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Jewish Heritage Tour and Roots Finding in Moldova

Jewish Heritage Tour and Roots Finding in Moldova

In 1903, Kishinev suffered the notorious “Kishinev Pogrom” when 49 Jewish people were killed or died of wounds and approximately 500 were injured. 
The Pogrom was probably the most significant event in Moldova’s Jewish history, foreshadowing further persecutions of its Jews that culminated in the Holocaust several decades later. However, the Pogrom was also a decisive turning point for the Jewish community, helping them to realize the need for a national independence and a Jewish state. News of this pogrom spread throughout the world and it also became the topic of Bialik’s famous poem “Al Hash’kita” (“On the Slaughter”). Before World War II there were 77 synagogues and about 70,000 Jews in Kishinev. 53,000 perished during the Holocaust. In the present time about 15,000 Jews and Jewish family members reside in Kishinev. NOTE! Moldova in its background used to be very Jewish with almost 45% Jewish population here. We had over 17 communes and in every settlement of our country we had Jews. In order to find your Jewish roots from Moldova, just let us know about areas you are interested in and we will tailor a program especially for you!

Day 1: Arrival Chisinau

On arrival to Chisinau your acquaintance with the capital of Moldova starts. First, you check-in at the local hotel and meet local guide who will take you for 4 hours city tour including:

•             Holocaust Jewish Memorial (Jerusalem Str. Chisinau),

•             Jewish Cemetery (Milano Str. Chisinau),

•             Chisinau Synagogue (Habad Liubavici Str. Chisinau),

•             Chisinau Jewish Pogrom 1903-1905 Memorial (Milano Str. Chisinau),

•             I.Manger Jewish Library (A. Diordita Str. Chisinau),

•             Jewish History Museum and Kishinev Jacobs Jewish Campus (KEDEM).

Lunch in the restaurant specialized in traditional Moldovan cuisine (optional) or on your preliminary request you may have lunch with Kosher Food. Accommodation in a 4* Hotel.

Day 2: Chisinau - Soroca

After breakfast, we start our trip to Soroca town, known for its sizable Roma minority. On arrival to Soroca we visit the fortress which is a unique monument of defensive architecture of Europe. After excursion we have lunch in a local restaurant. Then we’ll drive to the Roma’ district of Soroca famous by its “Posh” palaces. The highlights of the tour are visits to the local synagogue and cemetery. On your preliminary request we can even arrange a meeting with the local Jewish community leader. Accommodation in Soroca – 3* Hotel.

Day 3 – Soroca – Vadul lui Rascov – Balti - Chisinau

Today we will discover the biggest and most beautiful Jewish cemetery from the country, and maybe entire South-Eastern Europe. It is placed peacefully on the bank of the Nistru River and covers more than 2 hectares of land. Vadul Lui Rascov village has a rich history especially starting with the settlement of a big Jewish community coming from Poland and Russia. At the beginning of 19th century it was called a Jewish trade center, and the large Jewish community leaving here is proven also by the 6000 funeral stones that we can admire. Here we will also meet the ex-mayor of the village, have lunch in her house and learn about the today life and problems of the local community. Next, departure to Beltsy city, which is at present the biggest industrial and cultural center in the Northern part of Moldova. According to some sources, the first Jews appeared in this region of Moldova at the beginning of the 10th century. In 1580, the locality later named Beltsy was formed around a small Jewish tavern - korchma. During the second part of the 19th century, Jews made up more than 50% of the population in Beltsy and small surrounding settlements. Starting with 1989, the Beltsy Jewish community is the second biggest community after Kishinev as well as the regional center for 49 small towns and villages in the North of Moldova. Jewish population is 2,000 (plus about 600 from Beltsy periphery). Since 2000, the Beltsy community has a winning program with the Jewish Federation of Greensboro, NC that supports the main projects of the local Jewry. We shall visit the synagogue and the Association of the Jewish Organizations of Beltsy, the “Hesed Yakov” Welfare Center, and JCC that serve the local community. We will visit the local synagogue, the cemetery and speak to the local Jewish community. Return to Chisinau.

Day 4 – Chisinau – Dubasari – Tiraspol – Bender - Chisinau

Departure to Transnistria. First stop in Dubasari where we will meet the head of Jewish community. Together we will learn about the history of Holocaust in Transnistria and about modern life of Jewish community in the city of Dubasari. He will show us the Memorial and execution place of 18 thousands Jews, the jewish cemetry.  City tour of Tiraspol including a visit to the Jewish charity and culture center «Hesed». Meeting with the head of center and other members of Jewish community. Next we visit the Holocaust museum situated in the center, the synagogue and the monument for Holocaust victims in city of Bender. Return to Chisinau and same accommodation.

Day 5: free time and transfer to the airport.