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The holy city of Safed

Posted on 07/27/2011 @ 05:17 PM

Today we experienced the beautiful views and spirituality of the Jewish holy city of Safed. Safed is one of the “four holy cities” of Israel. The others are Jerusalem, Hebron, and Tiberias. In Safed, we learned about the tradition of Jewish mysticism that developed amongst a remarkable group of Jewish scholars and mystics that congregated there in the late Middle Ages.

Amongst the sites that we visited were the home of the Jewish sage Yosef Caro and the synagogue of the famed kabbalist, Rabbi Isaac Luria (the Arizal). Strolling the ancient lanes of the Old City – perched on the peak of a mountain – one can understand how Safed has been the source of Jewish inspiration for centuries.

We also had the opportunity to meet some of the modern residents of Safed.  These included American – Israeli artist Sheva Chaya – whose watercolors and glasswork are inspired by Jewish themes. We also  met  with the spiritual leader of the Breslov Chassidic Community in Safed.

We finished off our day in Safed by going to the outskirts of the Old City near a ruined crusader fortress. We all entered into a cave near the fortress and listened to traditional Jewish music in the cool environs. There we discussed Jewish mysticism and the important role that Safed has played in Jewish history and prayer. All in all, we had a wonderful day encountering the natural beauty, history, and tradition that are part of the heritage of the city of Safed.

Ben Kozberg

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