5 must-see sights in Tzfat
The Joseph Caro Synagogue
The Joseph Caro Synagogue named after Rabbi Caro, who fled the Spanish inquisition and is credited with writing the Beit Yosef book (a compressive book exploring Jewish law). The abridged version, Shulchan Aruch is still considered to be an important reference when laws are challenged or decided upon.
The Ari Synagogues
The Ashkenazi Ari Synagogue was built by Spanish exiles in the 16th century. In 1948, while the city was getting shelled, worshippers were in the synagogue praying and hoping to avoid attack. In the middle of worship, shrapnel ripped through the synagogue. The “Bema” took a direct hit, leaving everyone untouched.
The Sephardic Ari synagogue built in the mid-1500s, is and is known as the oldest synagogue in Tzfat. The synagogue played an active role as a military stronghold in the 1948 War of Independence. It was destroyed, and later abandoned around the time of the Israel’s founding.
Kikar Hameginim (Defenders’ Square)
Located in the center of the Jewish Quarter, Kikar Hameginim was the headquarters of the Palmach (predecessor to today’s Israeli Army) during the 1948 War of Independence. From here, not only did they defend the Jewish Quarter but went on to capture the entire city of Tzfat.
Museum of Hungarian speaking Jewry
This museum is about preserving the memory of the Hungarian communities that were wiped out in 1944. The Museum of Hungarian Speaking Jewry focuses on Jewish life in Hungary mostly before the war and some of their resistance efforts during. The museum houses vast archives on Hungarian Jewry for those looking to connect with family roots.
Located in the Old Arab Quarter of Tzfat, this picturesque artist colony serves as studios and residences of artists from all over Israel. Not much has changed since its inception half a century ago. Today, sculptors and painters live in the same old stone buildings, perfecting their crafts.