There are many reasons to travel to a faraway place for a vacation. One of those is to have the chance to experience something that you would otherwise miss. A visit to the Baltics with Deluxe Kosher Tours gives you such a chance in that you will have the chance to experience shtetl life.
While many have heard about life in these tight knit and largely Jewish neighborhoods, most people under the age of 70 have never had the chance to see one. Some hold to the belief that it was the Holocaust and other events of World War II that caused the destruction of most shtetls. Others believe that the ruin started much earlier.
Whatever the cause for the breakdown of these usually orthodox and highly socialized neighborhoods, the sad fact is that they typically are a thing of the past. Happily, some new similar communities are popping up in the United States, being formed by groups of Hasidic Jews.
Still, this type of community, once so common in Europe, still remains something most have only heard or read about. But when you visit the shtetl communities that still exist in Zhager and Yoneshik you will be given the rare opportunity to see these communities for yourself.
Of course, to many, the idea of a shtetl is synonymous with suffering as many such locations were formed out of necessity with Jews being forced out of the larger society. In some places, the shtetl was a sort of jail without a fence, and Jews who dwelled in them were forced to ask permission to move outside of their community.
Still, not all such communities were steeped in such angst and sadness. For many, shtetl life was one of happiness and inclusion. It meant supporting the others in the community and having common bonds. It meant holding fast to traditions that may have otherwise fell by the wayside and holding to the language and morals of their ancestors.
When you visit the shtetls included on the tour of Lithuania and Latvia, you will be able to see such a community in action. You will be able to share a meal with some of the residents and see ways, perhaps, in which some things have stayed the same in spite of the waves of change that have washed over these countries.
There are some experiences that should not be missed. This is one of them. In addition to seeing modern shtetls, you will also have the chance to learn about the many such peaceful neighborhoods that were dismantled during the Nazi reign and the residents relocated or killed. You will look back on one of the darkest moments in history and then be reminded of the strength and perseverance of a people who built their communities again.
The stops at the shtetls are just one small part of the tour to Lithuania and Latvia, but it is sure to be one of the parts of your trip that you will never forget and that you will want to share with others upon your return home.