Budapest, Vienna, and Prague were the richest and most glamorous cities of the Hapsburg Empire and its successor, the Austro-Hungarian Empire. They were also home to important Jewish communities whose rabbis wrote works that guided Jews everywhere and which produced writers in modern times whose works have touched every person of culture. In all three cities, nineteenth-century modernization brought about fascinating changes in Jewish thought and the Jewish way of life.
Visiting the synagogues, cemeteries, and Jewish quarters of these cities will give us the opportunity to explore their heritage; to observe the ways in which the Jewish communities and individuals responded to the challenges of modernization; and to lament the destruction of those communities and most of their population during the Nazi era. In order to get a fuller picture of the larger cultures to which Jewish cultures adapted, we will of course also visit many of the major historical and cultural monuments of Hungary, Austria, and the Czech Republic.
Our accompanying scholar, Professor Ray Scheindlin, will address a wide variety of themes associated with Jewish history and culture. Along the way, we will visit world class museums, including the Belvedere Museum in Vienna which holds the largest collection of paintings by Gustav Klimt, and hear a live recital of songs by guest artist, mezzo-soprano Janice Meyerson.
Late afternoon: Orientation walk in the downtown area and on the Danube Corso – and enjoy viewing the famous Budapest Panorama – a World Heritage site.
Evening: Orientation; Overview and brief outline of our trip by accompanying scholar, Dr. Ray Scheindlin, followed by opening dinner (included).
Morning: an exploration of the Buda side of Budapest, including Citadel with Statue of Liberty, Castle District, and Royal Palace. Other places we will visit today include the Jewish Quarter of today’s Budapest, the Medieval Synagogue, Raoul Wallenberg Statue; the Old Buda Synagogue; Fisherman’s Bastion, and Hospital in the Rock. During the course of our day, a light lunch on our own.
Evening talk by Dr. Scheindlin, The Hapsburg Empire and its Jews, followed by dinner on our own.
This morning, we will visit Pest’s Jewish Quarter; The Glass House, Liberty Square with its New controversial Memorial of WWII and the moving Shoes Memorial. During the course of the day, lunch the New York Café (included).
Evening: festive Shabbat dinner (included).
Morning: free to attend Services or rest and relax.
Afternoon: (optional) National Gallery guided tour with a focus on “Modern Times – Hungarian Art Between 1896 and World War,” (most of the art displayed is by Jewish Hungarian artists).
Evening talk by Dr. Scheindlin, Jewish Religious Movements, Leaders, and Buildings of Budapest and Vienna.
Dinner on our own.
Depart for Vienna. En-route, we will visit Bratislava for a tour and lunch (included) before continuing on to Vienna. The Jewish community of Bratislava, whose origins can be traced back to medieval times, has played a major role throughout history. Bratislava’s Jewish Museum, known as The Museum of Jewish Culture, was established to raise awareness of the rich Jewish-Slovak legacy. Nearby the Museum is the Jewish Community Museum, which is part of the only remaining, and still functioning, Heydukova Street Synagogue (built in 1920). Additionally, Bratislava has its own small memorial to Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved tens of thousands of Jewish lives- including many from Bratislava.
From Bratislava, we will continue to Vienna in time for check in and dinner at our hotel (included).
Morning: An orientation drive along the Ringstrasse and scenic Danube before we continue to Upper Belvedere Palace for a private, guided tour with a focus on Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele. From there, we will continue on to Schönbrunn Palace (Imperial summer residence) where we will enjoy lunch (included) and a tour of the palace and gardens. Following the tour, a brief private strudel making demonstration in the former imperial bakery.
Evening talk by Ray Scheindlin, Stefan Zweig and The Jewish Writers of Vienna, followed by dinner on our own.
Today will begin with a walking tour through the Hofburg courtyards, followed by a private, guided tour of the Fine Arts museum (Kunsthistorisches Museum) with a focus on the “Picture Gallery.”
After a break for lunch in the museum café, we will finish our day with a guided tour of the Applied Arts Museum.
Today will consist of a walking tour and include the Albertina monument, Dorotheum, Dorotheergasse, St. Stephans, and a private tour of the Synagogue Stadttempel. Since only Catholic buildings were places of worship permitted to stand adjacent to major streets, the Synagogue was designed as an apartment complex – the reason why it was the only Jewish heritage building (out of 94 Jewish synagogues and temples before 1938) to survive. Other places we will visit today include the Judenplatz – to see the Holocaust memorial and to tour the Museum Judenplatz. During the course of our day, lunch at Café Central (included).
Depart Vienna for Prague with a stop en route to visit Třebíč – with its two synagogues, ancient cemetery, unique, fragile, fascinating atmosphere of narrow lanes, and the Třebíč Ghetto. The Jewish Quarter here is one of the best preserved and the largest in Europe. Thanks to its cultural and historical importance, the collection of houses in the former ghetto, together with the Jewish Cemetery and Basilica of St. Procopius, have been included in the UNESCO world and natural heritage list, the first independent Jewish monument to be honoured in this manner outside of the state of Israel. Lunch in Třebíč (included) before continuing on to Prague.
Arrive Prague, check in to the deluxe Grand Mark hotel, located in the heart of the city, in time for a sumptuous buffet dinner at our hotel (included).
This morning, we will visit Theresienstadt, one of the first Concentration camps, originally built as a fortress and later turned into a so-called “model ghetto,” for a guided tour. Following our visit and tour of Theresienstadt, we will return to Prague in time for lunch on our own and an afternoon free for exploring Prague’s many museums.
Evening: festive Shabbat Dinner (included).
Morning: Free to rest, relax or attend Services.
Afternoon: (optional) walking tour, including Jewish Prague, the famous Charles Bridge (c.1357) that connects Old Town and Lesser Town, and the astronomical clock (first installed in 1410, making it the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world).
Evening: talk by Dr. Scheindlin, Kafka and the Golem, followed by dinner on our own.
Private, guided tour of Prague Castle, considered the largest ancient castle in the world. Dating from the 9th century, it is the official residence of the President of the Czech Republic. The castle was a seat of power for kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman emperors, and presidents of Czechoslovakia.
Afternoon free for last minute shopping and/or to explore sites of personal interest in Prague on our own.
Evening: performance by Janice Meyerson, followed by a closing, festive dinner (included).
Depart for home.
Culture and heritage meet modern elegance at the five star Ritz-Carlton, Budapest. Located in the heart of the city, the Ritz-Carlton offers exceptional service, spacious rooms, authentic culinary experience and a soothing spa- the perfect combination for an unforgettable stay at this deluxe hotel.
Perfectly located, directly across from the State Opera House, the 5 star Hotel Bristol Vienna still serves as a living example of Viennese charm and its famed personalised service. Antiques combine harmoniously with modern comforts to turn these luxurious hotel rooms in Vienna into an urban retreat in the the heart of the city.
Nestled in a former baroque palace, The 5 star Grand Mark Prague contains an aura of luxury- artfully blending classical design with modern art, technology and features throughout. The location is ideal for leisure and entertainment and is within walking distance of all the key attractions in Prague as well as high-end designer shopping. Design elements incorporate rich textures, fine furnishings and specially commissioned art-work to enhance the traveler’s comfort.