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Jewish Heritage Tour to the Galilee

Jewish Heritage Tour to the Galilee

Northern Israel is known for its natural pastoral beauty and special Jewish history. In biblical times it was part of the northern Israelite kingdom, neighboring the Phoenicians and the kingdom of Aram. In the Second Temple Period it was known for its Galilean Jewish population, as reflected also in the New Testament. Later both the Mishna and the Jerusalem Talmud were codified in the Galilee, as well as Rabbi Yoseph Karo’s monumental work on Jewish law – “Shulchan Aruch”. This specially crafted tour will review the main sites relating to Jewish history in the Galilee and reflect on their impact on Judaism to this day.

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

tomb-of-rachel-tiberiasNestling 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.

Contact us to inquire more about a Jewish Heritage Tour to the Galilee:

    Did you Know?

    Over 70 synagogues were uncovered in the Galilee and the Golan Heights dating to the Byzantine period. These finds attest best to the intensity of Jewish presence in northern Israel in Talmudic times.

    Let me say to you and you may use this as a sincere testimonial: You Danny the Digger are an outstanding guide, educator, archeologist and political pundit providing exciting and most intelligent information to the visitor on events of the past, their impact on the Jewish world and our concerns with the future. I have been to Israel 100+ times but notwithstanding, one always learns particularly from people like you.

    Tom H., CJA Chairman, Canada

    I recommend his services wholeheartedly for the synagogue group I will be leading this coming October/November. While his certification is currently specific to archaeology, my experience is that he will be fully able to handle the range of explanations that our group will need, in order to have a meaningful tour.

    Rabbi Michael P., USA

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