Golden Gate BridgeTrailblazers: San Francisco’s Surprising Jewish Past & Present

Dates: TBA

Prices are listed in US dollars.
This seminar opens with three pre-trip online learning sessions and continues in the Golden City of San Francisco. Together, we will explore Jewish history and identity in the Bay Area. Who were the Jewish pioneers who settled San Francisco in the 1850s, making it the capital of the Jewish American West, and American Jewry’s second city? How did these pioneering families shape the area? How did California shape them? What is their legacy today? Dr. Joellyn Zollman will provide the context for understanding the surprising Jewish past and present of this region, while local experts will guide us in the particular sites, sounds and tastes of San Francisco.
For the itinerary and other details, please see the tabs below. On a mobile device, use the menu icon (☰) to open other tabs.
Please read Melton's comprehensive health policy HERE.
  • "Trailblazers: San Francisco’s Surprising Jewish Past & Present", Melton’s tour in San Francisco, will be led by Dr. Joellyn Zollman, scholar and editor. Melton travel is open to adults of all ages.

    We are so pleased that you are interested in travelling with Melton! As you may know, Melton provides the educational content for its tours, but is not a travel agency. Gil Travel Agency (“Gil”) is the travel logistics provider for this tour and is responsible for the collection of all deposits and other fees. Because Melton does not collect any travel deposits or fees, it is not responsible for any financial loss associated with a cancellation of this seminar for reasons beyond Melton’s control, including COVID.

    We encourage you to read Gil’s Travel Protection Recommendation thoroughly, advising that you purchase comprehensive travel insurance that covers both “cancellation for any reason” and for “COVID-related” reasons. Even where your destination does not presently restrict travel due to COVID, we still recommend you purchase a policy with such coverage.

    Thank you for your understanding. We look forward to travelling and learning with you,
    The Melton Travel Team

    Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like to be notified when registration opens.

  • Includes

    • 5 nights' accommodation
    • Three pre-trip online learning sessions taught by Dr. Joellyn Zollman
    • All site entrance fees and program fees (as per itinerary)
    • Daily breakfast, 3 meals (as per itinerary)


    Omni San Francisco Hotel

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

    Does Not Include

    • Flights and personal insurance
    • Personal expenses, including meals or drinks not mentioned in the itinerary, unless specified

    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 Julian Banegas (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 215-568-6655, Ext. 377) with your flight requests.

  • Day 1 (Sunday)

    • Arrival to San Francisco
    • Gil Travel will gladly assist with individual transfers to the hotel
    • Check into hotel and relax
    • Enjoy a welcoming dinner at Monte’s

    Overnight: Omni San Francisco Hotel

    Day 2 (Monday)

    • Enjoy breakfast at the hotel accompanied by a learning session with scholar Joellyn Zollman.
    • Begin your visit with a coach tour of San Francisco led by certified city guide and Road Scholar, Marie Thomas McNaughton.
    • Enjoy lunch and free time in Crissy Field with its breathtaking view of the San Francisco Bay.
    • Afternoon visit to the magnificent and historic sanctuary of Congregation Sherith Israel with its stunning frescoes, exquisite craftsmanship, and beautiful stained-glass windows that invite us to further explore the pioneer spirit of the Jews of the West.
    • End the day with a walking tour of the nation’s first Japantown and learn about the Jewish community and three synagogues that once thrived there.
    • Dinner at leisure

    Overnight: Omni San Francisco Hotel

    Day 3 (Tuesday)

    • Enjoy breakfast at the hotel accompanied by a learning session with scholar Joellyn Zollman.
    • Experience Congregation Emanu-El, San Francisco architectural landmark and storied synagogue; learn about the beginnings of a divided Jewish community in the city that captured the imagination of the nation.
    • Lunch at Vix Cucina Italiana
    • Guided walking tour of Sutro Heights and Baths, created by self-made Jewish millionaire, Adolph Sutro and gifted to the city as an elegant and informal public garden to be enjoyed by all.
    • Visit the nearby chilling Holocaust Memorial, recently restored by the city to help raise  consciousness of antisemitism and racism.
    • Meeting and refreshments at the home of Rabbi Noa Kushner to learn about The Kitchen, an innovative and pioneering center for modern Jewish learning experiences.
    • Dinner on own

    Overnight: Omni San Francisco Hotel

    Day 4 (Wednesday)

    • Enjoy breakfast at the hotel accompanied by a learning session with scholar Joellyn Zollman.
    • Visit Haas Lilienthal House which beyond architecture, is an important piece of cultural history and a monument to the special role Jewish immigrants played in the early development of San Francisco and the American West. A special guest, local celebrity, and descendant of the Haas Lilienthal family will join us on this unique tour.
    • Lunch on own near Wise Sons Delicatessen for those who wish to sample the West Coast’s most desired bagel, est. 5771.
    • Visit the Contemporary Jewish Museum, whose mission is to make the diversity of the Jewish experience relevant for a 21st century audience. Originally housing an 1881 power station, the building has become an iconic edifice in San Francisco’s cityscape.
    • Dinner at leisure

    Overnight: Omni San Francisco Hotel

    Day 5 (Thursday)

    • Enjoy breakfast at the hotel accompanied by a learning session with scholar Joellyn Zollman.
    • Cross the iconic Bay Bridge to the University of California, Berkeley and visit the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, to discover the rich mosaic of cultures from around the world with guide Dr. Ava Kahn, author, and a former research associate at the Western History Research Center of the Judah L. Magnes Museum.
    • Lunch and free time to shop on Berkeley’s famed Telegraph Avenue, close to Boichik Bagels, where patrons line up for kosher New York-style bagels.
    • Visit Urban Adamah, an educational farm and community whose mission is to build a more loving, just, and sustainable world integrating Jewish tradition, mindfulness, sustainable agriculture, and social action.
    • Closing Dinner at Che Fico offering dishes from the Jewish Roman heritage known as Cucina Ebraica – meet with chef owner David Nayfeld, son of Belarusian religious refugees.

    Overnight: Omni San Francisco Hotel

    Day 6 (Friday)

    Enjoy breakfast at leisure in main hotel restaurant (included).

    Check out of hotel and transfer on own to airport.

    * Not all communal meals are kosher-certified, but fish and vegetarian options will always be available.

  • Need to Know

    • Group rates are per person based on double occupancy and a minimum of 15 fully paying participants. 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 canceled, 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.
    • Meals are included as indicated in the itinerary. Participants can order kosher meals at prices set by our local agents.
    • A Melton educator will be 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.
    • Please note that room service is not included.


    Not Included

    • Flights and personal insurance are not included.
    • Personal expenses, including meals not mentioned in the itinerary or drinks during meals, unless specified, or room service.
  • Please note that Gil Travel will obey all protocols/restrictions in place regarding COVID. In the event of a statewide travel ban, the hotels committed to a full refund. We strongly suggest purchasing travel insurance.

    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

    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.


    Additional Information

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

    T: 1–646–921–0747, Ext. 4