ב"ה

Rabbi Yosef Karo Synagogue

A devoted mystic as well as a brilliant and systematic halachic authority, Rabbi Yosef Karo (1488-1575) arrived in Safed from Turkey some time after the expulsion from Spain. In Safed, he served as chief rabbi and head of the rabbinic court. His halachic compendium, Beit Yosef, was highly regarded around the Jewish world. He later summarized the entire body of Jewish law in his work, the Shulchan Aruch, the foundation of the Code of Jewish Law recognized by all to the present day.

Built in the 16th century of marble and stone, the building was a great synagogue and a center of learning until the earthquake of 1759, after which it was rebuilt as a more modest structure. Early chassidic settlers to the holy city took residence in the synagogue in the 1770s and stayed there through the earthquake of 1837.

Rabbi Yitzchak Goyatos (Guetta), the Italian philanthropist, donated greatly to rebuilding the synagogue as a house of study, and it bears the same type of Italian marble floors of the Abuhav and Ari synagogues.