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The Hofburg Palace, Vienna

View of the fall colours from the River Cruise

Street in Vienna, the City of Mozart

Sheonbrunn Palace gardens

Shoenbrunn Palace gardens

Shoenbrunn Palace

Exhibit of the Medieval Jewish ghetto at the Jewish Museum of Vienna

Viennesse Chef preparing Apple Strudel

The City of Salzburg, with Hohensalzburg Fortress, the largest, fully-preserved fortress in central Europe.

Shabbat on the River Cruise


Kathy Taylor Hallick (R) and Rochelle Zimburg (L)


by Kathy Taylor-Hallick, Manager Luxury Corporate Cruises, tel: 204 771 7434, Toll Free: 877 338 3310. or by email at [email protected], Nov 5, 2015



[The following is a second in a series of three articles by Travel Agent Kathy Taylor-Hallick, the Manager of Luxury Corporate Cruises, about a Jewish Heritage trip she led to Budapest, Vienna and Prague on a cruise on the Danube River. To read her first article about Budapest and its Jewish history, click here. ]





As we left Budapest and its beautiful city lights in the evening, we were treated to our first River Cruise appetizing meal, complete with a choice of wine, beer or soft drinks and a lovely dessert. The food in general, on this elegant vessel, was consistently healthy, tasty and always pleasing to the eye.


After a restful sleep, we spent the next day relaxing as we leisurely cruised up the Danube River, admiring the gorgeous scenery on both of its banks.  Hungary was on our left, and Slovakia on our right, as these two countries share the Danube for a 58-mile stretch, with the border in the middle of the river.  The scenery unfolded before our eyes, and we feasted on the spectacular oranges, reds and yellows of the changing fall foliage. For those who enjoy photography, this aspect of the cruise is really a bonus. 


In the early evening, we arrived in Vienna, Austria’s capital, an imperial city, and a center of music that has inspired the creative genius of Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss (You may read about the Jewish roots of Strauss outlined in a recent article by Rhonda Spivak, that can be found here.



During the evening we were immersed in the ambiance of the City of Music, as we had the opportunity to visit one of Vienna’s famous concert halls, where we enjoyed listening to such tunes as Strauss's “The Blue Danube Waltz” played by members of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. The concert included familiar tunes from local opera singers and sets from elegant ballests. Everyone went to sleep that night humming the familiar melodies from the uplifting performance.



The next morning, after a hardy and healthy breakfast, we boarded the bus and began our tour of Vienna. During the morning, we walked the streets of what was the Jewish quarter of this city before the Holocaust, and we also saw where  Jews currently live in Vienna  in the Leopoldstadt neighborhoood. We saw plaques of where former synagogues, such as the Leopoldstadt Temple, were burned in the Nazi period during Kristallnacht in 1938. We also saw some


 Stolpersteins, small cobblestone-sized memorials for individual victims of the Holocaust.



 These memorial stones are placed where the person lived before their deportation and murder.


Our main stop in the morning was the Jewish Museum of Vienna, which celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2013. Since its opening it has become one of the most important Jewish Museums in Europe. The present-day Jewish Museum was opened in 1988 and moved to its current location at the Palais Eskeles in 1993, the former home of an Austrian Jewish banker.

Many permanent exhibitions are on display at the Jewish Museum, which explore the history and culture of the Jewish people of Vienna from the early days up to the Holocaust, when the community was decimated. Others explore the present day Jewish community of Vienna, now numbering 10,000 approximately. One powerful exhibition was a miniature 3D display depicting the medieval ghetto of  Jews of Vienna. Other exhibitions teach visitors about Jewish traditions, and how holidays and life milestones are celebrated. 


After visiting the Jewish museum, we strolled through the delightful pedestrian Kärntnerstrasse. When you go, make sure to take a break and enjoy a piece of decadent Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel in one of the classic Viennese coffee houses.


Once the center of the mighty Hapsburg Empire, Austria’s magical capital city of Vienna on the blue Danube is a showcase of gilded architecture. It is home to the lavish Hofburg Imperial Palace complex with its Vienna Boys’ Choir and dazzling Lipizzaner stallions; the neo-renaissance Vienna Opera House; and the St. Stephen’s Cathedral—plus, countless other sights.


In the afternoon we visited the Schloss Schonnburg Palace, one of the most beautiful Baroque castles in Europe. This castle is located in a vast landscaped park with fountains, the enormous Palm House, the Gloriette and a 200 year old zoo. The beauty of the landscaped designs is that they all remain symmetrical. This Palace, with its 1441 rooms, was once the summer residence of the Hapsburg Family, including Marie Antoinette’s mother, Marie Theresa. The Palace has also been designated as a cultural Unesco World Heritage Site. (To learn about some of the Jewish related history of the Shoenbrunn Palace, click here to Rhonda Spivak's article. 


Our tour ended by viewing the making of Austria’s well known “Apple Strudel' as a Viennese chef prepare this mouth-watering delicacy. We ended our day on a full tummy with memories of a spectacular Palace.


The evening we departed from Vienna was Erev Shabbat. Some of the passengers prepared a lovely Shabbat for anyone who wanted to participate and/or just attend. The crew were helpful as they baked some fresh Challah and made sure there was Kosher wine for the Shabbat blessings. It was a fitting way to end our tour of Vienna.


Our next few days took us to fascinating and interesting sites along the Danube. On one side we viewed such Austrian cities as Melk, Linz, & Passau, and we had the opportunity to divert from the shores of the Danube to visit the famous “Sound of Music” city of Salzburg. In Salzburg we had the opportunity to meet and hear vivid stories from a 96 year old Holocaust survivor at the one synagogue that now exists in Salzburg, where the Jewish community only numbers about 100 peo

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.