Rediscovery, Resilience, and Reflection: A Transformative Journey to Poland and Hungary in partnership with the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center.
Join the Milwaukee Jewish Federation in partnership with HERC for a 10 day exploration of the past, present and future of our Jewish heritage in Central Europe. Our journey will begin in Warsaw, Poland where we will revisit the destruction of the Holocaust and the ways in which Poland has addressed her past, while witnessing how Jews practice and engage in modern life. We will travel to Krakow to meet Holocaust survivors and Ukrainian refugees, spend a day visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest concentration camp, and end the trip with three days exploring the revitalization of Jewish life in Budapest, Hungary, the third largest Jewish population in Europe.
This mission is open to Milwaukee Jewish Federation donors who make a gift of $5,000 or greater to the annual campaign.
Once you have registered for the trip, you can also register for the extension. Click here for details.
- Art & Culture
- Local Specialists
- Current Affairs
- Food & Wine
- Social Justice
- Special Access
- UNESCO Heritage Sites
- Food Tasting Tour
- Depart the USA.
- Arrive at Warsaw International Airport.
- Check-in to the hotel. (From 3:00pm)
- Meet for an orientation with your tour educator where you will review your itinerary and group themes and share group and personal goals.
- Enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.
- The Jewish Community in Poland – Past, Present, & Future: Talk with AJC Senior Policy and Program Officer Dr. Sebastian Rejak about how modern-day Poland deals with the Holocaust and whether there is a future for the small Jewish community in the country.
- Visit the Nozyk Synagogue, the last remaining pre-WWII synagogue in Warsaw.
- Take a guided visit to the Warsaw Ghetto. At Mila 18, we will commemorate the doomed uprising and at Umschlagplatz, the holding area before transportation to the Treblinka death camp.
- Meeting with Rabbi Michael Joseph Schudrich - Chief Rabbi of Poland.
- Visit the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, located in the center of what once was the Warsaw Ghetto.
- Pre-dinner cocktails and briefing with the regional Reuters News bureau chief Justyna Pawlak.
- Dinner at JCC Warsaw with leadership from JCC and young Hillel students.
- Check out of the hotel and depart Warsaw on a train to Krakow.
- Arrive in Krakow. Lunch on own, en route.
- Explore the Kazimierz Jewish Quarter. Once the heart of Jewish life in Krakow for 500 years, the quarter is now one of the city’s most attractive and bohemian areas. Our tour will include:
- The Altshul. Built in the 15th century, this is the oldest synagogue still standing in Poland.
- The Rema Synagogue, named after Rabbi Moses Isserles (the “Rema"), a great Talmudic scholar and codifier of Jewish law. It is one of the few synagogues in Krakow that is still active today.
- Visit the Galicia Jewish Museum and meet with a Holocaust survivor.
- Check into the hotel.
- Visit the Auschwitz–Birkenau complex, the largest of the Nazi concentration and extermination centers and in all its inhumanity. Over 1.1 million people lost their lives in the Auschwitz camps. Our experience will include:
- The first camp built at Auschwitz, a mass concentration camp. Here, we’ll visit the Auschwitz museum which contains powerful artifacts and haunting footage of the lives and deaths of prisoners.
- We will then make the short drive to the Auschwitz II death camp, also known as Birkenau. Largely untouched since the war, it provides intimate insights into the tragedy of the Holocaust. We’ll reflect here on the personal stories of some of the Jews held and killed here and read accounts from survivors.
- Packaged lunch en route.
- Return to Krakow for Kabbalat Shabbat with young children from the JCC preschool.
- At the Krakow Jewish Community Center, we’ll talk with JCC director Jonathan Ornstein over Shabbat dinner with members of the local community and Ukrainian refugees.
- Morning at leisure.
- Discover Krakow and experience authentic local cuisines and culture on a fun tasting tour for lunch.
- Explore the Main Market Square, Krakow’s city center and one of the best public spaces in Europe today. It combines modern street life with medieval architecture. One of the largest medieval squares still in existence, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Tzedakah: Participate in a relief program with JCC Krakow to support Ukrainian refugees.
- Walk back to the hotel.
- Check out of the hotel and drive to Brno, the second largest city of the Czech Republic.
- Learn about the long history of Jews in Brno and visit the Agudas Achim Synagogue. Meet with members of the local community.
- Continue your drive to Budapest.
- Arrive in Budapest and check into the hotel, with evening at leisure.
- Explore the story of Jewish Budapest over the past 160 years:
- The Dohany Street Synagogue.
- The Jewish Museum.
- The Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Park.
- Visit the newly renovated Rumbach Synagogue.
- Budapest, one of Europe’s biggest Jewish cities, has seen an outpouring of new energy and ideas since the fall of Communism. We’ll visit the JCC Budapest, Balint House to experience its activities and programs that have helped revitalize and rebuild Jewish communal life in the city.
- Meet with Tomi Büchler who co-founded and helps lead Minyanim, an initiative to develop the next generation of European Jewish leaders.
- Talk with young leaders of the Hungarian Jewish community about how they came to embrace their Jewish identities. Our meeting will be at the Israeli Cultural Institute (ICI), where Jewish Agency staff will explain the role that Israeli culture is playing in the resurgence of Jewish life in Hungary.
- Who are the Neologs and How Do they Fit Into the Jewish World? We'll talk with Rabbi Tamas Vero and his wife Linda Vero-Ban at the Frankel Synagogue. Find out whether Hungary’s main Jewish stream is closer to Reform, Conservative, or Orthodox Judaism and discuss what led Hungarian Jews to embrace this movement. We’ll also explore why Frankel Synagogue is enjoying a new surge in popularity.
- Is Hungary turning its back on democracy and returning to authoritarianism? Find out during this presentation by Gabor Gyori, senior political analyst at the Hungarian thinktank Policy Solutions. We’ll also hear how the rise of Christian nationalist politicians, such as Viktor Orban, Hungary’s prime minister and a proponent of “illiberal democracy,” affects Hungary’s Jews, the country and, indeed, Europe.
- Walking tour of Budapest:
- Enjoy the lawns, walkways, and architecture of Liberty Square. We’ll also see that the square provides important insights into the transformations and turmoil of recent Hungarian history and politics.
- Walk by the Hungarian Parliament.
- See The Shoes on the Danube, a moving, sparse memorial to honor the Jews who were massacred by Fascist Hungarian militia belonging to the Arrow Cross Party in Budapest during the Second World War.
- Afternoon at leisure to explore the sites and scenes of Budapest on your own, including the Széchenyi Bathhouse and the Gellert Bathhouse. Be pampered as you bathe in the city’s famous mineral-rich waters.
- The Blue Danube: Enjoy the beauty of Budapest on a farewell dinner cruise on the Danube.
- Check out of the hotel and transfer to the airport.
- Return flight to the USA.
RATES & LODGING
What to expect
- 8 nights' accommodations.
- 7 days of touring with a tour educator and local guides, in a luxury, air-conditioned bus.
- Daily breakfast, 2 lunches & 4 dinners.
- First class train ticket from Warsaw to Krakow.
- Separate luggage transfer from Warsaw to Krakow.
- The J² adventures App available on the App Store & on Google Play (active 7 days before your departure and throughout your trip).
- Water on the bus.
- Porterage at the hotels.
- All site entrance fees & program fees as per your final program.
- Credit card fees.
- Flights to & from Europe.
- Gratuities are excluded. For groups of 20 and more participants traveling to Central Europe: We recommend the following guidelines for tipping (amounts are in US dollars): Jewish Tour Educator: $12 | Local Guide: $10 | Driver: $5. Amounts are per day per person.
- COVID related expenses, including tests.
- Evening transportation when dinner is not included.
- Amendments to the program: In the event that any sites, programs or meals etc. are added to the program, an additional fee may be required.
- Personal extras: Items of personal nature such as laundry, wines, mineral water, beverages, coffee, tea, food other than the table d’hotel menu, passport and visa fees, insurance, and foreign port taxes, unless otherwise specified.
- US and foreign airport taxes, Q fuel surcharge and border taxes when applicable.
- Please review our terms & conditions (T&C’s) or request that we send you our full T&C’s. Until you do that, here is the small print, and other stuff you may want to know:
- Validity | All prices quoted are based on exchange rates as of the proposal date and are subject to change without notice. Rates are per person and are based on shared twin room occupancy.
- How to Make a Reservation | The quickest way to make a reservation is to register online or contact us by email. We accept VISA, MasterCard, and American Express credit cards. A non-refundable deposit is required in order to complete the registration process.
- For any assistance with this registration process or other trip-related queries, please email Customer Care: [email protected].
- Payments | The balance of your payment is due 90 days before your trip begins, or as specified in your invoice. You will receive an email reminder 2 weeks before this date. Various payment options are available as follows:
- Credit card | We accept Visa, Mastercard and American Express. Please check with your credit card provider regarding international processing fees. We are unable to process payments of over $1,000 over the phone. Please submit payment online via a credit card or by wiring funds via your bank.
- Domestic bank wire transfer | Payment should be wired in the same currency that is listed on your invoice. Please add the name of your group or invoice number as a reference and forward a copy of the transfer receipt by email. The bank transfer should clearly state the beneficiary’s name on the wire transfer.
- J² Adventures reserves the right to automatically cancel your reservation on that date and it may be subject to reconfirmation should the final payment not be received.
- Cancelation Policy | All cancelations need to be made in writing. The cancelation fee depends on the date when we receive written notification of your request to cancel your booking. Please note that the deposit is non-refundable.
- Cancelation fees | Cancelations made 90 or more days prior to departure incur the loss of the deposit. Cancelations made 89 to 46 days prior to departure incur the loss of 50% of the full trip cost. Cancelations made 45 days or less prior to the departure incur the loss of 100% of the full trip cost.
- Cancelation fees may also include: Hotel or supplier cancelation fees. J² Adventures reserves the right to adjust its terms of payment, including cancelation policies and initial deposits.
- Protect your investment for $495 p/p: Should you cancel your trip up to 5 days before your departure for any reason, our POM program offers you a trip refund. Call 888-230-6008 or e-mail: [email protected].
- Please click here to view our full terms (T&C’s). These T&C’s apply to all reservations created within J2 Adventures.
DISCOVER NEW WORLDS.
A family vacation to Israel. An adventure of a lifetime traveling with friends to Morocco. A trip to Poland or Portugal with your community. What do these trips have in common? No matter where you go, you will come back with a fresh perspective and appreciation of the place you visited as well as a heightened awareness of your identity as part of the global Jewish community.
We have everything you need to know before you go. Check out our Instagram my_j2adventures for cool updates and interesting tidbits.