The synagogue named after the 15th-century Spanish scholar Rabbi Yitzhak Abuhav, He was known for designing the synagogue while still residing in Spain, incorporating Kabbalistic symbols into the design. Some Kabbalists claim the synagogue was constructed in Spain, but after the inquisition it miraculously moved to Safed overnight.
What to explore: Notice inside, the four central pillars represent the four elements (earth, air, water and fire) that, according to Kabbalists make up all of creation. The 12 windows each representations of the 12 Tribes of Israel and the illustrations of musical instruments used in the Temple; pomegranates resembles the same number of seeds as there are Jewish commandments, 613.
Address: Abuhav Street, Synagogue Quarter Safed (Tzfat), Israel
Hours: 9:00 AM -5:00 PM Sun – Thu, 9:00 AM – noon Fri
Phone: 04 692 3885
The Alsheich synagogue was named for Rabbi Moshe Ben Haim Alsheich and an inscription above the lintel at the entrance to this synagogue reads: "This is the synagogue of Rabbeinu Moshe Alsheich, may his merit protect us, Amen."
The synagogue was constructed more than 500 years ago during Safed's Golden Era.
What to Explore: Visitors will notice the unique arches of the building were designed with Samarkand Style of the Jews of Bukhara. Because of the strength of the arches, the synagogue was spared from any damaged during the earthquakes in 1759 and 1837.
Address: Edrei Street, Synagogue Quarter, Safed (Tzfat), Israel
Hours: Visits to the synagogue are now difficult for tourists after thieves robbed the synagogue of it's valuable artifacts. However, It’s still possible to visit the synagogue only during shabbat morning minyan, one hour every evening before evening prayers around 7:00-8:00 PM (Summer) and 4:30-5:30 PM (Winter).
Yossi Bana'a Syngogue
The Yossi Bana’a Synagogue was founded during the end of the 15th century by Jews who immigrated to Safed from Spain. The Yossi Bana’a Synagogue is considered the oldest Sephardic synagogues in the Old City of Tzfat. This synagogue houses the 3rd century Talmudic sage ("Amora") tomb of Rabbi Yossi Bena'a. The synagogue was named after Yossi Bana'a. He became known as "The White Zaddik" that relates to the miracle he performed on the eve of Yom Kippur by whitening of black chickens for the "Kapparot" atonement ritual.
What to explore: Visitors will notice the synagogue was built on top of the tomb of the righteous sage Rabbi Yossi Bana’a on the second floor. There is also a painted etching of King David’s harp on the ceilings main arches that was done by an local artist about 100 years ago. . The Torah scroll from the Yossi Bana’a Synagogue is used once a year in The traditional Lag B’omer Parade from the Old City of Tzfat to Mount Meron.
Address: Yod Aleph Street, Synagogue Quarter, Safed Tzfat, Israel
The Shababo family has been the caretaker of the synagogue for over 400 years. The synagogue is no longer open to daily visitors who once brought unkosher books into the synagogue. The current caretaker Bannai, Rebbetzin Shababo can be contacted and she will open the door and allow private visits for a small donation. Also, visitors can see the synagogue during Shabbat service.
Phone: Rebbetzin Miriam Shababo - (04) 697-4086
The synagogue named in the honor of Rabbi Yosef Caro, 16th century author of the Code of Jewish Law once served as the head of Tzfat's rabbinical courts. Today the synagogue hosts a yeshiva and daily prayers, along with a few ancient Torah scrolls.
What to explore: Visitors will notice a collection of Torah books - “Sefarim” stored on the back wall that are hundreds of years old from the mid 16th century. Also, visitors can view the opened Holy Art with three Torah scrolls that include Torahs from Persia (200 years old), Iraq (300 years old), and Spain (500 years old).
Address: Beit Yosef Street, Synagogue Quarter, Safed (Tzfat), Israel
Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM Sun-Thu, 9:00 AM – 3:00 or 4:00 PM in the winter, 9:00 AM – noon Fri
Phone: 04 692 3284, 050 855 0462
Ha'Ari Ashkenaz Synagogue
The Ari Ashkenazi Synagogue is known as the oldest synagogue in Israel with an active congratulation. Founded in the 16th century by Sephardic Jews from southern Europe and built in the memory of Kabbalist Rabbi Isaac Luria and "Ari" who immigrated to Safed, Israel in 1570. This synagogue was known as the city limit during the 16th century that is situated at the edge of the forest, facing the fading sun on Friday afternoon, white robed mystics would greet the Shabbat. Open on Shabbat and holidays and every day.
What to Explore: Visitors will notice above the entrance a Hebrew inscriptions that reads: "How awe-inspiring is this place, the synagogue of the Ari of blessed memory." Inside the synagogue visitors can explore a colorful and ornate Holy Ark.
Address: Najara Street, Synagogue Quarter, Safed (Tzfat), Israe
Hours: 9:30 AM – 7:00 PM Sun-Thu, 9:30 AM – 1 PM Fri, closed during prayers
Ha'Ari Sephardic Synagogue
Tsfat’s oldest synagogue – it's mentioned in documents from as far back as 1522 – was frequented by the Ari, who found inspiration in the panoramic views of Mt Meron and the tomb of Shimon bar Yochai. To the left of the raised bimah (platform) is the small room, glowing with candles, where he is said to have studied mystical texts with the prophet Elijah. The present structure is partly the result of rebuilding after the earthquake of 1837.
What to explore: Notice the little room to the side. It is said that in that very room Elijah the profit and the Ari studied the secrets of the Torah.
Address: Ha’Ari Street, Synagogue Quarter, Safed (Tzfat), Israel
Hours: 1:00 PM – 7:00 PM Sun – Wed, 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM Thu in summer, shorter hours rest of the year
The Ari Mikveh is a centries old Mikveh (ritual bath) where many Khabbists believe has exceptional power of purification. The Mikvah is often used by groups of shrieking religous men (and a hand full of brave women) talking a quick late-night, ritually purifying dip in the icy waters of a natural spring. Once used by the Ari, the site is now run by the Breslov (Bratzlav) Hassidic movement.
Address: South of the southern end of Ha’Ari Street.
Hours: 24 Hours
Cave of Shem and Ever
Shem and Ever, the son and grandson of Noah son and grandson who established a Yeshiva over 3,000 years ago and where the patriarch Yaakov learned for 14 years. The cave of Shem and Ever can be found inside of a burial cave that dates back to the Byzantine Era. Visitors will find an ornamental stone from the Mamluk Era at the entrance of the cave. The cave is also the resting place of Rabbi Hanina ben Horkanus and Rabbi Dosa ben Horkanus.
Address: Just across the street from Bank Hapoalim and up the ramp.
Hours: 24 hours
Tzfat’s Ancient Cemetery
This is where the tombs of the many famous Kabbalists who believed Tzfat's cool fresh air would comfort the beloved souls of those buried here and ascend them to the Garden of Eden. The stones that are painted white or bright blue are the tombs of someone who was remotely famous that include the great Rabbis and Kabbalists of Tzfat and other holy ancestors (Rabbi Yitzchak Luria (The Holy Ari), Rabbi Yosef Caro, Chana and her seven sons, Rabbi Shlomo Alkebetz, Rabbi Moshe Cordevero, Rabbi Pinchas ben Ya’ir, Rabbi Leib Ba’al Hayisurim, Rabbi Moshe Alshich, and others).
The tombs of many of Tzfat’s greatest sages and Kabbalists are about a third way down the slope located just below a solitary pine tree where a converging double walkways are covered with transparent roofing. If you don't read Hebrew, just ask passers-by for assistance in locating the tombs of once of the famous Kabbalists:Yitzhak Luria (Isaac Luria, aka HaAri, the father of modern Jewish mysticism known as (Lurianic Kabbalah).
You will also find near the tomb of Luria is that of Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz, best known for composing the hymn "Lecha Dod",Yosef Karo, who is the most famous writers of Jewish law and is buried about 100 meters down the hill.
Address: Below Ha’Ari Street Street, Safed (Tzfat), Israel
Hours: 24 Hours
Nachum Ish Gamzu
Is the gravesite of the Talmudi-era sage who served as Rabbi Akiva’s mentor and teacher for 22 years. Rabbi Akiva was known for the conviction that “gam zu I’tovah”, “This Too is for the good.”
Hours: 24 Hours