Upcoming Kosher Travel & Cruises 2015
Itineries to be announced in coming weeks. Please keep checking this site.
January 19-30,
12 days including a safari in Kruger
AACI Lapland  
February 17-23
with air on Finnair and one overnight in Helsinki
AACI Amsterdam
March 15-19
AACI Japan Discovery
April 29 - May 10  
April 27 - May 4
AACI Kosher & Friendly Adriatic Cruise
October 19-31, 2014
6 Amazing ports of call
Venice, Dubrovnik, Kotor, Chania, Corfu & Agios Nikolaos
Scholar-in-residence Rabbi Shlomo Riskin
Venice with her romantic canals and Gothic-Renaissance architecture. Kotor - Montenegro's most stunning bay and best preserved medieval town. Dubrovnik - the 'Pearl of the Adriatic’ with her enduring strength and beauty. Mythological Greece, visiting the breathtaking islands of Corfu, Chania and Agios Nikolaos. Our captivating land tours with rich Jewish history are combined with stimulating and varied lectures by our scholar Rabbi Shlomo Riskin.
We will be sailing on the wonderful “Golden Iris" - a hotel at sea, enjoying delicious, freshly prepared, Kosher meals (4+) daily. Entertainment programs are offered throughout the day, Jacuzzi, gym, a casino, Duty Free shopping, and more. Escorted by Executive Director David London, you will enjoy the company of a warm and diverse English-speaking group from Israel and around and the world with days at sea where you can relax with new and old friends.
Day 1 19/10/14 Haifa   16:00
2 20/10/14 Sea    
3 21/10/14 Chania 08:00 13:00
4 22/10/14 Corfu 14:00 21:00
5 23/10/14 Sea    
6 24/10/14 Venice 08:00 18:30
7 25/10/14 Sea    
1 26/10/14 Dubrovnik 08:00 01:00 (day 2)
2 27/10/14 Kotor 08:00 18:00
3 28/10/14 Sea    
4 29/10/14 Agios Nikolaos 14:00 20:00
5 30/10/14 Sea    
6 31/10/14 Haifa 08:00  
Price Includes:
* 12 Nights, Full board + Midnight Snacks (Kosher Cuisine Freshly Prepared) and more!
* Lectures and Land Tours in English with a Jewish flavor. 
* AACI Scholar in residence.
* Kashrut and Religious Services supervised by Rabbi Jay Karzen.
* All Tips; land tours (Bus Drivers, Guides, Staff), Dining Room and Cabin Staff.
* Fully Escorted by AACI Staff.
* All Port Charges, Taxes and Security Fees.
* Round Trip Bus Transport from Central points in Israel to Haifa.
* Pre-cruise Orientation.
SUITE DECK 5 , 6 & 7      SOLD OUT

(Add Euro 50 per person for Non-AACI Members)
*The program and itinerary is subject to change without notice and minimum participation required. Please note that some land tours may include strenuous walking. Price does not include Insurance or Personal Expenses.
Prices are subject to change due to fuel increases or brochure price fluctuation.
For more information, please call Carole Kremer at AACI: 02-5600910
For reservations, please call Livia Berman at Ophir Tours: Tel/fax: : 03-526 9552. livia@ophirtours.co.il
AACI Kosher China, Beijing, Xian & Shanghai - SOLD OUT
October 27  -November 07, 2014
This itinerary includes the country’s two major cities of Beijing and Shanghai and a detour to Xian to see the Terracotta Warriors. In Beijing, try to absorb the enormity of Tiananmen Square, the largest in the world, before exploring the Forbidden City on foot. Ride a rickshaw through the neighborhood maze of old Hutongs, watch a Golden Mask Performance and visit the fabulous pearl market. Climb the Great Wall of China and see the Olympic sites. Fly to Xian where ancient history comes alive with its army of warriors, often regarded as the greatest archaeological discovery of our time. We then fly on to Shanghai where there’s time to discover the old town, stroll along the grand colonial waterfront promenade, the Bund, the Jewish Quarter,  get lost among Chinese art and antiquities in the Shanghai Museum and see a vibrant acrobatic performance.
Day 1 Monday, Oct 27:  Depart for Beijing – we leave Israel on our EL AL evening flight to Beijing at 21:40. 
Day 2: Tuesday, Oct 28:  Arrival in Beijing at 13:25. Meet our local guide at the airport and embark on a scenic tour of Beijing. Then take an exciting tour of Beijing’s Hutongs (old neighborhoods) on a private and exciting Rickshaw ride.   Get familiar with the local atmosphere and rest up before our welcome dinner.  Evening: Introduction to China.  Dinner at Chabad House.
Day 3: Wednesday: Oct 29: Breakfast at the hotel. Departure by deluxe coach to the Great Wall initially built in 221 BC by the first emperor of China as a defense against nomadic tribes and has been renowned as one of the 7 wonders of the world. It extends over 10000 kilometers in the northern part of China from the eastern Pacific Ocean to the western Gobi Desert. Visit the Jade Friendship Store while enjoying the magnificent work done by elite Chinese jade experts on the spot.  Later in the day, visit the Ming Tombs and learn about Chinese Feng Shui as mostly reflected by the layout of the Ming Dynasty Tombs. Return to the city for our Chinese Banquet dinner at the Chabad House.  This evening enjoy the daring Kung Fu Show
Day 4: Thursday, Oct 30: Breakfast in the hotel.  Visit the largest city square in the world-Tiananmen Square, which can hold as many as 3 million people. We proceed through the Tiananmen Rostrum to the imperial enclosure - the famed Forbidden City, also named the Palace Museum, the largest of its kind in the world. It houses more than 9999 rooms.  Five of the rooms had 24 emperors living successively inside them from 1420 until 1911 both the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Climb up the Scenery Hill and have a bird’s eye view of the modern Beijing City as well as the glistening Forbidden City spread out in front of you. Drive to the Olympic Site for a breathtaking view of Bird Nest Stadium and the inspiring Water Cubic Stadium from outside.
Dinner at the Chabad House followed by the amazing Golden Mask performance.
Day 5: Friday, Oct 31:  Breakfast in the hotel. Morning tour to the Temple of Heaven and traditional Chinese Park. The Temple is the sacred praying site for Chinese emperors (1420-1911) to pray for a good harvest. Then experience in the park the lives of the everyday Chines citizens through dance and culture. Explore the Pearl Market and learn to how to find the best quality pearls and various pearl products which has been part of the Chinese culture.  Visit the Tibetan style Lamasery housing the world largest single white sandal tree Buddhist carving.  Stop for traditional Chinese foot massage and lecture on Chinese medicine and treatment.  Hotel rest before Shabbat with the Beijing Jewish Community at Chabad.  Evening: Shabbat with Chabad of Beijing.
Day 6: Saturday, Nov 01:   Breakfast at the hotel.  Shabbat Services, followed by Kiddush and lunch at the Chabad House.  After lunch we will take an optional walking tour of the unique Flower Market featuring beautiful Asian plants and flowers. Walk back to hotel for Shabbat rest.  Mincha followed by Seudah Shlishit and Maariv.
Evening: visit to the exotic Food Market.
Day 7: Sunday, Nov 02: Breakfast box on our early morning flight to Xian.  Stop at a Ming Furniture Center. Representing the zenith of Chinese furniture, Ming furniture is treasured for its precious wood, comfortable design, simple decoration and superb craftsmanship. For lunch we will have an authentic Buddhist vegetarian luncheon. In the afternoon we will visit Muslim Street and museum which is a fantastic place to wander around. All shops and restaurants in the street are operated by Muslims. The stalls line the narrow alleys selling almost everything. If you are good at bargaining, you can get some amazing buys.  Dinner will be in the hotel with a delicious kosher fish dinner.  After dinner we will attend our evening show the Tang Dynasty Costume Show.
Day 8: Monday, Nov 03: Breakfast in the hotel.   Excursion to the world famous Terra Cotta Warrior Museum, including special visit to panorama movie, Pit1, Pit2, Pit3 and the Bronze Chariot. The Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses are the most significant archeological excavations of the 20th century. Work is ongoing at this site, which is around 1.5 kilometers east of Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum. Given time, we will take a glimpse of the warrior duplication site where molds are created to show the original way of creating them. En route back to the city, stop at the local cave dwelling village, a primitive way of living in harsh dry lands.  Early afternoon flight to Shanghai. Dinner at Kosher restaurant in Shanghai.  Night cruise in the harbour over the neon lit Huangpu River, with a spectacular view of the Shanghai skyline.
Day 9: Tuesday, Nov 04: Breakfast in the hotel. Morning tour to Jewish Shanghai: the former home of Shanghai's Jewish community, the Hongkou Ghetto and nearby, the former Ohel-Moishe Synagogue. See the Memorial to Stateless Refugees within the ghetto and visit Ohel Rachel Synagogue, also built by the Sassoon family. Drive through the French Concession, where many of Shanghai's fine Jewish estates were once located. Within the French Concession, visit the Arts and Crafts Institute, a historic home and former estate of one of Shanghai's officials. See some of the local crafts designed and created here. Then visit the Sir Elie Kadoorie Mansion (the Marble Mansion), today a Children's Palace, to watch gifted children dance, sing, and play traditional Chinese instruments.  Return to your hotel.  Dinner at the Chabad restaurant Shanghai. Evening: Spectacular Acrobatic Show.
Day 10: Wednesday, Nov 05: Breakfast in the hotel.   Our guide will meet us this morning for a 1 1/2 hours' drive to the ancient water town – Zhouzhuang which is known as the Venice of China.  Famed as China's No.1 water town, Zhouzhuang reveals its beauty with various Ming and Qing Dynasty residences and dozens of classic bridges while the two most famous residences are Shen House and Zhang House. A cruise along the canal will give you a view of a unique waterside lifestyle. Return to Shanghai in late afternoon.  Dinner at the Chabad restaurant Shanghai.  This evening enjoy free shopping time on Nanjing Road.
Day 11: Thursday, Nov 06: Breakfast in the hotel. Tour of Shanghai Museum. Also known as the Museum of Ancient Chinese Art, the Shanghai Museum was established in 1952 and relocated twice before finding a permanent home at its present location, south of the centrally located People's Plaza, in 1996. More than 120,000 precious and rare works of art in 21 categories make the Shanghai Museum the most remarkable cultural institution in the city. Stroll around the People's Square outside the museum overlooking the stylistic buildings including the City Hall, the City Planning Museum and the Shanghai Opera House.  Visit an Embroidery Gallery at the city center given time. Afternoon departure from Shanghai at 16:20 on Dragon Air to Hong Kong arriving at 19:05 and connect with EL AL at 20:55 back to Israel arriving at 03:15am.
Price: AACI members $3893 per person in a double
Non- AACI members $3968 per person in a double
Single supplement $540
Price Includes:
  • Flights on EL AL  from Israel and Dragon Air from Shanghai to Hong Kong
  • 2 domestic flights Beijing/Xian-Xian/Shanghai
  • 9 night’s good 4 star  hotel accommodation- as mentioned or similar                  
  • Beijing (5 nights)       Metro Park Lido     
  • Xian      (1 nights)     Titan Times Hotel
  • Shanghai (3 nights)  Salvo Hotel
  • Kosher Meals: daily breakfasts in hotels + 7 lunch boxes.  Dinners in Beijing and Shanghai at kosher resturants. Freshly prepared  vegetarian / fish dinner at hotel in Xian + authentic Buddhist Vegetarian lunch and specially prepared Chinese banquet dinner
  • Transportation in air conditioned coach as per itinerary
  • Local guides for the excursions and visits as per program including entrance fees   
  • Israeli English speaking tour leader
  • Porterage at hotels and all tips
  • 4 varied evening Chinese shows
  • River cruise in Shanghai
  • AACI staff escort   
Not included:
  • Chinese Visa
  • Any items of a personal nature
  • Any other items not mentioned in included
  • Travel/Medical insurance
Prices are subject to change due to fuel or tax increases.  The itinerary may vary.
Deposit of $400 per person at time of reservation.
Final payment due by September 10, 2014
Cancellation from time of registration until September 10, 2014: $250 per person
Cancellation between September 11-October 01, 2014: 50% of total package
Cancellation from October 02 to day of departure: 100%
For reservations and information please call Ophir Tours
Livia Berman, Tel/fax: 03-526 9552 or email livia@ophirtours.co.il
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: flamboyant cultures, dramatic scenery, diverse wildlife and an easy-going atmosphere. From game drives in Kruger National Park, to the incredible coastline along the Garden Route to the best land based penguin and whale watching in the world, South Africa is a perennial favorite that you will want to return to year after year.
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
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 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:
Livia Berman Ophir Tours
OPHIR TOURS, 6 Hanatziv St. Tel Aviv 1st floor
Telephone: 03-526-9552  Fax: 03-526-9552 Email: livia@ophirtours.co.il
AACI Kosher Poland
April 27-May 4, 2015
AACI invites you on an unforgettable journey of a lifetime. Seven days investigating, experiencing and encountering these dramatic strands which form the essence of our Jewish consciousness:
TRADITION: For one thousand years, Poland was the cradle of Jewish religion and civilization
DESTRUCTION: In a brief period of six years, this vibrant centre of Jewish life, culture and religion was utterly destroyed in the Holocaust
THE JEWISH SPARK: In the past twenty years, Poland has been the locus of a significant Jewish Renaissance
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
Deposit of $400 per person at time of reservation.
Final payment due by January 15, 2015
Cancellation from time of registration until January 15- $100 per person
January 16-April 1- $600 per person
April 2 until departure- 100%
There will be an orientation.  Date to be announced
For reservations and additional information please contact:
Livia Berman Ophir Tours Telephone: 03-526-9552
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 unlike any other city on earth. It is the wealthy economic center for one sixth of the world's land mass and has over 120 ethnic groups and nationalities. A diverse and vibrant city with a strange combination of traditional Russian architecture and newer Soviet tastelessness, Moscow is an adventure waiting to happen!
St. Petersburg is one of the world's most beautiful cities. St. Petersburg has all the ingredients necessary for an unforgettable travel experience: high art, lavish architecture, wild nightlife, an extraordinary history and rich cultural traditions that have inspired and nurtured many of the modern world’s greatest literature, music, and visual art. From the mysterious twilight of White Nights to world-beating opera and ballet productions, St. Petersburg charms and entices everybody.
We will enjoy these special cities, rich with Jewish Heritage, whose turbulent history will be fascinating to encounter!
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.
  • Deposit of $500 per person at time of reservation.
  • Final payment due by March 10, 2015
  • 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
Livia Berman at Ophir Tours:
Telephone: 03-526-9552/ Fax: 03-526-9552
AACI 55+/ - Activities for Singles & Couples
AACI Memorial
September 30, 2014, 16:00
AACI Sukkot Walking Tours
Oct 6 - Oct 17, 2014
AACI Thanksgiving Luncheon
November 26, 12:30-15:00
AACI Travel Program 2014/    
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