A Creative Mix of Off-the-Beaten-Path Sites, Culture, and History: A Focus on Germany and Holland
with expert Tour Educator Mike Hollander
Three Sundays: February 13, 20, 27 – 11:30 am-12:45 pm via Zoom
Please register online.
Mike was the much beloved Tour Educator for Mount Zion’s 2006 Israel Trip. He was born in Canada and made Aliyah to Modiin, Israel in 1988. Before making Aliyah, he completed his BA degree at York University, Toronto in History and began his MA degree in Middle Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University. He completed his MA from the Cambridge Center for Jewish-Christian Relations in 2008. Jewish education has always been Mike’s passion and he began to guide in 1994.
February 13: “Into the Heart of Ashkenaz ” – Jerusalem on the Rhine – The ShUM Cities – Speyer, Mainz and Worms. The majority of North American Jews define themselves as Ashkenazim, whose families came from Eastern Europe (today’s Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia). Although that is where many of our grandparents came from, emigrating to North America in the late-19th and early-20th Centuries, the term Ashkenaz doesn’t originally refer to that area. Rather, the ‘real’ Ashkenaz is the area along the Rhine River, and its epicenter was the league of these cities, famously known as the “ShUM Cities.” This was the center of Jewish life in Europe for centuries, despite waves of violence including the Crusades and the Black Death. Although there are very small Jewish communities in these cities today, this session will examine the incredible rise and fall of these communities from its apex almost a millennia ago.
February 20: The German Jewish Story in Frankfurt, Wurzburg, Nuremberg, Erfurt, and Dresden. Unfortunately, most Jewish travelers only manage to visit Berlin while in Germany. This session will examine some of the lesser-known Jewish communities that existed over the centuries in Germany, including those that had been important Jewish centers. We will meet the Rothschild Family as well as the Israeli national poet Yehuda Amichai, grapple with questions regarding the complex post-WWI legacies of Nuremberg and Dresden, as well as the viability of future Jewish communities in these cities.
February 27: Amsterdam – Most people know the tragic story of Anne Frank and her family’s hiding in the secret annex during the Shoah, but less about the relatively young Jewish community in Amsterdam. The religious tolerance of the Netherlands allowed entry to Sephardic refugees fleeing the Iberian Peninsula in the early 16th Century and Ashkenazim fleeing Eastern Europe in the 17th Century. The religious tolerance of the Netherlands allowed for an early integration of the Jewish community into the city’s life and helped contribute to the city’s Golden Age. This session will explore the successes of the 500-year history of this unique Sephardic and Ashkenazi community, as well as the tragic period of the Shoah, during which 80% of the Jewish residents were killed.