This Odessa Jewish History tour explores the story of Odessa’s Jewry since the city’s founding till modern time.

The “Star in Exile” for an Eastern European Jew in the 19th century. The center of the Haskalah and Zionism. The third largest Jewish city in the world in the early 20th century. The Odessa’s Jewish history is fascinating and deserves to be explored.

Early Jewish Settlers

Who were the early Jewish settlers and what attracted them to Odessa? The German (aka Brodsky) Jews and the Orthodox community. How did many of them rise to prominence, become skilled craftsmen, successful wheat brokers and traders? We talk about the history of the two Jewish communities in Odessa — the German jews and the Orthodox (Litvak) community.

Prominent Jewish Names in Odessa

By car and on foot we visit sights, connected with the prominent names. Dizengof, Dubnov, Klauzner, Chernyakhovsky, Bialik: what brought them all to Odessa? We walk in the footsteps of the famous Zionist Ze’ev Jabotinsky. We explore the turn-of-the twentieth century Odessa described in Jabotinsky’s novel “The Five”.

Jewish Sights

This Odessa Jewish History tour takes you to the temples – the Great Choral Synagogue and the Shomrei Shabbos Synagogue. We share with you the story of the Brodsky synagogue and see its exterior. On a visit to the Odessa’s Palestine Committee  building we discuss Odessa’s zionists. We uncover some of the darkest sides of Odessa’s Jewish history – pogroms as we walk through the area of the Jewish riots. We visit the Holocaust memorial and talk about Odessa’s Jewry during WW2. Historical facts, local stories and family memories. You can preview a visit to the Holocaust memorial by reading our blog post.

We make a visit to Moldavanka, the city’s neighborhood, which was dominated by the poor Jews at the end of the 19th century. Later it was made famous by Isaac Babel in Odessa’s Stories.

The Comprehensive Story of Odessa’s Jewry

But more importantly, we not just visit the sights, our guides skillfully tell the story of the Jewish Odessa, covering spiritual, religious and business aspects. We talk of the evolvement of the local Jewish community from old to modern days.

The two contrasting phrases – “To live like God in Odessa” and “The fires of hell burn for 7 miles around Odessa” originated among the Ashkenazi Jews about the nineteenth century Odessa. Odessa welcomed Jews and yet the first riot against the Jews in the Russian Empire happened here. While paradise in the eyes of some, the city was a hotbed of depravity in the eyes of others. Odessa enthusiastically embraced the Haskalah, yet later became home to Zionism.

Jewish Odessa is a phenomenon that attracts many historians, researchers, as well as ordinary travelers. Despite WW2 and decades of anti-Semitism under the Soviet regime, the city preserved a lot of its Jewish sights, which we explore by foot and car.

Aah, and if you’ve read the famous Edmund de Waal’s bestseller “The Hare with Amber Eyes” and keen on walking in the footsteps of the Ephrussis, then you should definitely take this tour!


“Olga’s English was fluent, and although she is not herself Jewish, her pronunciation of Jewish and Hebrew terms was flawless. She was a knowledgeable and charming guide. It was altogether a fine tour, wide ranging and very attractively priced.”


5 hrs


On foot and by car


*Main City Synagogue

*Shomrei Shabbos synagogue

*Brodsky synagogue

*Isaac Babel statue

*Memorial to the 1905 pogrom victims

*Jewish cemetery

*Holocaust memorial

*Odessa’s Palestine Committee building

*Ze’ev Jabotinsky plaque

*Building of Talmud-Tora

*Buildings of Jewish charity organizations

These are just some of the sights included into the tour. Email us for the complete tour itinerary and price.