Journey in the land of the Ba’al Shem Tov, a Hasidic experience

2019: this year we hope to repeat the extraordinary experience with a Chassidic Journey through Poland, somewhere in the period 2nd half of june – 1st half of juli. Again led by our terrific team Wilma Menko, magid Shura Lipovsky and rabbi Hannah Nathans. No info available yet. Please subscribe to our Newsletter (right up on this page) to be  the first to receive the info when available!

2018: A photo impression of our in many senses wonderful journey in the land of the Ba’al Shem Tov:


We learned Hasidic niggunim while waiting for a new bus (this one broke down)

The rebbe of Zhytomir in his shul under construction (here lived rabbi Ze’ev Wolf of Zhytomir)

Cemetery of Berdichev where rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev is buried

Rural Ukraine

Shul of rabbi Israel Ba’al Shem Tov (reconstructed)


Learning, meditating and singing in the woods where the Besht used to go in his youth

Visiting JCC Chesed Besht in Chmelnitsky (serving 5000 Jews)

Learning in the bus during our 7 hour drive to Uman

Grave of rabbi Nachman of Bratslav in Uman, women side

Our terrific team, f.l.t.r Wilma Menko, Hannah Nathans en Shura Lipovsky, fortress of Kaminetz Podilsky in the background


Kaminetz Podilsky

This was the program:

We will travel through the land of the Ba’al Shem tov in the West-Ukraine. We will visit old shtetls where Hasidic rebbes lived and worked. There we will visit the material remnants of their existence: old synagogues, a mikveh, graveyards. We will enjoy the nature where some rebbes found their inspiration. We will walk in their trails literally and figuratively. Next to travelling through the physical land of the Ba’al Shem Tov and his followers we will also make an inner journey. We will learn about the spiritual legacy of the Hasidic rebbes, practice meditations in the spirit of their work, like they did with their students, and sing their old niggunim and Yiddish songs, in the places where they lived and worked, in nature and inside.


We will start in Kiev. We will visit Zhytomyr where rabbi Zev Wolf, a student of the Magid van Mezzeritch, led a yeshiva. In Berditchev  we will learn from and about rabbi Levi Yitzchak, the great defender of the Jewish people in the eyes of the Holy One. Berditchev has a graveyard with exceptional tombstones and a synagogue. In Medzhybizh, where the Ba’al Shem Tov lived and worked and where rabbi Nachman of Bratslav was born, we will visit the grave of the Ba’al Shem Tov and his synagogue. The Apter Rov’s synagogue is also interesting. At the beginning of the river where the Ba’al Shem Tov used to bathe is a mikveh. In Medzhybizh we will celebrate Shabbat with an extraordinary program. Kamenets Podilsky is situated near the birth place of the Ba’al Shem Tov, where he lived the first part of his life, spending much time in the woods. Rabbi Natan, the most important disciple of rabbi Nachman came from Nemirov. Rabbi Nahman worked and lived in Bratslav, and died in Uman. We will visit his grave. After visiting these places we will return to Kiev. More info

This journey is being organised by YVORY travel, in cooperation with rabbi Hannah Nathans, singer and magid/story teller Shura Lipovsky and Wilma Menko, and with PaRDeS.

Hannah Nathans did her rabbinic studies with Aleph Alliance for Jewish Renewal, a neo-hasidic movement, and teaches classes on Hasidism,  Jewish meditation, etc. She leads HaMakor Centre for Jewish Spirituality and is rabbi of the Open Jewish Congregation Klal Israel. More info.

Shura Lipovsky singer and magid/story teller, winner of the Dreaming in Yiddish Award 2017 studied the Hasidic/kabbalistic legacy since 1987. Based on this she developed her concept ‘The meditative voice’ and gives concerts and workshops worldwide. More info

Wilma Menko used to be coordinator of the program Jewish Pastoral Work and used to be member of the Education committee of the Liberal Jewish Congregation of Amsterdam. She has a practice as counselor in education.

There will be an introductory evening oktober 16, 7.30 pm in the Yehuda Ashkenasy library, De Nieuwe Poort, Claude Debussylaan 2, 1082 MD Amsterdam. This evening is for free.

The number of participants is limited: 15 participants minimum, 30 max.

Dates: April 24 – May 1  2018

Costs: the all in price from march 15 is 1719 euro including flight from Amsterdam. This includes: full board, double room, bus with translator, and program. Surcharge for single room 185 euro.

Info about content:

Info about organisation : Registration: inschrijfformulier Oekrainereis0001

Details of the journey are still conditional.