museum of Jewish Heritage membership fee for nonmembers) Your trip includes:

  • Seven nights’ accommodations at the Regent Berlin, a five-star deluxe hotel*
  • Full breakfast daily; two lunches; three dinners
  • All ground transportation via superior coach
  • All lectures, presentations, guided tours, and site entrance fees

*Per-person, double occupancy; single supplement ($1,100) and gratuities ($150) additional

Reserve your place with a nonrefundable deposit of $1,000 per person: complete the online registration form or call our office. A second nonrefundable deposit of $1,000 is due on April 17, 2020. Balance in full is due by June 15, 2020.


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Registration Information

Participation Limited to 26 participants, the program will entail considerable walking, including uneven terrain. Participants need to be in active, good health, able to keep up with the group, and ready to travel and experience group and cultural differences with grace. If you have any questions, or need help with your travel plans, please call the Jewish Heritage Travel Office at 845.256.0197.


Participants are strongly urged to purchase travel insurance for losses necessitated by having to cancel participation due to health issues. For your convenience, insurance pamphlet will be sent upon registration, or consult your own insurance agent. Please contact The Jewish Heritage Travel office at 845.256.0197 for more information.


All cancellations must be received by The Jewish Heritage Travel Program in writing. Cancellations received up to 120 days prior to departure: full refund less non-refundable deposits, per person; 119-90 days prior to departure: 50% refund per person after non-refundable deposits. No refunds after this date.


All rights are reserved by the Program Directors to make faculty substitutions and/or to modify the itinerary (including hotels) as needed.