Postcard from Israel – Tsfat

This coming week Israeli children will be making bows and arrows and collecting wood for bonfires in honour of Lag BaOmer.  Thousands will be heading for Mount Meron to visit the grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai – said to be the author of the Zohar. So this  virtual trip will take us to the ancient Kabbalah town of Tsfat (Safed), perched high up in the Galilee hills. 

There we find the beautiful Sephardi synagogue of the Ari (Rabbi Isaac Luria) who came to Tsfat in 1530 and the ‘Saraya’ – a mid-18th century palace (now a community centre) built by the Bedouin ruler of the Galilee at the time Daher-al-Omar for his son – in which the Jews of Tsfat sought refuge during the 1929 riots. We can wander around the higgeldy streets of the old city’s artists’ quarter and sneak peeks into the appropriately mysterious inner courtyards of the picturesque historic houses built of local blond stone.  

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