Explore the Jewish burial caves of Beth-Shearim
Your first stop will be exploring Beth-Shearim‘s famed underground cemetery. An important Rabbinical center in the time of the Mishnah, and Beth-Shearim was rediscovered in the 1930s, its excavations uncovered part of the old town, including the possible seat of the Sanhedrin. However, its main attraction is its ancient necropolis, which is apparently developed around the fabled tomb of Rabbi Judah “the Prince”.
See where the Mishna was codified in Sepphoris
A merely 20 minutes’ drive east of Beth-Shearim lie the ruins of ancient Sepphoris. The city where the Mishna was codified was indeed a major Jewish center and a hub of Rabbinical activity. Strolling in its streets you will trace the finds relating to Sepphoris’ Jewish past. Main attractions will be the possible location of Rabbi Judah’s home, a Jewish neighborhood, and a synagogue with surprising themes in its mosaic floor.
Tour the Talmudic center of Tiberias
Nestling on the western shores of the Sea of Galilee, Tiberias has a long and rich Jewish Past. It is where the Jerusalem Talmud was codified and Hebrew diacritical signs (“Nikud”) were invented. Today, Tiberias is mostly known for its tombs of Rabbis, scattered across the city. After a lunch break you will have the opportunity to visit the tomb mark of Maimonides, the greatest Jewish philosopher of all times.
South of the modern city you will review the finds from the time of the Talmud, including the possible seat of the Sanhedrin in Tiberias. Time permitting, before heading back you could also make a stop at Magdala and review the rare discovery of a first century synagogue.
Optional tour to the Mystical Kabbalah city of Tsfat
If you have toured Tiberias in the past, or have a stronger interest in Jewish Kabbalah, it is possible touring Tsfat instead. Founded by the Crusaders, Safed became a major Jewish center in the 16th century. Strolling through the Jewish quarter’s main street you will have a chance to visit some of its centuries’ old synagogue and appreciate the many Judaica and art galleries. Time permitting, on the way back it will also be possible to visit the popular tomb mark of the Rashbi.