On Friday, as I rode along the boardwalk overlooking the Mediterranean in the glorious midday sunshine I felt overwhelmed with gratitude for being able to live here. Stopping along the way for a cold beer and some live music I soaked in the sights and sounds that surrounded me. People are happy and relaxed, enjoying life with friends and family. Riding through a park I watched Jewish and Arab children playing together, running and laughing through a fountain. I wish so much that people outside of Israel could have seen Tel-Aviv through my eyes that day.
Necessity is the mother of invention. And here, living in the desert, failure was not an option. Israeli scientists rose to the task by creating the world's foremost water management technology. We have a historical precedent for this. Moses was able to get enough water out of a rock to quench the thirst of a nation. We're just doing it a bit differently this time.
Here are just a few activities happening over Pesach in this beautiful, mystical town. The best way to see Tsfat? Just wander along the cobblestoned alleys of the Old City, pop into the ancient shuls and marvel at the sweeping views of the mountains and the Kinneret.
Uncover Tsfat’s History at Beit Hameiri
This fascinating museum is free for you to peruse over chol hameod. Yehezkel Hameiri, a journalist and researcher, spent 20 years restoring this five-story building and adding many antiquities from Tsfat plus photographs, archives, paintings and collections of old timers’ tales.
There are also many museums, galleries and archeological parks all over the north that offer free admission during chol hamoed.
Beit Hameiri, 158 Keren Hayesod Street 04-6971307, 04-6921939
Tsfati Musical Hallel
If you like Carlebach-style prayer, Tzfat is the place to be for chol hameod. If you like to play, bring your instruments to The House of Love and Prayer and the Beirav synagogues. Many people bring guitars, flutes, violins and drums. They sing and dance, then sing some more.
Celebrate the holiday of freedom with Livnot
If you’re between 21 and 30 years and are looking for an inspiring Pesach experience, check out the Livnot Program. Running from April 20-26, participants will go hiking, volunteer in the community and be part of a festive Passover seder that you won’t forget!
Fine Kosher for Pesach Dining
You won’t go hungry if you’re visiting Tzfat over chol hamoed. Several great restaurants are kashered for the chag. These include the Art Café, Gan Eden, Araleh’s and Café Bagdad.
Wine and Cheese
Don’t miss a visit to Kadosh Cheeses, which is kasher for Pesach. Run by the Kadosh family for seven generations, they specialize in making salty Tzfati cheese, blue cheese kashkaval and pecorino. They also make the cheese on the premises and are happy to sit and chat over a Turkish coffee.
Described as one of the best kept secrets in Tsfat, the Abuhav winery is kosher for Pesach and open to visitors. It is a beautifully restored stone buildings with sweeping views of Meiron. Check out this video to see the transformation. And…the wines are exceptional.
Mimouna - A Moroccan Farewell
On the last evening of Pesach (April 30) after chag is out, come celebrate Mimouna with the North African Jewish community of Tsfat. Many families open their homes for tea, mofletta (a traditional pancake), nuts and dates.
In an effort to raise public awareness of the beneficial use of medical marijuana, a plantation near Tzfat is now offering tours and free samples. One city official was quoted as saying “It’s high time that people realize the strong connection between Tzfat and marijuana”.
The plantation, a government approved medical marijuana farm in the hills above Safed is at the forefront of medical marijuana research. Among the plants grown there, one strain is said to have the strongest psychoactive effect in the world. Others, known for anti-inflammatory benefits have no psychotropic affects whatsoever.
The response from local residents, among the first to line up for the tour, has been overwhelming. Company officials could not be reached so it remains unclear as to how long the tours will continue to operate.
Israeli researchers say that cannabis can be used to treat a number of diseases and conditions. Cancer patients often use marijuana to ease pain and improve appetite loss. It is also being prescribed for various neurological conditions and PTSD. One of the reasons for Israeli success in the cannabis industry is that Israeli authorities allow growers to work with scientific institutions in clinical trials and development of strains that treat a variety of illnesses and disorders.