The JTS Study Tour of Spain
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Tour Highlights

  • In Barcelona, learn about the heart of Jewish life in Catalonia.
  • Walk in the footsteps of 12th-century Jews in Girona.
  • In Granada, follow the winding alleyways of Realejo, which was once the Jewish area of Ganata al-Yahud, and visit the world-renown Alhambra Palace.
  • Visit the present day Santa Cruz neighborhood in Seville, which was formerly known as La Juderia, the Jewish Quarter.
  • In Cordoba, visit the Jewish quarter and see bust of Maimonides and visit Casa se Sefarad, dedicated to the Jews of Spain prior to the Inquisition of 1492.
  • In Madrid, Kabbalat Shabbat services and a festive communal dinner will welcome in Shabbat and on Shabbat morning there will be a discussion led by leaders of Bet El Synagogue on contemporary Jewish life in Spain .
  • In Toledo, visit the Jewish Quarter and its Sephardic Museum.

Trip Includes

  • Flights as listed in the air section of this program (Taxes and fuel charges are included and subject to change by the airline).
  • 10 nights' accommodation (including breakfast) in 4-star superior hotels 
  • 8 days of touring in a luxury, air-conditioned bus + 2 days of walking tours (Shabbat) with local licensed, English speaking tour guides
  • Tour escort accompanying the group from arrival to departure
  • Land-only price includes the estimated cost of the domestic flight from Barcelona to Granada   
  • 1 group transfer and assistance to and from the airport
  • All site entrance fees and program fees as per itinerary
  • Meals: daily breakfast and 3 dinners
  • Portage at the airport and hotels


Join us for a truly unique learning experience that only Context can offer!

The inaugural Context Study Tour of Spain will explore sites of singular importance in Jewish history as well as the rich cultural heritage of Spain. The itinerary has been crafted to provide a deep understanding of the Spanish Jewish community during the medieval period.

The Context Study Tour of Spain will be guided by expert faculty trained at The Jewish Theological Seminary. A senior JTS representative, full-time study tour concierge, and licensed tour guides will ensure an educational experience of the highest quality.

The Study Tour is being led by Dr. Jonathan Ray. He is the Samuel Eig Associate Professor of Jewish Studies in the theology department at Georgetown University. Dr. Ray, who received a PhD in Jewish History from The Jewish Theological Seminary. He specializes in medieval and early modern Jewish history. His research explores the convivencia (coexistence) among Christian, Muslim, and Jewish societies in Iberia and throughout the broader Mediterranean world. He is the author of After Expulsion: 1492 and the Making of Sephardic Jewry and The Sephardic Frontier: The Reconquista and the Jewish Community in Medieval Iberia. Dr. Ray teaches for the Context program in the Baltimore-Washington area.

Day One: Thursday, May 15, 2014

  • Depart the U.S.A.

Overnight: Flight

Day Two: Friday, May 16, 2014

  • 7:15 a.m. Arrival at Barcelona International Airport for participants on American Airlines flight #66.  Transfer to the hotel.
  • 8:45 a.m. Arrival at Barcelona International Airport for participants on US Airways flight #742. Transfer to the hotel.
  • 9:05 a.m. Arrival at Barcelona International Airport for participants on Iberia Airlines flight #2370. Transfer to the hotel.
  • 9:40 a.m. Arrival at Barcelona International Airport for participants on Delta Airlines flight #476. Transfer to the hotel.
  • 12:00 p.m. Meet your scholar, guide and the other tour participants in the hotel lobby to begin the program.
  • Panoramic tour of the city, including:
    • Plaza Espana and the mountain of Montjuic, where the international Exhibition of 1929 was held and where the Olympic Ring (1992) is found
    • Passeig Maritim with the Columbus monument, the world-famous Las Ramblas, Passeig de Gracia, Barcelona's main avenue and its Modernist Houses designed by Antoni Gaudi.
    • Conclude with a visit to Gaudi's unfinished expiatory Church of the Sagrada Familia.
  • Check into the hotel.
  • Optional Kabbalat Shabbat services at a local synagogue.
  • Welcome dinner at a restaurant.

Overnight: Ofelias Hotel, Barcelona

Day Three: Saturday, May 17, 2014

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Optional Shabbat morning services at a local synagogue.
  • Depart the hotel for a walking tour of the Gothic Quarter. According to archaeological evidence there was a sizable Jewish community in Catalonia that existed from 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 Jewish Quarter.
  • Shabbat lunch at a restaurant.
  • Walk along the world-famous Las Ramblas, the wide central promenade, with all its wonders, stalls and artists.
  • Dinner on your own and evening at leisure. (Shabbat dinner at the hotel may be pre-ordered through Da'at.)

Overnight: Ofelias Hotel, Barcelona

Day Four: Sunday, May 18, 2014

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Depart the hotel for Girona.
  • Tour of Girona, one of the most important Jewish historical sites in Spain, that dates back to the 12th century, including a visit to the Jewish Quarter.
  • See Medieval Girona, which was famous for its Kabbalists. It was also the home of the great Sage Nachmanides, who defended the Jews of Spain in the 13th Century Disputation of Barcelona.
  • Visit Figueras, the home town of Salvador Dali. Visit the Teatre Museu Dali, where the best and most complete collection of works done by this genius artist are presented.
  • Return to Barcelona.
  • Dinner on your own and evening at leisure.

Overnight: Ofelias Hotel, Barcelona

Day Five: Monday, May 19, 2014 

  • Early breakfast at the hotel and check out.
  • Transfer to the airport for your flight to Granada.
  • 7:25 a.m. Depart on Vueling Airlines flight #5517.
  • 8:55 a.m. Arrive in Granada, the last stronghold of the Moors before it fell to Isabella and Ferdinand in 1492.
  • Visit the Albaycn: Old Moorish Neighborhood, with cozy narrow streets and white charming houses full of flavor and local color that has been declared cultural heritage by UNESCO.
  • Lunch on your own, en route.
  • Guided visit to the Realejo, the former Jewish Quarter and the site of the original name of the city Garnata al-Yahud.  Explore the meandering streets and traditional neighborhood with no physical remnants of the Jewish community but stories that abound.
  • Check into the hotel.
  • Dinner on your own and evening at leisure.

Overnight: Fontecruz, Granada

Day Six: Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Check out of the hotel.
  • The kaleidoscope that is Spain: tour of the Alhambra Palace and Generalife Gardens.
  • Lunch on your own, en route.
  • Depart Granada for Seville, shaped by both Renaissance and Arabic influences. Ancient texts place Jews in Seville at the time of the destruction of the first Temple (586 BCE).
  • Check into the hotel.
  • Dinner on your own and evening at leisure.

Overnight: Las Casas de la Juderia, Seville

Day Seven: Wednesday, May 21, 2014

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Visit the Alcazar Palace.
  • Visit to the Great Cathedral, the burial place of Christopher Columbus, and the La Giralda, built in the 12th century whose bell tower became the city's symbol.
  • Lunch on your own, en route.
  • 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.
  • Free time to explore Seville on your own.
  • Dinner on your own and evening at leisure.

Overnight: Las Casas de la Juderia, Seville

Day Eight: Thursday, May 22, 2014

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Check out of the hotel.
  • Drive to Cordoba, the capital of the Moorish kingdom of al-Andalus.
  • Visit Cordoba's famous Cathedral-Mosque with its 1,000 colored columns.
  • Visit the Jewish Quarter, including Plaza Tiberias and the Yehuda Halevi Square; continue to view the Statue of Maimonides and then visit the small Moorish-styled building known as the Maimonides Synagogue.
  • Lunch on your own, en route.
  • Visit to Casa de Sefarad, dedicated to the history of the Sephardic Jews living in Cordoba and Spain prior to the Inquisition and expulsion in 1492, and meet with the people responsible for the creation of this private historical venture in the Jewish Quarter.
  • Check into the hotel.
  • Late afternoon and evening at leisure.

Overnight: AC Cordoba, Cordoba

Day Nine: Friday, May 23, 2014

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Check out of the hotel.
  • Drive to Madrid.
  • Lunch on your own, en route.
  • 1:15 p.m. Visit one of the world's most renowned art museums, the Prado.
  • Walking tour in Madrid, including:
    • 3:00 p.m. Visit the Royal Palace.
    • Plaza Mayor to bear witness to the many auto de-fe's that took place.
  • Panoramic city tour of Madrid, including:
    • Puerta de Alcala, "Alcala Gate", a monument in the Plaza de la Independencia, "Independence Square".
    • Plaza Colon, known for its unique statues celebrating the voyages of Columbus, view the magnificent fountains of Poseidon and Cibeles.
  • Check into the hotel.
  • Kabbalat Shabbat services in Madrid will be hosted by the Bet El Synagogue, a Masorti congregation founded in 1991.
  • Festive Erev Shabbat meal with members of Bet El Synagogue at the synagogue.

Overnight: Exe Puerta Castilla, Madrid

Day Ten: Saturday, May 24, 2014

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • 10:00 a.m. Shabbat morning services at Bet El Synagogue.
  • 12:00 p.m. Shabbat lunch and dialogue with leaders of Bet El Synagogue.
  • Afternoon at leisure.
  • Return to the hotel.
  • Dinner on your own and evening at leisure. (Shabbat dinner at the hotel may be pre-ordered through Da'at.)

Overnight: Exe Puerta Castilla, Madrid

Day Eleven: Sunday, May 25, 2014

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Depart for Toledo, which remains much as it was in the 16th century.
  • Panoramic tour of the city.
  • Tour of the city, including the Jewish Quarter, the Samuel Halevi Abulafia Synagogue - which was turned into a church known as Nuestra Senora del Tranisito - the Sephardic Museum and the Santa Maria La Blanca Church (formerly the Grand Synagogue).
  • Lunch on your own, en route.
  • Time permitting: Visit the El Greco Museum, dedicated to the painter and the influence his work and personality had on early 17th century Toledo.
  • View the Grand Toledo Cathedral.
  • Return to Madrid.
  • Free time for last-minute packing, shopping or to relax.
  • Festive farewell dinner at a restaurant.

Overnight: Exe Puerta Castilla, Madrid

Day Twelve: Monday, May 26, 2014

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Check out of the hotel.
  • Transfers to Madrid International Airport as follows:
  • 6:00 a.m. transfer for participants on Lufthansa flight #1123, departing at 8:35 a.m., and for participants on US Airways flight #749, departing at 9:30 a.m.
  • 7:00 a.m. transfer for participants on American Airlines flight #95 departing at 10:25 a.m.
  • 8:00 a.m. transfer for participants on Delta Airliens flight #415 departing at 11:25 a.m.
  • 9:00 a.m. transfer for participants on US Airways flight #741 departing at 12:30 p.m., and participants on Finnair flight #5645 departing at 12:45 p.m.
  • 11:30 a.m. transfer for participants on Air Europa flight #1173 departing at 2:55 p.m.

  • Group rates are per person based on double occupancy and a minimum of 30 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.
  • Airport Taxes & Fuel Surcharges are estimated and subject to change at any time.
    Airport Taxes & Fuel Surcharges are not guaranteed unless the group air tickets have been issued. Group air tickets are issued approximately 35 days prior to departure. Group air tickets are only issued upon receipt of full payment from all of the trip participants.
  • Air and land packages are open for registration until Feb 01, 2014 (based on availability), thereafter the tour will be available for land-only services. Cancellation of group air reservations after Feb 01, 2014 (and before the group flight tickets are issued) will entail a penalty of $100 per ticket.
  • Note about Kashrut (Jewish dietary laws):  kosher food is unfortunately difficult to procure in most of Spain.  Therefore, meals on the Study Tour will not be hekhshered; however, all group meals will be vegetarian/fish.  No meat products or shellfish will be used in group meals.  If you have additional questions about kashrut or food on the Study Tour, please contact our Customer Service Center at 888-811-2812.

  • 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.
  • Expedition Director / Tour Educator or Guide: All trips are conducted by our tour educators or local guides who remain with the group throughout the tour.
  • Gratuities Included: All gratuities for restaurant staff are included.
  • Baggage: All tour packages / group tours allow one piece of luggage per person and one carry-on bag. Excess luggage will be subject to charge of up to $100 per piece. 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.


Not Included


  • Airfare to the tour departure point and from the tour ending point is not included. Airfare may be purchased from us for travel originating in the United States. Please see Flights tab in the right-side toolbar.
  • Personal Expenses: All personal expenses such as: laundry, valet service, cables, telephone calls and postage are not included.
  • Guide and Driver Gratuities:
    In keeping with normal standards in international tourism, we recommend the following for tipping:
    • 10-19 passengers: Guide $10, driver $5 - per participant per day
    • 20 passengers and more: Guide $8, driver $4 - per participant per day


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.
  • Air Services: Once issued, tickets are non-refundable. Airline schedules and flights are subject to change without notice. We will not be responsible for penalties incurred for tickets, international or domestic, not issued by us due to schedule and/or flight changes. Airlines reserve the right to demand immediate issuance of tickets whenever they determine that specific flights are heavily booked even when normal ticketing rules do not require tickets to be issued until a later date. In this instance, we will require immediate and full payment of the airfare and airport taxes and fees as itemized on the invoice. This situation overrides invoice terms and conditions and payment due dates. If full payment is not received, seats will be cancelled by the airline and may not be available to be rebooked on the same flights or at the same airfare. Any replacement air arrangements and airfare will be the sole responsibility of the passenger. We suggest you contact your travel agent or the carrier several weeks prior to departure for seat assignments. Passengers are responsible to reconfirm their flights 72 hours prior to departure for all flights. Package is based on discount fares for group travel. Group members deviating from group dates will be charged a $75 deviation fee per person.
  • 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 locally 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.


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