Jewish Galilee tour
Throughout the history of Israel, Galilee has always played an important role in Jewish advancement. Many Jews made a pilgrimage to the temple in Jerusalem, but after its destruction, Judaism moved to the Galilee area and existed there for centuries.
We will begin our tour in Zippori National Park. Zippori, also known as Sepphoris, was a major city during the era of Roman and Byzantine empires. Then we will continue to the Sanhedrin (court of 71 judges, which served as the Supreme Court for religious matters of the Jewish people at the end of the 2nd century), where Judah the Prince (Judah I). Zippori is sometimes called “the City of Mosaics” due to a large number of impressive mosaics discovered in the city. We will tour along various buildings and will be able to view the well-preserved mosaics, including the mosaic of the a 5th century synagogue, House of Dionysus with the “Mona Lisa of the Galilee” and the Nile Building, etc. In addition, we will go up to the fortress located on top of the hill overlooking the Lower Galilee, presenting a panoramic view of 360°.
We will head north to Safed (Tzfat in Hebrew). This city has attracted many Jews exiled from Spain, who came and settled there in the 16th century. During that period, Safed was living its golden age and became known as the gateway to heaven. Safed quickly became the center of high-quality wool weaving and production, well-known throughout the Ottoman Empire. The prosperity in the region attracted kabbalists and Halachic Leaders to Safed, who established the synagogues and buildings for Torah study, conducted rules and laws, while the most known is the book of Rabbi Yosef Caro, “Shulchan Aruch”. All the aforementioned factors led the city of Safed to become the center of Kabbalah and the spiritual center for the Jews of Israel.
We will travel along the picturesque alleys of the Old City and visit several synagogues. We will hear the stories about the great rabbis and walk the famous Safed Artists Avenue abundant in galleries and workshops of Judaica artists.
Our next destination is the city of Tiberias, another Jewish center and one of Israel’s holy cities, along with Safed, Jerusalem and Hebron. The city was built at the beginning of the 1st century and dedicated to Emperor Tiberias. Over the years, it became region’s major city, in which the Sanhedrin was held. Tiberias is also the origin of the Jerusalem Talmud.
Tiberias attracts both Jewish and Christian pilgrims. Many holy Christian sites are located in the Sea of Galilee area, while many great Jewish rabbis are buried in Tiberias and attract both Israeli and foreign Jews. We can also visit the tombs of Rabbi Meir Baal HaNes, which is located in Tiberias, as well as the gravesites of Maimonides and Yochanan Ben Zakkai.
We may also visit other sites in the area, like the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai in Meron (not far from Safed).
Rosh Pina, the home of the First Zionist Immigration supported by Baron Rothschild, tells the story of Jewish vision of settlement and its realization. In the Upper Galilee area there many wineries offering wine of top-quality. We can combine our tour with a visit to one of the excellent wineries in the region.