Jewish Hallmarks of Belarus is a time machine Jewish Heritage tour to the world of the Pale of Settlement. You will be visiting Shtetls, Yeshivot, and speak about religion, history, culture, and Zionism. It is a unique experience. We hope you will be thrilled to discover the fascinating world of Belarus with our immersive 3-day tour.
Yulik Gurvitch started the business by offering tours only in Lithuania. Soon after that, he realized that Belarus culturally was part of Lithuania for many centuries. He offered enlarging tours geography. Soon after it, we have added tours to Belarus in combination with Lithuania.
We embark on our Jewish heritage trip to Belarus from Vilnius with our tour guide. We’ll visit many shtetls, learning the 700 hundred years history of Jewish life in this region and culture of Lithuanian Yeshivot.
Once we cross from Lithuania into Belarus, we’ll visit the famous yeshivas that existed here before the Holocaust. We start by visiting the small town of Radin(Radun). Here Chafetz Chayim, the well known Rabbi opened religious seminary Yeshiva. This religious school attracted students from all over Europe.Radin cemetery
We’ll visit the Jewish cemetery. The tombstone (matzevah) of Chafetz Chayim was carefully restored by the followers of his teachings. At the same plot, you will see the memorial to the local Jews murdered during WWII. It was built thanks to the donations by the descendants of the surviving families.
Our journey is followed by a short visit to Lida. A famous Rabbi Reines established his first modern yeshiva in Lida. There is a street in Israel named after Rabbi Reines.
In the afternoon, we’ll arrive in Grodno, home to the Old Grodno Castle. Lithuanian Grand Duke Vytautas built it around 1390-1400. Vytautas is a very prominent Lithuanian Duke. In Jewish history, he has a special place as well. He issued a“Permit of Residence” for Jews in a Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
Furthermore, we will walk in the old part of Grodno. We will see the remnants of the medieval castle and the streets of the former Jewish quarter of Grodno. The territory of the Ghetto, and the old Jewish cemetery, and finally, the fascinating Great Choral Synagogue of Grodno.
Looted during Nazi occupation,it was in a state of disrepair until recently,when It was renovated from outsideGrodno Choral Synagogue
Day 2. Grodno – Novogrudok – Mir – Minsk
On Day 2 of Jewish Hallmarks of Belarus, we continue to drive around the country. In the morning, we depart for Novogrudok, once the center of the Great Duchy of Lithuania. Here, Rabbi Yosef Yoizel Horowitz served as a Rosh Yeshiva of Novogrudok.
We learn the miraculous story of the escape of 233 ghetto prisoners to the partisans during world war two. We drive to Mir, home to a world-renowned yeshiva of Mir, established in 1815 that drew around five hundred students from all around the world and existed there for more than a century. You can still see the remains of the former yeshiva and three synagogues.
We’ll visit the old Jewish cemetery of Mir. There you will pay a last tribute to the Holocaust victims.
Visit the medieval Dukes’ Radziwiłł Castle of Mir. Recently, after the renovation, the number of visitors dramatically increased. Belarus cultural authorities declared that it is the most visited museum in Belarus nowadays.
Finally, after a long day, we will arrive in Minsk.
We start off the day with a visit to “Yama”. Minsk Jews perished in this location in Minsk during the Nazi occupation. Local community constructed the obelisk on the exact spot in honor of five thousand Jews. We’ll also visit Minsk Synagogue, the only one that survived the war. We’ll walk through the Old Town and the area of Minsk Ghetto.
In Part Three of our Jewish Hallmarks of Belarus, we cross the border from Belarus back to Lithuania.
On the way, we visit Volozhyn and the renowned yeshiva,located in this town. Rav Hayim Volozhiner, a disciple of the Vilna Gaon, established it in 1803. In the middle of the 19th century, a devastating fire swept through Volozhyn, but miraculously it did not touch the “mother of yeshivas”.
We conclude our Jewish Hallmarks of Belarus Tour in Vilnius.
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Destination Management Company JeruLita operates private tours and groups in cooperation with our partners. We will be glad to accommodate you in a private tour or will direct you to travel expert in your country who will register you to the groups we operate.