The Story of Jewish Shtetls'
On this week long tour you will visit the Shtetls of Lita & Latvia.
A story of Jewish history in the Northern Jerusalem! Day 1 Jews have been living in Lithuania since the fourteenth century and have left a great cultural heritage. Today you'll tour of the historical center of Vilnius (Vilna) starting from Gediminas Castle and then proceeding to Cathedral Square, President's Palace, and Vilnius University. Later, you'll visit the old Jewish quarter's narrow streets and the courtyards of the middle-age ghetto, Great Vilna Synagogue, and shulhoyf, the street of famous Jewish sculptor Mordekhai Antokolski and the world-renowned Strashun library that had more than 6000 volumes at the end of the 19th century. Later visit Jewish State Museum & Jewish cemetery and the grave of the Vilna Gaon. Day 2 Today starts with a tour of Kaunas (Kovna), the interim capital of pre-war Lithuania. En route you'll visit Ziezmariai, a little shtetl that restored its only wooden synagogue, and the charming old city of Kaunas. Also: L. Zamenhof and A. Mapu streets, Slobodka, a Jewish suburb of Kaunas and the ghetto during WWII, and the Old Jewish cemetery. We'll see the building of the famous Slobodka Yeshiva founded by Rabbi Nathan Zvi Finkel and discuss the Musar movement and the influence of R’ Israel Salanter on Slobodka Yeshiva. Later, we'll visit Kovna Choral Synagogue, the Children’s Memorial courtyard, the Golda Mayer school, and the Chiune Sugihara house/museum – a Japanese consul in Kaunas in 1940 who issued 6000 lifesaving visas for the Jewish refugees from Lithuania, Poland and Germany. Final stop in Kaunas – the IXth fort. During the years of Nazi occupation, the Ninth Fort was put to use as a place of mass murder. 45,000 to 50,000 Jews, most from Kaunas and largely taken from the Kovno Ghetto. Day 3 This morning, we'll set out toward Riga, the capital of Latvia, and travel north to Panevezys (Ponevezh) where we'll see the building that housed the famous yeshiva. Your second stop is Pakruojis synagogue – the oldest wooden temple in Lithuania. It’s more than 200 years old! Continue to the town of Siauliai (Shavli) to see how the Jews lived, especially the renowned Frankel family. Our lunch is planed at amazing Art Nouveau style Chaim Frenkel vila! There was a time when the owner of this beautiful building, industrialist Chaim Frenkel was one of the best known leather manufacturer in the world! Next stops is one more Jewish Shtetl – Joniskis with two fantastically rebuilt synagogues, and finally you will stop at a beautiful