Kosher Travel & Cruises 2015
 
More trips to be announced. Keep visiting this site for updates
 
January 19-30,
12 days including a safari in Kruger
 
 
Monday to Wednesday, February 2-4  2015
 
 
May 10 - 21
 
 
April 27 - May 4
 
AACI Kosher Portugal - Jewish Heritage Tour
In the footsteps of Portugal`s Secret Jews
February 18-26, 2015

From the Golden Age of Discovery to the Inquisition, Portuguese Jewry went from the heights of wealth and success to the depths of anguish and despair. The history of Portuguese Jewry is like that of many other places, where success and sadness go hand in hand. Walking along Lisbon’s streets, remnants remain of Portugal’s rich Jewish life. Sparks of Portugal’s past can be found in the remote mountain villages, where the some of the last remaining 'Conversos' communities can still be found practicing Jewish rituals behind closed doors, fear of persecutions still looming.

Day 1: Wednesday Feb. 18- Flight from Israel to Lisbon
Arrival to Lisbon the Capital of Portugal, which sits astride the Tejo River estuary on the Atlantic Coast. Meet your tour escort and start an orientation tour of Lisbon: Marques de Pombal Square named after Marquês de Pombal who oversaw the area's rebuilding after the Great Earthquake of 1755, Liberdade Avenue and Rossio Square where in the Northern part we will see the Estaus Palace which was the seat of the Inquisition. Once the sentences were pronounced, those declared as heretics were burned at stake in public at the Rossio. We will continue to the Belem district and visit of the Belem Tower, the city's landmark Built in the early 1500 and declared a World Heritage monument by UNESCO.  Overnight Lisbon
 
Day 2: Thursday Feb. 19 – Coimbra via Obidos and Alcobaca
After breakfast we will travel  to Coimbra, famous for its University opened in the 14th century. We will visit the city including the Juderia dating back to 1139 and the University complex with its famous Baroque Library where you can admire a rare Hebrew bible of the 12th century.  Tonight we enjoy a typical Fado Show.  Overnight Lisbon
 
Day 3: Friday Feb. 20– Lisbon, Sintra
After breakfast we will visit Rua da Juderia”, in Alfama, Lisbon’s oldest Jewish quarter with its narrow cobbled streets, Praça rdo Comércio along the old part of the harbor site of one of the oldest Synagogues in Lisbon. We will see Ohel Yaakov Synagogue – now home of the Marranos (Bnei Anusim) community. We will then drive to city of Sintra a World Heritage site known as "Lord Byron's Glorious Eden Once the summer residence of the Kings of Portugal. We will visit the Royal Palace whose origins date back to the 15th century. Return to Lisbon.
Evening services at “Shaare Tikva” Synagogue followed by Shabbat dinner.  Overnight Lisbon
 
Day 4: Shabbat Feb. 21 - Lisbon
After morning service and Shabbat lunch enjoy a walking tour in the city.
Overnight Lisbon
 
Day 5: Sunday Feb. 22– Tomar, Castelo de Vide, Marvao
After breakfast we departure to Tomar, one of the oldest and most charming towns in Portugal, funded by the  Order of the Knights Templar. Visit the 15th century Synagogue, now the Abraão Zacuto Museum located on what was once Rua da Judiaria. Here is a significant reminder of one of the greatest Sephardic Jewish communities. We then proceed to Castelo de Vide where we will visit the authentic Medieval Juderia and the 15th Century Synagogue which was restored recently, with the adjacent school, the village fountain, the Rabbi’s home and the oven used for baking. We will learn all about the Jews of Castelo de Vide who were forced to convert to Catholicism. Then we will continue to Marvao where we will enjoy a walking tour of the traditional Portuguese village in which many Jews once lived.
Overnight Alpalhao
 
Day 6: Monday Feb. 23– Belmonte, Guarda
After breakfast we depart for the  town of Belmonte which has preserved it’s Jewish past and it is a community of some hundreds of “ Bnei Anusim” Marranos who have decided to make their way back to their Jewish Roots.  Our morning tour will include the Medieval Castle, the Jewish Quarter which was situated outside the castle walls. We will see the houses with crosses engraved in the stone close to the doors which were inhabited by "New Christians", who were forcibly baptized and publicly followed Catholic rituals but in the privacy of their own homes maintained their Jewish religion. We will visit the Jewish Museum and Synagogue.  
Overnight Guarda
 
Day 7: Tuesday Feb. 24- Guarda, Trancoso, Oporto
After breakfast we tour Guarda. The city walls, the keep, the Torre dos Ferreiros (the Blacksmith's Tower) and the old Jewish quarter are reminders of the period of great splendor enjoyed by the city of Guarda in the middle ages. Jews first began to settle here in the middle of' the 13th century in the area next to the wall, close to the Porta d'el Rei and the high street (Corredoura). A large gate at the spot known as Quatro Quinas marked the limits of the quarter. Its inhabitants were mainly traders and craftsmen. The leather workers who had fled from Salamanca in Castile introduced their skills into the regional handicraft, which are still maintained to this day.  In the afternoon we will take a trip to the Walled town of Trancoso – where Jewish merchants first settled here in the 12th century. We will see the Medieval home “Casa Do Gato Negro” (the house of the Black Cat) in Largo Luís de Albuquerque. The facade of the house is decorated with emblems that have been interpreted as representations of the Lion of Judah and the Gates of Jerusalem. The house itself used to belong to the former Rabbi of this community and it was probably also used as the local Synagogue.  Overnight Oporto
 
Day 8: Wednesday Feb 25– Oporto
After breakfast we tour Oporto. Oporto was once a major community of thriving Jewish merchants. Many Jewish merchants had their offices along the famed Porto riverfront in the Ribeira area along the Rua da Alfandega. Another Jewish community once flourished at the Rua Monte dos Judes, where in 1826 an important ancient Hebrew plaque was unearthed. Recently, the main synagogue for the Jewish quarter was discovered during renovation to an ancient building. Behind a false wall, workers stumbled on to an ark thought to be from the 15th century. The current Jewish community worships at the 1929 Mekro Haim, or Fountain of Life Temple.
In Oporto, you will visit the Baroque Mateus Palace "the most fantastic country house in Portugal", and which gave the name to the celebrated Mateus wine. You will stroll its magnificent gardens, visit the quaint local synagogue and enjoy a kosher wine tasting.
In the afternoon we will have a short cruise on the beautiful Douro River.  Overnight Oporto
 
Day 9: Thursday Feb. 26 –After breakfast we depart for the airport for our flight  from Oporto  to Israel
 
Flights:
Lufthansa 681   18FEB  Israel to Munich             0520 0830 and connect with  
Lufthansa 1790  18FEB Munich to Lisbon           1100 1315    
Lufthansa 1177  26FEB Oporto to Frankfurt       1235 1620 and connect with                      
Lufthansa 694    26FEB Frankfurt to Israel          2130 0240 on Feb 27        
     
Price: AACI members’ 2341 euro per person in a double
Non- AACI members’2416 euro per person in a double
Single supplement 350 euro
      
Price Includes:
  • flights on Lufthansa Airlines  from Israel
  • 8 nights good 4 star hotels 
  • Meals: 3 kosher dinners in Lisbon + 1 lunch ( Shabbat ) + Seudah Shilishit  , 4 kosher vegetarians fish dinners , 6 days provisions for lunch sandwiches
  • Fado Show in Lisbon 
  • Cruise on the Douro River
  • Transportation in air conditioned coach as per itinerary
  • Local guides for the excursions and visits as per program including entrance fees
  • Tour leader
  • Porterage at hotels and tips for drivers and guides
  • AACI staff escort   
Not included:
  • Any items of a personal nature
  • Any other items not mentioned in included
  • Travel/Medical insurance
Payment:
  • Deposit of 400 euro per person at time of reservation.
  • Final payment due by January  18, 2015
Cancellation:
  • Cancellation from time of registration until January 18, 2015: 200 euro per person
  • Cancellation between January 19—January 28, 2015: 50% of total package
  • Less then 21 days prior to departure: 100%
For more information or for reservations please contact:
Eric Berman at Ophir Tours: 03-526-9802 or email: eric_b@ophirtours.co.il
 
*Prices are subject to change due to fuel or tax increases.  The itinerary may vary.  Minimum number of participants needed in order for this tour to operate.
 
 
AACI Netanya & National Kosher & FriendlyShabbat Galil Golan Experience
Thursday to Sunday 27-30 November, 2014
 
 
AACI Kosher South Africa
January 18-29, 2015
 
The Rainbow Nation has it all: vivid and proud cultures, breathtaking landscapes, magnificent wildlife and a mellow lifestyle. The pages of National Geographic come alive with game drives through the vast Kruger National Park, stunning coastline travel along the famed Garden Route and the best penguin and whale watching in the world!  South Africa - an unparalleled gem in the world of travel.  
 
Day 1: Monday 19 Jan: Tel Aviv – Johannesburg – Port Elizabeth – Tsitsikamma – Knysna
On arrival in Johannesburg we connect with our flight to Port Elizabeth where you will be met by your local English speaking guide.
 
Travel from Port Elizabeth to Tsitsikamma, stopping at Storms River Bridge, the entrance to the Garden Route. Here one can stroll alongside the bridge for spectacular views.  We stop by the Tsitsikamma Hotel for a light cold kosher lunch.
 
Continue to the Tsitsikamma National Park, situated at the heart of the picturesque tourist region known as the Garden Route, found in the Southern Cape of South Africa. Tsitsikamma is a Khoisan word meaning, “place of clear water". The Park incorporates 80 km of rocky coastline with spectacular sea and landscapes, a remote mountainous region with secluded valleys covered in mountain Fynbos and temperate high forests with deep river gorges leading down to the sea. The forest nature trail to the river mouth and across the suspension bridge is a must. Spectacular!  Travel to Knysna (early evening arrival) and check in for the next two nights at the Knysna Premier Hotel.  Dinner at the hotel.
Day 2: Tuesday 20 Jan: Knysna – Oudtshoorn – Knysna 
Travel to Oudtshoorn via Sedgefield, Wilderness and George.  On arrival in Oudtshoorn visit the Safari Ostrich Farm for a tour, explaining every aspect of ostrich farming, from breeding to rearing. Visitors will get the opportunity to test the strength of the eggs by standing on them - a great photo opportunity. Visitors get to sit on an ostrich and those who are brave enough can even try their hand at riding one. Every tour ends with an "Ostrich Derby" where local jockeys display their riding skills. A highly entertaining tour is guaranteed.  Continue to the Cango Caves to view the beautiful chambers of stalactite and stalagmite formations created many thousands of years ago.  
 
Return towards Oudtshoorn and visit the Cango Wildlife Ranch, an endangered species breeding facility. The oldest and biggest cheetah contact center worldwide offers visitors the rare opportunity of interacting with our hand reared cheetahs and getting actively involved in saving this species and others from extinction.
Oudtshoorn is also known as “little Jerusalem” due to the large Jewish Community living there the turn of the 20th century.  Visit the C.P. Nel Museum, with the only Synagogue to be situated in a museum; it has an Ark that is one of the tallest. What makes the Synagogue so amazing is the fact that it's still being used and there are various interesting ceremonial objects which are also still in use. Return to Knysna for our overnight.  Dinner tonight is at Drydock Restaurant, Knysna Waterfront where they will prepare a fish dinner.
 
Day 3: Wednesday 21 Jan: Knysna – Mossel Bay – Cape Town
Travel to Mossel Bay via Wilderness, in the heart of South Africa's famous Garden Route, a charming world of lakes, rivers, fens, estuaries and beaches gently unfolds against a backdrop of lush forest and lofty mountains with excellent viewpoints with breathtaking scenery of forests, lakes, mountains and coastline. Dolphin's Point, an excellent vantage point from which to study whales and dolphins.
Visit the Dias Museum Complex, where you will find the “Old Post Office Tree”, a 500 year old milk wood tree used by 15th century Portuguese sailors as a mail box, the replica of the boat used by Diaz to sail to South Africa, the Shell Museum and Aquarium.
Shell Museum is believed to be the largest collection of shells in Africa and boasts a collection of beautiful shells from all over the world and portrays the history of the use of shell by man. On this level there is also a “whale and dolphin exhibit” Live animals are displayed in their natural habitat in aquaria. The touch tank gives the visitors an opportunity to touch live sea animals.
Continue to Cape Town and our hotel for the next 4 nights. Cape Manor Premier Hotel.  Tonight we have dinner at Avron’s Kosher Restaurant
 
Day 4: Thursday 22 Jan: Cape Town
Start the day with a visit to Table Mountain.  Often described as magical and mystical, Table Mountain is Cape Town's most prominent feature and a world famous landmark. This majestic mountain is visible from almost everywhere in Cape Town and is often used as a beacon by which to find direction. The mountain is sculpted from sandstone and provides breath-taking views over the city and its beaches.
Continue on a panoramic city tour of Cape Town, passing the houses of Parliament, City Hall and the Castle of Good Hope.  Visit the South African Museum, the Jewish Museum, the "Bo Kaap", also known as the Malay quarter & Green Market Square.
 
Continue to the famous wine lands. It is not only wine but also magnificent scenery and historical places. Visit Stellenbosch, the second oldest town in South Africa, a place of great beauty and culture that's steeped in South African tradition. The heart of the town lies somewhere near the oak-lined Dorp Street, with its venerable old buildings, this is the University's main thoroughfare, where modern student life sits comfortably side by side with our history and architectural heritage.
Continue to Backsberg Wine Estate for some kosher wine tasting before returning to Cape Town.  Dinner tonight at Avron’s Kosher Restaurant
 
Day 5: Friday 23 Jan: Cape Peninsula
Travel through Clifton and Camps Bay to Hout Bay – take a short boat trip to Seal Island to view the Seals in their natural environment (weather permitting).
Continue via Chapman’s Peak to the nature reserve of Cape of Good Hope. This is where the famous Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope can be viewed as well as the legendary meeting of the cold Atlantic and warm Indian currents. Return to Cape Town driving along the coastline through small towns such Simonstown, Fish Hoek, Kalk Bay and Muizenburg.
 
Visit Boulders – the Penguin Colony. Return to the hotel in time for Shabbat preparations.
Shabbat Dinner at hotel – Delivered by Avron’s Kosher Caterers.
 
Day 6: Shabbat 24 Jan: Cape Town
Shabbat – At Leisure Shabbat Cold Lunch at hotel – Delivered by Avron’s Kosher Caterers.
Dinner:  Cape Manor Hotel – Delivered by Avron’s Kosher Caterers.
 
Day 7: Sunday 25 Jan: Cape Town – Kapama Private Reserve
Transfer to Cape Town Airport for your early morning flight to Hoedspruit.  On arrival transfer to Kapama Private Reserve: Kapama is one of South Africa’s largest privately owned game reserves, perfectly positioned in the Limpopo province safari area, renowned for its high density of big game animals. A game drive in Kapama Game Reserve, with a qualified ranger and expert tracker, reveals wild animals and many secrets of the African bush.
 
Kapama Southern Camp is the proud new addition to our Kapama Game Reserve family and is situated in the southern most section of the Kapama Private Game Reserve. It offers warm hospitality and friendly service in a tranquil setting which will satisfy even the most discerning nature lovers' taste.  Southern Camp also offers luxury safari suite accommodation, fully equipped with shower and baths, air-conditioning and a mini-bar fridge as a standard commodity. Take a relaxing bath and stare out the big wooden frame window, keeping an eye on the magnificently colored birds just outside your suite or sit on your patio while having your early morning coffee and feel the excitement build as you prepare for an exhilarating safari.
 
At about 15h30 everybody convenes for high tea, before departing with your ranger/tracker team for an African bush safari.  Get out of the vehicle to stretch your legs Watch in awe as the sky turns to the sensational vibrant reds, gold’s and oranges typical of an African sunset. As darkness descends it’s time to return to the safety of the Landrover and let the tracker scan the landscape with a spotlight picking out the glinting eyes of nocturnal animals. Return to the lodge where there is time to freshen up before dinner.  We spend two nights at our game lodge with meals prepared by Kosher Caterers.
Day 8: Monday 26 Jan: Kapama Private Reserve
Expect an early wakeup call and gather for tea or coffee and rusks before heading out at first light. If you are lucky, the big cats will still be around after their night of hunting. This is Big 5 country (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino and Buffalo) all of which are possible to see during your stay at Kapama Game Reserve.
 
There are also many other species to be seen, large and small, as well as fascinating plants and colourful birds. Stop halfway through the morning game drive for hot drinks and rusks from the Landrover snack box and return Approximately 3 hours later at around 9am for breakfast.
 
Get some African soil under your feet with a bush walk after breakfast. Explore the environment with your ranger, learn about curative properties of plants and identify animals from their footprints and dung. Large game is avoided when on foot but animals can often be seen from a safe distance.
 
Once again at 15h30 everybody convenes for high tea, before departing with your ranger/tracker team for an African bush safari. Return to the lodge where there is time to freshen up before dinner.
 
Day 9: Tuesday 27 Jan: Kapama Private Reserve – Blyde River Canyon – Johannesburg
After your final morning game drive and breakfast travel along the Panorama Route. Stop at the Three Rondawels viewpoint for a spectacular view of the canyon.  Continue to the Lisbon Falls and then to God’s Window (weather permitting). 
 
Continue via Lydenberg to Johannesburg (early evening arrival) where we will spend the next two nights at the Holiday Inn Sandton.  Dinner will be delivered to our hotel by Totally Kosher Caterers.
 
Day 10 Wednesday 28 Jan: Johannesburg – Soweto 
Depart for a panoramic tour of Johannesburg’s affluent suburbs and business district.
 
Continue to Soweto. Soweto is the very symbol of the African's struggle for freedom in South Africa. During the last troubled decades of the twentieth century Soweto represented the struggle against apartheid. This tour also offers insight into the daily lives of the people of Soweto, the origins of “Matchbox City” and its complex relationship with greater Johannesburg.
 
Continue to Gold Reef City, which reflects the history of the discovery of gold as well as the lifestyle of those who worked on the mines. See a gold pouring demonstration and feel the rhythm of tribal dancing.  Return to our hotel for overnight.  Tonight we will enjoy a farewell dinner at Grant Kosher Restaurant
 
Day 11 Thursday 29 Jan: Johannesburg – Pretoria – Tel Aviv 
Travel to Pretoria for a panoramic city tour.  The leafy city of Pretoria in Gauteng serves as one of the country’s three capital cities, officially the executive or administrative capital - the other two are Cape Town, the legislative capital, and Bloemfontein, the judicial capital. But Pretoria is not just about government. It is also a place of culture with a series of theatres, museums and monuments – Church Square, Union Buildings, Melrose House and the Voortrekker Monument to name but a few.   Transfer to Johannesburg Airport for your flight to Tel Aviv
**** IMPORTANT NOTES ****
This is only a suggested itinerary; the order of visits may be altered due to weather and time restrictions
Law in South Africa requires that anyone entering the Country must have at least 2 empty pages in their passports.
Price per person for AACI members in a double $5949
Price per person for non AACI members in a double $6024
Single Supplement $990
 
Price Includes:
  • Round trip air with EL AL airlines
  • Two domestic flights–Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth and Cape town to Hoedspruit 
  • 8 night accommodation in good 4* hotels
  • 2 night Luxury Kapama Southern Camp including 4 game drives and one bush walk
  • Kosher breakfast and dinner plus lunch packs daily
  • Sightseeing including entrances
  • Local English speaking guide
  • Israeli escort & AACI host
  • All tips
  • Porterage at airports and hotels
Price Does Not Included
  • Any items of personal nature
  • Insurance                                                      
Kapama Reserve is a Malaria area and visitors should consult their doctor
 
Minimum number of participants required.  Itinerary is subject to change without notice.  Please note there are no refunds for unused services or meals
PAYMENT: Deposit of $500 per person at time of reservation.
Final payment due by October 19th, 2014
CANCELLATION:
Cancellation from time of registration until October 19 -$100 per person
October 20-December 19- $1000 per person
December 19-until day of departure- 100% of total package
All reservations and cancellations must be sent in writing.
 
There will be an orientation session for all participants.  Date to be announced.
 
 
For further details or to make your bookings please contact:
 
For reservations and information please contact
Eric Berman Ophir Tours
OPHIR TOURS, 6 Hanatziv St. Tel Aviv 1st floor
For more information or for reservations please contact:
Eric Berman at Ophir Tours: 03-526-9802 or email: eric_b@ophirtours.co.il or:
Carole Kremer at AACI: 02-5661181 ext 310 or email: ckremer@aaci.org.il
 
 
Go Arava!!
Monday to Wednesday, February 2-4, 2015
 
Join us on our unique journey that combines wonderful vistas and colors. We shall meet the people of the arava who have used their imagination to overcome the dryness and harsh living conditions of this land. Enjoy two nights at he charming Keren Kolot Guest House at Kibbut Ketora and athree days of guided touring with Sharona Liman.
AACI Kosher & Friendly Deluxe Amsterdam & Surrounding Villages
March 15-20, 2015
 
Peppered with charming lanes and intriguing, hidden corners, Amsterdam is a cultural delight.   Spend two days exploring a quixotic Dutch countryside that includes Zaanse Schans in the north, famous for its magnificent windmills and Delft, south of the city and known for its blue-and-white and tin-glazed pottery.  Must-see visits to The Hague - seat of the Dutch Parliament – and exploration of the Plantage region of the city’s center will offer a broad understanding of life in the Netherlands.  A comprehensive walking tour of the Jewish will touch upon critical milestones of Dutch Jewish history amidst the richly colorful area referred to as Mokum – Yiddish for ‘The Place.’
 
 
Sunday March 15: Departure from Israel on KLM 462 at 5:20am with an arrival in Amsterdam at 9:35am.  Begin our sightseeing tour by coach, visit the Rembrandt House museum from where we walk through the former Jewish quarter to the Spanish Portuguese Synagogue for a visit and then to the "Hollandse Schouwburg" (Dutch Theatre) Memorial. This was the site from where Dutch Jewry was first concentrated from all over Holland in order to be deported from there to the extermination camps in Poland during WWII.  We will stop for a light lunch before checking into our deluxe 5* Okura Hotel Amsterdam for the next 4 nights.  Tonight we have dinner in a kosher restaurant
 
Monday March 16: After breakfast we begin our full day visit of Amsterdam: the Rijksmuseum with its collection of the Dutch masters of the 17th century, like Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Vermeer etc. Enjoy a walking tour in the inner city, from Dam square to Munt square through the famous pedestrian mall: Kalverstraat. This afternoon visit the spectacular van Gogh Museum. Dinner tonight in a kosher restaurant.  Overnight Amsterdam 
 
Tuesday March 17: After breakfast we journey north of Amsterdam to the "Zaanse Schans" here we visit a working windmill, and then continue to Alkmaar, city of cheese production. Drive to Enkhuizen to visit its lovely old harbor. Drive over the Markerwaard dyke to the ancient fishing village Elburg, where we visit its beautifully restored Synagogue, now the Museum of Elburg’ s prewar Jewish past. We return to Amsterdam for dinner in a kosher restaurant and overnight in Amsterdam
 
Wednesday March 18: After breakfast we leave Amsterdam, driving south, first to The Hague where we visit the Mesdag Panorama, then on to the city center for a walking tour through the "Binnen Hof". Buildings dating from the Middle Ages that still today houses the Dutch Houses of Parliament (first & second chamber) We then continue  to the university city of Delft famous for its blue porcelain for a walking tour, that will bring us to the "Prinsen Hof" residence of the Princes of the House of Orange. We will see the Old & the New Churches Town's main square the "Groote Market" with its Town hall, and Delft's Synagogue. Then to Leiden another important university city, the oldest university in Holland founded in 1575 for a visit of this ancient town center.      We return to Amsterdam for dinner in a kosher restaurant and overnight
 
Thursday March 19: After breakfast we will spend our last day in Amsterdam, we visit the Jewish Historical Museum, housed in the complex of the former four Ashkenazi Synagogues, we then visit the prewar main Ashkenazi Synagogue in the east section of the town: the Rabbi Aharon Schuster Synagogue (subject to regulations) built in "Art Nouveaux" Style designed by the Dutch Jewish architect Harry Elte, who perished in the Holocaust. We will have a typical Dutch/Jewish snack at Sal Meier’s sandwich shop, one of the last remains of Dutch Jewish food traditions that remained from before the war; only the site has changed from the inner city to this place. We will end the day by a canal cruise, before we leave for Schiphol airport for our return flight on KLM 461 at 20:50 arrival in Israel at 02:20am March 20.   
Price per person for AACI members in a double Euro 1699
Price per person for non AACI members in a double Euro 1769
Single Supplement Euro 405
Danube view supplement: Euro 150 per room for full stay
 
Price Includes:
  • Round trip air on KLM Airlines  from Israel
  • 4 nights 5 star Okura Hotel
  • Meals: Full board, breakfast and dinner daily with provisions for making sandwiches for lunch.  
  • Transportation in air-conditioned coach as per itinerary
  • Local guides for the 2 day excursions in Amsterdam    
  • Tour leader from Israel
  • Porterage of one bag per person at hotels
  • AACI staff escort   
  • All sightseeing as indicated including entrances
  • Tips for the local guide & driver
Price Does Not Included
  • Any items of personal nature
  • Insurance
  • Minimum number of participants required
  • Itinerary is subject to change without notice
  • Please note there are no refunds for unused services or meals
PAYMENT: Deposit of euro 225 per person at time of reservation.
Final payment due by February 15, 2015
CANCELLATION:
Cancellation from time of registration until February 15, 2015- euro 100 per person
February 16- March 1, 2015 – euro 400 per person
March 2 until day of departure- 100%
All reservations and cancellations must be sent in writing.
 
 
TOUR ORIENTATION: - will be an orientation session for all participants.  Date to be announced
For further details or to make your bookings please fill out the enclosed application form and mail/fax/ e-mail it with your deposit to:
 
For reservations and information please contact
Eric Berman Ophir Tours
OPHIR TOURS, 6 Hanatziv St. Tel Aviv 1st floor
For more information or for reservations please contact:
Eric Berman at Ophir Tours: 03-526-9802 or email: eric_b@ophirtours.co.il or:
Carole Kremer at AACI: 02-5661181 ext 310 or email: ckremer@aaci.org.il
 
 
AACI Kosher Poland
April 27-May 4, 2015
 
A critical journey that has the power to change one forever.  Seven powerful days that allow us to ‘revisit’ the thousand year-old religious and cultural cradle of European Jewish history and reflect upon that which has evolved into a post-Holocaust historical consciousness.  
 
This beautifully constructed tour will focus upon the brief six-year period that resulted in the utter destruction of Polish Jewish life; at the same time, we will explore the unexpected burgeoning Jewish Renaissance movement that has been evolving over the past two decades! 
 
Highlights of the week include:
  • Encountering the dramatic story of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
  • Touring the beautiful old city of Warsaw
  • Witnessing the resurgence of Jewish life at the Lauder Morasha School
  • An exclusive visit to the newly opened Museum of Jewish History in Warsaw
  • Meeting leading Jewish personalities in Poland: Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich; dissident and Jewish leader Konstanty Geber.
  • Visiting the shtetl of Ticocyn: exploring the beautiful synagogue and village and then retracing the last path of the Jewish community
  • Meeting Jewish and Catholic students with an opportunity to discuss issues
  • Undertaking a pilgrimage to the death camps of Treblinka Maidanek Belzec and Chelmno
  • Encountering Hassidism at the grave of Rabbi Elimelech of Lejansk
  • Studying Torah in the Yeshivat Chochmei Lublin
  • Visiting a range of different synagogues in Lancut, Tarnow and Lodz
  • Spending a full day exploring the “Kingdom” of Auschwitz, a morning tour with a Polish educator at Auschwitz, and an afternoon spiritual pilgrimage to Birkenau.
  • Meeting a righteous gentile and hearing her story.
  • Spending an unforgettable Shabbat in the centre of Jewish Krakow
  • Touring the Wawel: The Royal Castle in Krakow and meeting the dragon
  • Visiting Lodz and confronting the complex story of the Lodz ghetto and its leader
Monday April 27: We take a direct early morning flight from Ben Gurion to Frederick Chopin Airport in Warsaw.  On arrival we will encounter the rich and varied mosaic of Polish history through a tour of the Warsaw Jewish Cemetery.  We will then confront the future of Polish Jewry at the Lauder Morasha Jewish Day School where we will have the opportunity to talk with the principal and some students.  After a brief rest for lunch and an exclusive visit to the brand new Museum of Jewish History; we will explore the Warsaw Jewish Ghetto experiencing moments of triumph and defeat; sadness and inspired courage.  We will take a brief tour of the magnificent old city of Warsaw which was almost completely rebuilt after the Second World War. Our first day in Poland ends with dinner at the kosher Galil Restaurant where we will meet some leaders of the contemporary Warsaw Jewish community and chat to them about contemporary Jewish life in Poland and their perceptions of the future.  After dinner we check into the Novotel Centrum Hotel.
 
Tuesday, April 28: (optional Tefillot throughout trip) After Breakfast we will complete the story of the Warsaw Ghetto by undertaking a pilgrimage to the Death Camp of Treblinka to which dome 280,000 Jews from the ghetto were deported in only two months.  We then take a journey of about ninety minutes to the east to visit the shtetl of Tikocyn.  We will spend time in the stately synagogue, explore the shtetl and eventually head for the forest of Lupochowo where we will encounter the last chapter of a four hundred year sage.  After visiting the controversial village of Jedwabne, where the local Poles massacred their neighbors without any German assistance we take a two and a half hour drive back to Warsaw. At dinner in the same restaurant we will have the opportunity to meet local Jewish students and will then head back to the hotel for our last night in Warsaw.
 
Wednesday, April 29: After breakfast we head south east for a two and a half hour drive to the city of Lublin.  Once there we will visit the Yeshivat Chachmei Lublin: the greatest Yeshiva in pre-war Poland; and walk through the center of the city and the old city, uncovering a series if hidden and seldom told stories.  After a break for lunch at a picturesque promenade, we will take a frighteningly short bus ride to the Death Camp of Maidanek.  We will spend a number of hours on a thorough encounter with Maidanek discovering the stories that haunt the camp as we spiral through seven levels of hell.  If there is time, we will make a quick visit to the more remote camp of Belzec.  This is a death camp where over half a million Galicianer Jews were killed, and is very seldom visited.  Then we leave the holocaust behind for the day and travel to the town of Lejansk arguably the birthplace of Hassidut in Poland.  We will visit the grave of Rabbi Elimelech of Lejansk who brought Hassidut to Poland and have a Tisch.  We then take a short ride to our hotel in the city of Rzeszow, for dinner and a well-earned rest!
 
Thursday, April 30:  There were some Poles who at risk of death hid and saved Jewish.  We begin our fourth day in Poland by visiting a farmstead in the small village of Markowa where a local Polish family made the supreme sacrifice for hiding Jews.  WE then head to the city of Tarnow where we tour the city square and former Jewish area.  We then follow the trail of many of the leading citizens of Tarnow, Catholic and Jewish who were taken out into the forest and killed near the town of Zbylitovska Gora.  Our bus then takes us north to explore the magnificent recently renovated synagogue in Dombrowa Tarnowska after which we head for Krakow.  Krakow is arguably the city with the strongest presence of Jewish heritage sites in Poland, and we will fully explore the charm of the Jewish quarter and other areas. We will eat Dinner at a local kosher restaurant and then check in to our hotel.
 
Friday, May 1:  Sadly, the most visited location in Poland is the infamous Auschwitz Death and Concentration camp.  After a journey of about an hour we will spend a few hours in Auschwitz One which is today a museum, with one of the leading Polish Auschwitz specialists.  After a brief break we will drive to the Judenrampe, the place where Jews initially sent to the camp disembarked, and take a brief silent march into Auschwitz Two -Birkenau.  Here our visit is more of a pilgrimage as we visit the locations we heard about in the morning, once again encountering moments of pain and of supreme heroism.  We leave the Kingdom of Auschwitz to return to Krakow in enough time to wash off the dust of the Holocaust and prepare for a magical Shabbat in the former center of Jewish life. We will attend a lively Kabbalat Shabbat service with the local community and then enjoy a traditional Shabbat Dinner at our kosher restaurant.
 
Shabbat, May 2: The day begins with an optional Shabbat Tefilla or some free time to recover from a hectic week or do some private exploring.  We meet up as a group at about eleven for a brief tour of the Jewish area which will bring us to the kosher restaurant for lunch.    We will first be privileged to meet a righteous gentile who will tell us her story and give ample opportunity to ask questions.  We are then joined by a small group of Polish students.  We will get to meet them casually over a delicious Shabbat meal and then have an opportunity to chat to them about the issues in Jewish Polish relations we have been grappling with over the week.  We then return to the hotel for some downtime after which we briefly explore the Krakow Jewish Ghetto.  After Shabbat ends we will have some free time in the stunning city square.
 
Sunday, May 3: We depart from Krakow after breakfast for the city of Lodz – the second biggest city in Poland.  We begin our tour there at the Jewish Cemetery and discover how a town with 11 Jews in 1790 grew to a city with 250,000 Jews before the war.  We then head to the area of the former ghetto to encounter the different story of the Lodz ghetto and its Jewish dictator.  After tracing the path of the Lodz Jews to the railway station of Radegasz, we will enjoy some down time at Manafaktura: the huge shopping centre on the site of one of the factories of Poznanski – the Jewish textile tycoon who built Lodz.  We then end our week in Poland discovering a hidden synagogue in Lodz, and then making a brief visit to the Death Camp of Chelmno.  After a special ceremony at Chelmno we will head back to Warsaw for our last dinner in Poland and a final night at a hotel near the airport.
 
Monday, May 4:  After enjoying our last breakfast in Poland we transfer to the airport to return home after a week of a lifetime in Poland.
The program in Poland has been designed and will be lead by Rabbi Yitzchak Rubenstein. Rabbi Rubenstein made Aliya in 2002 after a long career in both formal and informal education in South Africa.  He is currently an Instructor at the Shem Olam Institute for Holocaust Studies, and is also a senior educator in the Nativ program which facilitates the conversion of non Jewish soldiers within the IDF.
Rabbi Rubenstein is a student of Polish-Jewish relations and how they are taught in the Jewish world.  He began educational work in Poland in 2007 and has guided over three dozen different groups for a number of schools and organizations. 
He strives towards a balance between learning about the rich and diverse Jewish community that existed in Poland for centuries before the war and discovering what happened during the period of the Shoah.  There is also a focus on contemporary Poland --- both in terms of the re-emerging  Jewish community as well as past and present Polish-Jewish relations --- always stressing the complexity of the issues.
 
Price: AACI Members $2482 per person in a double room
Price: Non Members $2557 per person in a double room
Single Supplement: $380
 
The trip includes:
  • Round trip flights with EL AL Airlines
  • Good 4 star Hotels
  • Meals: half board plus provisions for making sandwiches for lunch
  • Transportation by deluxe coach as per itinerary
  • Entrance fees: as per the itinerary
  • Tour Leader & Guide from Israel- Rabbi Rubenstein
  • AACI escort
  • Porterage Hotels and tips  for driver, local guides, waiters & Israeli tour guide
ot included:
  • Any items of personal nature
  • Items not mentioned above
  • Medical insurance
**Itinerary and Airline are subject to change without notice
**Minimum number of participants required
 
PAYMENT:
Deposit of $400 per person at time of reservation.
Final payment due by January 15, 2015
 
CANCELLATION:
Cancellation from time of registration until January 15- $100 per person
January 16-April 1- $600 per person
April 2 until departure- 100%
 
INSURANCE:
WE STRONGLY SUGGEST EVERYONE TAKES MEDICAL INSURANCE
 
 
TOUR ORIENTATION:
There will be an orientation.  Date to be announced
 
For reservations and information please contact
Eric Berman Ophir Tours
OPHIR TOURS, 6 Hanatziv St. Tel Aviv 1st floor
For more information or for reservations please contact:
Eric Berman at Ophir Tours: 03-526-9802 or email: eric_b@ophirtours.co.il or:
Carole Kremer at AACI: 02-5661181 ext 310 or email: ckremer@aaci.org.il
 
AACI - The Best of Japan
May 11-21, 2015
 
More than any other country, the Japanese have managed to integrate ancient traditions and leading-edge technology harmoniously into their daily lives, with a perfect mix of new and old.  In this excellent introduction to Japan, you won’t miss anything a first-time visitor to Japan should see.
 
Japan consists of four main Islands: Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku. There are another thousand smaller islands all lying to the east of the Asian mainland in the northwest of the Pacific Ocean. This archipelago curves across 3000 km, linking Russian’s Sakhalin Island in the north to Taiwan in the south.  Like most organized tours, we will visit the biggest Island: Honshu.
 
In the best that Japan has to offer you’ll enjoy a colorful mix of large cities like Tokyo and Osaka, quaint and traditional Takayama, the historically significant ancient shrines and temples of Kyoto and Nara, the testament to peace of Hiroshima, the natural beauty of Hakone, the thermally-heated valley of Owakudani and much, much more.
 
May 11-Day 1 Monday: Arrive Tokyo
You will be met at Tokyo’s Narita airport by our guide, who will escort us on a first orientation tour of Tokyo, capital of Japan since 1868, with over 12 million inhabitants.
 
The world’s largest megalopolis, this conglomerate of 34 million residents boasts of tradition and modernity in one: skyscrapers and temples; highways and shrines; the bustle and hubbub of the city and the quiet solitude of the gardens. We will visit Meiji shrine, Harajuku & Omoteando. Meiji Shrine is a Shinto complex dedicated to the memory of Emperor Meiji who brought the corrupt Shogunate to an end in 1867.
 
May 12-Day 2 Tuesday: Tokyo
Tsukiji Fish Market, Edo/Tokyo Museum, Ueno Park, Asakusa Temple, Ginza.   
 
After breakfast, we will start the day with a welcome/orientation meeting. Next, our licensed, English-speaking guide will escort us to the Tsukiji Fish Market which is the largest in the world. We will continue to the Edo-Tokyo Museum, a massive, futuristic building which may be by far the best city-history museum you have ever encountered. The exhibits show the histories of Edo and Tokyo respectively. Afterwards, we continue to the Ueno Park; established by the first Tokugawa shogun Ieyasu in the 17th century.
 
Our next destination: the Asakusa Kannon/the Senso-ji Buddhist Temple. This is Tokyo’s most sacred Temple complex. Here you will learn about Buddhist and Shinto Japanese religious practices. On the way we pass through the Nakamise-dori, a covered market street known for its traditional Japanese handicrafts shops. Then on to the famous Ginza district, the most expensive real estate in the world... Explore the Sony Building where you will find many of Sony’s products on display, some of which aren’t on the market yet.
 
May 13-Day 3 Wednesday: Tokyo-Hakone                                                                     
Sumo Stable, or Meji Temple, Hakone open air Museum, Owakudani valley, Lake Ashi.
 
After breakfast we will visit the Sumo Stable to see the sumo wrestlers training and the Open Air Museum which houses works of some of the world’s finest sculptors and artists, as well as the world’s largest private collection of the works of Pablo Picasso.
 
In the afternoon we head for the vacation village of Hakone, a resort town on the banks of Lake Ashi, on the lower slopes on Mount Fuji. If it’s a clear day we’ll have a good view on Mount Fuji.  There are different ships on the lake, like replicas of historical western style boats as well as a pirate ship.
 
May 14-Day 4 Thursday: Hakone-Matsumoto-Takayama                                        
Matsumoto Castle, Takayama Sannomachi Quarter, Festival Floats exhibition.
 
From Hakone we’ll make our way to Matsumoto, gateway to the Japanese Alps and visit Matsumoto Castle (Matsumotojo) which is one of the most complete and beautiful among Japan’s original castles. It is also a good example of a so called “hirajiro”, a castle built on the plain rather than on a hill or mountain. We’ll continue the alpine climb to Takayama, a traditional hamlet high in the Japanese Alps. We’ll stroll the quaint streets and the ancient shops, visit a sake brewery to taste some of Japan’s finest rice wine (yes, it is kosher), and we‘ll also visit Yatai Kaikan museum where we‘ll see a display of great chariots, dating back hundreds of years, that were used to transport the gods in the Takayama festival that is held twice a year, spring and fall. This is one of the most spectacular festivals in Japan, and draws large crowds who join the parade.
 
May 15-Day 5 Friday: Takayama-Shirakawago-Bullet train-Kobe                                                
Shirakawa-go, Nagoya station, Kobe.
 
From Takayama we’ll make our way further into the Alps to the village of Shirakawa-go, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where ancient “Praying Hands” homes still stand. After our visit we’ll head for yet another highlight of this tour, a visit to the museum dedicated to Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese Consul in Kovno during World War II, who was responsible for the rescue of over 6500 Jews, for which he was recognized by Yad Vashem as one of Righteous among the Nations.  After the visit we’ll take the Shinkansen, Japan’s famous bullet train to the port city of Kobe, where Japan’s Jewish past comes to life. Kobe was the first city to open its gates to trade with the outside world in 1868, and it is to Kobe that the Jews rescued by Sugihara arrived and stayed a few months, before dispersing to Shanghai and other destinations.
 
We transfer to our hotel in the city of Kobe and prepare ourselves for Shabbat.
 
May 16-Day 6 Saturday: Kobe
We’ll spend a wonderful, peaceful and relaxing Shabbat with the Jewish community in Kobe, the only fully functional Orthodox community in Japan. After Shacharit and a Kiddush/breakfast, we’ll take a stroll through the neighborhood near our hotel.
 
May 17-Day 7 Sunday: Kobe-Miyajima-Itsukushima-Hiroshima
Miyajima Island, Itsukushima Shrine, Hiroshima war memorial.
 
We’ll make our way across the water by ferry to Miyajima Island, a sacred island that houses what is arguably Japan’s most beautiful shrine – Itsukushima. The whole island is an historical site and is considered one of the three most beautiful sites in Japan. The birth of the city is dated back to 593 AC when empress Seiko was crowned and a shrine was built in honor of this event.
 
We end the day in Hiroshima, located on the Oceanside. We will learn the history of the city that was A-Bombed at the end of World War II. Hiroshima, which in 1945 was the 6th largest city in Japan, was of strategic military importance. The headquarters of the Second Army, which was charged with protecting all of southern Japan, was located here. However, Allied bombing during World War II was not focused there. The city was built mainly of wood, which made it very vulnerable to fire. We will visit the A-Bomb Dome, the Peace Park, Museum and memorial which are both sobering testaments to the dropping of the A-bomb on August 6, 1945.
 
May 18-Day 8 Monday: Hiroshima-Kurashiki-Okayama station-Bullet train-Kyoto.
Kurashiki Bikan historical area, Okayama Koraku-en Garden, Shinkansen to Kyoto.
 
After breakfast we drive back along the coastal road to the Edo period mercantile town of Kurashiki, some 2 hours’ drive. We visit the heart of this historical city, the Bikan historical area. There are many galleries, restaurants, Japanese inns, shops and boutiques. The coach will then take us to Okayama. This city of 630,000 inhabitants was once the center of the region ruled by the feudal Ikeda Lords. One of the main attractions is the Okayama Castle, this 16th century castle was rebuilt in 1966 after its destruction during WWII. We will visit another highlight: the Koraku-en Garden, Commissioned by Lord Ikeda in 1700. The garden is divided in three sections, its features bamboo, pine, plum and cherry trees. From Okayama station we take another Shinkansen to Kyoto.
 
May 19-Day 9 Tuesday: Kyoto-Nara.                                                                          
Nara Todaiji Temple, Kasuga Temple, Ninen-zaka, Sannen-zaka, Beit Shalom.
 
We will start this morning by driving to Nara, the original capital of Japan in the 8th century before it was moved to Kyoto. Here you will see Todai-ji Buddhist Temple, which is the largest wooden building in the world. We then will be the guests at Beit Shalom, a Christian sect, Friends of Israel that has about 10,000 members. Its headquarters is located in Kyoto. The group's focus is on supporting Israel and includes prayers for the coming of the Messiah.
 
May 20-Day 10 Wednesday: Kyoto-Osaka.                                                                    
Kyoto Nijo Castle, Kinkaku-ji, Ryoan-ji, Ginkaku-ji, Gion Street, Osaka.
 
Today we will visit the Kiyomizu Dera complex and the Ninenzaka and Sanenzaka lanes as we stroll through the fascinating side alleyways of this inspiring sacred city. We’ll continue to Fushimi Inari Shrine and drive to Nara. Japan’s first permanent capital was established in the year 710 at Heijo, the city now known as Nara. As the influence and political ambitions of the city’s powerful Buddhist monasteries grew to become a serious threat to the government, the capital was moved to Nagaoka in 784. Due to its past as the first permanent capital, it remains full of historic treasures, including some of Japan’s oldest and largest temples. Our visit will include Todaiji Temple – a large temple with a big Buddha statue, the Deer Park and Kasuga Shrine – Nara’s most celebrated Shinto shrine.
 
May 21-Day 11 Thursday: Osaka-Home. 
If flight time allows, we will take our coach for a city sightseeing tour and will pass by Osaka Castle. Osaka Castle is one of Japan’s most famous castles, and played a major role in the unification of Japan during the 16th century. It was the home of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the son of a farmer who unified Japan after a 100-year civil war.  It’s time to say “sayonara” (goodbye). You will be escorted to the Osaka Kansai International Airport to take off for home.
 
Price: $6290 per person in a double for AACI members
$6365 per person in a double for Non AACI members
Single supplement: $690

Included in the price for this tour:
  • Flights from Israel with  Lufthansa
  • Bullet train journeys
  • 10 nights in a good tourist and first class hotels
  • Kosher full board including provisions to make sandwiches for lunch
  • Sightseeing, activities and attractions as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Tips
  • English speaking escort from Israel
  • AACI escort
 Flight Schedule:
  • May 10 departure 08:00 from Tel Aviv to Tokyo via Frankfurt, Lufthansa
  • May 11 arrival at 07:35 Tokyo
  • May 21 departure 10:15 from Osaka to Tel Aviv via Frankfurt
  • May 22 arrival at 02:40 Tel Aviv
 
      Total 10 Hotel nights:
  • Tokyo- 2 nights
  • Lake Ashi area- 1 night
  • Takayama- 1 nights
  • Kobe- 2 nights (Shabbat)
  • Hiroshima- 1 night
  • Kyoto-2 nights
  • Osaka-1 night
Not included in the price:
  • Insurance
  • Personal expenses
  • Any items not mentioned in above itinerary
Cancellation Policy:
  • Cancellation from time of registration until January 20 2015 – $1500 per person
  • January 21 - March 11 2015 – 50%
  • Less than 21 days prior to departure  – 100%  
Passports must be valid until at least December 2015
Please send a photo copy of your passport with application form
 
  Minimum number of participants required. Itinerary is subject to change without notice
  Please note there are no refunds for unused services or meals
 
For reservations and information please call Ophir Tours
Eric Berman 03-5269802 or email eric_b@ophirtours.co.il
 
 
 
AACI Kosher & Friendly Budapest in Style
May 11-15, 2015
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
A visit to the Pearl of the Danube was never so inspiring.  Explore the majestic synagogue designed by Austrian architect Otto Wagner; ample time has been slotted for critical landmarks of Jewish culture and history including archaeologically-rich neighborhoods that will transport us back in time  and visits to museums that record the Jewish Hungarian presence both pre-and-post Holocaust. Traverse the Castle District and tour Budapest’s most exclusive residential districts.  And, indeed, no tour would be complete without a romantic cruise upon the Danube River!
 
Day-long excursions will take us to the fascinating towns and hamlets that surround Budapest and the Danube Bend, especially as they relate to Jewish history.  See the Basilica and Synagogue in Esztergom. Take in a spectacular view of the winding Danube as seen from the hills of the village of Visegrad.  A tour of Szentendre’s Memorial House and visit to the Margit Kovacs home-museum will offer an insider’s view of the well-known, intriguing ceramic artist who converted from Judaism.  Brush shoulders with Hungarian royalty during an eye-opening visit to the breathtaking Baroque Palace in Gödöllő
 
Tour highlights:
  1. Tour the Jewish quarter in Budapest
  2. Danube River Cruise
  3. Hungarian State Folk Ensemble  performance
  4. Mozart's 'The Abduction from the Seraglio'
  5. Full day tour of the Danube Bend
  6. Visit to the Baroque Palace in Gödöllő
  7. Stay at the deluxe Hotel Sofitel
  8. EL AL UP flights
Day 1 Monday May 11 Arrive Budapest: panoramic city tour -the city known as Budapest actually consists of three cities: Obuda, the oldest section, with Roman ruins on the Buda side of the Danube; Buda in the gently rolling hills on the western bank, famous for its historic Castle Hill and beautiful residential area; and vibrant Pest with its shopping, government and commercial districts on the flat plain of the eastern bank. United in 1873, Budapest is renowned as the location of one of the most beautiful World Heritage sites. Despite spectacular development, Budapest has preserved its old charm and magic. The visitor will find side by side the remains of fortresses and buildings from Roman times, still operating Turkish baths, Gothic and Baroque buildings, and the incredibly rich Art Nouveau architectural heritage. It is a city where the pleasing harmony of different architectural styles and superb structures, the cafés, baths, the food and culture, combined with legendary hospitality blend into an unforgettable experience for visitors.
 
Our tour covers the major highlights of the city, showing the grandeur and Old World charm of Budapest.  Visit both sides of the city: the colorful hills of Buda and the bustling businesslike boulevards of Pest. Explore the gorgeous House of Parliament, the elegant Andrassy Avenue, the impressive Heroes Square, the fascinating Market Hall, the medieval Castle District, the picturesque Fishermen’s Bastion and the Liberty Statue on Gellert Hill with its magnificent panoramic view of the city.  Check in to the hotel and late afternoon Danube cruise.  Dinner at a local kosher restaurant.
 
Day 2 Tuesday May 12 Jewish Budapest
Jewish Budapest tour starts in the Castle District where the first Jews of Buda settled in the 13th century. We visit the small, medieval synagogue in the former Jewish street; discover the facts about life during the Turkish occupation in the 15th -17th centuries. Still on the Buda side we can visit the statue of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews in the 2nd World War, and a memorial plaque of Gabor Sztehlo, a Hungarian Evangelical pastor who saved the lives of Jewish children and adults.
 
On the Pest side of the river we walk through the former ghetto area visiting the lovely oriental building of the famous Dohany street synagogue, the third largest in the world. There is a guided tour in the Jewish Museum, a small but rich collection of objects associated with religious holidays and rituals of everyday life. A sign on the wall indicates the site of the building where Theodor Herzl, the father of Zionism was born. Behind the synagogue is the Holocaust Memorial, a metallic weeping willow with names engraved on the leaves to remind us of the people who perished in the war. Passing through the court of the synagogue, this was part of the ghetto and turned into a cemetery for those who were killed here. Next to the synagogue we look at the Temple of Heroes, a simple modern building erected in the 1930s for the memory of the Jews fallen in the 1st World War. We visit the late art nouveau building of the orthodox synagogue in Kazinczy Street, which is one of the main places of worship for the orthodox community.
 
Leisure time in the afternoon.
Dinner in a local kosher restaurant.  Evening performance of Mozart's 'The Abduction from the Seraglio' at the Budapest Opera House
 
Day 3 Wednesday May 13 Budapest, Gödöllő morning visit
Visit the second largest Baroque Palace of the world in Gödöllő! After only a 30-minute drive from Budapest we arrive to the former summer residence of Queen Elisabeth (Sisi) and Francis Joseph (Habsburg Emperor & Hungarian King 1867-1916). This interior visit of the Museum and the tour through the garden of the Chateau, gives you a glimpse of times under the Austro-Hungarian Empire. You will become acquainted with the secrets of the private life, the hidden doors, rooms and lovers of the royal couple.
Afternoon free to enjoy the beautiful spa at the hotel or perhaps a leisurely stroll through the old town
 
Dinner tonight in a local kosher restaurant.  This evening we will enjoy a performance of the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble.
 
Day 4 Thursday May 14 Danube Bend
This morning we will check out of the hotel and start our tour of the Danube Bend.
The Danube Bend – an excursion into Hungary’s history. This is an unforgettable tour along the "Blue Danube" with stops in Visegrad, Esztergom and Szentendre.
 
Visegrad: we walk on the 750 year-old stones of the formal Royal Residence, learn about life in the middle ages and enjoy the fascinating panorama on the Danube valley.
 
Esztergom: we visit the so-called Technology & Science House built in 1888, once serving as a synagogue for Esztergom’ s Jewish community, the oldest in Hungary, and now contains a regional government office. It was designed in Moorish Romantic style by Lipót Baumhorn, the master architect who was also responsible for the synagogues in Szeged, Szolnok and Gyöngyös.
 
Szentendre: On the way back we stop in the artist's village of Szentendre. It is a small baroque city at the gate of the Danube Bend, at the meeting place of the river Danube and the Pilis Mountains, in a beautiful natural environment. We walk around the baroque settlement, built on medieval ruins and go up the narrow streets to the panorama point to see the Danube. We then simply enjoy the special atmosphere of this village. You can also take the opportunity to visit the museums (for example the world-famous Margit Kovács Ceramic Museum, the Confectionery Museum-with buildings and people made of marzipan), or you can choose to visit the shops of the village.
 
 
Dinner in a local kosher restaurant then we depart to the airport for our evening flight hotel
 
Price per person for AACI members in a double Euro 1417
Price per person for non AACI members in a double Euro 1477
Single Supplement Euro 270
Danube view supplement: Euro 150 per room for full stay
 
Price Includes:
  • Round trip air on EL AL UP  from Israel
  • 3 nights 5 star Sofitel Hotel
  • 3 BREAKFAST at the hotel plus lunch sandwich preparations
  • 4 Dinners in a Kosher Restaurant
  • Tour the Jewish quarter in Budapest
  • Danube River Cruise
  • Hungarian State Folk Ensemble performance
  • Mozart's 'The Abduction from the Seraglio'
  • Full day tour of the Danube Bend
  • Visit to the Baroque Palace in Gödöllő
  • All sightseeing as indicated including entrances
  • Tips for the local guide & driver
  • Fully escorted by AACI
 
Price Does Not Included
  • Any items of personal nature
  • Insurance
  • Minimum number of participants required
  • Itinerary is subject to change without notice
  • Please note there are no refunds for unused services or meals
PAYMENT: Deposit of euro 225 per person at time of reservation.
Final payment due by April 12, 2015
CANCELLATION:
Cancellation from time of registration until April 12, 2015- euro75 per person
April 12- May 1, 2015 – euro 375 per person
May 2 until day of departure- 100%
All reservations and cancellations must be sent in writing.
 
TOUR ORIENTATION: There will be an orientation session for all participants.  Date to be announced
 
For reservations and information please contact
Eric Berman Ophir Tours
OPHIR TOURS, 6 Hanatziv St. Tel Aviv 1st floor
For more information or for reservations please contact:
Eric Berman at Ophir Tours: 03-526-9802 or email: eric_b@ophirtours.co.il or:
Carole Kremer at AACI: 02-5661181 ext 310 or email: ckremer@aaci.org.il
 
AACI Kosher Moscow & St. Petersburg
May 31-June 11, 2015
 

Visit Moscow and St. Petersburg the two cities that define Russia’s past, present and future

Moscow is the economic mega-center for one sixth of the planet in a country that encompasses more than 120 ethnic groups and nationalities. This passionate and vibrant metropolis boasts an eccentric mélange of traditional Russian architecture and post-Soviet quirkiness.   Discordantly-youthful while steeped in history, Moscow is a study in culture-clash and tradition.
 
One of the world’s most beautiful cities, St. Petersburg has it all including art, striking architecture and exciting nightlife; this is in addition to the robust history and rich cultural traditions that have inspired much of world’s greatest literature, music, and visual art. Romance abounds in this magical city of White Nights, opera, ballet and cutting-edge adventure.   St. Petersburg charms and entices everybody.
 
 
Tour Highlights:
  •  In Moscow: Choral Synagogue, Red Square, Manege Square, St Basil Cathedral, Kremlin & Armory Chamber, Tretyakov Gallery & The Metro
  • Entrance to the Diamond Fund in the Kremlin to see the Crown Jewels
  • High-speed Sapsan train, from Moscow to St. Petersburg
  •  In St Petersburg: Choral Synagogue, Peter & Paul Fortress, Peterhof by Hydrofoil, Pushkin, Pavlovsk, Summer Gardens & Yusupov Palace
  • Two visits to the Hermitage
  • Cruise along the canals of St. Petersburg
  • St. Petersburg by night with the Bridge Opening
  • Folklore show at the Nikolaevsky Palace in St. Petersburg
DAY 1, Sunday, May 31: Israel / Moscow
Early departure from Ben Gurion by EL AL flight at 05:50am arrival in Moscow 10:50am
 
Welcome to Moscow
On arrival we will be met by our local guide and start our tour. We begin with Victory Park which was only completed in the mid-nineties, and is something of a last gasp for the Soviet tradition of monumental triumphal art. Located on and around the Poklonnaya Gora, the hill where Napoleon waited in vain to be given the keys to the city when his troops surrounded Moscow in 1812, the park is set in an area steeped in Russian military history. We then proceed to the Old Choral Synagogue. This synagogue recently celebrated its 100-year anniversary. It is a very impressive building, constructed by renowned Moscow architect Roman Klein. This synagogue was the only one that continued to operate throughout the Soviet period. 
 
One of the most interesting sites in Moscow is located deep beneath the surface. On Stalin’s order, the Moscow Subway was built to display the advantages of socialism. Today the Soviet Union is gone, but the beautiful underground city is still active and carries millions of passengers each day.
 
The Moscow Subway was constructed not only to streamline the city's transportation, but also to celebrate the accomplishments of the Soviets. The entire subway comprises works of socialist realism, making passengers feel as though they are entering various underground palaces, not merely riding the subway to work. Apart from its immense cultural value, Moscow's subway is a highly efficient transportation system that carries three million passengers daily and spans the entire city in a star-like fashion. Interestingly, the subway can also serve as a nuclear shelter in case of war.
 
Afternoon check-in to our hotel followed by a short rest and dinner.  After dinner we will go on a night tour of Moscow.
 
DAY 2, Monday, June1: Moscow Today we will go on one of the most interesting tours in the world as we explore Moscow's amazing sites. We will visit the famous Red Square and go inside St. Basil’s Cathedral, which was built by Ivan the Terrible in the 15th century.
Our next stop is beside the Kremlin Walls. After an extensive tour of Moscow’s highlights and  spending time in the middle of the world-famous Red Square, we will proceed to the St. Basil's Cathedral (the colorful church that stands along the Red Square) and then on to the Kremlin.
 
A visitor unsteeped in Russia's history would not guess that the beautiful basilicas and edifices comprising the Kremlin were once part of a royal fortress shielding Moscow from centuries of fierce Mongol invasions.  The Kremlin is so beautiful that Stalin himself did not dare to disturb this crowning treasure, which astounds with an eclectic mixture of playful colors and architectural bravado and eerier sternness of structure and function in the form of Lenin's Mausoleum.
 
The Kremlin of Moscow is one of the most recognizable symbols of Russia and, as you will experience yourself, its interior is stupendous. Half of its area is reserved for the government and the other half is open to the public. We will explore the Kremlin with our Moscow guide who will tell you many interesting tales about events that took place inside the walls of the Kremlin since 1147. 
 
After strolling inside the Kremlin walls we will proceed to the highlight of the Kremlin grounds - the Armory Chamber museum exhibiting the most unique and precious artifacts from different times in Russian history. This is where you have a chance to look at the famous Faberge Eggs and Catherine the Great’s Imperial dresses, giving you the feeling of traveling back in time.
 
 
DAY 3, Tuesday, June 2: Moscow
Moscow's most famous collection of art and one of the world's top galleries is the Tretyakov Picture Gallery. It began as the private collection of a wealthy Muscovite merchant, Tretyakov, who lived in the 19th century and donated his collection to the city. The State Tretyakov Gallery possesses a unique collection of Russian art which includes masterpieces which span a period of a thousand years. 
 
In the afternoon, we will visit the Museum of Russian Jewish History, the first Jewish museum in Moscow, which, after a long interval, was reopened on May 18, 2011. On display are rare documents, photographs and pictures dating back to the 18th century. You will learn about traditional Jewish professions and crafts, and about their relationship with the government before and after the Revolution. Several rooms are devoted to the life of the Jewish community in Soviet times. The museum was founded by Sergey Ustinov, vice-president of the Russian Jewish Congress. Unfortunately the museum doesn't have enough of room to accommodate all its exhibits (only 1000 items are on display; more than 3000 exhibits are kept in storage).
 
Day 4, Wednesday, June 3: Moscow to St. Petersburg
After free time in the morning for some shopping, we will depart from Moscow by high-speed Sapsan train and travel to St. Petersburg.
  
Welcome to St. Petersburg, Russia’s most beautiful city! St. Petersburg was the capital of Russia until the Revolution of 1917, but remains Russia's most dynamic and amazing city. With the canals of Venice, the palaces of Paris, and the churches of Rome, you will not be disappointed by its beauty and culture.  Our driver will be waiting for us at the train station and will take us to the Grand Choral Synagogue. Consecrated in 1893 by the gracious patronage of Lily and Edmond Safra, this Moorish-style masterpiece of architecture has recently been restored to its former glory, and now contains a thriving Jewish day school. We will then enjoy a peek into the world of Jewish St. Petersburg
Boat Ride on Rivers and Canals of St Petersburg: To visit St. Petersburg without sailing along its rivers and canals means not having seen "the Venice of the North"! Starting our trip from the very heart of the city - Admiralteyskaya Embankment – we will enter the Neva water area viewing one of the historical city sights, Strelka of Vasilievsky Island, famous for its Rastrelli Columns. We will admire the panorama of the majestic Hermitage and Peter and Paul Fortress, continue along the Moyka River under the widest bridge of St. Petersburg,  the Blue Bridge, enjoy the magnificent sight of St. Isaac's Cathedral, turn to the Fontanka River and the Kryukov Canal, catch a glimpse of the Mariinsky Theater,  and return back to the moorage. Having seen the main historical sights of the Russian Northern Capital you will at the same time have the most romantic trip you could imagine!
 
DAY 5, Thursday, June 4: St. Petersburg
The culmination of the world’s best capitals, St. Petersburg is the crown jewel of travel destinations.  Our guide will take us to the Peter and Paul Fortress and St Isaac's Cathedral. In the afternoon, you will have the chance to explore the city on your own.
 
Peter and Paul Fortress was designed to defend the city from naval attacks, but was used as a political prison for dissidents of the Tsarist regime and as a museum during the Soviet era. The fortress now stands as the tomb for the Russian Imperial family.
 
St Isaac's Cathedral is one of the most impressive cathedrals in Europe. Because of its rich decorations, gigantic golden cupolas, and sprawling observation deck, it is one of the most popular tourist sites in St. Petersburg.
 
During this city tour we will also visit St. Isaac's Square where we will see the Mariinsky Theater, the Hermitage, the Winter Palace, the Palace Square, the Spit of Vasilievskiy Island, the Bronze Horseman Statue, Peter's Log Cabin, Cruiser Aurora, Smolny Palace, the Nevsky Prospect, the Square of Arts
 
DAY 6, Friday, June 5: St. Petersburg
The Hermitage
Today we have our first of two visits to the Hermitage Museum, which is to St. Petersburg what Kremlin is to Moscow. St Petersburg has dozens of beautiful palaces, but the Winter Palace stands above them all. First of all, it has one of the best collections of art in the world. Secondly, this collection is located in the very building where the Russian emperors lived. It is here that they rose to power and it is as if from these walls that they ruled 1/5 of the world's territories. It was also here that the Bolsheviks overthrew their reign. The Bolsheviks were tempted to destroy the palace, the symbol of tsars, but its artistic value was so immense that they transformed it into a museum.  They say that if you were to spend just three minutes by each of the exhibits in the Hermitage, it would take three years to see everything.
 
 
DAY 7, Shabbat, June 6: St. Petersburg
On Shabbat if you wish you can attend services at the lovely Choral Synagogue. After Shabbat lunch, we will go on a walking tour of the area.
 
DAY 8, Sunday, June 7: St. Petersburg
Our second guided excursion to the Hermitage. The collection of the State Hermitage includes more than three million works of art and artifacts of world culture. Among them are paintings, graphic works, sculptures and works of applied art, archaeological finds and numismatic material.
 
The main architectural ensemble of the Hermitage situated in the center of St Petersburg consists of the Winter Palace, the former state residence of the Russian emperors, the buildings of the Small, Old (Great) and New Hermitages, the Hermitage Theater and the Auxiliary House. The museum complex also includes the Menshikov Palace and the Eastern Wing of the General Staff building, the Staraya Derevnya Restoration and Storage Center and the Museum of the Imperial Porcelain Factory.
 
DAY 9, Monday, June 8: St. Petersburg-Pushkin-Pavlovsk-St. Petersburg
Catherine's Palace was a gift from Peter the Great to his wife Catherine, whom he loved very much, ironically he build the palace on the other side of the city. Catherine's Palace is located in the town of Pushkin (also known as Tsarskoe Selo). We will experience the wonder of the Summer Palace, where gold and marble statutes adorn the beaming sea entrance from the cold stormy waters of the Baltic to this sun-drenched gold-dripped masterpiece. Enter the Amber Room, a beautiful room built of pure amber that disappeared during the German occupation in World War II but is now restored to its original magnificence.
 
The park and palace of Pavlovsk deserve as much attention as Catherine’s Palace. The park is designed as a classic English landscape garden, an idealized landscape filled with picturesque pieces of classical architecture. It features elements of different European parks of the 18th century that Paul I and his wife had seen when traveling incognito through Europe. Like the English landscape garden, it took much of its inspiration from the romanticized landscape paintings of Hubert Robert and twelve of his paintings are now displayed in the gallery of Pavlovsk.
 
DAY 10, Tuesday, June 9: Peterhof
Today we will venture to the outskirts of St. Petersburg via hydrofoil to visit Peterhof Palace, the summer residence of Russia’s royalty. Stroll in the vast Lower Park with 176 glorious fountains of various forms and styles, numerous gilded statues of ancient gods and heroes, including the famous Samson Fountain. Visit magnificent, beige and white Grand Summer Palace, lavishly decorated with the two white pavilions with gilded cupolas. While walking through its lavish parks and elegant rooms, you can easily imagine that you have been transported to Versailles.
 
DAY 11, Wednesday, June 10: The Yusupov Palace / St. Petersburg -Israel
 
The Yusupov Palace located on Moika Embankment is one of the most beautiful examples of classicism style constructions in Saint Petersburg. Decorated with six-column portico, the Palace delights with a harmony of proportions and silhouette elegancy. It is best known as the Palace on the Moika River where Grigory Rasputin was murdered in 1916. Grigory Rasputin was one of the most controversial figures in Russian history. After the demise of the royal family to which he himself had greatly contributed, he was on the run. Prince Felix Yusupov lured Rasputin to the Palace and killed him. Nowadays, the cellar where the dramatic events took place houses the exhibition “Grigory Rasputin: Pages of Life and Death”. The visitors can see the wax figures of Rasputin and plotters as well as other interesting exhibits.
 
In the evening we bid Russia a farewell and transfer to the airport for our return flight home with EL AL at 01:05 on the morning of June 11 Thursday, arriving in Israel at 04:35 on June 12.
The high-speed Sapsan train Modern and fast, the Sapsan train departs and arrives to the city center and is, perhaps, the most convenient way to travel between Russia's two capitals. Named after the mythical Russian firebird, the Sapsan trains travel at a top speed of 200km/hr. German engineers from Siemens unveiled this traveling marvel in 2009, offering to the world the smoothness of an airport tram with the speed of a commercial jet in the neat package of a stable train. It is fast without being too fast, never being uncomfortable in its pace. It takes 4 hours to travel from Moscow to St. Petersburg.
 
Price: AACI members $4141 per person in a double room
Non- AACI members $4216 per person in a double room
Single supplement $1170   
                                          
Price Includes:
  • Flights on EL AL airlines  from Israel
  • 3 night’s deluxe hotel in Moscow- Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya
  • 7 nights deluxe hotel in St. Petersburg- Domina Prestige
  • Meals: Full board, breakfast and dinner daily with provisions for making sandwiches for lunch.   
  • Transportation in air-conditioned coach as per itinerary
  • Local guides for the excursions and visits as per program including entrance fees   
  • Tour leader from Israel
  • Porterage of one bag per person at hotels and train
  • AACI staff escort   
Not included:
  • Visa fee for Russia
  • Any items of a personal nature
  • Any other items not mentioned in ‘Price Includes’
  • Travel/Medical insurance
 
Prices are subject to change due to fuel or tax increases.  The itinerary may vary. Minimum number of participants needed for this tour to operate.
 
Payment:
  • Deposit of $500 per person at time of reservation.
  • Final payment due by March 10, 2015
Cancellation:
  • Cancellation from time of registration until March 10, 2015 : $100 per person
  • Cancellation between March 10 – May 3 : 50% of total package
  • Less then 28 days prior to departure: 100%
For reservations and information please contact
Eric Berman Ophir Tours
OPHIR TOURS, 6 Hanatziv St. Tel Aviv 1st floor
For more information or for reservations please contact:
Eric Berman at Ophir Tours: 03-526-9802 or email: eric_b@ophirtours.co.il or:
Carole Kremer at AACI: 02-5661181 ext 310 or email: ckremer@aaci.org.il
 
 
    
Ingathering: Art Exhibit
Nov 17 - Dec 31, 2014
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AACI 55+/ - Activities for Singles & Couples
 
AACI Travel Program 2015    
 
 
 
 
 
 
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