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Central Region | Judean DesertHebronJerusalemSafed
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  • Abuhav Synagogue

    Established in the 16th century by Rabbi Yitzchak Abuhav of Spain, the synagogue houses an ancient Torah scroll written by the holy Rabbi Abuhav himself.

    The synagogue’s origins are also the stuff of legend; it is said to have been moved mystically by the power of Rabbi Suliman Ochana from Spain to Safed. Much of the original building was destroyed, however, with the earthquake of 1759, and again in the earthquake of 1837. The Abuhav synagogue was the first synagogue the Italian philanthropist Rabbi Yitzchak Goyatos (Guetta) rebuilt in the 1840s. Its reconstruction was done with the help of the greatest architects in Israel, and with consideration for the original design.

  • Ammunition Hill

    Ammunition Hill (Givat Hatachmoshet), situated between the modern neighborhoods of Ramat Eshkol and French Hill, was the site of one of the 1967 Six-Day War’s bloodiest and most important battles. A contingent of Israeli paratroopers vied to oust entrenched Jordanian legionnaires who were preventing Israeli access to Mount Scopus and the Jerusalem-Ramallah road. Thirty-seven Israeli troops lost their lives.

    Today, Ammunition Hill houses the main Jerusalem induction center for new IDF recruits, an extensive museum, and the trenches and fortifications from the battle. The museum covers the events surrounding the battle in depth, including a rousing documentary film offered in both Hebrew and English. It it also includes exhibits on armed Jewish resistance to Nazi oppression in Europe. There are several memorials to the young men who died during the campaign for Jerusalem in 1967.

  • Ari Ashkenazic Synagogue

    Built on the spot where it is said that the Ari and his holiest disciples gathered every Friday to greet the holy Shabbat Queen as she entered the city, the synagogue was built many years later. It became known as the Ashkenazi Ari Shul because chasidim from Eastern Europe comprised its congregation in the 18th century

    The synagogue is known for its beautiful Holy Ark, intricately carved from olive wood by a Galician craftsman in the beginning of the 19th century. A small gouge in the lectern was caused by flying shrapnel during the War of Independence, from a bomb that exploded in the courtyard just as the congregation prostrated themselves out of harm’s way during the silent Amidah prayer.

    Childless couples have often prayed for the blessing of children on the legendary Elijah’s chair in the back of the synagogue.

  • Ari Sefardic Synagogue

    The most ancient standing synagogue in Safed, the Ari Sefardic synagogue, was originally built in the 14th-century. It is said that the Ari frequented it, not only to pray, but to study with Elijah the Prophet in a small alcove in the eastern wall. The synagogue’s interior was designed according to Kabbalah. There are four Holy Arks, six steps to the bimah (lectern), a white marble floor and light blue walls, each number and color signifying a kabbalistic concept.

    The durably built synagogue was used as a defense position in the War of Independence (1948), when the Torahs were removed and fortifications were set up on the roof of the building.

    Today, it is once again a place of Torah learning, and a small group of men study there all day in a kollel (yeshiva for advanced studies).

  • Artist’s Colony

    In its narrow stone streets, artists from all over the world have gathered to this corner of Safed’s Old City to be inspired by its innate spirituality and stunning views.

  • Ascent of Safed

    The Chabad-affiliated Ascent program, established in Safed in 1983 by American émigrés eager to help wandering and wondering tourists, has become synonymous with the recent mystical rejuvenation in the city of Safed.

    Now housed in a former hotel, the Ascent Hostel can host some eightyfive weary travelers. It is a place of spiritual as well as physical revitalization, and visitors are offered a number of classes and courses on mysticism and Judaism. Ascent’s array of programs is highlighted by an inspiring Shabbat program culminating in a concert on Saturday night by a local band. Travelers in search of the sacred don’t mention the old city without some further reference to its spiritual steward, Ascent.

  • Atlit

    Atlit is a small town just south of Haifa that served as a Crusader outpost in the 13th century. After its destruction by the Mamelukes in 1291, it fell from prominence and for centuries was no more than a small village. While the Nazi menace loomed in Europe the British severely curtailed Jewish immigration to Palestine due to Arab pressure. This discriminatory policy continued from 1936 until 1948 and effectively sentenced tens of thousands to their deaths during the Holocaust. After the war, the gates to Palestine remained firmly closed and survivors of the camps were denied entry. Thousands chose to immigrate illegally to Palestine by land, air and especially by sea, and those who were caught were interred by the British. The detention center in Atlit housed thousands of prisoners and was the scene of a daring break out on October 10, 1945, led by Yitzchak Rabin. A tour of the site today includes the barracks, a moving audio-visual, processing center, and a mikveh constructed for inmates.
  • Avraham Avinu Neighborhood

    During the sixteenth century, Spanish Jews established the Jewish Quarter of Hebron, and built the Avraham Avinu (Abraham our Patriarch) synagogue, at the time one of Israel’s most magnificent and famous synagogues.

    In 1879, Avraham Romano, a wealthy Jew from Turkey, built a beautiful house known as Beit (House of) Romano. In the 1900s an additional floor was added, and it was turned into a medical clinic known as Beit Hadassah.

    On property adjacent to the Avraham Avinu Synagogue, Rabbi DovBer Shneuri (the “Mitteler Rebbe”, 1773- 1827) built a synagogue. This shul became known as the Avraham Avinu Ashkenaz Shul, as it was frequented mainly by Jews of European descent. This was the first in a string of properties purchased by Chabad Rebbes over the years. Many of these properties are in what is today the Arab section of Hebron and, for the most part, are inaccessible to Jews. The synagogue has been refurbished through the efforts of Rabbi Danny Cohen, the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s emissary to Hebron, and is commonly also referred to as the “Mitteler Rebbe’s Shul.”

    A large building at the center of Hebron’s Jewish community bears the name Beit Schneerson (Schneerson House). As its name implies, this building served as the headquarters for the Chabad community of Hebron from the mid 1800s until the massacre of 1929. A plaque at the entrance to the building confirms that Rabbi DovBer’s daughter, the illustrious Rebbetzin Menuchah Rachel Slonim (1798-1888), and her husband Rabbi Yaakov Culi Slonim, resided in this building.

  • Banias Waterfall

    Situated on the Western edge of the Golan Heights overlooking the Hula Valley, this site served as a fortified Syrian military outpost, complete with communication trenches and concrete bunkers, and surrounded by barbed wire and minefields.
  • Cave of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai

    The white-domed roof of the tomb of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, author of the seminal Kabbalistic work, the Zohar, is one of the most beloved destinations in the world for Jewish pilgrims.

    Tens of thousands of people stream to the tomb on Lag BaOmer, the traditional death date of Rabbi Shimon. They sing, dance, light bonfires, feast and study Kabbalah. Many have the custom to give their threeyear old boys their first haircut at this holy spot.

    A disciple of Rabbi Akiva, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai hid from the Roman authorities with his son in a cave for thirteen years where they were miraculously nourished by a carob tree and a stream of water. They merited frequent visits of Elijah the Prophet who revealed to them the deepest secrets of the Kabbalah.

    A path from the southern part of his tomb complex leads to a cave and the spring of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai.

    The cave is also known as the Cave of Hillel, according to a 12th-century tradition identifying a tomb in it as that of Rabbi Hillel the Elder. According to tradition, only the righteous could witness a miracle in the cave: the sudden appearance of water. When such people beheld this event, their prayer requests would be answered.

  • Chabad Victims of Terror Project

    In partnership with more than 230 Chabad Centers stretching across the length and breadth of Israel, Chabad’s Victims of Terror Project offers support and comfort to victims of terror and their families by providing financial, spiritual and emotional assistance as needed. Chabad’s Terror Victims Project includes a network of emergency response teams that intervene with victims and their families within hours after an attack and continues with long term, community-based assistance.

  • Chanah and Her Seven Sons

    One of the great heroines of the Chanukah story (in 151 BCE), Chanah inculcated her children with such a love of G-d that they were willing to die at the hands of the Syrian emperor Antiochus rather than bow down in service of his idols. Antiochus tried to fool the youngest and last surviving son by throwing his ring in front of the idol and asking the child to retrieve it. The child, too, steadfastly refused and was killed in front of his mother’s eyes; she then jumped to her death from the rooftop.

  • Chassidic Shuls

    Built by emissaries of the third Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel (1789-1866) in 1858, Chabad’s Tzemach Tzedek Shul is among several very old chassidic shuls tucked around the cobblestone alleys of the Old City. Several other chassidic groups including Breslov, Chernobyl (Skver), Chortkov, KarlinStolin, Nadvorna, Kossov, and Lelov are represented by 200-year-old plus congregations still active today.

  • City of David

    The tour of the City of David begins with a breathtaking observation point overlooking biblical Jerusalem which sends visitors 3,800 years back in time to the days of Abraham, when the first foundations of the city were laid.

    Underground are recently excavated fortresses and passageways where visitors relive King David’s conquest of the Jebusite city in 861 BCE as described in the Second book of Samuel.

    The tour ends at the Gihon Spring, the major water source of Jerusalem for over 1,000 years and where, according to the Book of Kings, Solomon (849-797 BCE) was anointed king.

    The spring channels through King Hezekiah’s (587-533 BCE) 2,700- year-old water tunnel, one of the wonders of early engineering.

  • Colel Chabad Soup Kitchen

    Colel Chabad is the oldest continuously operating tzedakah (charity) organization in Israel. It was established in 1788 by Rabbi Shne’ur Zalman of Liadi, founder of the Chabad Lubavitch movement and its purpose is to help the most destitute residents of Israel in a manner that preserves their dignity. Colel Chabad operates sixteen soup kitchens throughout Israel.

  • Dead Sea

    Measuring 309 square miles, the mineralrich Dead Sea and nearby springs are known for their curative qualities. Its waters are 35% salt, ten times saltier than the Atlantic Ocean. Located in the Judean desert at 248.5 miles below sea level, the climate and atmosphere are in complete contrast to hilly Jerusalem just 9 miles away.

    The sharp smell emanating from sulfur deposits close by reminds one of the destruction of nearby Sodom and Gomorah, when “G-d rained down…sulfur and fire.” (Genesis 19)

  • Dialogue in Darkness

    This unique experience takes place totally in the dark/ absence of voice and sound, led by an expert guide. You are invited to join a journey of exploration without using your sense of sight/ hearing and relying instead on your other senses. Your perspective and sense of appreciation are bound to be profoundly affected.

  • Ein Gedi

    The green lushness of the Ein Gedi oasis provides a vivid contrast to the surrounding miles of sandcolored desert rock. The stunning nature reserve in Ein Gedi contains several pools and waterfalls. Wildlife includes the ibex (wild goat), badger, and small, furry hyrax.

    When David was fleeing from King Saul, he arrived in Ein Gedi. King Saul’s pursuit of David—including some high drama played out in a cave, as well as Saul’s and David’s subsequent reunion—is described in the Bible in I Samuel. Ein Gedi’s beauty is described by King David in Psalm 104 and referenced by King Solomon in Song of Songs: “My beloved is to me as a cluster of henna in the vineyards of Ein Gedi.”

  • Gadot Lookout

    Situated on the Western edge of the Golan Heights overlooking the Hula Valley, this site served as a fortified Syrian military outpost complete with communication trenches and concrete bunkers and surrounded by barbed wire and minefields. From this base, the Syrians were able to fire down at the Israeli Kibbutz Gadot and to command the Bnot Yaakov Bridge. At the end of the Six Day War, the Syrians fled from the onslaught of the IDF’s Golani Brigade and the site now serves as a memorial for the soldiers who fell conquering the Golan Heights.

  • Gamla

    Often referred to as the “Masada of the North”, Gamla was the scene of a ferocious battle between the Romans and the Jews during the Great Revolt in 68 CE. According to the historian Josephus, some four thousand of the inhabitants were slaughtered by the Romans, while a further five thousand jumped to their deaths rather than fall into enemy hands. Thereafter the city was destroyed and eventually covered over by sand.

    Some 1900 years later, following the Six Day war, the site was excavated by Shmaryahu Gutman. Impressive finds included the ancient synagogue, arrowheads, Roman ballista and numerous buildings and fortifications. Gamla is also home to a unique conservation project for the majestic Griffon Vulture.

  • Genesis Land

    Situated in the heart of the Judean Desert, Genesis Land provides the weary traveler with the opportunity to be transported back to the times of Abraham the Patriarch. The Book of Genesis springs to life in all of its vibrant color as you enjoy the warm hospitality of 65 “Abraham” and his household, in a specially prepared tent. All visitors are moved, looking out over the haunting beauty and solitude of the desert as night begins to fall.

  • Golan Heights Winery

    The Golan Heights Winery is one of the great Israeli business success stories, producing wines in the Golan, Yarden and Gamla series. The winery’s skilled staff and state-of-the-art equipment take full advantage of the Golan’s cold winters and cool summer nights, combined with the unusual volcanic soil of the vineyards.

    The unique wines produced here compete nicely in the international wine industry.

  • Herodian Mansions

    The homes in this museum were uncovered after 1967, before Yeshivat HaKotel was built, unearthing a neighborhood of priests from the time of the second Temple (349 BCE-69 CE).

    The numerous mikvaot were necessary, for the kohanim (priests)—as well as all who ate sanctified foods from the Temple within the walls of the city—had to be in a constant state of ritual purity.

    The museum also has a fascinating exhibit on vessels from the second Temple and a fallen beam, now a pile of ashes from the building’s fall on Tisha B’Av, together with the Holy Temple’s fall.

  • Jaffa Flea Market

    Begun as one of many small bazaars that surrounded the clock tower in the midnineteenth century, the Flea Market’s main street is Olei Zion but spreads onto a number of smaller streets and arcades.

  • Jewish Quarter

    The Old City is divided into four neighborhoods: the Jewish Quarter in the southeast, and the Muslim, Christian, and Armenian quarters.

    Remains of almost every era of Jewish civilization, from the time Joshua entered the Land of Israel, can be found in the quarter and its environs.

  • Katzrin

    Katzrin is a Jewish town that has been excavated and partially restored. It dates back to the 4th century and was inhabited until the 7th century.

    The site contains an ancient oil press as well as a completely restored house with agricultural tools, millstones, kitchen utensils, and oil lamps, as well as axes, saws, hammers, and planes.

    The black lines on the walls differentiate between the original structure and the restoration.

    Katzrin has a reconstructed 4th- 5th-century synagogue with large pillars, stone benches, and the remains of a mosaic floor.

    It once stood two stories high with the second story supported by twelve to eighteen pillars. The second story was probably a women’s gallery.

  • Kfar Chabad

    The Chabad-Lubavitch village in Israel, Kfar Chabad, was founded by the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, in 1949. The first settlers were recent immigrants from the Soviet Union who had survived World War II and Stalinist oppression. Kfar Chabad, which is located about five miles south of Tel Aviv and includes agricultural lands as well as numerous educational institutions, serves as the headquarters of Chabad in the Holy Land.

  • Kibbutz Misgav Am

    The Kibbutz was founded in 1945 by former members of the Palmach and sits atop the Naphtali Mountain Range on the border with Lebanon. Its members have endured much hardship due to the security situation in the past few years and can well recall Operation Peace of the Galilee, the Security Zone, Israel’s hasty withdrawal, and the second Lebanon War and its aftermath.
  • Lake Kinneret

    The Kinneret, also known as the Sea of Galilee, is Israel’s largest fresh water reservoir. It is thirteen miles long and seven miles wide, and it is Israel’s most important source of drinking water.

    Its name goes back to the Talmudic era and derives from kinor (harp), as the Talmud says (Megilah 6a), “ . . . as sweet and mellow as the notes of the harp.”

    The beaches surrounding the lake vary in keeping with the local geography, creating different landscapes in every location. The eastern and western shores lie just below the Galilee Mountains.

    To the north is the Beit Tsida valley, a wide area with plentiful water, and to the south is the Jordan estuary, flowing south toward the desert regions.

  • Masada

    One and a quarter miles west of the Dead Sea, rising 1443 feet above sea level, is Masada. With its wide flat summit, it was the perfect place for military defenses. The first fortifications built on Masada were constructed by the Hasmoneans in 42 CE.

    Twenty years later, Herod added a wall, water storage cisterns, and a beautiful palace. Masada is famous for being one of the last Jewish strongholds after the Romans destroyed the second Holy Temple and Jerusalem in 70 CE. Numerous archeological finds confirm the story of the “Zealots” and their bravery as described by Josephus. Signs of Jewish religious life on the mountain include a mikveh (ritual pool) and a synagogue built so the congregation faced Jerusalem.

  • Menachem Tzion Synagogue

    The Menachem Tzion Synagogue was originally built in the Middle Ages.

    Rabbi Avraham Yeshaya Hurwitz (the SheLaH HaKadosh, 1565-1630) officiated here.

    This congregation was one of the first to be reestablished in the community after 1967, when there were still gaping holes from the wars in the front of the entrance. The beautiful eighteenth century ark was brought from Italy and the furnishing in the men’s section came from the synagogue of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808-1888) in Germany.

  • Mount Bental Observatory

    From the top of this dormant volcano cone (3845 feet high) that was once a military outpost, you can see majestic vistas of snow-capped Mount Hermon to the north and the Syrian side of the Golan to the east. Opposite is the deserted city of Kuneitra in the area known as the “Valley of Tears,” the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Yom Kippur War.

  • Mount Carmel

    Mount Carmel (li. “G-d’s Vineyard) is a stunning mountain range in the north of Israel extending from the Mediterranean Sea to the south east. During Biblical times, Elijah confronted the false ”prophets” of the pagan god, Ba’al atop the mountain in a dramatic showdown leading the Israelites to proclaim the existence of one G-d.

    Mount Carmel is home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna, and today the protected environment serves as nurturing ground for a handful of animals facing extinction. The city of Haifa is situated on the north-west slopes of the mountain and the Druze villages of Dalyat el-Carmel and Issufia are located along the center of the range.

  • Mount Meron

    The highest mountain in the Galil at more then 4,000 feet, Meron gets its fame on account of the many great Kabbalists and Talmudic sages buried on it. On the mountain are the remains of one of the oldest synagogues in the country, dating back to the time of the Second Temple. It has three entrance gates all facing in the direction of Jerusalem.

    The large domed building is the burial place of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai who lived in the 2nd century CE, and his son Rabbi Elazar. There are also the gravesites of the great Mishnaic sages Hillel and Shamai, as well as their students. Up to the right is the burial place of Rabbi Yochanan HaSandlar.

  • Odem Mountain Winery

    Israel’s northernmost winery was founded by the Alfasi family. It lies in the northern Golan Heights in the heart of an enchanting and secluded oak forest at an elevation of 1100 meters above sea level.
  • Or HaChaim Synagogue

    Rabbi Chaim Ben Atar, the Or HaChaim HaKadosh (1696-1743), famed for his groundbreaking commentary on the Torah, arrived in Jerusalem in 1742 and made his study hall in this building.

    The mikveh where he immersed himself was uncovered ten years ago, exactly where long-standing tradition recorded it ought to be. It can be seen to the left of the stairs leading to the women’s section.

    There is another room at the back of the men’s section where the Or HaChaim studied in sanctity and learned with Elijah the Prophet. Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, the Ari Zal, was born in 1534 in another part of the building.

  • Otzar HaStam Museum

    The Otzar HaStam Museum educates visitors about the craft of the Sofer Stam. The Sofer utilizes intricate calligraphy and specially prepared parchments to produce various ritual Jewish scrolls including Torah scrolls, mezuzas, and tefillin, phylacteries. The interactive tour provides an inside view of the work of the Sofer Stam, explaining the significance of their work and mystical insight into the ancient Hebrew alphabet.

  • Our Heroes

    Israeli soldiers wounded in battle have made enormous sacrifices on behalf of Israel and the Jewish People worldwide. Chabad’s Terror Victims Project volunteers visit them, providing laptop computers so they can stay in touch with friends all over and arranging trips of a lifetime.

    These trips take them to countries they would never have the opportunity to see, and learn skills such as skiing, which seem impossible given their disabilities.

    CTVP has great faith in these soldiers and knows that with help and support, they can achieve great things even with their disabilities. The emotional and psychological impact of these trips is enormous as they meet people the world over who show their love and respect for these true heroes of the Jewish People.

  • Palmach Museum

    Unlike a “regular” museum, you will not find any artifacts or documents on exhibition. Instead, you are invited to join a group of young idealists who take up arms to protect the Jews of Palestine. Commonly known by their acronym “Palmach” or “Striking Force”, these fighters served under the British against the Nazis and later formed the backbone of Israel’s defenses during the War of Independence. Some of the more famous members include Yitzchak Rabin and Hannah Senesh. Through use of film and stagecraft, you experience the arduous training undergone by recruits, the close friendships, bloody battles, and painful loss of comrades-in-arms.

  • Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz

    Born in Salonika, Greece, at the beginning of the 16th century, the holy Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz (1500–1580) was a great scholar. At an early age he authored the first of many important works, Manot HaLevi, a commentary on Megilat Esther, and presented it to his father-in-law as a gift in honor of his wedding. He reached Safed around the age of thirty-five, and once there, formed the group of mystical disciples who would later come under the influence of the holy Ari, including Rabbi Moshe Cordovero (who later married his sister), and Rabbi Yosef Karo.

    He is most famous for composing the mystical poem “Lecha Dodi,” the highlight of the Friday night liturgy, which calls the congregation to meet the Shabbat Queen with the joyous refrain: “Come out my beloved, the bride, to meet /The presence of Shabbat, let us greet!”

Personalities

Personalities

The Land and the Spirit is able to gain special access to leading figures. Check out some of those who have addressed our group in the past.

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Accommodations

Accommodations

The David Citadel Hotel, with a majestic view of the Old City, is within walking distance from the city center and is situated directly across from Alrov Mamilla Avenue and other major attractions. Mamilla Hotel Located in the heart of the City, alongside Jerusalem's new shopping and entertainment experience the Alrov Mamilla Avenue, with its magnificent views of the Old City walls, the Tower of David and Jaffa Gate, the Mamilla Hotel is the very heart of Jerusalem's rich cultural heritage and bustling day life and is a leading luxury hotel in Jerusalem.

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