August 3-11, 2020

Led by Professor Shalom Sabar and Dr. Kathy Aron-Beller

The beginnings of Provençal Jewry go back to antiquity when Jews settled in the first province conquered by Rome outside Italy. Unlike other Jews of Europe, the Jews of Provence maintained an original Jewish culture between the two major centers of Jewish life in the Middle Ages: Sepharad and Ashkenaz. While Provence was the birth place of Kabbalah, it also developed into an importance center of the Sephardi type of Jewish culture, combining Jewish studies, Hebrew language and Jewish philosophy with sciences and medicine. In Provence, different philosophies met and clashed, and caused a series of controversies which, on occasions, tore the Jewish communities apart. The Jews of Medieval Provence also excelled in the field of manuscript illumination, and influenced  the prestigious  schools in  the large centers in northern Spain. In later periods, following the French Expulsion edict of 1394, four communities of Provence continued to survive to the modern era, preserving old customs and traditions, and erecting some of the most attractive synagogues in France. The seminar will also examine the Provençal Jewry’s unique and complex relationship with the Papacy. 



Monday          Arrival in the Provençal town of Avignon, the capital of the Vaucluse and

Aug 3              the Côtes du Rhône.  It was once the seat of the popes and today a city of art

                        and culture with its rampart-ringed old town and medieval bridge.

                        Late afternoon orientation in the hotel

                        Kosher dinner                                                                                                           AVIGNON


Tuesday          Lecture: The Defining Characteristics of Provençal Jewry,  K.Aron-Beller

Aug 4              Lecture: The Image of the Jews and Judaism in French and German Art of the

                        Middle Ages,  S.Sabar

                        Tour  the Palais des Papes, built during the 14th century and today listed as a World heritage

                        site by UNESCO.

                        Visit the Archives for a special exhibition of old  manuscripts, books and documents.

                        Continue to Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, a compact medieval town built on the islands of five branches

                        of the Sorgue River to visit the Jewish Quarter.                                                   AVIGNON                                                                                                 

Wednesday     Lecture: Jewish Life in Medieval Provence, K. Aron-Beller

Aug 5              Lecture: Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts of Medieval Provence: Between Tradition  

                        and Innovation, S. Sabar

                        Travel to the charming town of Carpentras to visit the oldest synagogue in

                        France that is still in use.

                        Travel to Cavaillon where we visit its beautiful old synagogue and the Jewish Museum.                                                                                                                                                                             AVIGNON


Thursday        Lecture: The Beginning of Printing and Hebrew Printed Books of Provence

 Aug 6             and France, S.Sabar

                        Travel to Arles, made famous by painters Van Gogh and Gauguin.

                        Visit the Roman amphitheater, Les Arènes.

                        View the concrete easels of the “Van Gogh Trail”.

                        Continue to Aix-en-Provence, one of France’s most charming cities

                         to visit the 19th century synagogue which is now a Protestant church.          AVIGNON


Friday              Lecture: Sephardi Culture in Provence, K.Aron-Beller

Aug 7               Travel to Nîmes which has the greatest wealth of ancient buildings in France and

                         is known for its important textile industry.  Visit the synagogue.

                         Continue to Montpellier with its medieval streets and a mix of modern and

                         ancient  architecture.

                         Shabbat services followed by kosher dinner                                                    MONTPELLIER


Saturday         Shabbat services in the synagogue

Aug 8              Lecture: Mystics, Philosophers and Halakhists in Controversies, K.Aron-Beller

                        Kosher Shabbat lunch.                                                                                       MONTPELLIER


Sunday           Lecture: The End of Provençal Jewry or the Survival of the Popes’ Jews, K.Aron-Beller

Aug 9              Lecture: Unique Jewish Ritual Objects of Provence: The Hanukkah Lamp and the Chair of Elijah,

                        S. Sabar

                        Tour Montpellier with its historic center and beautiful stone arches. 

                        Visit the Jewish Quarter, medieval mikve and the Faculty of Medicine.

                        Afternoon visit of St. Guilhem Le Desert, one of the most picturesque villages in Languedoc.                                                                                                                                                                  MONTPELLIER


Monday           Lecture:The Last Phase of Jewish Art in Provence: Liturgical Manuscripts and Ketubbot,

Aug 10             S.Sabar                     

                         Travel to Narbonne to visit the Jewish Quarter. Continue to Béziers,

                          the wine capital of Lanquedoc, to tour the Jewish Quarter.   

                         Travel to Pézenas, situated on the River Peyne and well-known for its artisans.    

                          Visit the Jewish Quarter.                                                                         

                          Kosher farewell dinner                                                                                      MONTPELLIER


Tuesday            Transfer to the airport for departure.

Aug 11


                                            PROGRAM SUBJECT TO CHANGE



Prof. Shalom Sabar,   Depts of Jewish and Comparative Folklore and Art, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem               

Dr. Kathy Aron-Beller, Lecturer in Jewish History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and

                                      Tel Aviv University 



Price for land arrangements only:  Euro 2745 per person in a double room

                 ***EARLY REGISTRATION BY Sep 27, 2019:  Euro 2695 per person in a double room***

Single supplement: Euro 465

                 Price is based on minimum participants

Price for airfare from Israel: USD 529

                (Based on airfares in effect at time of publication and subject to change)

                 People joining us from abroad should meet us at the Marseille airport or in the hotel in Avignon.

Deposit:   Euro 650 with registration, of which Euro 350 is non-refundable.


Remainder of payment is to be paid by May 1, 2020   Please register promptly as our trips fill quickly.                                                         

Cancellation fees:   



                   Jan 15-Feb 29, 2020.…..…………............15%

                   Mar 1-Apr 30, 2020…... ……..........…......30%

                   May 1-June 30, 2020…..……..............…..60%

                   July 1, 2020-Departure.……..………...…100%               





2 rue Ferruce

Tel: +   Fax: +

4 stars, A/C, wifi, refrigerator in room



3 rue Clos Rene

Tel: +

4 stars, A/C, wifi, safe, hairdryer, outdoor

Swimming pool, fitness room, hammam


                HOTELS SUBJECT TO CHANGE                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Trip includes: 

  •   Lectures by Prof. Shalom Sabar and Dr. Kathy Aron-Beller                

  •   JHS tour escort                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

  •   Local English speaking tour guides                          

  •   8 nights accommodation in 4 star hotels with daily buffet breakfasts.

  •   Meals according to the itinerary                               

  •   Local transport by bus                                         

  •   Entrance fees according to itinerary


Not included in the price: 

  • Obligatory health and cancellation                      

   travel insurance                                                   

  • Tips (Euro 80)

  • Visa fees (if needed)       


Program subject to change:  All rights are reserved by Jewish Historical Seminars to make

staff substitutions if necessary and/or make changes to the program and conditions as

required by force majeure, including cancellation of the trip at any time due to drastic

changes in the situation. Participants are reminded that weather conditions cannot be

predicted and cancellations or changes to visits may be unavoidable.


Further information:       Contact Debbie Zuberi:  Tel: 972-54.2212503,  Fax: 972-2-5700005


                                          The trip is run in conjunction with Diesenhaus Jerusalem,                                      

                                          14 Rabbi Akiva St., P.O.Box 2726, Jerusalem, 9102602, Israel.