Blogs from Safed, North District, Israel, Middle East


Middle East » Israel » North District » Safed January 19th 2011

From Nazareth, I take a bus to a junction near Amirim, where my host Chen picks me up. Amirim is a moshav that was founded by vegetarians. The difference between a kibbutz and a moshav is that kibbutzim are more Socialist or Communist in their political orientation, so the people live together like a real community, sharing everything. Moshavim, on the other hand, are agricultural villages, where people own land and grow vegetables or other things on it. They don't share everything, it's more like a normal village or community, just with a very strong agricultural focus. Amirim was founded as a meat-free community in 1958. It sits perched in the forest on the lower ridge of Mt Meron, surrounded by olive and pistachio trees. It looks decidely Mediterranean, and the primary source of income for ... read more
Sunset on Kinneret
Hassidic Jew
Walls of biblical Dan

Middle East » Israel » North District » Safed October 3rd 2010

שלום Shalom! I decided I better update this thing or what's the point of having it. Finally the high holidays are over - and now I am down to the last week of freedom before classes begin on the 11th. Experiencing the holidays here has been one amazing experience. Most of the holidays I spent with friend's families and what not, but for Yom Kippur I decided to travel to Tzfat with my good buddy Tzvi Darling. Now Tzfat was the one town that I fell in love with the first time I came to Israel almost three years ago. If I ever spoke highly of a town - Tzfat was uttered from my lips. Finally I had the chance to return, but not just for a visit, but to experience Yom Kippur. Tzfat is one ... read more
Sunset in Tzfat
Tzfat hiking crew

Middle East » Israel » North District » Safed July 9th 2008

We are in the ancient city of Safed in the mountains above Galilee. At night we can see the twinkling lights on the shore on the other side near Tiberius. We stayed in the local hostel high up on a hill the first night, our hosts Ricky and Dovi we're so sweet and offered us beer, nuts, cold watermelon and conversation when we returned in the evening after a jaunt around the old city. It's much cooler here and very night it's balmy and we sleep really well. Today we explored the old city and the artist quarter. So many wonderful artists and the streets and old buildings are very inspiering for paintings. We have met many friendly people and wish we could stay in Safed longer. We may even come back during the month. ... read more

Middle East » Israel » North District » Safed June 13th 2008

Today was our first full day in Israel. We both slept well, however Carly's cot folded in half on her when she went to lie down to sleep. Unfortunately both of her roommates were already sleeping when she went to bed and couldn't fix the bed. She tried but to no avail. The next day Derek attempted but to no avail. By the end of the day we had a new cot put in the room. Hopefully she will have a more peaceful sleep tonight. We woke up early to an amazing extravagant breakfast. Derek's favorite breakfast items were the pickles and chocolate pudding (not together though). Carly's favorite was the smoked white fish and cheese. We all got onto the bus and headed twords Tsfat. We were soaking in the mountainous scenery from the lower ... read more
Tsfat 06 13 08 008
Tsfat 06 13 08 009
Tsfat 06 13 08 010

Middle East » Israel » North District » Safed May 21st 2007

Today was a great day! We began the day with a hike part-way through a river - Nahal Gilabon. The trail was well marked but we decided to wade through part of the river as per Noah's directions. At the end of the hike, we ended up at a beautiful 10m high waterfall that fell into a small pond. The water was freezing but we decided to go swimming anyway and had a great time. After the hike we were pretty tired, but continued on to see Tzfat. We weren't very impressed - there wasn't much happening in the town, and the old Artists' Quarter was almost deserted. In the evening, we drove to the Eastern shore of the Kineret, and followed an off-road trail to a spot along the shore. We weren't the only ones ... read more

Middle East » Israel » North District » Safed March 2nd 2007

Part 2... Day 3- Today we drove to Zfat, in the Galilee. Zfat is one of the holiest cities in Judaism, after Jerusalem and Hebron. It is a beautiful little town on the top of a mountain, and is home to the Jewish mystics of Kabbalah. It also happens to be my most favorite place in all of Israel. You can just feel these special, spiritual, mystical powers flowing all around you. As a very religious city, where Kabbalah was developed in the 16th century, there are dozens of small synagogues, mostly after specific rabbis. We went to a few of the more important ones. First was the Abuhav Synagogue, named for Rabbi Yitzhak Abuhav, a famous rabbi from Spain who lived in the 15th century. Abuhav wanted to make it to Israel before he ... read more
ark at the Abuhav synagogue
ark at the Ari Askenazi Synagogue
at the grave of The Ari

Middle East » Israel » North District » Safed September 27th 2005

This past weekend was absolutely wonderful! The enitre department of overseas studies (about 95 students from around the world) took a trip to Tzfat, Mt. Hermon, and Banias. Tzfat is the city of Jewish mysticism, and one of the four traditional Jewish holy cities. It was clear walking through the streets that there is something special about the area. It is nestled between mountains and filled with artists, musicians, and history. We camped overnight under the stars at a place called Nebi Chazuri. The next morning, we woke up early and began a full day hike along the border of the Golan Heights and the Galilee. We climbed on one of the lower ridges of Mount Hermon (the tallest mountain in Israel), and there we saw the remains of a Muslim fortress built around 1100 CE. ... read more
Synagogue in Tzfat
Synagogue in Tzfat
Tzfat Candle Factory

Middle East » Israel » North District » Safed June 1st 2003

For my free weekend, I travelled to Tzfat for Shabbat. There is a private company that runs buses from Jerusalem to Tzfat, which was very convenient (although I had to stand part of the way going there because the bus was so full). It was an interesting mix of people on the bus, all religious but a split between haredim and more modern Jews. I made some calls while I was on the bus and found a place to stay at a hostel near the community center. I got to Tzfat in the middle of the afternoon, and almost everything was closed. There were a few galleries in the Artists' Colony open, but other than that it really felt like the city was preparing for Shabbat. I took a walk all over the city when I ... read more

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