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Lithuania & Latvia

Overview

This is a journey to the regions of Jewish heritage along the vistas of the lands of the north, with
“Jerusalem of Lithuania” at its heart. It’s an experiential voyage, and includes the beautiful cities of
Vilna, Kaunas, Riga, Minsk, Volozhin, Mir, Ponevezh, and little villages that look like they come from
one of Marc Chagall’s paintings. The fiddler is no longer on the roof here, but the wooden houses and
Jewish life is still spread over the forests and alongside the rivers. In the past, hundreds of thousands
of Jews of all types lived in these towns and hamlets. This was the Jewish world – and it’s no more.
The passage through Lithuania and Latvia is one that encompasses the spectacles of nature and the
landscapes of Jewish tradition. It’s a journey to the events and characters of Jewish history.

Full Itinerary

Day 1 Wednesday June 16, 2010 Vilna


Arrival to Vilna, meeting and orientation at the hotel.

Day 2 Thursday June 17, 2010 Vilna, Zezhmir, Kaunas, Ninth Fort, Vilna
This morning we‘ll travel to Kaunas Kovno. On the way we‘ll stop in the village of Zezhmir where we‘ll
see a unique ancient synagogue built of wood. Continuing to Kovno, the second largest city in
Lithuania, where we‘ll stroll down cobbled streets still named for its famous Jewish residents. There‘s
the writer Abraham Mapu, and Lugwig Zamenhof father of the Esperanto language. We‘ll stop by the
home of the poetess Leah Goldberg and talk of her works. We‘ll see the old Jewish hospital, the
ancient city square, the synagogue and the memorial to the Jewish children killed during the
Holocaust. After lunch, we‘ll continue to the suburb of Slobodka, renowned for its famous Yeshiva,
and which became the ghetto during the war years. This is where Mapu wrote his famous works
"Love of Zion‘ and "The Guilt of Samaria". On our way back to Vilna we‘ll stop at the Ninth Fort, which
was used as an incarceration and death camp during World War II. Overnight in Vilna.

Day 3 Friday June 18, 2010 Vilna, Ponary, Trakiai, Vilna


This morning we‘ll visit the site where the Jews of Vilna were murdered en masse - at the Ponary
Forest. Shmerke Katcherginski wrote his heart-rending poem about this place: "Quiet, quiet, let‘s be
silent son, graves are growing here..." We‘ll continue to Trakiai, the ancient capital of Lithuania‘s
princes, located among some beautiful lakes. We‘ll visit the Trakiai museum and then make our way
back to Vilna. We‘ll visit the ancient cemetery where we‘ll find the graves of the Gaon of Vilna, and
alongside it, the grave of the Righteous Convert, Abraham ben Abraham Potocki, and other rabbis,
poets and writers. Preparations for Shabbat, Shabbat services and Shabbat evening meal.

Day 4 Shabbat June 19, 2010 Vilna


After Shabbat services and lunch we‘ll depart for a walking tour of the city, "Jerusalem of Lithuiania".
We‘ll stroll down Gaon Street, and the Jews Street where we‘ll see the statue of the Gaon; we‘ll visit
the place where the Shulhof - the main synagogue once stood along with the Jewish community
buildings. We‘ll pass through the building where the Strashun Library - the most noted and richest
Jewish library in the Jewish world - once stood. We‘ll walk along the streets of the Jewish ghetto and
the courtyard of the "Judenrat" as we try to review the events of the ghetto uprising, led by Yitzhak
Wittenberg and Abba Kovner. Overnight in Vilna.

Day 5 Sunday June 20, 2010 Vilna, Ponevezh, Shavli, Riga


Today we set out toward Riga, the capital of Latvia. We‘ll travel north to Ponevezh where we‘ll see
the building that housed the famous yeshiva in the city. We‘ll concentrate on the personality of Rabbi
Shlomo Yosef Kahaneman, the founder and head of the Yeshiva. We‘ll continue to the town of Shavli,
where well see how the Jews lived, specially the renowned Frankel family. We‘ll visit the Hill of
Crosses, an unusual pilgrimage site. From here we‘ll continue to Riga. Overnight in Riga.

Day 6 Monday June 21, 2010 Riga


We‘ll start the tour with a panoramic view of the city. We‘ll continue to the old city where we‘ll pass
through the Swedish Gate, the Central Cathedral, the Cat House, Blackhead‘s House, Guild House and
Matzendorf House. We‘ll devote the afternoon to Jewish Riga; we‘ll visit the former Jewish quarter,
the local synagogue, the Jewish museum in the communal center that tells the history of the Jews of
Latvia, the monument to the Central Synagogue that was burnt down by the Nazis of July 4, 1941.
We‘ll also visit the memorial site at Bikernieki Forest. Overnight in Riga.

Day 7 Tuesday June 22, 2010 Riga, Home Gateway


This morning we‘ll complete our tour of the city, examining the art-nouveau architecture of the city
preserved by UNESCO. Afterwards we‘ll make our way to the airport for our departure to our home
gateway.

Cost & Accommodation

Tour code Start date End date Days Price Single supplement
ELIL1606 16/06/2010 22/06/2010 7 days $1900 $260

Important:

• There may be changes to the schedule and hotel reservations dependent upon internal
flights. We will make every effort to visit every location mentioned.

PRICE INCLUDES

• Upper Class tourist hotels


• Entrance to all sites mentioned in the tour plan
• Breakfast + Dinner every day of the tour
PRICE EXCLUDES

• International Flights
• Group Visa to Belarus (about $100)
• Travel and baggage Insurance
• Personal Expenses
• Tips for local service providers: €50
• Changes in air fares due to increases in fuel airport tax and security tax surcharges as they
become known prior to the tour
• Tip for our tour guide (Recommended: $3 per person per day)

Deposit, Cancellation Fees & Policy:


A $500 USD Deposit per person must be received at the time of booking in order to confirm your
reservation. Payment in full is due 90 days before departure.
A minimum number of participants are required to operate tour dates. If a minimum number has not
been reached prior to tour departure and the tour is cancelled you will receive a FULL refund.

• 90 days before departure bookings are refundable less a $100 administration fee
• 60-90 days prior to departure: $500 + $100 per passenger
• 30-60 days prior to departure: $1,000 + $100 per passenger
• Less than 30 working days prior to departure: 100% of total - no refund
• We strongly recommend purchasing Travel Insurance.

Travel Insurance
Travel insurance encompassing both cancellation and medical insurance is very important and we can
not stress that enough. We strongly recommend that our clients are adequately insured when
travelling. It is crucial to purchase the travel insurance within 14 days from the 1st payment that you
make for this trip (flights/cruise/tour etc). Your payment is made directly to the insurance company.
We highly recommend the 'cancel for any reason' upgrade option.
Our preferred policies are Travel Safe (USA & Canadian residents), Travel Select (USA residents) and
Global Trip Protection Elite (All other Nationalities).
For an obligation free quote and further details email Yonah insurance@eddiestravel.com