EXPLORING YOUR JEWISH ROOTS
“I passed by the clans of storytellers the other day; I sought out the land of musicians.
I learned to play the lute, I strung my instrument with my right hand,
and I played. Perhaps as I take pleasure, it will ease the bitter of heart – so I sang a song.”
Isaac HaGorni, famous Jewish thirteenth-century troubadour from Aire-sur-l'Adour, Provence
During this expedition, we visit the Arba Kehilot (four holy communities) - Avignon, Carpentras, Cavaillon and L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and other famous villages in the area and learn about Jewish Provencal life in these places as well as non - Jewish Provencal art, literature and poetry. While enjoying the easy Provencal lifestyle, the expedition offers an introduction to the local cuisine, wines and cheeses all in the beautiful natural surroundings of the Provence Region.
For many centuries the Vaucluse region (Comtat Venaissin, Provence), had been a relative safe haven for Jews. Under the protection of the Avignon Popes, the Jewish community flourished. Jews in the Comtat spoke a Judeo-Provençal dialect and developed their own liturgy, known as Comtatdin. Jews were permitted to live in Avignon, Carpentras, Cavaillon, and L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, known at the time as the Arba Kehilot. These cities still contain vestiges of their old Jewish quarters.
Here Jewish culture thrived from the early Middle Ages. The Talmud was interpreted with uncommon skill, and Jews from all over Europe sought out Provençal scholars on matters of Jewish law. When Provence came under Catalonian rule in the 12th century, the literature, science, poetry, and philosophy of the Jews and non-Jews of Catalonia enriched the Jewish culture.
Lodging during most of the expedition will be spent in small exclusive 'Chambres d'hôtes' in Cheval Blanc. Chambres d'hôtes are typical French small lodging establishments that offer the comfort of a hotel combined with the intimacy of a private home. In addition to visiting important sites the expedition includes walking tours through beautiful natural settings. Smell the lavender and taste the renowned kosher local wines! On y va (Let's go)!
The program on Shabbat is appropriate for participants with any level of Shabbat observance. Please contact us with any questions.
The above itinerary is an sample program. If you are interested in a custom made Jewish heritage tour to the French Provence for your community, family or other group we can design a special itinerary for you. Contact us for more information.
Nekouda assemble with Jewish Provincial music