Ruins of the Synagogue of El Transito (Sinagoga del Transito), a historic building in Toledo, Spain - by LouieLea, ShutterstockA Jewel in the Crown, a Spain Seminar

Dates: TBA

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? Join us for a deep exploration into major Judeo-Spanish communities including Toledo, Cordoba, Seville, Granada, Barcelona and more.
Please read Melton's comprehensive COVID-19 policy here.
  • Melton's Jewel in the Crown, Spain Seminar will be led by 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.

    We are so pleased that you are interested in travelling with Melton! As you may know, Melton provides the educational content for its seminars, but is not a travel agency. Gil Travel Agency (“Gil”) is the travel logistics provider for this seminar 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 email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. when registration opens for this seminar.

  • Tour Includes

    • Accommodations: 10 nights
    • Meals: All breakfasts plus six additional meals. (Please note that not all group meals will be kosher, but all will include vegetarian or fish options.)
    • Educational Programming: All entrance fees and programs as per the Melton itinerary.

    Hotels

    • Madrid: Catalonia Atocha
    • Cordoba: NH Amistad (Las Casas de la Judería is not available on the first night)
    • Seville: Casas de la Judería
    • Granada: NH Victoria
    • Barcelona: Avenida Palace

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


    Tour Does Not Include Flights

    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 One: Monday
    WELCOME TO MADRID
    , KILOMETER ZERO

    • 2:30 p.m. Meet Haim, your Melton educator, and other group members in a designated room.
    • Why Spain? Orientation to the seminar with Haim, followed by a walking tour in central Madrid: Kilometer Zero (Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, and Plaza de España)
    • Opening dinner and meeting with a member of the Madrid Jewish community.
    • Return to the hotel.

    Overnight: Madrid


    Day Two: Tuesday
    SEGOVIA AND AVILA: UNIQUE AND YET SYMBOLIC COMMUNITIES

    • Breakfast at the hotel.
    • Depart for Segovia, a microcosm of the story of Jews in Iberia from Roman times until the Expulsion.
    • Visit Corpus Christi church and get a glimpse into the lives and dilemmas of Rab Avraham Seneor and Don Yitzhak Abravanel before the Expulsion.
    • See the Jewish cemetery on the slopes opposite Segovia.
    • Lunch on own, at leisure.
    • Visit Avila, center of mysticism for Spanish Christians as well as for Jewish Kabbala, for a glimpse into the world of Moshe de Leon and his circle.
    • Return to Madrid.
    • Free evening (Dinner on own).

    Overnight: Madrid


    Day Three: Wednesday
    TOLEDO, THE "JERUSALEM OF SEFARAD" – SYMBOL OF CONQUEST AND CULTURE

    • Breakfast at the hotel and check out.
    • Depart for Toledo, the center of which remains much as it was in the 16th century, and begin with a panoramic overview of the city.
    • Explore the city, including the San Roman museum, the Jewish Quarter, the Samuel Halevi Abulafia Synagogue (later a church known as Nuestra Señora del Tránisito), and the Santa Maria La Blanca Church (formerly the Grand Synagogue).
    • Lunch on own.
    • Depart for Córdoba, the capital of the Moorish Kingdom of al-Andalus.
    • Check into our hotel.
    • Dinner at Casa Mazal.

    Overnight: Cordoba


    Day Four: Thursday
    CORDOBA – “MY HEART IS IN THE EAST…” - AND WE ARE HERE

    • Breakfast at the hotel.
    • Early morning self-guided visit to Córdoba’s famous Cathedral-Mosque, La Mezquita, with its 1,000 colored columns.
    • Study session on site.
    • Visit the Jewish Quarter, including Plaza Tiberias and the Yehuda Halevi Square. Continue to the small Moorish-styled building known as the Maimonides Synagogue.
    • Visit Casa de Sefarad, dedicated to the history of the Sephardic Jews in Córdoba and Spain prior to the Inquisition and the expulsion of 1492. Meet with the people responsible for the creation of this private historical venture in the Jewish Quarter. Study session in the courtyard.
    • Boxed lunch from Casa Mazal.
    • Depart for Medina Azahara and explore the ruins of the vast, fortified Moorish medieval palace city built by Abd-ar-Rahman III, learning also about Hasdai ibn Shaprut. Study session on site.
    • Return to the hotel and remainder of the afternoon at leisure.
    • Dinner and evening free.

    Overnight: Cordoba


    Day Five: Friday
    SEVILLE- POINTS OF DEPARTURE – FOR JEWS AND OTHERS

    • Breakfast at the hotel and check out.
    • Depart for Seville, a city shaped by many cultural influences. Some traditions place Jews in Seville from its earliest days.
    • Visit Plaza de España, an impressive plaza built for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929.
    • Tour the Alcazar, the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe and a superb example of mudéjar (The palace is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.) Study session in the palace gardens.
    • Lunch on own.
    • Visit the Santa Cruz neighborhood, formerly Seville's Jewish Quarter, once known as La Juderia, with its winding alleyways and remnants of Jewish life found within the contemporary city.
    • Visit the 12th century Great Cathedral, burial place of Christopher Columbus, and La Giralda, whose bell tower became the city's symbol.

    Check into the hotel.

    • Kabbalat Shabbat services together.
    • Shabbat dinner at a restaurant.

    Overnight: Seville


    Day Six: Shabbat
    SHABBAT IN SEVILLE | a day of rest

    • Breakfast at the hotel.
    • Free time to relax and explore Seville on own.
    • Late afternoon: study session, Se'udah Shlisheet and Havdallah.

    Overnight: Seville


    Day Seven: Sunday
    EXPLORING ANDALUSIA

    • Breakfast at the hotel and check out.
    • Depart Seville and drive to Lucena, a town that during the period of Muslim rule was known as “The Jewish city.” By the 12th century Lucena ("Eliossana") had become the cultural center of Andalusian Jewry.
    • Visit the Ancient Jewish quarter, the Jewish Cemetery, and the Church of San Mateo, on the site of what was once the ancient synagogue and subsequently a mosque.
    • Visit the Archaeological Museum of Lucena, which features the stories of some of the great rabbis of the Lucena Yeshiva, this "Pearl of Sefarad" in the 11th and 12th centuries.
    • Boxed lunch.
    • Depart for Granada, the last stronghold of the Moors before it fell to Isabella and Ferdinand in 1492.
    • Check into the hotel. Debriefing and then free evening.
    • Optional: Attend a flamenco show to get a feeling for this typical Andalusian art form. (Cost not included.)

    Overnight: Granada


    Day Eight: Monday
    ‘GRANADA OF THE JEWS’ THROUGH 1492

    • Breakfast at the hotel and check out.
    • Tour of the Alhambra Palace and Generalife Gardens, truly magnificent World Heritage sites and the best known Islamic complex in Spain. Study session on Shmuel HaNagid and his poetry.
    • Free time to explore the Realejo, the former Jewish Quarter and the site of the original town bearing the name Garnata al-Yahud. (Lunch on your own, en route.)
    • Meet for our closing session on the Andalusian Jewish story.
    • Transfer to Granada airport for flight to Barcelona. Flight departure: 5:50 p.m.
    • 8:40 p.m. Arrive in Barcelona and check into the hotel.

    Overnight: Barcelona


    Day Nine: Tuesday
    BARCELONA, 2000 YEARS BACK... AND REVIVING, AFTER 500 YEARS…

    • Breakfast at the hotel.
    • Panoramic tour of the city, including Montjuic, site of the ancient Jewish cemetery of the city (hence its name, "Mountain of the Jews"), and now a recognized heritage site. (Montjuic also is the location of the Olympic Ring, the main stadium of the 1992 Summer Olympics.)
    • Pass through Plaza España and Passeig Maritim with its Columbus monument, the world-famous Las Ramblas, Passeig de Gracia, Barcelona’s main avenue and its Modernist houses designed by Antoni Gaudí, and complete the backdrop to our Jewish story at The City History Museum of Barcelona, covering the story of this astounding city from Roman times on.
    • Lunch on own at the Boqueria Market
    • Continue with a tour of the Call, the Jewish Quarter, and visit to the Medieval Synagogue.
    • We will then walk through the Gothic Quarter. According to archaeological evidence, there was a sizable Jewish community in Catalonia as early as the beginning of the Common Era. For centuries thereafter, the Jews of Barcelona managed their own local affairs and lived relatively well in their own Quarter.
    • Before our day is over, we will devote a session to Nachmanides, whose 1263 Barcelona Disputation with the Church is a fascinating – and well-documented - episode in the community's history, and to Rashba (Shlomo ben Adret), who led this community for the next fifty years, after his teacher left for the land of Israel.
    • Dinner on your own or together and evening at leisure.

    Overnight: Barcelona


    Day Ten: Wednesday
    JEWISH LIFE, AGAINST ALL ODDS, IN GIRONA & BESALU

    • Breakfast at the hotel.
    • Depart the hotel for Girona, one of the most important Jewish historical sites in Spain.
    • Tour medieval Girona which was famous for its Kabbalists. It was also the home of the great sage Nachmanides, about whom we learned yesterday. Visit the Jewish Quarter, which dates back to the 12th century, and its small museum.
    • Lunch on own.
    • Stop at Besalu, a picturesque medieval town that features one of the best preserved Mikvaot (ritual baths) in all of Europe.
    • Return to Barcelona and stop alongside Gaudi’s unfinished Church of the Sagrada Familia, monument to the human spirit.
    • Farewell dinner together: Sefarad Then and Now - Final Thoughts and Feelings.

    Overnight: Barcelona


    Day Eleven: Thursday
    SEFARAD, THEN AND NOW: FINAL THOUGHTS & FEELINGS

    • Breakfast at the hotel and check out.For those departing early, a packed breakfast will be arranged.
    • For those departing later: Morning tour in central Barcelona focusing on Gaudi’s impact on the city center.
    • Transfer on own to Barcelona International Airport according to individual flight schedules.

    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 locally observed in the destinations being visited.

  • Need to Know

    • Melton has offered quality educational travel opportunities for over 25 years, but it is not a travel agency and does not handle any payments made towards the seminar. We have contracted this seminar to Gil Travel  and it is essential that you read their Terms and Conditions prior to your actual registration.
    • Melton is not responsible for cancellation of this program for reasons beyond its control and your 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 (see Insurance, Health & Safety, on this page).

    Please Note

    CANCELLATIONS

    Please refer to the Cancellation policy that appears in the Terms and Conditions of the Registration process with Gil Travel.

    The Gil Travel Cancellation policy states, in part:

    On registration, a non-returnable fee of $500 is required. This will be applied to the overall seminar cost.

    By 90 days prior to the opening of the seminar, the remaining amount should be paid.

    • If an individual cancels more than 90 days prior to the seminar, s/he will forfeit the registration fee only.
    • After that (90 days or less) no refunds will be issued.
    • If the seminar is cancelled by Melton up to 91 days prior to the seminar, the individual will be reimbursed in full.
    • If the seminar is cancelled due to COVID and according to the relevant governmental decisions up to 91 days prior to the seminar, the individual will be reimbursed in full. Every attempt will be made to determine the viability of a seminar at least 91 days prior to its opening date.
    • If the seminar is cancelled due to COVID less than 91 days prior to opening, the monies paid (that is, the full price) will be held for when the seminar is run in the future.

    Please note that all reimbursements on payments made by credit card will carry a 3% processing fee. All notifications of cancellation must be submitted in writing.


    Additional Information

    • Group rates are per person based on double occupancy and a minimum of 20 full paying participants per bus. Should the number of participants drop below the minimum listed above, we will 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.
    • Hotel Accommodations: The tour price includes all hotel accommodations, in hotel rooms with private baths. 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 specified in the itinerary. In travel beyond Israel, not all communal meals are kosher certified, but fish- and vegetarian options will always be available and kashrut and other dietary requirements of group members will be taken into account. Participants can order additional kosher meals at prices set by our local agents.
    • All seminars are led by a Melton educator who remains with the group throughout the tour.
    • Gratuities: All gratuities for the educators, guides, drivers, and 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 the 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.
    • Holidays and Museum Closures - Museum visits and personal shopping time may be disrupted due to unforeseen circumstances or 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.

    Not Included

    • Airfare to the tour departure point and from the tour ending point is not included.
    • Personal Transfers from / to the airport.
    • Personal Expenses: All personal expenses such as: laundry, valet service, cables, telephone calls and postage are not included.
  • 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 tsa.gov to obtain more information on acceptable identity documentation and prohibited luggage items.
  • 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