Rabbis, Writers & Dreamers on the Danube

Vienna, Budapest & Prague

October 10–22, 2018


Traveling with You...

Scholar in Residence

Raymond P. Scheindlin, Ph.D. is Professor of Medieval Hebrew Literature at the Jewish Theological Seminary and a former Guggenheim Fellow. Dr. Scheindlin’s main field of research is the encounter of Hebrew and Arabic cultures in Spain, especially as embodied in the poetry of the two traditions. His books on medieval Hebrew poetry — Wine, Women, and Death: Medieval Hebrew Poems on the Good Life, dealing with secular poetry; and The Gazelle: Medieval Hebrew Poems on God, Israel, and the Soul, reflect both the academic and the literary aspects of his career. He is the author of a widely-used textbook, A Short History of the Jewish People and co-editor of The Literature of Al-Andalus. His most recent book is The Song of the Distant Dove: Judah Halevi’s Pilgrimage.

Trip Leader

Aryeh Maidenbaum, PhD, with a strong background in history, psychology, and Jewish studies, has over 28 years’ experience in organizing and leading educational programs, including psychology seminars and conferences and travel programs focusing on Jewish culture and history. Director of the New York Center for Jungian Studies, he earned his doctorate from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and is a former faculty member at New York University. Dr. Maidenbaum is a contributing author to Current Theories of Psychoanalysis and editor of and contributor to Lingering Shadows: Jungians, Freudians and Anti-Semitism and Jung and the Shadow of Anti-Semitism. Some of his other publications include Psychological Type, Job Change, and Personal Growth; The Search for Spirit in Jungian Psychology; “The Jungian Dilemma,” a chapter in the recently published book Psychiatry and Anti-Semitism; and “The Golem of Prague: An Archetype,” forthcoming in the journal Psychological Perspectives.

Tour Manager

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 Artist

Janice Meyerson (M.M., New England Conservatory; B.A., Washington University), has sung as a soloist with the New York City Opera, New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Deutsche Oper, Berlin, and the Spoleto Festival, among numerous others. A gifted mezzo-soprano and interpreter of song, Ms. Meyerson will perform Ladino and Hebrew examples of Sephardic music.

Program Overview

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.

Tentative Daily Itinerary*

Wednesday, October 10

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).

Thursday, October 11

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.

Friday, October 12

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).

Saturday, October 13

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.

Sunday, October 14

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).

Monday, October 15

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.

Tuesday, October 16

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.

Wednesday, October 17

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).

Thursday, October 18

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).

Friday, October 19

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).

Saturday, October 20

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.

Sunday, October 21

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).

Monday, October 22

Depart for home.

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


Budapest: Ritz Carlton Budapest

Ritz-Carlton-BudapestCulture 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.

Vienna: Hotel Bristol Vienna

Hotel BristolPerfectly 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.

Prague: Grand Mark Hotel

Grand Mark HotelNestled 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.

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Deluxe Accommodations

Hotel Bristol Vienna-exterior
Hotel Bristol
Travel in comfort. We stay at deluxe hotels with fine amenities. Accommodations for this trip listed below the itinerary.

Program Details

PLEASE NOTE: This trip is no longer open for online registration. To inquire please contact the office at 845.256.0197, Monday-Friday, 10am-5pm or by email anytime.

Program Cost: $7260* (plus $54 Museum of Jewish Heritage fee for nonmembers)

Program Cost Includes:

  • Twelve nights’ accommodations*
  • full breakfast daily; six lunches; five dinners
  • entrance fees to all museums and sites on itinerary and group transportation via deluxe, air-conditioned coach

*Per person, based on double occupancy. Single supplement available at $1500. Gratuities ($160) additional.

Some upgraded Suites available in Prague at an additional $85 per night. Call our office for more details.

To reserve your place, please complete the reservation form and return with a non-refundable deposit of $1000 per person. Balance is due 120 days prior to departure. Trip cost after July 1 is $7400.


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Register with confidence: Your deposit is 100% refundable if Covid restrictions cause us to cancel this trip.


To Register
To reserve your place, please complete the reservation form and return with a non-refundable deposit of $1000 per person. Balance is due 120 days prior to departure. Trip cost after July 1 is $7400.

Participation limited. The program will entail considerable walking, including uneven terrain and unavoidable stairs. 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 call please call our 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.