seminar spainSefarad, Then and Now Melton Travel Seminar
Location: Spain (6 days) and Israel (5 days)

Iberia served as the setting for one of the most remarkable chapters in Jewish history: that of Sefarad, embracing tragedy and great creative powers alike. The great poets, thinkers and statesmen of Sefarad help raise critical questions for us: when do Jews flourish? What ties do we have as a minority with the surrounding cultures? What happens when Jews are themselves a majority culture? The seminar explores these issues, both in southern Spain and in Israel.


  • This seminar, taking place in Spain (for 6 days) and in Israel (for 5 days), will be led b Haim Aronovitz, Director of Melton Travel Seminars. The seminar is open to adults who enjoy in-depth Jewish educational travel, including all Melton students and graduates.   

    For more information about this seminar, please click the tab headings in this section or the icon on mobile devices.

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  • Tour Includes

    • Accommodations: 10 nights
    • Meals: Breakfast and one additional meal daily
    • Educational Programming: All entrance fees and programs as per the Melton itinerary.

  • The "Sefarad: Then and Now" seminar begins in Madrid and ends in Jerusalem.

    DAY ONE: Monday

    2:00 p.m. Program begins at our Madrid hotel with introductions to the program and to each other

    Depart for the city center: Ground Zero!

    Explore Early Madrid and post-Expulsion Madrid

    Opening dinner and meeting with a member of the Madrid Jewish Community.

    Overnight: Madrid

    DAY TWO: Tuesday

    Depart for Toledo

    Toledo as a symbol of Jewish success

    Visit the Santa Maria la Blanca and El Transito synagogues


    What is a Jew?
    Meeting with a member of the Order of Maria Estrella

    Who was a Jew? Who is a Jew?
    Group discussion on way to Cordoba 

    A Truly Golden Age…
    Dinner with musical accompaniment at Casa Mazal, in the old Jewish Quarter (Juderia)

    Overnight: Cordoba

    DAY THREE: Wednesday

    Free until 10:00 a.m. to explore the Great Mosque - La Mesquita  -  on own

    Explore Cordoba's Juderia - birthplace of Maimonides

    Of History and Culture:
    Two study sessions at Casa Sefarad 

    Lunch and free time to explore

    Travel to Seville

    Seville: Sometime Capital of all of Spain  

    Introduction alongside Guadalquivir River 

    Expo and Identity: Visit Plaza de España

    Dinner on own and free evening (enjoy Seville's famed night entertainment, including Flamenco clubs)

    Overnight: Seville

    DAY FOUR: Thursday

    Seville, Scourge of Jews and Center of Imperial Power 
    Visit the Alcazar of Seville 
    Study session in Gardens of the Alcazar

    1391: The beginning of the end
    Explore the Santa Cruz neighborhood

    Go West? Go East? Futures Unknown 
    Visit the cathedral, including the tomb of Christopher Columbus

    Lunch break and free time in Santa Cruz


    Summary study session

    Travel to Granada via Lucena, "The Jewish City" (Time permitting)

    Brief Introduction and overview of Granada on arrival

    Dinner on own and free evening

    Overnight: Granada

    DAY FIVE: Friday

    "…A Tradition… that they are descendants of Judah and Benjamin"
    Study session

    Visit to the Alhambra, jewel in the crown; site of signing of the Edict of Expulsion  
    Study session in the Gardens of Alhambra 


    Drive to Madrid

    Prepare for Shabbat, including optional Kabbalat Shabbat services 
    Special Shabbat meal at the synagogue with members of the Kehilla and other guests.

    Overnight: Madrid

    DAY SIX:  Saturday

    Shabbat at leisure (no programming until late afternoon)

    Late afternoon
    Seudah Shlisheet (snacks) and study session at our hotel

    Closing Discussion


    Dinner on own and free time

    Overnight: Madrid

    DAY SEVEN: Sunday

    Depart for the airport 

    Flight to Israel
     (not part of land package and to be purchased individually; please book the morning El Al flight or the comparable Iberia flight, departing around 10-11 a.m.)

    Arrive at Ben Gurion Airport around 4:00 p.m. 

    Transfer to Tiberias 

    Dinner at hotel  

    Overnight: Tiberias

    DAY EIGHT: Monday

    The Great Eagle: Maimonides
    Go up to the Rambam's grave and study session

    An Unlikely Story: The Greatest Jew of Her Time
    Visit Casa Donna Gracia and study session


    Between Exile and Redemption
    Visit Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai's grave complex and study session

    Travel to Tsfat 

    Bringing about Tikkun after the Expulsion
    Study session overlooking the Old Cemetery

    Dinner at Ilan Roberg's family gourmet restaurant at Moshav Livnim

    Overnight: Tiberias

    DAY NINE: Tuesday

    Visit Kfar Kassem 
    Majority/Minority: How Does It Feel?

    Meet with a leading member of the Southern Islamic Movement 


    Visit Beit Hatefutsot 

    • The Golden Age of Spanish Jewry: An Examination of Contrasting Narratives
      Tour of sections of the exhibition 
    • The First Hebrew Language Revival
      Text Study

    Arrive in Jerusalem in time for group dinner 

    Overnight:  Jerusalem

    DAY TEN: Wednesday

    Between Jews and Others in Medieval Jewish Thought
    Study session with Dr. Zohar Raviv

    Enter the Old City Walls 

    Jerusalem of Sephardim: Inside the walls 
    (… following the Sephardi storyline over four hundred years)

    The Four Sephardic Synagogues and Their Story

    Lunch in the Jewish Quarter

    An Invitation to Piyut: The Songs of Spanish Jewry

    (with light refreshments at private home)

    At leisure 

    Overnight: Jerusalem

    DAY ELEVEN: Thursday

    In Search of Things Past: From Yemin Moshe to Nahlaot

    Lunch break in the market 

    A new Jewish Golden Age?
    Walk through the Rehavia neighborhood

    Between Jews and Jews and Between Jews and Others: Sefarad and Modern Israeli Society 
    A discussion with distinquished Israeli thinker

    Summary session

    Festive farewell dinner at Darna, a Berber restaurant

    Note: Itinerary subject to change. Museum visits and personal shopping time may be disrupted due to unforeseen circumstances or the many religious, state and local holidays observed in the destinations being visited.

  • Accommodations

    Details will be available soon.

    Note: We will do our best to assist you with extensions both before and after the seminar.

  • Flight Arrangements

    We will be pleased to assist you in any and all flight arrangements, including additional travel plans, through our partners at Gil Travel. Please contact Fred Bomze (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 215-568-6655 x 244) with your flight requests.

  • Need to Know

    • Group rates are per person based on double occupancy and a minimum of 15 fully paying participants per bus. Should the number of participants drop below the minimum listed above, we may adjust the cost of the trip to reflect the additional expense of operating the program.
    • Tour prices are per person in U.S. dollars. All hotel accommodations, motor coach transportation, special dinners, sightseeing, admissions, luggage handling and the services of local guides, drivers, and the tour guide/educator are included.
    • A non-refundable sum of $500 is required for registration. This sum will be put towards the overall cost of the seminar. If the seminar is cancelled, the registration fee will be refunded.
    • Hotel Accommodations: The tour price includes all hotel accommodations, in hotel rooms with private bathrooms. Our standard is to provide the best available hotels while considering value. Although the level of the accommodations may differ slightly from hotel to hotel, we are committed to your comfort. Two-bed rooms are reserved in most hotels. Triples are two-bed rooms with a rollaway cot where available and are not recommended when considering the comfort of those in the room. King-size beds are not available in most hotels; what is considered king-size usually consists of two single beds pushed together and made up separately, but with one headboard. Some two-bed rooms may have two twin - not full- or queen-size - beds.
    • Meals are included as indicated in the itinerary. All meals provided in Israel are kosher. In travel beyond Israel, group meals are kosher unless otherwise specified. Participants can order additional kosher meals at prices set by our local agents.
    • All trips are conducted by a Melton educator who remains with the group throughout the tour.
    • Gratuities Included: All gratuities for restaurant staff are included.
    • Baggage: The Travel Agent and/or Tour Operator, shall not be held responsible for any damage to or loss of luggage/personal items. All damage/loss must be reported at time of incident and documented in writing by local authorities for submission to the insurance company. With regard to airline baggage allowance, different carriers have different regulations for business and coach, please check with your individual carrier with regard to permitted number of pieces, weights and dimensions. The tour operator is not responsible for fees levied by any air carrier for the transport of personal belongings of any kind.
    • Porterage at hotels. Please note that room service is not included.

    Not Included

    • Flights and personal insurance are not included.
    • Transfers from / to the airport unless as part of an organized group travelling together.
    • Personal Expenses, including meals not mentioned above or drinks during meals, unless specified above, or room service.
    • Travel and health Insurance.

    Additional Information

    • Airline Security Measures: In the U.S., you must provide identification in the form of a passport at the time of airport check-in for travel to international destinations. Your passport name must match the name on your tour reservation and airline ticket or you may be denied boarding.
    • If you are traveling from an airport outside the jurisdiction of the U.S, you will need to determine what travel documentation and identification is required for that particular airport.
    • Due to heightened security regulations, certain items such as a metal nail file, pocketknife, cigarette lighter or tweezers, and some liquid, gel, or aerosol items may not be permitted in your carry-on luggage. Please call your airline prior to departure to obtain current information on non-permissible carry-on items and recommended airport check-in times. You may also wish to visit the Transportation Security Administration website at to obtain more information on acceptable identity documentation and prohibited luggage items.
    • Holidays and Museum Closures - Museum visits and personal shopping time may be disrupted due to unforeseen circumstances or the many religious, state and local holidays observed in the destinations being visited.
    • Photography During Tours: We will occasionally use photographs taken by fellow guests or your trip director for promotional purposes. If you prefer that your photo not be used in any marketing activities, please notify us at the start of your tour.
  • We strongly recommend that comprehensive health coverage and trip cancellation insurance be purchased.

    Gil Travel recommends RoamRight Travel Insurance. Consider travel protection for:

    • Trip Cancellation
    • Trip Interruption
    • Emergency Medical Expenses
    • Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation of Remains
    • Trip Delay
    • Baggage & Personal Effects
    • Baggage Delay and more…


    For more information on the available plans or to enroll, visit RoamRight Travel Insurance or contact RoamRight at 1-866-891-6614 and reference Gil Travel.

    Please Note: To be eligible for the waiver of pre-existing medical condition exclusion, the protection plan must be purchased within 21 days from the time you make your initial trip deposit, the entire non-refundable amount of the trip must be insured, and you must be medically able to travel at the time the premium is paid. However, the travel protection plan itself can be purchased any time prior to departure.

  • For more information, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..