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Waiting for the Messiah in Safed


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

we set out towards Safed (aka, Tzfat) bright and early on another beautiful day. We learned about the difference between religious practice based on practicality versus that based on mysticism. Safed was mystical in all respects. The residents firmly believe the Messiah will make his way to Jerusalem, and Safed will be along the way. Avi, our wonderful guide, shared a story of a woman who sat on her stoop each day enjoying her tea. Every day she had two cups nearby — one for her and one for the Messiah when he came.

We had a prayer service in the spot where each Friday for centuries residents of this ancient hilltop town have welcomed the Shabbat “bride.” We visited the International Center for Kabbalah, where a sophisticated computer program can analyze someone’s Hebrew name and birth date and show all the places his or her name appears in the parashah corresponding to his or her birth. There also was time to roam, explore, shop for Judaica or just watch school girls playing during their recess.

We boarded the bus to head for the Jordan River and see the Israel-Jordan border. At Kibbutz Gesher, our wonderful tour guide made the region come alive with the history of Israel’s (and the area’s) first hydroelectric plant, which actually was located in Jordan! The actual border is located in the middle of the river, although the border fence is located on the Israeli side. We crossed through the border fence with the knowledge of both the Israeli and Jordanian armies, but we hadn’t obtained permission to touch the river. The threat of being shot was enough to keep us all away.

Finally, and with great anticipation, we began out trip to Jerusalem. We all were excited, but Avi’s enthusiasm for the city was contagious. It is ironic that a city whose name means “City of Peace” has been the center of anything but. A brief stop for a prayer service overlooking the city made us feel like we really were home. Although excited, we really looked forward to touring the city the next day and uncovering all it had to offer.

— The Cohn Family


Back to Israel Journal (2009)


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Getting ready to depart Kfar Blum
Getting ready to depart Kfar Blum
A narrow alleyway in Safed
A narrow alleyway in Safed
The group in Safed, the mystical city of the Jews
The group in Safed, the mystical city of the Jews
Enjoying falafel in Safed
Enjoying falafel in Safed
In the background, the old dining room of Kibbutz Gesher
In the background, the old dining room of Kibbutz Gesher
Overlooking Kibbutz Gesher and Jordan
Overlooking Kibbutz Gesher and Jordan
On the border with Jordan at Kibbutz Gesher
On the border with Jordan at Kibbutz Gesher
The kids teach us about Yitzhak Rabin's peace deal with Jordan
The kids teach us about Yitzhak Rabin's peace deal with Jordan
We arrive at the Inbal Hotel in Jerusalem
We arrive at the Inbal Hotel in Jerusalem
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