Stately Homes & Synagogues:
Oxford & London

England

September 12 — 21, 2022

London Oxford Windsor Castle

Traveling with You...

Accompanying Tour Leader

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.

Accompanying Tour Guide and Lecturer

Engaging, knowledgeable, and a respected researcher, Rachel Kolsky is a prize-winning London Blue Badge Tourist Guide. Before embarking on her career as guide and lecturer Rachel, a qualified librarian, worked for many years as an information professional in the financial services industry and was awarded the “Membership Achievement Award” in 2008.

 When not working or guiding she supports her local independent cinema, The Phoenix, East Finchley, where she was a Trustee for over 20 years. Rachel, often a guest lecturer on cruises, has also published widely, including four books: Jewish London (2012), Whitechapel in 50 Buildings (2016), Secret Whitechapel (2017) and Women’s London (2018).

Program Overview

Jewish settlement in Britain can be traced back to the time of William the Conqueror. Despite suffering persecution, pogroms, and eventual expulsion in 1290, over the centuries Jews have had an extraordinary impact on the economic, scientific, and cultural life of England, starting with the time when Oliver Cromwell readmitted the Jews to Britain in 1656. Today, England contains the fifth-largest Jewish community worldwide.

Beginning with the establishment of a synagogue in London in 1657, Jewish communities were established throughout the country: in York, Lincoln, Windsor, Cambridge, and Oxford, among other locations. Beautiful synagogues, stately mansions, and thriving businesses were established. Individual Jews began settling in Oxford from the mid-18th century, with an organized Jewish congregation firmly established by 1841. By 1858, the law of the land was changed to allow Jews to sit as members of Parliament. Hebrew books were printed in Oxford, and several extraordinary libraries of Judaica were gathered—among them, the renowned Bodleian Library.

Join us in London and Oxford as we visit sites of Jewish interest and stately homes and mansions, including the Waddesdon Manor built for Ferdinand de Rothschild and Hughenden, the country estate of Benjamin Disraeli. Enjoy deluxe accommodations and experience a unique glimpse into Jewish life, past and present, through the eyes of extraordinary guides and scholars.

Tentative Daily Itinerary*

Monday, September 12 | London

Check in to the Goring hotel, one of London’s finest deluxe hotels.
Evening: Introductory lecture by Rachel Kolsky, “Who Were the Jews of London?,” followed by orientation, an opportunity to get to know one another, and an opening dinner at our hotel (included).

Tuesday, September 13 | London

We will begin with an East End history walking tour and a visit to the picturesque historic Bevis Marks Synagogue, founded in 1701 and based on the Great Synagogue of Amsterdam. Break for lunch on our own before visiting the Jewish Museum of London. The museum, whose aim is rescuing and preserving the disappearing heritage of London’s East End and the heartland of Jewish settlement in Britain, reflects the diverse roots and social history of Jews in England.

Evening: Free; dinner on our own.

Wednesday, September 14 | London

This morning, we will visit the British Museum for a private guided tour focused on Jewish artists and content. First opened to the public in 1759, it is among the largest and most extensive museums in the world. Following lunch on our own, we will enjoy a tour of the Wiener Library for a discussion with scholars and staff on the important research being done there. The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide is the world’s oldest institution devoted to the study of the Holocaust and its causes and legacies.

Evening: Free; dinner on our own.

Thursday, September 15 | London

Visit Spencer House, a private palace built in 1756–66 for the first Earl Spencer. It was the family home of Princess Diana. Enjoy a short walking tour around Piccadilly and Burlington Arcade, with free time for lunch on our own. In the afternoon, we will visit the Victoria and Albert Museum (the world’s largest museum of applied and decorative arts and design) with a special focus on items with a Jewish connection.

Evening: Lecture by Rachel Kolsky, “The Rothschilds at Home,” followed by dinner on our own

Friday, September 16 | Oxford

Depart London for Oxford. En route, we will stop at Henley-on-Thames to break for lunch on our own. Henley-on-Thames, with its riverside location, is one of the most beautiful towns in England. Continue on to Oxford for check-in at the 5-star Old Bank Hotel followed by a walking tour with sites of Jewish interest.
Evening: Shabbat dinner (included) at our hotel or with members of the local Jewish community.

Saturday, September 17 | Oxford

Morning: Free to rest, relax, attend services, and/or explore sites of interest in Oxford on our own.

Afternoon: (optional) Visit to the Ashmolean Museum, concentrating on objects related to Jewish heritage. The museum came into existence in 1682, when the wealthy antiquary Elias Ashmole gifted his collection to the university. It opened as Britain’s first public museum, as well as the world’s first university museum, in 1683.

Evening: Free; dinner on our own.

Sunday, September 18 | Oxford

We begin with a visit to Waddesdon Manor, which was built for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild in the 1870s to display his unique art collection and entertain the “fashionable world” of England. Free time for lunch on our own, followed by a short drive to Halton House, where we will enjoy an exclusive visit to Alfred de Rothschild’s former home, which currently serves as RAF Halton’s Officers’ Mess.

Evening: Free; dinner on our own.

Monday, September 19 | Windsor

Depart Oxford for Windsor Castle. Free time for lunch on our own before checking in to the deluxe Castle Hotel with time to rest and relax, or use the hotel’s facilities.
Evening: Lecture by Rachel Kolsky, “Disraeli’s London,” followed by dinner on our own.

Tuesday, September 20 | Windsor

Today we will travel to Hughenden Manor, country house of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, who was born Jewish but at age 12 converted by his father (at the time a Trustee in the Bevis Marks Synagogue) to the Anglican Church. Disraeli was proud of his Jewish heritage despite being seen as an outsider and denigrated as Jewish by other politicians and “upper crust” English society. In fact, he made a point of telling all that his religion was Christianity but his “race” was Jewish.

Evening: Closing meeting and dinner at our hotel (included).

Wednesday, September 21

Depart for home.

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

Accommodations

 
London: The Goring Hotel
The Goring Hotel, located within walking distance of Buckingham Palace, is one of London’s finest hotels and one of the city’s last family-owned luxury hotels. For over 100 years, it has been renowned for its hospitality and commitment to service, as well as for its Michelin-star restaurant.
 
 
Oxford: The Old Bank Hotel
The independently-owned Old Bank, centrally located on Oxford’s famous High, is a breathtaking statement of design. Many of the 5-star hotel’s luxury bedrooms boast unrivalled views of the city’s most famous landmarks. Listed in The Sunday Times ‘Ultimate. 100 British Hotels’ as ‘The place to stay in Oxford’, it sits opposite the Radcliffe Camera and the Bodleian Library.
 
 
Windsor: Castle Hotel MGallery
The grand Georgian building of the luxury 4-star Castle Hotel is situated on the quintessentially English High Street of Windsor. Having been dedicated to exceptional hospitality for more than 500 years, the hotel is steeped in rich and fascinating history.

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Accommodations

Travel in comfort. We stay at deluxe hotels with fine amenities. Accommodations for this trip listed below.

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Program Details

Program Cost: $6,700* (plus $54 Museum of Jewish Heritage fee for nonmembers)

Includes:

  • Nine nights’ accommodations at deluxe hotels*
  • Full breakfast daily; one lunch; three dinners
  • Entrance fees to all museums and sites on itinerary
  • All group transportation via deluxe air-conditioned coach

*Per person, double occupancy; single supplement ($1,650) and gratuities ($165) additional.

To reserve your place, please complete the registration form and submit with a nonrefundable deposit of $1,000 per person (payable to Jewish Heritage Travel). Balance in full is due 120 days prior to departure.

Please note: If Covid restrictions cause us to postpone this trip, your deposit will be credited toward your choice of any 2022 or 2023 Jewish Heritage Travel program.

Participation

We require that all participants provide proof of Covid vaccination to participate in any Jewish Heritage Travel program.

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, 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.

Help with Travel Arrangements

One of the services we provide, at no additional charge, is to help with your travel arrangements. Our knowledgeable and patient staff can assist you in making your travel plans — including booking reservations that are available from the various airlines.