Your Jewish Travel Specialists
Our mission: To provide Jewish Travel Experience for discerning travelers
Anyone who has read or seen the cinematic adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foeris Everything Is Illuminated, a tale of Jewish ancestral detective work that creatively weaves through multiple generations, cannot help but recall those hilarious moments when the main character (also named Jonathan) navigates rural Ukraine in a tiny car with his translator, a smelly dog, and a blind old man who happens to be the driver. Like Jonathan, many of us yearn to uncover the lost stories of our Jewish Heritage in distant lands, to trace the footsteps of our ancestors, to inhabit the space where they once stood. But unlike Jonathan, we choose not to travel in unsafe and unsanitary conditions.
Sophia Kulich, CTC, a Ukrainian-born travel consultant who lives in Palm Harbor, Florida, has just the solution. Sophia owns and operates a niche, one-of-a-kind travel agency specializing in Jewish Heritage Tours. While Sophia is a well-seasoned veteran of all-things-travel, her true passion is customizing tours for individuals, families, and groups wishing to personally experience their Jewish ancestorsï¿½ cultural and physical landscapes. Working with a network of expert in-country guides and local tour operators, Sophia is able to conduct family-specific research, providing an unparalleled customizable experience for this type of travel
Sophia's Jewish Heritage Tours include, but are not limited to, countries throughout Western, Central and Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Morocco, Turkey and the former Soviet Union. In addition, she provides kosher private tours and trips to countries with notable Jewish immigrant populations such as Peru, Argentina, South Africa, and China. Each tour has its own itinerary with room for customization.
With collapse of Soviet Union, and emerging of new independent countries, a new destinations now are opening for travelers. Many Jews are returning to Europe to try to reconnect with their history, and in some cases, reconnect with family members or friends from their tragic past. With the guidance and coordination of our agency, we have been able to create some incredible trips for clients who are trying to research and rediscover their past. Their stories are special, and emotionally charged.
Some of the successes finding people:
- In Ukraine we found the family who hid and saved their mother from Nazis in Ukrainian village . Like Anne Frank, she was hidden but unlike Anne Frank, this woman survived. You can read clients report here .
- We found an elderly German gentleman who knew our clients great-grandparents - the rabbi in synagogue. The rabbi perished in holocaust and now at the place of former synagogue is a preschool. The family spent time with German reminiscing about their ancestor and the times they knew each other. We organized bar-mitzvah at the premises of this preschool. The whole German town including mayor came for the celebration.
Even for cruise passengers in the short time of shore excursion, we provide unforgettable Jewish experience. For example, here is what client from a cruise excursion in Tallinn , Estonia wrote to us:
"The day in Tallinn was a highlight of our Baltic trip and we are grateful to you for your knowledge and ability to have arranged such a meaningful day..Our guide Kaia was excellent and we had an amazing experience at the dedication of the Estonian Holocaust Memorial..There were only about 50-60 people in attendance and we were in this clearing in the forest barely about 10 yards from the President of Estonia when he spoke..It will be my pleasure to recommend you to any that I learn are planning a trip in that region..
These are not an ordinary trips and some of them takes about one year to create. We research archives about client's ancestors and arrange excellent guides/translators, accommodations and transportation in these countries. Some of them like Ukraine it is a challenge for a tourist. If you had seen movie "Everything is illuminated" is exactly what we do however with better transportation and guides!
Whether you are just visiting important Jewish sites, or looking for your routes, we will do our best to exceed your expectations! We know what we sell!
We are based in Palm Harbor, FL and serve Jewish clients all over the world. We communicate by e-mail and phone and ship documents by express or priority mail. Click here to take a look at our references page
Jewish Travel Agency has the following certified in-house specialists:
- Certified Travel Counselor(CTC)
- France Destination Specialist
- Certified Ireland Specialist (Shamrock Club)
- Swiss Travel Specialist
- Bavarian Specialist (Germany) , graduate of Bavaria Ambassador program
- Yokoso Japan Travel Specialist
EMCO Travel, LLC is proudly affiliated with the following professional organizations:
- American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA)
- International Airlines Travel Agents Network (IATAN)