BERLIN week-end 25th August to the 28th August 2017

Berlin is a city steeped in rich Jewish heritage going back much further than the war years. Taking you back to the 12th Century, with many places of interest, and filled with some of the best museums anywhere in Europe

Today, there are around 60,000 Jews living in Berlin with approximately 80% having come from the former Soviet Union. This, together with an influx of Israeli and 'returning' German Jews, Berlin is believed to be the fastest growing Jewish city in the world today.

This trip has been designed for the group to benefit from one of my favourite and most knowledgeable guides, Dekel Peretz, who arrived from Israel over 15 years ago and has made this city his home. Dekel will be spending 3 days with the group with essential Berlin Tours that will include a tour of the Jewish quarter plus two other areas that benefit from his excellent insights. He has taught Jewish German history at Potsdam University.

Shabbat will be a free day for those who are shomer Shabbos.

The group will be accompanied by Marcel Manson who has been many times to Berlin. We will be using coaches day 1 and day 4 [public transport day 3] in Berlin for all tours including back to Berlin airport.

Our Hecker’s Hotel is located just off the KuDam. It has been selected in the upmarket Challottenberg quarter of West Berlin, which boasts a brilliant shopping district, and allows easy access to two important shuls for those wishing to attend services, and is within easy walking distance to excellent restaurants, including kosher restaurants.
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INITIAL SCHEDULE the itinerary maybe subject to changes -

Day 1, Friday 25th August 2017
We are taking the the BA flight at 7.15 from Heathrow that lands at 10.05 am where our guide Dekel will be meeting us with coach and we will be going on a 4.30 hour coach tour of essential Berlin covering lots of stops at different places allowing us to see Hackesher Market where we will cover the essential area that comprises Brandenburg Gate and Parisen Platz, Unter den Linden, State Opera House & Checkpoint Charlie. Unter den Linden, Berlin 's magnificent boulevard and the centrepiece of Old Berlin, leads from Pariser Platz at the Brandenburg Gate to the Schlossbrücke Bridge. Unter den Linden was originally a bridle path. From 1573, it led from Berlin Palace to Lietzow, later Charlottenburg, and then on to Spandau. From 1701, the Linden became more and more built up, mirroring the rising splendour of the monarchy and the new architectural style.

TIME ALLOWING, the day will continue with a visit to Humboldt University, Bebel Platz, State, (where they burned the books), with the Ulman memorial, “the empty Library” Royal Library, and Museum Island. We will also take in the site of the former and future Prussian-German Royal Palace and the Old National Theatre (Concert Hall). We viist the Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe, built by Peter Eisenman, which covers an entire city block. The 2,711 pillars, planted close together in undulating waves, represent the 6 million murdered Jews. We aim to get back to the hotel for 3.30 pm to prepare for Shabbat . The group needs to be ready to walk to the religious Synagogue by 18.50 with candle lighting at 19.00 pm and thereafter Shabbat dinner at Synagogue

Day 2, Shabbat 26th August 2017
There are two choices of Synagogues to visit the Peastaloszzestrassa Synagogue which is the famous Lewandoski Synagogue responsible for a lot of standard shul tunes. They are now still a throwback to prewar customs with organ and mixed choir [although separate gender seating] and is a treat for chazonut admirers. Or alternatively again to the religions services at the Central Orthodox Synagogue off the KuDam in Joachimsthaler 13. Both services are followed by sit down Kiddushim that do not require lunch, otherwise Shabbat is a free day to choose to do as you please.

Museum goers have a huge choice with recommendations will be made together with INTERNATIONAL GARDEN FESTIVAL held every 10 years in Berlin – our suggestion this is attended in your free time Saturday or Sunday afternoon SEE tickets should be bought in advance if you wish to go through website as they will be sold out with limited daily numbers at €20 pp. I will be going on this Garden festival on Tuesday 29th August if you wish to join me another day is required at the hotel and you need to book return flights on Tuesday night
In the evening there is an excellent choice of eateries nearby and jazz lovers will be delighted to know that the famous Berlin A Train nightclub is easy walking distance and has nightly live music at 21.00 except on Sundays.

Day 3, Sunday 27th August 2017
Morning at 9am - We use the train service from our nearest overgroun station Sauvingplatz to Hackesher Market to visit the Jewish quarter and meet our guide Dekel for a 3 hour tour. We will visit be visiting Vorstadt Spandau and Sceuneviertel: Rotes Rathaus, Marienkirche, sites in and around Gross Hamburger Strasse (grave of Moses Mendelssohn, former cemetery, Jewish buildings and community institutions, Neue Synagoge, Oranienburgstrasse, (museum), Site of the former Hochshule where the infamous Rossenstrasse demonstration took place during the second world war. We will conclude tour at the Neue Synagogue, for those who wish to visit inside and see its museum otherwise lunch at the Humus and friends restaurant Israeli style next door

Afternoon walk to Museum island along river WHERE BERLINERS STROLL drink dance many cafes and bars by river to Museum Island where we recommend visiting the - The Permagen museum – houses the Ishtar gate that was the entrance to the glory that was biblical Babylon FREE TIME

Day 4, Monday 28th August 2017
9.00am We travel to Grunewald S-Bahn Station for a memorial service at "Track 17." Two sculptures here memorialize the deportation of 35,000 Berlin Jews who were loaded like cattle onto trains at this station between 1941 and 1945. The memorial consists of a long series of iron plates laid out on both sides alongside. Just above the track you can read, written on the side of each plate, the date, destination and number of Jews deported with each transport. We also visit WANSEE outside Berlin [site of final solution meeting] and the Glineker Bridge famous for the Natala Sharansky prisoner exchange

Afterwards we will take the coach to Potsdamer Platz: In the 1920s and 30s, the Potsdamer Platz was the busiest and one of the liveliest squares in Europe . It was a major public transport hub, with numerous bars, cafés and cinemas - until 1943 when it was left in ruins by Allied bombing.fter WWII the square, located between the American, British and Russian sectors, became a no-man's land. It was completely flattened with the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 when the demolished buildings were pulled down. Today it has been completely rebuilt, with many modern office and leisure buildings including the Sony Center and luxury hotels. As part of this tour we will visit the Topographie Des Terrors (former Gestapo headquarters] Museum and if time and They were Neighbours Exhibition at The City Hall. We concludes the week-end tour by having lunch at the Jewish Museum then DEKEL PERETZ shows us round the acclaimed Jewish Museum design by Liebeskind as a broken star of David before we return to the airport for the flight home which will be about 4.45pm to catch return BA flight at 19.15 landing Heathrow at 20.15

Tuesday 29th August – Option to stay additional night to attend International Garden festival or other activities of choice

The tour price is £445 per person sharing a double/twin room (single supplement £145). The tour price includes Hotel bed and breakfast, coach day 1 and day 4, all public transport on day 3, shabbat meal all guide costs and museum fees as part of the organised tours only
Note - this does not include flights, which you will need to book yourselves (see below for instructions on this)
A deposit per person of £100 will be required to guarantee your place
Extra nights are £133 per night per room including breakfast – Extra nights are recommended for museum and music lovers plus the International Garden festival.

We will stay in the lovely Boutique Heckers’ Hotel in Gromalstrasse here it is just off the famous KuDam in the exclusive shopping quarter in the West of the City, excellent location for transport, restaurants and the famous A-Trane Jazz club which will be booked on Saturday night for those that wish to go.