SOUTHERN EXPEDITION - SAVANNAH, GA & CHARLESTON, SC
Savannah, Georgia - Beaufort, South Carolina - Charleston, South Carolina
Join Kosher X as we explore the quaint beauty and history of America's "Old South". Enjoy real Southern hospitality while exploring historic Civil & Revolutionary War sites and 300 years of Southern Jewish history. Experience lecture series from prominent historians as we visit vibrant Savannah, stately Charleston and quaint Beaufort. Enjoy first class hotel accommodations and the finest Southern style kosher cooking.
Savannah enjoys a unique blend of history, Southern charm and unrivaled hospitality that makes it a jewel nestled along the South Atlantic coast. Called the "Hostess City of the South", Conde Nast Traveler named Savannah as one of the top 10 U.S. cities to visit. Savannah offers an enchanting stroll back in time and an invitation to uncover its hidden charms. Bits and pieces of Savannah's rich, colorful history adorn virtually every corner of the downtown area. The stately mansions and moss-draped oaks give the city a unique flavor found nowhere else in the world.
*The Savannah Historic District, a National Historic Landmark, is significant for its distinctive grid plan as well as its 18th and 19th century architecture. The district encompasses the original town plan laid out in 1733 by Gen. James E. Oglethorpe, founder of the British colony of Georgia. Today Savannah retains much of this plan based on divisions also called wards, squares, and "trustee lots.". Most of the original squares remain and are surrounded by fine examples of buildings in the Georgian, Greek Revival, and Gothic styles. Modern in its outlook, Georgia's oldest city retains its charm and grace with stately mansions, cobblestone streets, impeccably kept gardens, and tree-shaded avenues. More than 1,800 buildings have been restored in the 20 "squares," or parks, of the Savannah Historic District, which General Sherman said was too beautiful to burn. The restored Trustees' Garden site was established by General Oglethorpe; Lafayette was a guest at Owens-Thomas House; Telfair Mansion has an art museum. Ships glide past the Riverfront Esplanade, which features shops, restaurants, galleries, taverns, and museums housed in restored cotton warehouses.
Beaufort, South Carolina:
Graced with giant oaks, fragrant gardens, stately mansions and outdoor cafes, Beaufort resembles a fairy tale. Beaufort is a gateway to a rich Low Country mix of culture and ecology where sea turtles nest, statues attest to bravery past and present, and Gullah is spoken. The Spanish exploration in 1514 was the first occurrence of Europeans to this area. Since then, it has known Spanish conquistadors, French Huguenots, English privateers, treacherous pirates and bloody wars. Today, many beautiful reminders of the past remain. Tabby ruins are dotted throughout the area. Graceful plantation and "town" homes, beautifully restored, can be visited during your visit. An important reminder of the South's legacy is Penn Center, the first school for freed slaves, located on St. Helena Island. It is still an active center, serving the local island communities. Beaufort has most recently been occupied by film directors for the filming of movies such as the "Prince of Tides", written by local author, Pat Conroy. "The Generals Daughter", "Forest Gump" and "Daughters of the Dust", also filmed in this area, reflects the strong Gullah heritage that still survives.
Charleston, South Carolina:
Discover a place where the past is still present...where gas-lit lamps flicker in warm southern breezes and cobblestone streets pave the way to intriguing boutiques and history. Step into the genteel lifestyle of 18th and 19th century Charleston society. Sense the enchantment of secret gardens, hidden alleys, and picturesque cobblestone streets. Explore pirate history, civil war forts, ancient graveyards and some of America's oldest public buildings. Stroll through 330 years of fascinating history and rich culture.
Day 1 Sunday:
Arrive Savannah, transfer to hotel. Tour begins with dinner and orientation. Intro to Savannah lecture series.
Day 2 Monday:
Guided city tour of Savannah and its Jewish heritage from 1733 with visit to The Savannah History Museum before returning to hotel for lunch. This afternoon you will visit the third oldest synagogue in America including it museum and notable collectibles dating from the Colonial Period. Dinner, then evening lecture series
Day 3 Tuesday:
Morning visit to the Savannah Civil Rights Museum. Tour will focus on the relationship between the marches and the Jewish merchants during the 1960’s. Return to hotel for lunch. Depart for historic Beaufort South Carolina, guided walking tour of this historic scenic seaport town. Tour will include historic synagogue visit. Return to Savannah for Dinner, and lecture series Chai Y’all – Keeping Jewish identity alive in small southern towns and paralleling this with the popular plays “Driving Miss Daisy and “Last Night of Bally Hoo.
Day 4 Wednesday:
Day visit to charming Charleston, South Carolina with its beautiful Antebellum mansions and old Jewish community. Guided tour of historic district, synagogue, City Museum, City Market and walking tour along the battery. Return to Savannah, dinner. *Optional ghost walk and other popular night tours may be arranged and purchased through Kosher Expeditions.
Day 5 Thursday:
Guided tour of private homes and gardens of Savannah. Begin with a walking tour visiting some beautifully restored private homes and formal gardens. Lunch then afternoon costal tour of scenic marshland. Farewell dinner and lecture.
Day 6 Friday:
The Jewish South:
Today, most people don't think of Savannah, Ga., and Charleston, S.C., as major centers of the American-Jewish population. In earlier times, however, these cities were home to some of America's largest and most vibrant Jewish communities. A friendly rivalry has existed between Savannah and Charleston as to which is the older Jewish community. Savannah can date its origins as an organized Jewish settlement to 1733, its congregation to 1735. However, periodic losses of population led to lapses and revivals. Charleston can date its first Jew of record to 1695 and by 1800 Charleston (and its surrounding areas) had the largest Jewish population of any city in the United States, numbering about 2000. Today both communities are still strong and proud of their local history and heritage and all they have contributed. Join Kosher Expeditions as we explore this fascinating history as our guides and lecturers bring to life the region’s rich Jewish history and heritage!
Savannah’s Jewish Heritage: On July 11, 1733 a community of 42 Jews disembarked from the William and Sarah to become a part of the new colony of Savannah. Having left London, England, five months earlier, the brave band of mostly Portuguese Jews and two German Jewish families sought freedom and opportunity in the New World. The first communal act upon landing in Savannah was the initiation of divine services. Worship was facilitated by the fact that more than a "Minyan" was immediately available and a Torah Scroll was carried by the settlers to their new home in Georgia; soon after Congregation Mickve Israel was founded by these original settlers. In 1790 the congregation was granted a Charter from the state of Georgia, confirming the legal status of the third oldest Jewish congregation in the United States. Savannah Jews have been prominent in all aspects of the commercial, cultural and political life of the community. Mickve Israel remains today an active spiritual Jewish community. The Torah Scroll brought to Savannah in 1733, and other cherished possessions of the congregation, including letters from George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and several other presidents, are on display in Mickve Israel's Archives/Museum. The Gothic synagogue, which stands on Monterey Square, was dedicated in 1878. Today Savannah boasts a strong Jewish community and proud of their heritage as one of the oldest in the America’s.
South Carolina’s Jewish Heritage: Most of Carolina's first Jewish settlers traced their roots to Spain or Portugal. Expelled during the Inquisition at the end of the 15th century, the Sephardim dispersed around the globe and established themselves in capitals and port cities in northern Europe, the Mediterranean, and the West Indies. In 1749, Charleston's Jewish community chartered Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim – one of the first five Jewish congregations in America. Like her sister synagogues in New York, Newport, Savannah, and Philadelphia, Beth Elohim was Sephardi in ritual and practice. Charleston's congregation remained so for two generations after the Revolutionary War, though by then the majority of South Carolina Jews were Ashkenazi, hailing from central or Eastern Europe. By 1800 there were about 2,000 Jews in South Carolina (overwhelmingly Sephardic and settled in Charleston), which was more than in any other U.S. state at that time, and more than any other town, city, or place in North America. Charleston remained the unofficial capital of North American Jewry until about 1830 , when the increasing number of Ashkenazi German Jews emigrating to America largely settled in New Orleans, Richmond, Savannah, Baltimore, and the north-east, eventually surpassing the mostly Sephardic Jewish community in Charleston. Charleston Jews played prominent roles throughout the history of the community including both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Today Charleston boasts a strong Jewish community and like Savannah proud of their cities history and heritage and the contributions they have made to it.
Beaufort’s Jewish Heritage: Jews have resided in Beaufort since as far back as the 1760s. In the latter half of the 19th century, as the town’s population grew, Jews from the vicinity gathered to worship in various locations. By 1905, members of the Jewish community decided that their numbers justified construction of a synagogue and on a synagogue was built and on June 14, 1908 was dedicated. Beth Israel Congregation has been worshipping together in the same white clapboard building on Scotts Street ever since. The congregation celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2005. Cantor Sheldon Feinberg noted that "to keep any entity for this length of time, particularly a house of worship, demands a great deal of dedication on the part of the members." President Joann Schor stated that beyond celebrating the synagogue's centennial, their task was "figuring out how to keep going for another 100 years."
Custom group departures (minimum 18 or more participants) are available upon request. Please call us for details.
Historic city bus & walking tours: Explore these cities Historic Districts, shaded by spreading live oaks draped with beards of Spanish moss, makes the visitor feel almost as if time stands still. Meander down quaint alleys where steeples tower overhead. Feel the sea breeze as you follow famous footsteps. Encounter stately mansions and peek in hidden gardens. History comes to life as we explore major landmarks, architectural treasures, Civil War & Revolutionary history, pirate legends, and ghosts.
Jewish History: Explore the history of southern Jewry. Savannah and Charleston has one of the oldest Jewish communities in the south and in the nation dating back to the late 17th century. Explore its synagogues and museums rich in Jewish artifacts and history and partake in lecture series from local historians on the Jews of the south.
Home & Garden tours: Tour private historic homes as well as private courtyard gardens.
Revolutionary & Civil War Heritage: Explore various forts and museums of this era. Tours include interactive educational programs and demonstrations.
Lecture Series: Enjoy lectures from local historians and experts. Subjects may include: Jews of the South, Jews and the Confederacy, Jazz and the South, Revolutionary War and the Civil War, Pirates of the South, Literary writers of the South, and much more!
Custom group departures (minimum 18 or more participants) are available upon request. Please call us for details.
Beautiful deluxe hotels based in the Savannah Historic District for the duration of the tour.