Tours

 

We are offering several walking tours and two bus tours (using handicap-accessible buses) during the week of the conference. The number of people on a tour is limited, as indicated, but we will maintain waiting lists.

Unlike most conference activities, tours are not restricted to conference participants. We expect that family members will want to take advantage of the tours while the conference participants are busy attending lectures and workshops. Registered conference participants may purchase a tour ticket for their own use and/or a tour ticket for one guest during their initial registration or by updating their registration form.

Tours will be held rain or shine, so pack an umbrella if you are planning to join a tour.

Signing Up for Tours

To sign up for the tours (and other optional fee-based events and items), you need to enter or return to the registration form as follows:

If you need help with the registration process, see the Registration Help page.



Touro Synagogue and Old Jewish Newport (Sunday)

Touro Synagogue

The Jewish community of colonial Newport, dating from 1658, was founded by Jews originally from Spain and Portugal. The growing Jewish community dedicated Touro Synagogue in 1763. In a happy coincidence they are celebrating their 250th anniversary as we hold our genealogy conference in Boston.

The bus tour to Newport, Rhode Island, will include visits to the recently renovated Loeb Visitors Center and the Touro Synagogue, a walking tour of colonial Jewish Newport, and a tour of the Colonial Jewish Burial Ground, opened especially for our group and not open to the general public.

Our tour will be led by David Kleiman, curator and archivist for the Loeb Visitors Center. He will be on the bus with us to give us background, especially from the viewpoint of the genealogist.

Date & Time Sunday, August 4
We will assemble at 11:15 am and return at by 5:30 pm, with time for dinner before the Opening Session.
Cost $60 per person, which includes the cost of the bus and all admissions. Please bring a brown bag lunch to eat on the bus during the 1.5-hour trip.
Dress Wear comfortable shoes and hats and dress appropriately for a modern Orthodox synagogue (the Touro is a functioning Orthodox congregation).
Conditions The 45-minute walking tour is a bit hilly and has cobblestones. For those who do not want to go on the walking tour, there is a café nearby.
Capacity We will take the first 49 to sign up but will maintain a waiting list. It is important to provide us with cellphone numbers and email addresses so we can get in touch with you.

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Walking Tour of Boston's Old South End (Monday)

Boston's South End

Boston's South End was home to an early Jewish community between the 1840s and the 1920s. Our conference hotel sits at the edge of this neighborhood.

Our tour leader, Robin Dexter, is a professional tour guide and Jewish native of Boston. She will lead a walking tour to some formerly Jewish and now historic sites and will discuss the history of the South End. Several of the early synagogue buildings still stand, though their use has changed.

The South End today is one of Boston's most beautiful residential neighborhoods and is home to the largest enclave of Victorian townhouses in the United States, as well as home to some of the most charming retail boutiques and food establishments in the city.

This tour will be repeated on Thursday (same specifications as below except for the day).

Date & Time Monday, August 5
We will assemble in the Park Plaza lobby at 3:30 pm and depart on foot. The tour will last about 1.5 hours.
Cost $20 per person
Dress Wear comfortable shoes and a hat.
Conditions The walk will be at an energetic pace and is not suitable for slow walkers or individuals with limited mobility needing assistance.
Capacity The tour is limited to 20 participants, but we will maintain a waiting list and try to plan additional tours if there is more interest.

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Excursion to Pucker Gallery (Monday)

The Pucker Gallery

This tour is open to those who attend the Film Festival's showing of Samuel Bak: Painter of Questions at the hotel on Monday afternoon from 2:00 to 3:15 pm.

After the film is over, the group will walk to the nearby Pucker Gallery on Newbury Street for a guided tour of Samuel Bak's work by Bernard Pucker, owner of the gallery.

This one-hour excursion and tour are free, but space is limited. Advance registration is required by writing to films@iajgs2013.org.

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Walking Tour of Boston's Old North End (Tuesday)

Boston's North End

Paul Revere House

Boston's Eastern European Jewish immigrants of over a century ago lived in Boston's North End—home of the Colonial and Revolutionary War founders, Boston's Irish immigrants, and the southern Italians with whom they shared these historic, scenic streets. Come walk in all their footsteps, and visit sites that tie Paul Revere, Harvard ministers, small synagogues, grand churches, and basketball courts to Boston's Jewish immigrant history. We will start at Boston's Holocaust Memorial and finish in Boston's historic North End.

We will get to and from the North End by a short ride on Boston's famous "T" (subway) using "Charlie Cards" provided by the conference.

Our tour leader is Prof. Ellen Smith, a leading authority on the history of Boston's Jewish community and co-author of The Jews of Boston.

Date & Time Tuesday, August 6
We will assemble in the Park Plaza lobby at 9:30 am. The tour will last about 3.5 hours. The group will travel by subway from the hotel to Government Center, where the walking part will begin.
Cost $35 per person
Dress Wear comfortable shoes and a hat.
Conditions This walk will include cobblestone streets and is not suitable for slow walkers or individuals with limited mobility needing assistance.
Capacity The tour is limited to 20 participants, but we will maintain a waiting list and try to plan additional tours if there is more interest.

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Walking Tour of Boston's Old West End (Wednesday)

Boston's West End

The Vilna Shul

Boston's Eastern European Jewish immigrants of over a century ago also lived in Boston's West End—a dense tenement district long-ago torn down. But wonderful, unexpected remnants of the West End Jewish experience do survive. Come explore the shared spaces and places that link Boston's Jewish immigrants to Revolutionary leaders, Boston's pre-Civil War Underground Railroad and the free black community, and the neighborhoods of Boston's renown Beacon Hill. We will start at Boston's Holocaust Memorial, and finish at Boston's beautiful Vilna Shul, one of the few surviving immigrant-era Jewish synagogues left in America.

We will get to and from the North End by a short ride on Boston's famous "T" (subway) using "Charlie Cards" provided by the conference.

Our tour leader is Prof. Ellen Smith, a leading authority on the history of Boston's Jewish community and co-author of The Jews of Boston.

Date & Time Wednesday, August 7
We will assemble in the Park Plaza lobby at 9:30 am. The tour will last about 3.5 hours. The group will travel by subway from the hotel to Government Center, where the walking part will begin.
Cost $35 per person
Dress Wear comfortable shoes and a hat.
Conditions This walk is hilly and is not suitable for slow walkers or individuals with limited mobility needing assistance.
Capacity The tour is limited to 20 participants, but we will maintain a waiting list and try to plan additional tours if there is more interest.

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Walking Tour of Boston's Old South End (Thursday)

This is a second offering of the tour on Monday. Click here for the details, which are the same as the Monday tour except for the date.


Yiddish Book Center, Amherst, MA (Friday)

Yiddish Book Center

What are those dark wooden buildings that resemble 17th centery Polish synagogues doing in an apple grove in bucolic western Massachusetts? They are the home of the Yiddish Book Center, founded by our keynote speaker Aaron Lansky. Lansky was instrumental in rescuing Yiddish books and literature, making possible the study of Yiddish language and literature in universities around the world.

Saving a million Yiddish books was just the beginning. The Center is now committed to advancing knowledge of the Jewish culture and riches of the books they have saved. After three decades, the Yiddish Book Center has emerged as one of the largest, liveliest, and most original Jewish organizations.

Date & Time Friday, August 9
We will assemble in the Park Plaza lobby at 8:45 am. The ride to Amherst takes about two hours. We will have a guided tour, lunch and time to browse at the Yiddish Book Center. We will return to the hotel by 4 pm.
Cost The cost is $70, including a delicious vegetarian boxed lunch from a local farm in Amherst that bakes its own bread, or $60 if you wish to bring your own lunch.
Capacity We will take the first 50 to sign up and maintain a waiting list if needed.

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