When it comes to Jewish heritage, very few cities are as rich as the cities of Zfat. Containing many synagogues both new and more than a millennia old, Zfat is a city of faith, of history and of great beauty which no Jewish traveler should be allowed to miss. Let’s take a trip to the most Jewish city in the north to see what it’s about.
Where Jewish History Comes to Life
The city of Zfat is considered to be the capitol of the upper Galilee area, and for a good reason: though small, Zfat has upwards of a one and a half thousand people per square mile, and that’s discluding the booming tourism scene in the city.
Established in 8th century B.C. by Jewish settlers, Zfat has been through a lot. It is one of the four holy cities of Judaism, and contains graves of Tzdikim, holy people, as well as more synagogues than any other city in Israel.
The most beautiful synagogue you should visit is the Abouhab temple. This temple has been eracted in the early 16th century, and when Zfat was nearly destroyed by an earthquake in the 19th century it was one of the only synagogues to leave a remnant: its southern wall has been preserved completely, and the temple was built anew and resurrected to its former glory. This is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful and emotionally thrilling synagogues in the world, and is well worth a visit.
Another worthwhile synagogue is The Spanish Ha’Ari synagogue, one of the best preserved temples in Israel. Dating back to the 14th century, it is considered a place of intimate connection with Jewish tradition and with people like the Ari, Rabi Isaac Luria, who used to pray there. The most exciting element of this temple’s history, though, is that it is considered to be a place where the prophet Eliahu (Elijah) himself has prayed before God. So you know that when you pray there, you are in very good company.
The beauty of Zfat is not limited to the synegogues, though. The city itself has many beautiful ancient streets, and a visit is not complete without taking a walk to see the marvels of Zfat. So if you’re looking for great Jewish sites in the north, just grab your Kiaps and go to Zfat.
Where to go: What to eat: Ha’Ari 8 stands in close vicinity to the synagogue and the entrance to Z’fat. Kosher and nutritious, this is a great place to get into Israeli cooking. Ha’ari street 8.
Where to sleep: Ruth Rimonim hotel is located in a partly restored building with some relics from Z’fat of old. A beautiful, relaxing hotel with great service.