Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City - Ivon GorgonioIsraelitas: From secret Jews to Modern Community, Mexico

Dates: TBA
Prices are listed in US dollars.

Dating back to 16th-century Crypto-Jews, today’s Jewish community reflects a diverse population of Ashkenazi, Sephardi, and Levantine Jews. This tight-knit community is galvanized by a single and transcendent vision — to unite Jews from all sectors to build a strong and unified Jewish community. This seminar to Mexico City promises to delight and surprise the mind and senses, as together we explore its Mesoamerican roots and mystical past.  

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.
  • The August 2023 Melton tour to Mexico will be led by Sara Aroeste, PhD, a scholar and educator, art critic and curator, who has explored the world of the Jewish community of Mexico City for many years. 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

    This trip is currently sold out. If you would like to be added to the waiting list and/or notified when a new trip opens, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • Includes:

    • Accommodations: 4 nights
    • Meals: Breakfast every day, 3-group dinners, 2-group lunches
    • Educational Programming: All entrance fees and programs as per the Melton itinerary.


    • Shabbat at the Bet El Synagogue
    • Tour of Teotihuacan Pyramids
    • Visit to Centro Deportivo Israelita
    • Curated tour of Frida Kahlo Museum


    • JW Marriott Hotel, Polanco, Mexico City
    • Note: We will do our best to assist you with extensions both before and after the seminar.

     Not Included:

    • 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.

  • Israelitas: From Secret Jews to Modern Community
    (Itinerary subject to chage)

    Day 1 (Wednesday): Welcome to Mexico City 

    Why (Jewish) Mexico? Our introductory tour features the famed Hebraic University where we will learn from Dr. Daniel Feinstein, Dean of Jewish Studies, about Converso and other Jewish migrations to Mexico. Following this, we will walk down to the spectacular Shar Hashamaim Sephardic Synagogue, originally established as “The Fraternity” in 1924 by Ladino-speaking Sephardic Jews from Turkey, Greece and the Balkans, to meet with Rabbi Moises Chicurel who will reveal the many secrets of the magnificent sanctuary.

    For dinner and mariachis, we will head out to the historic Hacienda de los Morales restaurant, where we will have the opportunity to meet with members of the Mexican affiliate of the World Jewish Congress, Comité Central de la Comunidad Judía de México, for an overview of the community. The Hacienda dates to the mid-16th century, when in part of these lands, the first mulberry trees were planted for silkworm rearing.

    Day 2 (Thursday): Mexico City through a Jewish Lens

    Enjoy breakfast and study together before heading downtown to learn about Mexico City’s rich history. On the way, we will pass through the famed Paseo de la Reforma and view some iconic monuments such as Diana the Hunter and the Angel of Independence.

    Visit two of Mexico City’s most prominent synagogues and learn about the communities they serve: Mount Sinai Synagogue was built in 1918 by Jews arriving from the Middle East, while the Justo Sierra was formed in 1941 for Orthodox Jews coming from Poland, Russia, Hungary, Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Austria.

    Stroll through the Zócalo – Observe the beautiful and imposing Metropolitan Cathedral that dominates the vast expanse of Mexico City’s central square, one of Mexico’s most treasured architectural masterpieces and Latin America’s largest and oldest cathedral; The National Palace, housing the offices of the Mexican President; the Federal Treasury; the National Archives; and the Templo Mayor, thought to be on the exact spot where the Aztecs saw their symbolic eagle perching on a cactus with a snake in its beak, the symbol of Mexico today.

    Lunch at Café Tacuba - Founded in 1912, the restaurant is known for its authentic cuisine, aromas, and talavera ceramic dishes, along with its original decor and artwork.

    Walk to Mexico City’s premier opera house, the Palace of Fine Arts, built from 1904 to 1934 with a lapsed interruption caused by the Mexican Revolution. The architects, Adamo Boari and Federico Mariscal, constructed the palace which is famous for its extravagant Art Nouveau exterior.

    Visit to (CDIJUM) - Jewish Documentation and Research Center of Mexico to learn about a project designed to preserve the community’s Jewish history in a safe and public place. Built on a small area beside the existing 1930s Rodfe Sedek Synagogue in the resurgent Colonia Roma in Mexico City, the new building serves as the pathway to enter the old, which gains a new purpose functioning as a museum and a library of document.

    Dinner at leisure

    Day 3 (Friday): Where Past meets Present

    Teotihuacan Pyramids – A UNESCO World Heritage site, these majestic pyramids are seen as one of the most impressive archaeological sites in the world. The city is known today as the site of many of the most architecturally significant Mesoamerican pyramids built in the pre-Columbian Americas. Teotihuacan is anthropologically significant for its complex, multi-family residential compounds, the Avenue of the Dead, and the small portion of its vibrant murals that have been exceptionally well preserved.

    Enjoy a relaxed lunch in the beautiful gardens of Aguamiel restaurant.

    Visit the Coyoacán District as we make our way to the Frida Kahlo Museum - also known as the Blue House (La Casa Azul). The museum is a treasure trove of Kahlo’s artifacts and belongings, located in the charming Coyoacán neighborhood, once a village of cobblestone streets and pre-colonial architecture.

    Kabbalat Shabbat services at Bet El Synagogue and meet with members of Mexico City’s Ashkenazi community. Built in 1961, this Conservative synagogue was the culmination of the desire of a group of mostly first-generation families of Ashkenazi descent to maintain their Jewish identity by living their traditions in a more modern and dynamic way.

    Enjoy a catered Shabbat dinner with members of the local community.

    Return to the hotel

    Day 4 (Saturday): Shabbat of Endless Possibilities

    Optional: Shabbat services at Bet Itzjak

    Enjoy a guided walk in Chapultepec Park & Castle – Experience the oldest and largest urban park in Latin America and one of the oldest urban parks in the world. Containing nine museums, a zoo, an amusement park, and a variety of green recreational spaces located near popular commercial districts, the park is an invaluable ecological, cultural, social, and civic oasis for the city’s residents and visitors.

    Visit the National Museum of History in historic Chapultepec Castle; built on the highest spot in Chapultepec Park between 1785 and 1787, the building was originally designed as a resting home under the order of Viceroy Bernardo de Gálvez. Over time, the building has seen diverse uses: from housing the Military College, to the imperial residence for Maximilian I and Carlota, up to the presidential residence. It is also home to murals by Juan O’Gorman, José Clemente Orozco and by David Alfaro Siqueiros.

    Lunch at leisure

    Visit the famed Museo Nacional de Antropologia or National Museum of Anthropology, filled with significant archaeological and anthropological artifacts from Mexico's pre-Columbian heritage. Here is where you will find the Stone of the Sun (the Aztec calendar stone) and the Aztec Xochipilli Statue. The building contains exhibition halls surrounding a courtyard featuring a huge pond and a vast square concrete umbrella supported by a single slender pillar.


    • Option 1 - Meet at the hotel for an afternoon of curated art experiences beginning with the Tamayo Museum. Since its inauguration in 1981, the Tamayo Museum has presented the most significant modern and contemporary art of Mexico and abroad. With a dynamic program of temporary exhibitions, as well as a continuous commitment to activate and expand its collection, the museum offers a space for critical thinking where, through art, we can imagine new ways to respond to society’s challenges. The museum was designed by Teodoro González de León and Abraham Zabludovsky, who drew their inspiration from pre-Hispanic architecture.
    • Option 2 - Crossing the picturesque Paseo de la Reforma, often called the Champs-Elysées of Mexico City, we will proceed to the Modern Art Museum - housing one of the largest collections of Mexican art of the 20th century, comprising 3,000 paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings, and engravings. The Museum is committed to being a public space that offers its visitors an individual and transcendent experience.

    Final reflection session

    Farewell dinner at El Bajio restaurant

    Day 5 (Sunday): The Local Jewish Community

    CDI-Centro Deportivo Israelita – Visit the magnificent Jewish community and sports center serving 18,000-members of the Jewish community and where the most diverse social, recreational, cultural, and artistic activities are developed, within a framework of Jewish identity. Here, we will learn about this unique and extraordinary organization that succeeds in bringing the entire Jewish community together regardless of affiliation, observance, or political persuasion. Here, we will meet with members of the board of directors, and shlichim from the Jewish Agency, to learn more about the mission and vision of CDI, Centro Deportivo Israelita.

    Depart for Airport

  • Need to Know

    • Group rates are per person based on double occupancy and a minimum of 20 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 deposit of $500 per person is due upon registration. If the seminar is cancelled, the registration fee will be refunded. The final balance will be due by June 23, 2023.
    • All cancellations must be submitted in writing. Up to 61 days prior to departure: $500 per person deposit paid at registration is non-refundable. 60-31 prior to departure: 50% of the trip cost is non-refundable. 30 days or less prior to departure – no refunds.
    • 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.
    • All gratuities 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.
    • 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.

    We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance. Melton is not responsible for cancellation of this program for reasons beyond its control. Your comprehensive travel insurance should cover both "cancellation for any reason" and "COVID-related cancellation". This latter policy is being offered by a number of insurance companies. We refer you to a list published by Forbes magazine, showing those companies that offer this new policy.

    Please note that such policies may require registration for the policy within 14-21 days of your registration for the seminar.

    Gil Travel recommends RoamRight Travel Insurance.

    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. It must also be exactly as it appears on your passport. Please make sure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months after the date of your return home.
    • 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 U.S. Transportation Security Administration website at to obtain more information on acceptable identity documentation and prohibited luggage items.
  • For more information about this tour, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    T: 1–646–921–0747, Ext. 4