J² crafts journeys of inspiration, education, and Jewish connections to Israel and worldwide. We are guided by a simple but powerful concept: No two trips are the same; each experience should be personal, meaningful, and backed by superb service. Travel is not just about the places you visit, but the connections you make along the way.
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- Food & Wine
- Local Specialists
- Social Justice
- Art & Culture
- Depart the USA.
- Arrive at Berlin International Airport.
- Check into the hotel.
- Introduction to Berlin: Orientation with your tour educator.
- Get a glimpse of Berlin and its transformations through an introductory tour to two very different landmarks:
- The neo-classical Brandenburg Gate.
- The Holocaust Memorial.
- We’ll stop at Checkpoint Charlie, the best-known crossing point between East and West Berlin during the Cold War, and the setting for countless real and fictional spy stories.
- Enjoy a festive welcome dinner at a local restaurant.
- Find out about German-Jewish identity then and now. Dr. Sandra Anusiewicz-Baer of the Zacharias Frankel College, Berlin’s Conservative-Masorti rabbinical seminary, will discuss how the country’s Jews have understood their relationship with German culture and the German nation, as well as how German Jews see their role in the country today.
- Tour the Jewish Quarter and see the following sites:
Overnight: Berlin Meals: Breakfast
- Hackescher Market.
- The New Synagogue and Centrum Judaicum.
- The Jewish Cemetery.
- We’ll stop outside the home of Rabbi Regina Jonas, the first woman to be ordained as a rabbi.
- Why did a German student of Protestant theology convert to Judaism and begin a process that would see her become Berlin’s first female rabbi since the Holocaust? Find out as Rabbi Gesa Ederberg of the Oranienburger Strasse Synagogue shares her story of becoming Jewish and discusses her role in rebuilding egalitarian Judaism in the former East Germany. We’ll also see this architecturally remarkable synagogue and find out how it was saved from Nazi destruction.
- Take a guided tour of the Jewish Museum of Berlin and see how architect Daniel Libeskind’s design – with its zigzagging lines, inclined walls, and concrete “voids” – retells German-Jewish history.
- Berlin's Museum Island is a magnificent ensemble of five world class museums recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Whether you are an archeology buff or a lover of 19th Century European art, you will find your inspiration on Museum Island.
- Explore Germany’s traumatic political past and prosperous present as we stop outside at the Bundestag, the German Federal Parliament. The building, set in the reconstructed Reichstag, is rich with history. We’ll see how it was created in the 1890s as newly unified Germany grew into an imperial power, destroyed during the Nazi period, and reconstructed in the 1990s as the home of German democracy and reunification.
- Evening recommendation:
- Embark on a unique musical journey with the Resident Music Collective's latest concert programme, inspired by the exhibition Blown Away: The Palace of the Republic. Experience the fusion of history and music as the ensemble, featuring students and instruments from the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler, delves into the cultural significance of the Kulturpalast through a diverse array of voices. The concert starts at 7 P.M. at Humboldt Forum. The tickets are recommended to be purchased in advance online on the website - berlin.de
- Experience the captivating theatre drama of Anton Chekhov's timeless masterpiece, "The Seagull," brought to life by acclaimed director Thomas Ostermeier. Set against the backdrop of a serene country estate during a balmy summer evening, the play follows the tumultuous relationships and artistic ambitions of a group of characters yearning for love and validation. The play starts at 7:30 P.M. at Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz. The tickets are recommended to be purchased in advance online on the website - berlin.de.
- Experience the Ku'damm, the main street of West Berlin, which will give an understanding of the difference between West Berlin and East Berlin.
- Visit the Berlin Wall Memorial, an ideal place to examine the Cold War that divided both Berlin and the world. Situated on a one-mile strip of the original wall, it includes exhibits explaining why this was once one of the tensest places on earth.
- Painting Freedom on the Wall: The years 1989-1990 were miraculous as the Berlin Wall came down, the Cold War ended, and West and East Germany reunified. See how artists reacted to those remarkable days at the East Side Gallery. The “gallery” is actually the longest stretch of the Berlin Wall still in existence and was covered with murals by German and international artists immediately after reunification. Look out for the famous graffiti painting of the Soviet and East German leaders, Brezhnev and Honecker, locked in a “socialist fraternal kiss” and a Trabant – the iconic, awful automobile of Communist Germany – seemingly bursting through the Wall.
- Enjoy a casual lunch at Kanaan, an Israeli-Palestinian restaurant, and meet with the chefs and owners of the establishment: Oz Ben David and Jalil Debit.
- Take a walk on the wild side as we check out the graffiti and street culture of Kreuzberg. In the heart of bohemian Berlin, this area is made up of artists, squatters, and alternative types since David Bowie and Lou Reed lived here in the 1970s.
- Return to the hotel with free time to refresh and prepare for Shabbat.
- Experience Kabbalat Shabbat service at a local synagogue.
- Shabbat dinner at a restaurant.
- “Jews May No Longer Own Pets”: In a city of Holocaust memorials, the Places of Remembrance is perhaps the most controversial. Hung, seemingly randomly, on street lampposts in the Bavarian Quarter are 80 signs that highlight anti-Jewish laws and regulations established by the Nazis. These signs push passersby to contemplate the almost-forgotten history of this neighborhood, which was once home to prominent Jewish intellectuals, including Albert Einstein and Hannah Arendt.
- Based on the Roman Colosseum, the Berlin Olympic Stadium was built as an architectural tribute to what the Nazis dreamed would be their thousand year Reich. Visit the stadium to hear the story of the 1936 Olympics - it's role as a Nazi propaganda tool, the place of Jewish athletes, and the legacy of African American Jesse Owens as a timeless figure in sports as part of the struggle for human rights.
- The Bureaucracy of Evil: in January 1942, German officials gathered at the Wannsee Villa to arrange and streamline the “Final Solution.” Visit the lovely rooms – which are now a museum and memorial with exhibitions, films, and original documentation – where these monstrous discussions were held.
- Lunch at a local restaurant.
- See "The Bridge of Spies," an iconic Cold War landmark symbolizing the tense standoff between East and West. This historic bridge served as a vital link between the American and Soviet sectors of the divided city. Renowned for its role in the exchange of captured spies during the height of the Cold War, it stands as a testament to diplomacy amidst geopolitical tensions, encapsulating the spirit of negotiation and reconciliation in a divided world.
- Take part in a Havdalah ceremony.
- Evening recommendation: Enter the enchanting world of Puccini's beloved opera, "Scenes of Bohemian Life," a poignant portrayal of young artists navigating love, ambition, and tragedy amidst the vibrant streets of Belle Époque Paris. Under the direction of Götz Friedrich, this opulent production captures the essence of the era, from the gleam of artistic dreams to the harsh realities of poverty and illness. The opera starts at 7:30 PM at Deutsche Oper Berlin. The tickets are recommended to be purchased in advance online on the website - berlin.de.
- Check out of the hotel.
- Drive south from Berlin to Dresden.
- Raised from the Rubble: Examine the extraordinary post-war reconstruction of Dresden. There was much to reconstruct, as from the 18th century onward, Dresden had been a European center of art and architecture. The Zwinger was a palace made to rival Louis XIV’s residence in Versailles. The Fraunerkirche church was the beloved symbol of the city. The Semper was one of the world’s great opera houses. All were leveled during the bombing of 1945, but as we’ll see, they have been exactly and beautifully rebuilt, sometimes using the rubble from the original buildings.
- Examine the Jewish history of Dresden, which included medieval massacres, followed by flourishing in the 19th century, and devastation during the Holocaust. At the Jewish Community Center, hear how Jews, including immigrants from the FSU, are reestablishing communal life in Dresden. Visit the New Synagogue which, when it was established in 2001, became the first synagogue built in East Germany since the war.
- Depart Dresden and cross the border to the Czech Republic.
- Arrive in Prague and check into the hotel.
- Explore the Old Town Square, Prague’s main marketplace since the 10th century. See its Astronomical Clock, a symbol of the city, and explore Prague’s Art Nouveau architecture.
- Discover the sometimes glorious, sometimes tragic, past of Prague’s Jews with a walking tour to the Jewish Ghetto. Our visit will include:
- The Maisel Synagogue.
- The Pinkas Synagogue.
- The Old Jewish Cemetery.
- The Spanish Synagogue.
- The Altneushul.
- Remainder of the afternoon at leisure: Prague provides more than its fair share of beautiful spots, culture, and history to enjoy during your free time. Here are just a few recommendations:
- Take the funicular or walk up Petřín Hill, a huge park with great views of the city. While you’re up there, relax in the Rose Garden, enjoy some family fun in the Mirror Maze, or climb the 299 steps to the top of lookout tower.
- Kampa and Letna Parks are also vast parks perfect for walks, lunch, and relaxation.
- The Franz Kafka Museum examines the relationship between the writer and his home city. It includes first editions of his works, photographs, original letters, and audiovisual exhibits.
- Visit Lidice, the site of a notorious Nazi act of brutality against Czech non-Jews. We’ll visit the memorial to the victims.
- Continue to Terezin (Theresienstadt), the ghetto-camp established here during World War Two where over 100,000 thousand Jews were worked to death or sent to extermination camps in the East. Our visit to Terezin will include:
- The Historical Exhibition which explains the history of the camp and its role in Hitler’s Final Solution.
- Chilling propaganda movies made by the Nazis which were designed to convince the world that Terezin was a spa town and retirement center for elderly Jews rather than a death-ridden way station to the extermination camps.
- A reconstruction of the overcrowded dormitory and other parts of the camp complex.
- The Hidden Synagogue that an inmate, Artur Berlanger, created out of a tiny storage space.
- A memorial service, where we’ll remember those who died here as well as the more than 80,000 Jews who were sent to be killed in Auschwitz and elsewhere in the East.
- Packaged lunch, en route.
- Return to the hotel with time to refresh.
- Dine around one of Prague’s hippest neighborhoods: A short ride will take us to Karlin for a tasting tour. Once considered a rougher part of the city, Karlin now boasts a great range of restaurants, cafes, and pubs and a superb atmosphere. We’ve reserved tables at some of the finest local eateries, and a local foodie will guide us through the best of Czech cuisine while sharing stories of the neighborhood and its transformation.
- We'll make our way to the Strahov monastery for glorious views of Prague. Here, we'll also stop for a visit at the Strahov Library, a gorgeous Baroque library from the 17th century.
- Visit the Prague Castle, enjoy an overview of the City of 100 Spires, and walk along the Golden Lane.
- Free time for lunch on own. The Czechs brew better beer than virtually anywhere on the globe. Join the locals for a drop in the many beer gardens and restaurants in the area. Cheers!
- Don’t Judge a Town by Its Name: It may be called the "Lesser Town" but it’s hard to imagine a more charming area with its Baroque architecture.
- Stop by the famous John Lennon wall, the monument of free speech, with its variety of graffiti, color, and art.
- Cross the famous Charles Bridge and make your way through the Old Town.
- Festive farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
- Check out of the hotel.
- Return flight to the USA.
RATES & LODGING
What to expect
- 8 nights' accommodations.
- 8 days of touring with a tour educator (guide), 7 days of touring in a luxury, air-conditioned bus.
- Daily breakfast, 2 lunches, 1 packaged lunch & 4 dinners.
- The J² adventures App available on the App Store & on Google Play (active 7 days before your departure and throughout your trip).
- Porterage at the hotels.
- All site entrance fees & program fees as per your final program.
- Credit card fees.
- Transatlantic flights.
- 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.
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.