MOTHER OF ISRAEL TOUR WITH IONIAN ISLAND CRUISE
The presence of Jews in Greece goes back to ancient times. Our tour is a tale of three distinct communities: The Romaniotes , the Sephardim and the Ashkenazi . The Romaniotes constitute one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world today. They have survived the rise and fall of many empires and often flourished in their Greek homeland. During the 9th-12th centuries, many Central European Ashkenazi Jews who were scared by the Crusaders’ persecutions found refuge in Northern Greece, in Thessaloniki .
The Sephardim came to Greece in large numbers as a result of their expulsion from Spain during the late 15th and early 16th centuries, and were a major cultural and religious force, especially in the city of Thessaloniki, which at one time was even proclaimed by the poet Samuel Usques to be “The metropolis of Israel, the city of Justice, the mother of Israel, Ir veem beisrael -same as Jerusalem itself!
We will explore in depth the various cities with an historical Jewish presence combining touring with several lectures by leading experts in the field. Thessaloniki and Athens, as well as smaller cities such as Beria and Ioannina and the island of Corfu, all once had thriving Jewish communities. In addition, the cruise of the Ionian Islands on our small yacht will also give the opportunity to experience the natural beauty of Greece!
Arrival in Thessaloniki.
City tour of Thessaloniki, concentrating on the Jewish sites of interest. Then on to Beria to explore the community there.
Vergina and Ioannina, exploring the community there.
Begin Cruise of the Ionian Islands with private yacht. Igoumenitsa-Corfu.
The Ionian Islands are located in the Ionian Sea, off the west coast of Greece and are composed of Corfu, Cephalonia, Zakynthos, Lefkada, Ithaca, Paxos and Kithira. Each of the islands has a distinct character and are well known for their beautiful sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, charming villages and stunning scenic countryside.
Lefkada-Preveza-Athens By land
Athens. City tour, concentrating on the sites of Jewish interest.