Yulik Gurevitch is the founder of Jerulita. This is his story of our tour organization.
It all started in 1988, along with the winds of freedom and the premonition of independence in Lithuania. Jewish life was beginning to revive in Lithuania, which at the time was still Soviet. I decided to learn Hebrew, and then later on my wife and I visited Israel for the first time. It had a strong influence on us to study more and deepen our learning of Jewish history and culture.
In 1993, I was honoured to take part in the one-year “Senior Educators” program at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. This year in Israel made a real, lasting impact on my life. I left my previous occupation as a software engineer to pursue a career in tourism as a guide.
When I came back to Vilnius, I designed my first project, “Discover Lithuanian Jerusalem.” It’s been in operation for years now, guiding tourists into the highs and lows of Jewish history in Europe. Guests who join our tours are immersed in the region’s Judaic history and come away with a profound emotional connection. We also incorporate general sightseeing and visiting vibrant Jewish communities living today.
The Founding of JeruLita
From here, I started to run a one-person travel company, called “JeruLita,” later joined by my son Daniel. We have expanded our geography and today we do tours in all the countries around the Baltic Sea and beyond. We’ve improved the contents of our tours, incorporating history, culture, architecture, folklore, and the arts, including their Jewish components.
I enjoy art and music, especially classical arts and music. So I’ve incorporated Art and Music Tours so guests can include cultural appreciation on their tours of the Baltic Sea. We visit famous art museums and galleries, such as the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, Mauritshuis in the Hague, Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem, the Hermitage and Russian Museum in St.Petersburg, National Museum in Stockholm, Royal Castle in Warsaw and others.
We enjoy music in world-known opera houses and concert halls and take part in musical festivals, such as “Mariinski” in St.Petersburg, “Concertgebouw” in Amsterdam, “Sibelius Hall” in Helsinki, Frederik Chopin Festival in Warsaw, Savonlinna Opera Festival in Finland, and the Riga Opera Festival in Latvia. These tours include lectures on art history and music, and afterwards, our guests and guides love to discuss impressions and ideas.
Why do we do it?
I always appreciate when younger people join our tours, and I have the chance to share the general history and Jewish of the country, to broaden their horizons and share my knowledge, experience and ideas. I believe that qualified and emotional guidance can be as informative and illuminating as any formal education.
Occasionally, I lead non-Jewish people on one of our Jewish tours. This type of cultural exchange is extremely important to disperse old superstitions and also share the stories of their grandparents’ neighbors. Once, during a visit to Ponary Forest, I saw the eyes of my tour guests brim with tears – I realized then how important it is to share stories with everyone, it’s more than a job, it’s a calling.
I invite you to join our tours in this part of the world.
I guide in English, Hebrew, Lithuanian and Russian, and also speak Yiddish and Polish.
Our guides at Jerulita Travel lead tours to the Baltic States, Scandinavian countries, Netherlands, Poland, Belarus, St.Petersburg and Moscow. Contact us for heritage, historical, art or music tours.