Temple Beth-El San Antonio
Jewish Heritage Trip
to Poland and Germany

Led by Rabbi Mara Nathan

Oct 15, 2023 - Oct 25, 2023

  • DESTINATION Central Europe
  • Who’s Going Adults Only
  • Trip Type Congregational
  • Duration 11 DAYS
  • Group Size 20+
  • Price From $4,475
Program is tentative and subject to change. Connect with our Customer Care Team by calling: (888) 230-6008 Mon.-Thur. from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET).

YOUR journey

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.

  •   Art & Culture
  •   Heritage
  •   Local Specialists
  •   Special Access

Program Itinerary

DAY 1
ON THE WAY
Sun. Oct 15, 2023
  • Depart the USA.
DAY 2
THE START OF A SPECIAL JOURNEY
Mon. Oct 16, 2023
  • Arrival at Krakow International Airport.
  • Meet your tour educator Uri Feinberg who will accompany you on this journey of education and inspiration.
  • Group transfer to the hotel and check-in.
  • Guided walk to Krakow’s Historical Market Square, with its medieval architecture, basilicas and sculptures. This UNESCO World Heritage site, once the capital of Poland, was not destroyed during WWII and bears witness to the rich history of the country.
  • 1,000 Years of Jewish History: Welcome dinner and orientation with your tour educator. Overview of the group journey; including reviewing the itinerary, the group themes, the different narratives. Share group and personal goals with your tour educator at a local restaurant.
Overnight: Krakow Meals: Dinner
DAY 3
RE-CREATING MEMORY
Tue. Oct 17, 2023
  • Connect to the story of Jewish life in Krakow with an interactive program in the Kazimierz Jewish Quarter, including:
    • The Altshul, the oldest synagogue in Poland, transformed into the local Jewish life cycle museum.
    • The Rema Synagogue, the synagogue of Rabbi Moses Isserles (the “Rema"), the great codifier of Jewish law.
    • The Rema Cemetery, where many great rabbinical leaders of Polish Jewry are buried.
    • The Temple, once the first “Modern” orthodox synagogue.
  • Lunch on your own, en route.
  • Take a guided journey following the Jewish community on their descent from Kazimierz, crossing over the bridge into the Jewish Ghetto of Podgorze, including:
    • The Krakow Umchlagplatz memorial, now called Ghetto Heroes Square.
    • The Oscar Schindler Factory Museum. The museum tells the story of the city of Krakow and its residents under Nazi occupation from 1939 to 1945. The museum is housed in the administrative building of Oskar Schindler’s enamel factory.
    • The Under the Eagle Pharmacy, a pharmacy inside the ghetto run by Tadeusz Pankiewitz. We’ll hear how this Polish-Catholic pharmacist saved many Jews and was subsequently recognized by Yad Vashem as one of the Righteous among the Nations.
  • Visit the Galicia Jewish Museum, which exists to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust and celebrate the Jewish culture of Polish Galicia, presenting Jewish history from a new perspective. Learn and explore the past, present and future through the unique photo exhibit which captures life through the still media.
  • Return to the hotel.
  • Enjoy dinner on your own and an evening at leisure in the vibrant university city. Your tour educator will be available for a night tour of the city.
Overnight: Krakow
DAY 4
THE DESTRUCTION OF EUROPEAN JEWRY
Wed. Oct 18, 2023
  • In This Place - Guided visit through the Auschwitz–Birkenau Complex, reflecting on personal stories and texts. Walk through the Auschwitz Museum exhibits, built in the original blocks of the camp, see the original artifacts and footage, and witness the life and death of the prisoners of this work camp. A short drive will take you to the Auschwitz II death camp, better known as Birkenau. This camp was barely touched or renovated, allowing you a first-hand experience to understand the last moments of the prisoners of this camp.
  • Boxed lunch.
  • Group reflection and conversation at the Oswiecim Synagogue, on the site of one of Oswiecim’s many pre-Holocaust synagogues – a silent witness to what was once an ordinary Polish town known as Oswiecim with a Jewish majority, later to become the ultimate symbol of the Holocaust.
  • Return to Krakow.
  • The Krakow Jewish Community Today and a Vision for the Future: Evening program at the Krakow Jewish Community Center with Jonathan Ornstein, the JCC Director. Enjoy dinner with members of the local Jewish community, and learn more about the cultural and religious revival happening at the JCC.
Overnight: Krakow Meals: Boxed lunch, Dinner
DAY 5
FROM KRAKOW TO WARSAW
Thu. Oct 19, 2023
  • Breakfast at the hotel and check out.
  • Load luggage onto the luggage truck.
  • Visit the Wieliczka Salt Mines. Explore magnificent chambers chiseled out of rock salt, underground saline lakes and unique statues sculpted in salt.
  • Guided visit to one of Kraków’s most famous landmarks, the Wawel Royal Castle. This Gothic style Castle, built by Prince Casimir the 3rd, holds beautiful grounds, a cathedral, the Crown treasury and armory.
  • Lunch on your own, en route.
  • Travel to Warsaw by train.
  • Transfer to the hotel for check in.
  • Enjoy a free evening in Warsaw, once considered to be the European “city of lights”. Enjoy the vibe of the restaurants and cafes, with its local and international cuisine.
Overnight: Warsaw
DAY 6
THE WORLD THAT WAS & THE WORLD THAT IS
Fri. Oct 20, 2023
  • The World That Was: Visit the Gensha Cemetery, one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in the world. Revive the names on the unique tombstones of the famous Jewish leaders, artists, Rabbis, and intellectuals, including Yiddish writer, author of “If Not Higher” Y.L Peretz, “Esperanto” language creator Ludwig Zamenhoff, Warsaw theater diva Ida Kaminska and Adam Czerniakow, the beloved head of the “Judenrat.” The cemetery is a testimony to hundreds of years of Jewish life in Poland.
  • Visit the Nozyk Synagogue, the last remaining pre-WWII synagogue in Warsaw.
  • Lunch on your own, en route.
  • Tour the underground archive of the Warsaw Ghetto at the Jewish Historical Institute, the so-called Ringelblum Archive. The archive consists of a unique collection of documents that are one of the world’s most significant testimonies about the extermination of Polish Jewry.
  • Visit the Villa at the Warsaw Zoo, which was once the home of the zoo director, Jan Żabiński, and his wife Antonina Żabińska. Learn the story of how they saved the lives of many Jews during the Holocaust.
  • Return to the hotel to prepare for Shabbat services and dinner.
  • Kabbalat Shabbat services at a local synagogue.
  • Shabbat dinner with members of the local Jewish community.
Overnight: Warsaw Meals: Shabbat dinner
DAY 7
EXPLORING WARSAW
Sat. Oct 21, 2023
  • Take a guided journey through the Warsaw Ghetto, including the Remnants of the Ghetto Wall and the Nathan Rapoport Warsaw Ghetto Memorial. Follow the footsteps of the Warsaw Ghetto Heroes along the Path of Remembrance, commemorating the heroic Warsaw Ghetto uprising at Mila 18, and reflecting on the last moments of the Warsaw Jewish Community at the Umschlagplatz - the gathering area of the Jews before they were sent to the death camp of Treblinka.
  • Explore the Museum of the History of Polish Jews located in the center of what once was the Jewish Ghetto. Explore the 1,000 years of rich history of the Polish Jews; beginning from their arrival as merchants, through the medieval ages until today. This 43,000 sq. ft. museum includes rare and valuable art, photos, documentation, and footage of what was once the largest Jewish community in the world.
  • Walk through Warsaw’s Old Town. Established in the 13th century and destroyed by the German army during WWII, it was meticulously rebuilt using the original stones.
  • Walk through the Old Town Market Place, once the center of European cultural life, and now a vibrant and colorful center. Explore the fashionable restaurants and shops, the beautiful, medieval architectural city walls, and a lookout of the Warsaw Barbican and St. John’s Cathedral.
  • Lunch on your own, en route.
  • Walls that Talk: Take a journey to discover mezuzah traces that adorn old tenement buildings in the city, led by Helena Czernek and/or Aleksander Prugar, founders of MI POLIN, created in 2014, the first Polish Judaica company since World War II. These traces are enduring symbols of the strong prewar Polish-Jewish presence in the city.
  • Return to the hotel with free time for last-minute shopping or exploring the city on your own.
  • Dinner on your own and evening at leisure.
Overnight: Warsaw
DAY 8
INTRODUCTION TO BERLIN
Sun. Oct 22, 2023
  • Breakfast at the hotel and check out.
  • Transfer to Warsaw train station.
  • Depart Warsaw on your train to Berlin.
  • Arrive in Berlin and meet your local guide.
  • The Enigma that is Berlin: Orientation dialogue with your tour educator.
  • Panoramic tour of Berlin including:
    • The Brandenburg Gate. Originally commissioned by Friedrich Wilhelm II to represent peace, the gate was ironically incorporated into the Berlin Wall during the years of the Communist regime. Perhaps Berlin's best-known landmark, it now stands as a symbol of the city's reunification.
    • The Holocaust Memorial, the monument dedicated to the murdered Jews of Europe. Designed by architect Peter Eisenman, this undulating field of reflection, comprised of thousands of concrete dark gray slabs forming a gentle wave, ankle-high in some places, the monument gives visitors a sense of groundlessness and loss of orientation.
    • View the Reichstag, the seat of the German Parliament and one of Berlin’s most significant landmarks.
    • Visit the Berlin Wall Memorial, an open-air exhibition that explains the history of division and the impact of the Berlin Wall on the city and its residents.
  • Check into the hotel.
  • Dinner on your own and evening at leisure.
Overnight: Berlin
DAY 9
JEWISH LIFE IN BERLIN
Mon. Oct 23, 2023
  • Being Young, Jewish, and German: Dialogue with Rebecca Blady, the Executive Director, and Jeremy Borovitz, the Senior Jewish Educator, of Base Berlin – Hillel Germany. This intersection of identity is far from simple, and Rebecca and Jeremy will share their experiences of working with the diverse population of Jewish students and young adults in Berlin. They will also discuss who they are and why they have made Germany their temporary (or permanent) home, as well as what they are looking to gain from being part of the Jewish community.
  • Walk along Grosse Hamburger Strasse, once the center of Berlin Jewry.
  • Tour to Jewish sites in East Berlin including:
    • The Hackescher Markt.
    • The Jewish Cemetery, including Moses Mendelsson’s grave.
    • The site of the Women’s Protest on Rosenenstreasse.
    • Stop by the house of Rabbi Regina Jonas, the first female Rabbi ever to be ordained.
    • Pass by the New Synagogue and the Centrum Judaicum, one of the most important locations for contemporary Jewish life in Berlin.
    • Visit the Museum of Otto Weidt’s Workshop for the Blind, a safe haven for Jews during the Holocaust years in Berlin.
  • Lunch on your own, en route.
  • Visit the Jewish Museum of Berlin, designed by architect Daniel Libeskind. One of the most conspicuous architectural landmarks in the city, it embodies remembrance, melancholy, and departure.
  • Continue to Gleis 17 (Track 17), the main deportation center for Berlin Jews during WWII, located in the neighborhood of Grunewald. Witness the contrast between the calm atmosphere and the tragic history of the place.
  • Return to the hotel.
  • Dinner on your own and evening at leisure.
Overnight: Berlin
DAY 10
BERLIN TODAY
Tue. Oct 24, 2023
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • From the Divided to the City of Freedom: 30 years after the fall of the wall, stop at the East Side Gallery, a part of the former Berlin Wall now serving as a memorial of 150 wall paintings from a slew of international artists.
  • Street Art Tour of Berlin: Get to know the weird and wonderful areas of Berlin. Check out the street art on many hidden corners and be impressed and inspired by the varied and dynamic works of art.
  • Lunch on your own, en route.
  • Germany, the Refugee Crisis in Europe & the Israel Connection: Germany has more asylum seekers than any other European nation, many of them having fled the war in Syria. Dialogue with a representative from IsraAID about the remarkable efforts of this Israeli-based aid organization to assist and integrate these refugees. Visit a refugee shelter in Berlin and hear personal stories from refugees.
  • Return to the hotel with free time for last-minute shopping or exploring the city on your own.
  • Festive farewell dinner and group reflection at a local restaurant.
Overnight: Berlin Meals: Dinner
DAY 11
UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN
Wed. Oct 25, 2023
  • Group transfer to Berlin International Airport for your return flight to the USA.

RATES & LODGING

participants
20+
Cost p/p in double room
$4,475
Cost p/p in single room
$5,244

Krakow: Indigo Old Town

Warsaw: The Westin

Berlin: The Westin Grand

What to expect

  • 9 nights' accommodations.
  • 9 days of touring with a tour educator and local guides, 8 days of touring in a luxury, air-conditioned bus.
  • Group arrival transfer & assistance at the airport.
  • Group departure transfer & assistance at the airport.
  • Daily breakfast, 1 boxed lunch & 4 dinners.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Gratuities: Recommend guidelines for tipping are provided in the terms section.
  • 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.
  • Please use the following information: Investors Bank 101 JFK Parkway, Short Hills, NJ 07078 ABA Routing Number: 221272031
  • Beneficiary Instructions: For the benefit of J² Adventures. Account number: 1001858331
  • 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. Please refer to the small print tab on your trip’s webpage or in your proposal for your cancelation policy and fees.

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