|Embracing Jewish Heritage in Ukraine
UNDER THE AUSPICES OF UN VETERANS ORGANIZATION
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Visit renowned Hassidic pilgrimage sites & rediscover Ashkenazi culture
April 30- May 12, 2010 (12 days)
Price: $3300 (includes airfare)
In partnership with the Ukrainian Heritage Foundation, Danu Enterprises is pleased
to offer a unique tour experience of the Jewish heritage sites of Western Ukraine,
whose population was 70% Jewish before World War 2. Since declaring its
independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine has become increasingly open
to tourism from the west and offers a remarkable opportunity for those of Ukrainian
ancestry to rediscover their homeland. Of course, there are still deep scars from the
Nazi occupation of Ukraine from 1941-45 and Ukrainians are beginning to come to
terms with the truth of what happened to its Jewish population in the Holocaust.
Fortunately, a handful of brave and dedicated souls have preserved Jewish tradition
and revived synagogues in places like Zhytomyr, Berdychiv and Vinnytsia. Jewish
organizations in Ukraine survive by hosting Jews from around the world making their
pilgrimage to sacred sites in places like Uman, Bratslav, Berdychiv and Medjibizh.
Come feel the power of place and immerse yourself in the near-forgotten Jewish
culture of Eastern Europe.
May 1, Day 1: Arrive KBP-Borispol airport in Kiev. (Sleep @ hotel in Brovary.) May
1st is an important national holiday in Ukraine.
May 2, Day 2: See the sights of Kiev with an English-speaking guide: visit Maidan
Nezalejnosti (site of 2004 Orange Revolution); take funicular railway to the
synagogue in old Jewish Podol neighborhood & see central Brodsky synagogue;
finally visit Babi Yar, the infamous site of the Nazi massacre. (Drive to Uman & stay @
hotel by Sofiyivka Park.)
May 3, Day 3: Visit Uman, the pilgrimage destination of Hassidic Jews from all over
the world, to pray at the grave of Rabbi Nachmann. Also walk in the beautifully
landscaped Sofiyivka Park, considered one of the loveliest in Eastern Europe. Bring
your camera! (Drive to Vinnytsia & stay @ downtown Hotel Podillya.)
May 4, Day 4: See downtown Vinnytsia & take a cruise on the Pivdenny Boog River
(bring a picnic if you wish). Later, visit the Vinnytsia Jewish organization in Vyshenka.
(Another night @ Hotel Podillya. Have dinner @ Tet á Tet restaurant across the
May 5, Day 5: Take a day trip to visit Zhytomyr & Berdychiv, where large Jewish
populations lived until WW2. Meet local rabbis & see what remains of the
synagogues, visit Jewish graveyards & memorial to victims of Fascism. Pray @ the
gravesite of Levi Yitzhak in Berdychiv. (Another night @ Hotel Podillya in Vinnytsia.
Dinner @ Café Limon.)
May 6, Day 6: In the morning, tour Dr. Nicholas Pirogov’s estate in Vyshenka, which is
now a unique medical museum. After pizza lunch, drive to Bratslav, where Rabbi
Nachmann taught, wrote & lived. Visit the beautiful cemetery on a hill overlooking the
river, where Nachmann’s disciples are buried. (Drive to Medjibizh & stay in a 4-star
May 7, Day 7: Explore the medieval fortress of Medjibizh overlooking the Pivdenny
Boog River & visit the grave of Hassidic founder, Ba’al Shem Tov. (After lunch, drive
to Lviv & stay @ the classic Hotel George.)
May 8, Day 8: After breakfast, take a walking tour of Lviv with Tanya Kotova of B’nai
Brith Leopolis to visit the old Jewish neighborhoods, site of the Golden Rose temple,
old Jewish hospital & graveyard site. Then visit the site of WW2 Jewish ghetto &
Janowska concentration camp. Bring Kleenex. (After a late lunch/early dinner, spend
another night & Hotel George.)
May 9, Day 9: Those wishing to make the optional trip to Krakow, Poland will take the
train (expenses not included in UHF tour, but a guide can go with you). Spend 3
nights in Krakow to see the Jewish neighborhood of Kazimieriz (Day 10) & visit
Auschwitz the next day (Day 11). Fly back to Kiev early on Day 12 to catch your flight
Note: Those not going to Poland can spend extra time in Lviv, exploring the old Polish
cemetery, shopping in Old Town, enjoying cafes & restaurants in the Paris of
Ukraine. Or a trip to the Uzhgorod (aka Ungvar) amidst the Carpathian Mountains
near the Slovakian border can be arranged.
May 10, Day 10: Either explore Uzhgorod — or return to Kiev & spend the night in the
classic St. Petersburg Hotel near Kreshatik Avenue (hub of Kiev’s shopping, dining &
May 11, Day 11: Return to Kiev or enjoy an extra day in Ukraine’s capital city walking,
shopping, sightseeing & dining. (Spend the night in the St. Petersburg Hotel.)
May 12, Day 12: Share a taxi to the airport & fly home or on to your next destination.
NOTE: This itinerary may be adjusted slightly to take advantage of special events that
may occur. No one is obliged to attend any tours, meetings or seminars. However, no
refunds will be made for any missed activities. If you leave the tour at any time, for
any reason, you are own your own.
Trip price Includes:
• round-trip flight from SFO San Francisco, CA to KBP Kiev, Ukraine.
• transportation in a private van to destinations in Ukraine.
• accommodations in all locations mentioned.
• meals not included (except where breakfast is provided by hotel or B&B). However,
Ukrainian restaurants are very reasonable by western standards, usually $10/meal
• tours with English-speaking guides in Kiev, Uman, Vinnytsia region & Lviv.
• boat excursion on the Pivdenny Boog river in Vinnytsia.
• entrance fees to all museums and historical sites mentioned in itinerary.
Not included: Laundry, additional excursions, meals, tips. Trip to Poland is optional
& not included in the basic tour price. A trip to Uzhgorod (instead of Kiev) on Days 10
& 11 would be included, if the group desires.
Trip costs and fees: The tour cost of $3300 is based on two persons sharing a twin-
bedded room with shower, some breakfasts, excursions listed in the itinerary,
seminars, services of Ukrainian translators and US guides, and transportation in
private vehicle in Ukraine. Those arranging their own air travel can deduct $1000.
Ground-only does not include final airport transfer.
Passport and Visa: A passport valid six months from date of entry to Ukraine. A 90-
day tourist visa is not required for USA citizens. No health requirements.
Roommates: Single people may sign up for accommodations desired on a shared
basis and will be assigned a roommate as circumstances permit. If a roommate is
unavailable, the participant will be notified of the adjusted price for a single
Deposit: A $350 deposit, a check made out to Danu Enterprises, is required to make
a booking. Deposit is fully refundable, minus a $75 cancellation fee until April 1,
when a $100 penalty fee will become attached to all cancellations received in writing.
Final payments are due by April 15, 2010. Changes in the exchange rate or rise of
gasoline may affect the tour price. The trip is limited to 12 people.
Accommodations: Generally rooms have two single beds with flush toilets, sinks,
showers, and hot water. Since tourism is developing slowly in the FSU (former Soviet
Union), standards are not as high as in First World western countries. The concept of
customer service is evolving, so please be aware of this if you choose to travel in
Ukraine. The hotels we have chosen have cultural charm and are reasonably priced
to keep the cost of the trip affordable. We have done our best to choose hotels with
some English-speaking staff.
Food: Most Ukrainian restaurants serve traditional dishes like borshcht (vegetable
soup), holubtsi (stuffed cabbage rolls), milintsi (stuffed crepes/pancakes) and
shashlik (BBQ marinated meat on skewers). Most salads have mayonnaise and not
much in the way of salad greens, but a good Greek salad will have delicious
tomatoes, cucumbers, olives & feta cheese. The beer, vodka & cognac are delicious,
cheap & abundant. And the chocolate is to die for. Wine is available, but not up to
California standards. Local markets & bazaars are abundant in spring & summer with
fresh, homegrown fruits & vegetables—especially wild mushrooms. Ukraine is
renowned as the breadbasket of Eastern Europe & food is relatively inexpensive.
Good ethnic restaurants & cafés can be found in the cities: Italian, Georgian,
Crimean, Middle Eastern & European. You can even find sushi in some places &
good seafood is available due to the proximity of the Black Sea.
Weather: May is a beautiful month to visit Ukraine. The country is literally exploding
with flowers in bloom (especially lilac), and it's warm but not yet hot. It may rain but
can also be warm & sunny, so come prepared. We visit before the busy summer
tourist season, so sites are not yet crowded and local Ukrainians are happy to see us
after the long winter. Arts and crafts, made during the winter months have not yet
been picked over, so prices are reasonable.
Tour organizer/leader: Your guide is Virginia Lee, who served with Peace Corps in
Ukraine from 2007-09 and is eager to share her both her appreciation of Ukrainian
culture, as well as her network of Ukrainian allies, guides and translators (affiliated
with the Ukrainian Heritage Foundation: http://ukrainianheritagefound.com) who will
make sure your experience is beyond what you could do by yourself. Don’t miss this
unique opportunity, especially if you are of Ukrainian ancestry.