Temple Chai Jewish Heritage Tour of Spain

              Led by Rabbi Bonnie Koppell

                                  October 3--14, 2018                   


Wednesday, October 3, 2018


  • Depart the United States.

Overnight: Flight


Thursday, October 4, 2018

                  Arrival in Spain

  • Arrive at Madrid International Airport.

  • Transfer to the hotel on your own.

  • Chance to rest and get settled—then meet in the hotel lobby at 4pm.

  • Gentle Stroll around Madrid, a chance to get your bearings.

  • Festive Welcome Dinner and Trip Orientation with your Tour Educator and Rabbi Koppell.


Overnight: NH Collection, Madrid


Friday, October 5, 2018

                   The Glory of Madrid

  • Breakfast at the hotel.

  • Begin the visit at the Prado and view the masterpieces of artists such as Velazquez, Goya, Bosch, Rubens, Titian, and other great European painters.  Right across from the Prado don’t miss the Green Wall.

  • Group Lunch at one of the many restaurants near the Plaza Mayor.

  • Visit the 17th century Plaza Mayor, the center of historic Madrid, sight of festivals and bullfights, but also the place where Jewish history marks the great trauma of the many auto-da-fe’s (public penance, followed by burning at the stake) that took place at this site.

  • Enjoy walking Madrid visiting:

    • Plaza de Espana, with an inspiring monument to poet, novelist, and playwright Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.

    • A short walk from the Plaza is the Royal Palace, the official residence of the King of Spain.

  • Time to prepare for Shabbat.

  • Kabbalat Shabbat with the Reform Jewish Community of Madrid, followed by Shabbat dinner with them.  (In case they are not meeting this week, arrangements would be made with Beth Yaacov or Bet El shuls for Kabbalat Shabbat and dinner.)


Overnight: NH Collection, Madrid


Shabbat (Saturday), October 6, 2018

                  Shabbat in Madrid

  • Breakfast at the hotel.

  • Optional visit to one of Madrid’s synagogues.

  • Explore Madrid on foot….

    • Stroll the main streets of Madrid’s oldest quarter, the original site of Madrid, called “Austrias,” with its small plazas and narrow streets.

    • Visit the Plaza de la Villa, home to the city hall and the 15th century Tower of Los Lujanes, the site of the original Arab shuk of Madrid.

  • Shabbat Lunch

  • Late Afternoon  Discussion—The Meaning of 1492 and the Relationship Between Christianity, Islam, and Judaism—Led by Rabbi Koppell and the Tour Educator.

  • Free time to rest, followed by Havdalah, and a free evening.


Overnight: NH Collection, Madrid


Sunday, October 7, 2018


  • Breakfast at the hotel.

  • Drive to Toledo.

  • Guided visit to the Old City of Toledo, and capture a sense of the glory that was built on a convergence of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.  Take in the Jewish Quarter, the Shmuel Halevi statue and the Shmuel Halevi Abulafia Synagogue, which was turned into a church, known as Nuestra Senora del Tranisito, the Sephardic Museum, and the Santa Maria La Blanca Church which was formerly the Grand Synagogue.

  • Group lunch at a local restaurant.

  • Visit the El Greco Museum, dedicated to the famous painter who influenced 17th century Toledo.

  • Enjoy the Grand Toledo Cathedral.

  • Group dinner together at a restaurant in Toledo, followed by a free evening.


Overnight: Fontecruz, Toledo

Monday, October 8, 2018

                         Seville’s Jewish Past

  • Breakfast at the hotel.

  • Drive to Seville and group lunch at one of Seville’s restaurants upon arrival.

  • Visit the Santa Cruz neighborhood, formerly Seville’s Jewish Quarter, once known as La Juderia, with its winding alleyways and remnants of Jewish life found within the contemporary city.  Jewish Heritage Walking Tour with Moises Hassan.

  • Tour the beautiful Alcazar Palace, followed by a visit to the Great Cathedral, the burial place of Christopher Columbus, and La Giralda, built in the 12th century, whose bell tower became a symbol of the city.  Your Tour Educator will share some thoughts about the role of Jews in the development of navigation cartography and astronomy.

  • Dinner on your own and free evening in Seville. Time permitting check out the views from Las Setas.

  • Evening stroll on the Triana Bridge.


Overnight: TRYP Sevilla Macarena


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

                             Cordoba: The Rambam’s Home Town

  • Breakfast at the hotel.

  • Drive to Cordoba, home town of Moses Maimonides (the Rambam) and the capital of the Moorish Kingdom of al-Andalus.

  • Group Lunch at a local restaurant.

  • Explore the Jewish Quarter inhabited by Jews since the year 840, including Plaza Tiberias and the Yehuda Halevi Square.  View the statue of Maimonides and visit the small Moorish-styled building known as the Maimonides Synagogue.

  • Special Program at Casa de Sefarad, dedicated to the history of the Sephardic Jews in Cordoba and Spain prior to the Inquisition and the expulsion of 1492. Meet with the people responsible for the creation of this private historical project in the Jewish Quarter.  Ask for some Ladino music.

  • Meet Rabbi Haim Casas, the first native born Spanish rabbi since 1492, sharing his vision for the Jews of Spain.  Enjoy dinner with him at Casa Mazal Cordoba for some traditional Sephardic Jewish cooking.


Overnight: Las Casas de la Juderia


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

                             Cordoba Through the Ages

  • Breakfast at the hotel.

  • Visit Cordoba’s famous Cathedral-Mosque and the Mezquita, dating from 785, with its 1,000 colored columns.

  • Lunch on your own at a local restaurant.

  • Stroll through the restored heart of Cordoba, one of the largest medieval quarters in Europe. 

  • Free afternoon to rest or explore Cordoba on your own, especially Cordoba’s famous craft scene—pottery, jewelry, leather goods, and embroidery works.  You might also catch some of Cordoba’s patios/courtyards, secret treasures tucked away that beckon the curious.

  • Group Dinner at a local restaurant and free evening.


Overnight: Cordoba


Thursday, October 11, 2018

                        Legends and Dancers

  • Breakfast at the hotel.

  • Depart Cordoba and drive to Granada, the last stronghold of the Moors before it fell to Isabella and Ferdinand in 1492.

  • Lunch on your own, en route.

  • Visit the Albaycn, the old Moorish neighborhood, with its narrow streets and beautiful white houses, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Guided visit to the Realejo, the former Jewish Quarter and the site of the original town bearing the name Garnata al-Yahud.  Don’t miss the statue of Samuel ben Yehudah ibn Tibbon, translator of the Kuzari and the Guide for the Perplexed.  Explore the streets and traditional neighborhood, which have no remains of the Jewish community but a host of legends.

  • Check into the hotel.

  • Attend a Flamenco performance.

  • Festive Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant.  (just a regular dinner if Barcelona is added to the itinerary, and in which case the Festive Farewell Dinner will be on the last night)


Overnight: AC Palacio de Santa Paula


Friday, October 12, 2018

                                    Enjoy Barcelona

  • Breakfast at the hotel.

  • Spend the entire morning touring the Alhambra Palace and Generalife Gardens.

  • Lunch en route.

  • Transfer to the airport for the flight to Barcelona for the Barcelona Add-On Adventure.

  • In Barcelona explore the Placa de Catalunya, the plaza which marks the beginning of the Passeig de Gracia, the most stylish street in Barcelona.

  • Guided Walk through the Gothic Quarter and then the ancient Jewish Quarter, with a synagogue that may date to the third century.

  • Time permitting drive by Antoni Gaudi’s extraordinary buildings, Casa Batllo and Casa Milo (UNESCO World Heritage Site), and take a look at Parc Guell located on Carmel Hill.

  • Shabbat Dinner and discussion with Rabbi Steve Berkowitz, the rabbi of the liberal community in Barcelona.  Possible meeting with members of their community.


Overnight: Avenida Palace, Barcelona


Shabbat (Saturday), October 13, 2018

                                                              Barcelona the Dream

  • Breakfast at the hotel.

  •  Begin at the Ramblas, Barcelona’s historic promenade. 

  • Just off the Ramblas encounter La Boqueria, Barcelona’s famous market, considered one of the best in the world. 

  • Continue with the assistance of your guide to take in two or three of these  special attractions:  1. Enjoy the Picasso Museum Experience, taking you to Picasso’s favorite haunts; 2. Guided visit of La Sagrada Familie, Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece, considered an awe-inspiring, unique place of worship; 3. Sailing experience aboard a Turkish Wooden Gulet for a unique voyage that shows you the spectacular sights along the Barcelona coastline.  4. Explore Barceloneta Beach, including a possible bike ride.

  • Processing Discussion and Festive Concluding Dinner.


Overnight: Avenida Palace, Barcelona


Sunday, October 14, 2018

                                                                   Returning to the U.S.

  • Breakfast at the hotel.

  • Transfer to the Barcelona Airport for the return to the U.S.