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    EEl Barrio de Las Letras (Literature District) in Madrid, a literature and art hub that was home to the great spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quijote.

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    The Sephardi Museum, located in the El Tránsito Synagogue, is evidence of the rich heritage of the Jewish civilization in Spain.

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    Oso (Bear) nuzzling a Madrono (Strawberry tree) in Plaza de la Puerta del Sol (Gate of the Sun), Madrid’s most famous and most central square. The bear and tree are the official symbol of Madrid.

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    Authentic Spanish cuisine in Madrid.

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    Santa María la Blanca is a museum and former synagogue in Toledo, Spain. It is disputably considered the oldest synagogue building in Europe still standing.

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    The Westin Palace Madrid, our Expedition home in Spain.

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    Plaza Mayor, a main plaza in Madrid, is very popular with tourists. Built in the early 17th Century, the Plaza played host throughout history to a variety of events including bullfights, soccer matches and executions during the Spanish Inquisition.

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    Museum of San Fernando

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    Museum of San Fernando

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    Museum of San Fernando

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    Old Synagouge Segovia

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    Old town Segovia and its rich Jewish history as seen in the old and new Jewish quarters. Other sites include an ancient Roman aqueduct, and a medieval castle.

Join the ATS on our Expedition to Spain and Israel from May 26 – June 7, 2013.

In Spain we will explore the rich cultural history of Sephardic Jewry and the imprint that one of the largest Jewish populations in Europe left over 500 years ago on many aspects of Spanish society today. For centuries, the Jews of Madrid and Toledo were well-respected intellectuals, physicians, poets and philosophers. Scholars have even called Medieval Spain a second Jerusalem! But Jewish life came to an end in 1492 during the Inquisition, when Jews were forced to convert or flee Spain to escape persecution. Only during the mid-20th century did Jews begin to return to Madrid and establish what is today one of the two largest Jewish communities in Spain. Madrid was the site of the 1991 peace talks between Israel, Jordan, Syria and the Palestinians. Toledo, known as the “city of three cultures,” was recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site as a former capital of the Spanish Empire and center of coexistence of Christian, Muslim and Jewish cultures. Throughout our time in Spain, we will be accompanied by our very own scholar-in-residence, Jonathan Ray.

To read a Q&A session with our scholar-in-residence for the Spain portion of the Expedition, please click here.

During the Spain portion of the Expedition, we will also be joined by the Technion's Dr. Lena Lavie. Dr. Lavie is the Head of the Lloyd Rigler Sleep Apnea Research Laboratory in the Technion Ruth and Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine. A senior research fellow and associate professor, she specializes in biochemistry and cellular biology with a special emphasis on oxidative stress and inflammation. Dr. Lavie works closely with her husband, Technion President Peretz Lavie, on her sleep research.

To read a press release regarding Dr. Lavie's recent research, please click here.

In Madrid we will experience:

  • A behind-the-scenes tour of the museums comprising the “Golden Triangle of Art”– The Prado Museum, The Reina Sofia Museum and the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum.
  • The Royal Palace – Palacio Real.
  • The Beth Yaacov Synagogue, one of Madrid's splendid synagogues.
  • Meetings with the leaders of Madrid’s Jewish community as well as with representatives from Casa Safarad-Israel.
  • Meetings with the Israeli Ambassador and the United States Ambassador to Spain (to be confirmed).
  • Gala event at the Museum of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, with a private flamenco show.
  • Time on own to enjoy Madrid to shop, stroll and discover the squares, stately architecture and superb museums.

In Toledo, learn why this once royal capital of Spain was the heart of Jewish learning and literature in medieval times:

  • Plaza de la Juderia, Santa Maria La Blanca, the oldest synagogue in Toledo dating to the 12th century, and El Transito Synagogue, built in 1357 and said to be the most beautiful Jewish building to survive the medieval era.
  • Dinner with Sephardic music at the Parador of Toledo, which boasts magnificent views of the city where El Greco is said to have painted A View of Toledo.
  • If you choose to begin your expedition in Spain, you will depart the U.S. on May 26 and spend four nights at the five-star Westin Palace Madrid. 

In Segovia, designated a World Heritage site, we'll explore its rich medieval history.

  • See the medieval Jewish Quarter.
  • View the largest, best preserved Roman aqueduct in the world.
  • Visit the turreted Alcazar (castle), where many historical milestones took place.
  • Enjoy a delicious Sephardic-style lunch.

To download the full Spain itinerary, please click here.

Click here view to photos of these sites on the ATS Expedition Pinterest board.

The ATS Expedition will then continue to Israel, arriving in Haifa on Friday, May 31, to connect with the vibrant life of the Technion campus. Participants will have the opportunity to explore the energy and ingenuity of the university, home to three of Israel’s Nobel scientists!  We will meet with the brilliant students and faculty and participate in hands-on experiments in state-of-the-art laboratories. Together, we will have a firsthand look at Technion excellence in action and learn how we can help advance innovation for Israel and the world! On Saturday, June 1, you’ll have the choice to enjoy the serenity of Shabbat by lounging at the hotel pool or participating in one of our educational and enjoyable touring options.

From Haifa, we will travel to Tel Aviv on June 4, driving through Israel’s “Silicon Wadi,” to visit the centers of science, industry and entrepreneurship, where Technion alumni and researchers have created high-tech enterprises that make life healthier, our environment more sustainable and Israel more secure. We’ll see the Technion’s role in making Israel the “Start-up Nation.” Top government officials will brief us on a full range of political and social issues facing Israel today and we’ll enjoy some of the Tel Aviv area’s many cultural institutions.

To download the full Israel itinerary, please click here.

To join the ATS Facebook event page and stay up-to-date on Expedition related information, please click here.

Our Expedition has the added benefit of connecting like-minded people who share a passion for Israel and the Technion on this unique educational journey. Inevitably, lifelong friendships will be cultivated, along with an enduring passion for Israel and the Technion.

We hope you will join our extraordinary Expedition.

Trip Options and Logistics:

You may also choose to begin your journey in Israel, and depart the U.S. on May 30 to join the Expedition group in Haifa. There will be options available for those who choose to be more active. Please contact the ATS Programs Department at 212.407.6300 for more details.

The diverse appeal of this Expedition will attract first-time visitors and veteran travelers alike. Those who have made a gift of $25,000 or more since June 8, 2012, or who do so in connection with their participation, are entitled to have one participant's costs covered by a portion of their gift. One spouse or guest's participation may also be covered in this way. The ATS will treat the minimum gift requirement for each qualified participant as a gift to its unrestricted fund. Donors may designate the additional amount of their gifts toward a Technion project. Deferred Gifts of $100,000 or more may also qualify you for participation in the Expedition. Arrangements can be made for multiyear payments of your gift. The cost of the Expedition will be announced soon.

The Technion International Board of Governors Meeting will take place following our Expedition, June 7 – 12, and arrangements will be made for those who wish to attend.

For more information on how you can participate in the ATS Expedition to Spain and Israel, please call your local Regional Director or the national Programs Department at 212.407.6300 or

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