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Trip Report Back from Jewish Heritage Tour to Italy

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Looking for a Jewish tour of Italy, we booked "Jewish Heritage Tours" headed by Rabbi Nosson Dovid Rabinowich.

Overview of the tour: The tour director, Rabbi Dr. Nosson Dovid Rabinowich, showed a complete disregard for the well-being and welfare of those on the tour. Food and water were insufficient and he made no effort to ensure that our group of 32 travelers was present and accounted for. Indeed, he had no qualms about abandoning members of the group..

He was abusive and insulting and consistently lied (for example, he specifically told a member of the group that he would accompany the group to the airport for the trip home but in fact, without warning, walked away from the bus as we pulled away, leaving the group to fend for itself at the airport without any direction or instructions and with no time to spare to make our flight). Finally, despite his claims of being a scholar with a doctorate in medieval Jewish history, his lack of knowledge, and failure to adequately educate the group was readily apparent.

Specific examples: Three incidents stand out as examples of his intentional disregard for the welfare of those traveling on this tour.

1) Upon arrival in Rome at 7:30 in the morning on a very hot July morning, despite promising breakfast, no food or water were provided. When asked for water the tour director said he would provide it later, despite the fact that he himself was carrying a bottle of water. When I told him that one of the members of the group was showing signs of dehydration and was looking ill, he gave me his half empty bottle and told me to give it to her. His lack of concern was shocking.

2) A member of the group had prior conversations with Rabinowich about special dietary needs as she had celiac disease and other food issues. He repeatedly assured her that her needs would be taken care of. On arrival however, there was no accommodation made for her and he told her that food was her own responsibility, and that she should go home if she was not satisfied. There were several meals when this traveler had nothing to eat.

3) While there were many other incidents that demonstrated his complete disregard for members of the group, on incident stands out. When in Siena, he told the group to meet him at a designated location from which we would depart for the bus and leave for Florence. Members of the group were waiting as instructed but he never arrived. Instead he was at a different location and, without trying to inform everyone that he was leaving, started walking to the bus, leaving members of the group in the bathroom.

Once on the bus, he instructed the driver to pull away, despite the fact that four members of the group were still at the restroom. When he was told to wait, he said that those missing were to blame and that they were now on their own. When he was told that it was his fault as he did not meet the group at the designated spot and that he cannot abandon members of the group, he stood up, walked down the aisle of the bus, and proceeded to scream at members of the group saying that they were nothing but trouble and that they should leave the group and go home. He was completely irrational and out of control and it appeared that he might strike the person who spoke up. From that point on members of the group were afraid to speak for fear of being left behind or verbally abused.

As for the tour itself, while we did see Italy, many of the things promised on the itinerary were not provided (e.g., appropriate food and some promised sites). Simply stated, he lied about many things, did the bare minimum, and did not follow through on all that he had promised.

If you want to take a Jewish Heritage trip to Italy, do NOT go with this group. You are better off booking some of the many Jewish day trips readily available once you are in Italy.

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