Tzfat is a town in the Galilee region, known for its spiritual vibe, artsy aesthetics, and ‘airy’ feel. My family stopped by Tzfat for a few hours on our way north, walking around to get a sense of the town and grabbing a bite to eat. The town itself is full of narrow, windy cobblestone streets that lead past old synagogues, art shops, and eateries:
The ubiquity of art is definitely the most unique quality of Tzfat. In addition to an abundance of art shops and vendors, the streets themselves are covered with art. Tzfat is also one of the few places in Israel outside of Jerusalem where religiosity is visibly expressed at every corner. Literally.
This is a picture seen painted on a wall along the street depicting ‘The Torah Kid’ as a superhero:
Besides walking around, we visited Abuhav Synagogue – a Sephardic synagogue in which a Torah written by Abuhav, a 14th-century Spanish scribe, resides. The synagogue is fairly simple from the outside, but the interior is colorful and beautifully decorated:
One of the highlights of visiting Tzfat was a trip to a store called Tzfat Candles. True to the spirit of Tzfat, this is much more than your average candle shop. It is candle art.
You can buy candles in the shape of pretty much anything you can think of (besides all the fancy stuff, they also sell beautifully colored ‘regular’ candles). In addition to the variety of candles for sale, there was some pretty magnificent Biblical candle art on display. Highlights included David and Goliath:
I don’t know about you, but I would sure feel bad lighting any of these on fire! Noah and I bought a havdallah candle at the store and used it for the first time last week! It was awesome. 🙂
And, just for giggles, a misspelled sign advertising the popular Tzfat cheese (a semi-hard, somewhat elastic, cheese popular in Israel):
After Tzfat, we continued north to Mt. Bental. Mt. Bental is a volcanic cone in the northern part of Israel, near the Golan heights, and very close to the Syrian border. Due to its positioning near Syria, the location used to be a military outpost. Looking out from Mt. Bental, one can see, to one side, into the demilitarized zone between Israel and Syria and across into Syria itself. To the other side lies the Israeli Kibbutz Merom Golan. When we arrived at the site, we saw a UN vehicle parked in the lot (these vehicles are also commonly sighted in Jerusalem):
Noah investigating a view as we walk to the main lookout:
This sign highlighted Mt. Bental’s unique location and proximity to several significant cities:
At the lookout, we could walk through the former military trenches and tunnels:
View looking out towards Syria:
Check back soon for a final post recounting my family’s visit and our stop in Tiberias!