BERLIN week-end 17th to the 20th February 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 20 years ago and has made this city his home. Dekel will be spending half a day on 3 of the 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.

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 public transport in Berlin for all tours including to and from Berlin airports. The Berlin pass provided for everyone over the 4 days entitles you to all transport within the city and discounts for museums and various entertainments.

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.

The Flights we recommend are with BA: Friday 17th February Terminal 5 Heathrow BA 7.10 Land Tegel Berlin 10.00 with return flight at 20.00 on Monday 20th February landing at 21.00 Terminal 5 Heathrow.

INITIAL SCHEDULE the itinerary maybe subject to changes -

Day 1, Friday 17th February 2017
We aim to leave the hotel at 14.30pm where our guide Dekel will be meeting us by train to Hackesher Market where we will cover the essential area that comprises Brandenburg Gate and Parisen Platz, Unter den Linden, State Opera House. 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 6pm to prepare for Shabbat . The group needs to be ready to walk to the religious Synagogue by 5.15 with candle lighting at 5.15 pm and thereafter Shabbat dinner at the Carlton Plaza hotel nearby

Day 2, Shabbat 18th February 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 and we would especially highlight

- Jewish Museum accalaimed design by Liebeskind as a broken star of David
- The Pernaggen – houses the Ishtar gate that was the entrance to Babylon

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 except on Sundays.

Day 3, Sunday 19th February 2017
Morning at 9am - We return by train 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 Scheuneviertel: 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

Day 4, Monday 20th February 2017
9.30am 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. Afterwards we will take a train 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.

After 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.

The tour price is £395 per person sharing a double/twin room (single supplement £145). The tour price includes Hotel bed and breakfast all public transport, museum discounts as part of your Berlin Card, 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 £115 per night per room including breakfast – Extra nights are recommended for museum and music lovers.
The tour price includes Hotel bed and breakfast all public transport, museum discounts, Shabbat meal all guide costs and museum fees as part of the organised tours only
We will stay in the lovely Boutique Heckers’ Hotel in Gromalstrasse

Trip proceeds once 15 bookings received so do not book flights till trip is confirmed