MEKONG River Cruise - Vietnam & Cambodia 2020
Gay Vegan Departure With Special Guest and Group Leader Sean O’Callaghan (aka Fat Gay Vegan)!
Budapest – Vienna – Bratislava – Wachau Valley – Prague (post tour)
“There in Eastern Europe, the Jewish people came into its own. It did not live like a guest in somebody else’s home, who must constantly keep in mind the ways and customs of the host. There Jews lived without reservation and without disguise, outside their homes no less than within them”.
– Abraham Joshua Heschel
Join Kosher River Cruises as we explore the Imperial Cities of, Vienna, Budapest, Bratislava, the World UNESCO sites of the Wachau Valley, and Regensburg. Our expert guides will bring to life over a thousand years of the region’s Jewish history and heritage and the current historical and cultural wonders of these cities and regions. Exciting and educational itineraries, riverboat cruising, and delicious Glatt kosher cuisine will make this the vacation of a lifetime!
With its multifarious and often embattled history, magnificent architecture, and rich cultural heritage, Hungary’s capital deserves its reputation as the ‘Paris of Eastern Europe’. It has a complex identity, somewhere between Western luxury and simple traditions. The city straddles a gentle curve in the Duna (Danube in Hungarian). It has broad avenues, leafy parks, and elaborate bathhouses. It also has a turn-of-the-century feel to it. Today Budapest is one of Europe’s most seductive capitals, a cultural door between Asia and Europe. Hungary’s Jewish community is the largest in Central and Eastern Europe with most Jews residing in Budapest. Explore the city’s old Jewish quarters, synagogues, and monuments marking 800 years of Jewish presences in Budapest.
Our expert guides bring this captivating city to life as we explore both its secular and Jewish heritage. Our tour begins in the Castle District where the first Jews of Buda settled in the 13th century. We visit the small medieval synagogue in what was Jews Street and we will learn about life during the Turkish occupation of the 15th -17th centuries. Also on the Buda side we will visit the statue of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews during the Second World War, and a memorial plaque to Gabor Sztehlo, a Hungarian Evangelical pastor who saved the lives of Jewish children and adults.
Over on the Pest side of the Duna we’ll walk through the former ghetto area and visit the lovely Moorish Revival style Dohany street synagogue, the third largest in the world, and also tour the Jewish Museum. A sign on the wall indicates the site of the building where Theodor Herzl, the father of Zionism was born. Behind the synagogue is a Holocaust Memorial, a metallic weeping willow with names engraved on the leaves to remind us of the people who perished. Finally we’ll visit the Kazinczy Street Synagogue, a late art nouveau building, which is now one of the main Jewish centers for the orthodox community of Budapest.
Austria’s capital offers a unique blend of the traditional and the modern. Famous for its cultural events, imperial sights, coffee houses, cozy wine taverns, and a charm that is quintessentially Viennese, the city is as old as it is new. Baroque and Art Nouveau buildings exist side by side with the latest architectural styles; over 100 museums are there for you to enjoy. . From the Imperial Palace to the Art Nouveau splendor of the Viennese Secession movement, to the magnificence of Baroque Schönbrunnpalace to the Museum of Fine Arts to latest architecture in the Museum Quarterr, Vienna has more museums than anywhere else in the world and it includes some 27 castles and more than 150 palaces. Join Kosher Expeditions as we explore this fabulous European destination.
As for Jewish history, there are few European cities that are s as closely connected as Vienna. Until 1938, Vienna had a flourishing and influential Jewish community with dozens of synagogues and prayer houses. The anti-Semitism of the time provided fertile grounds for the Nazi terror to come when, 140,000 Austrians had to flee the country.; 65,000 who could not escape were murdered. Coming to terms with the largest crimes in the history of Vienna and Austria is a process that has lasted decades and is still not complete. Since the 1980s, thorough organizations such as the Jewish Welcome Service), the City of Vienna has made many efforts to show the history and Jewish heritage in all its complexity.
On our tour we will visit the Jewish Museum at Palais Eskeles in Dorotheergasse, the Museum at Judenplatz (with the subterranean remains of a medieval synagogue), the Holocaust Memorial at Judenplatz, and the Memorial against War and Fascism at Albertinaplatz. A large area with graves from before 1938 can be found in the Jewish section of the Central Cemetery. In Vienna’s Rudolfsheim-Fuenfhaus district, ten-memorial -sites have been dedicated to the pre-Nazi Jewish community. Finally we will visit the beautiful City Temple that was built between 1825-26 by Josef Kornhäusel, the most eminent architect of the Vienna Biedermeier School. He designed the building’s interior as well as its religious objects. Since the only houses of worship permitted to stand adjacent to major streets were Catholic, , the Synagogue was built into an apartment complex, and as a result it was the only one of 94 Jewish buildings to survive the Kristallnacht pogram of November 9-10, 1938.
Bratislava is the, dynamic and bustling capital of Slovakia. An historic town full of traditions, nostalgia, and music it is proud of its rich past. Here, three different countries meet and their languages, traditions, and cultures produce a pleasing microcosm of central Europe. Discover the Old Town’s inviting squares and romantic alleys, and visit Bratislava Castle for its splendid views of the city.
For centuries Bratislava was an important center of Jewish life. Jewish presence in the medieval city was regulated by the municipal charter granted to Bratislava by King Andrew III of the Arpád dynasty in 1291. One section of the document stipulated that the Jews had right to reside within the city walls, elect their own mayor, and pay taxes directly to the king. Later, the Jews were expelled from the city on several occasions, the last time in 1526. In 1599, invited by Count Palffy they returned, but not to the town proper. They settled in a narrow area between the castle hill and the city fortifications. The so-called Judengasse, a part of the area controlled by the Castle, remained the only place Jews were allowed to live until 1840. In the first half of the nineteenth century, Bratislava became an important center of Jewish learning when the Chatam Sofer established a famous yeshiva. At the same time his opponents in the community opened a modern Jewish primary school. As a result two Jewish communities, Orthodox and Neolog existed side by side in Bratislava, each with its own large synagogue. Most Bratislava Jews were killed during the Holocaust, but most of the Jewish built heritage in the city wasn’t destroyed until after the War under the communist regime. The Orthodox synagogue was demolished in 1961 and the rest of the Judengasse, along with the Neolog synagogue, was razed in 1968, when the SNP Bridge was constructed. Today, there is just a small Jewish community in the city.
Bratislava’s only remaining synagogue is located on Heydukova Street, not far from the historic city center. It was constructed in 1923-1926, decades after restrictions on Jewish residence were lifted. This enabled Jews to move out of the Judengasse district and settle throughout the city. The synagogue exterior has a tower less, seven-pillared colonnade facing the street. The interior includes a large sanctuary in which modern steel-and-concrete construction and contemporary Cubist details are combined with historicist elements, such as the arcade of the women’s gallery, a metallic bimah, and the ark.
A new Bratislava Jewish Community Museum opened in June 2012. Located in the Zsigray Mansion, the sole surviving house of Bratislava’s former, the Museum of Jewish Culture is the only reminder of the historic Jewish neighborhood razed in the 1960s, when the SNP Bridge was constructed. The 18th century Baroque mansion was rebuilt in the 19th century and since 1993 has been the seat of the Museum’s permanent exhibition. This precious architectural monument and the museum collection form part of the Slovak Jewish Heritage Route. The museum’s highlight is two valuable Chevra Kadisha jugs from the Western Slovak town of Senica dating from 1734 and 1776. These two unique pieces, which depict scenes from Jewish burials and other activities reproduced on a joint Slovak-Israeli postage stamp in 1999.
The Chatam Sofer Memorial: Rabbi Moshe Schreiber was a renowned Orthodox rabbi and scholar. Born in Frankfurt am Main, he became Chief Rabbi of Pressburg (today Bratislava), in 1806. Strictly Orthodox, he spearheaded traditionalist responses to modern thought and similar changes within Jewish society. His Pressburg Yeshiva, was one of the most prominent in all of Europe, produced scholars and rabbis for well over a century who went on to influence Jewish thought that is felt to this very day. The beginnings of this famous cemetery date back to the 17th century, when Jews were allowed to settle on the estate of the Pálffy Counts. The site served for centuries as the burial place of the Bratislava Jewish community, but it was destroyed in 1943, when the nearby tunnel was constructed. Only the most precious section, with 23 graves surrounding the Chatam Sofer’s tomb, was preserved, encircled by a concrete shell and covered with panels. In 2000-2002, after decades of neglect, the whole site was redeveloped and the gravestones were restored. The Architect Martin Kvasnica designed a striking new complex that adheres to the strict requirements of Halakhah as well as to the highest standards of contemporary architecture. The unique architectural monument forms part of the Slovak Jewish Heritage Route.
The Wachau Valley
The Wachau is one of the most beautiful and famous regions in Austria. Visitors from all over the world come here to enjoy the picturesque landscape and the cultural heritage.. Situated in the heart of the magnificent Wachau Valley, on the banks of the Danube (Donau in German), we will pass by charming towns amidst breathtaking scenery, that offer glimpses of traditional architecture, and places of significant historic interest.
Mauthausen & Linz (Wiesenthal Program & Ceremony )
Prague (Post Tour)
In the heart of Europe, set in a charming valley on both banks of the Vltava River, lies one of the oldest royal capitals in the world—Prague—the “Golden City” and the “Heart of Europe.” One of the world’s most charming cities, it is a once-in-a-lifetime must see. A living museum of architecture, with its wealth of monuments, a city filled with history, culture, music, romance and nostalgia – as well as a pulsating and modern European city filled with life. Since 1992, the historical core of the city covering 866 hectares has been listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Explore the ancient crown capital of mighty European emperors and one of the most important cities in Jewish history. You will visit the beautiful complex of the Prague Castle with a stunning view of the city, walk the cobble-stone lanes and passageways of colorful baroque houses at the Lesser Town, cross the 750-year- old gothic Charles Bridge stretching over the Vltava River, as well as one of the oldest commercial crossroads in the world – the Old Town Square, with its famous Astronomical Clockwork from the 1400’s.
Jewish Prague: Prague Old Town was an independent Jewish enclave between the 13th and 19th Centuries and one of the largest and most important centers of Jewish life in medieval Europe. Maharal, Kafka, Freud, Herzl and Einstein once lived, thought, taught, created and walked the streets of this district. We will take a detailed tour of the Jewish Museum of Prague, during which we will closely examine all aspects of Ashkenazi medieval life, as well as comprehend the path to Jewish emancipation of which Prague was the cradle – and which was brutally ended in the tragic experience of the Shoah during WWII. We also will learn about the crucial role that post-war Czechoslovakia played during the establishment of the State of Israel.
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