Jewish Heritage Expeditions

EXPLORING YOUR JEWISH ROOTS


Join the upcoming tour, May 22 - 28,  2017!

Walking in the Arba Kehilot "Four holy communities": Jewish life, tradition and cuisine in French Provence.

“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)!

Itinerary French Provence - highlights

Monday
  • Arrival at Marseille airport and transfer to Cheval Blanc
  • Optional light walking tour
  • Welcome dinner

Tuesday

  • Walking in the cedar forests and the lavender fields
  • Comtadin Jewish Museum
  • Visit to the villages of Bonnieux, Cavaillon and Roussillon
  • Study break 'Jewish Troubadours'
  • Visit to the Bonnieux Boulangerie Museum with an exclusive baguette baking workshop and local cheese tasting
  • Visit to the Chateau of Marquis de Sade

Wednesday

  • Truffle hunting and tasting
  • Study session about Christian-Jewish polemic
  • Visit to the villages of Pernesles Fontaines and Séguret
  • Visit to Carpentas
  • Wine tasting at the Beaumes de Venise village
  • ‘Santons' (Provencal figurines) workshop

Thursday

  • Nature walking tour
  • Study session 'Jewish music of the Provence'
  • Nougat workshop and tasting
  • Visit to Aurel, meet with the artists
  • Dinner at Cheval Blanc


Friday

  • Visit to the city of Orange
  • Wine tasting at Chateau Neuf du Pape
  • Tour of Avignon
  • Photo session at Pont d'Avignon
  • Study session about Crescas Caslari
  • Kabbalat Shabbat
  • Shabbat Dinner

Shabbat

  • Services at the Avignon Synagogue
  • Lunch with the local community
  • Study session about the Jewish Provincial translation industry of the Middle Ages
  • Learning and playing Pétanque
  • Classical music concert (after Shabbat)

The program on Shabbat is appropriate for participants with any level of Shabbat observance. Please contact us with any questions.

Sunday

  • Provencial market
  • Antique dealers in l’Isle sur la Sorgue
  • Study session 'FrenchTosafists
  • 'Luberon hills walking tour
  • Village of Gordes

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.


Price includes:

  • Six nights Deluxe room at four/ five-star hotel. Free WiFi.
  • Entrance fees for all activities listed in the itinerary (including most optional activities)
  • Comfortable air-conditioned touring coach
  • Kosher full board. Lunch will consist of sandwiches on some of the traveling days and on other days full sit down lunch meals. 
  • Professional, experienced English-speaking guide and expert local guides
  • Pre-trip study program


Nekouda assemble with Jewish Provincial music

Please send me the brochure with the full itinerary of the 'Arba Kehilot' tour to the French Provence