Short history of Zichron Ya’akov
‘Zichron Ya’akov’ (In Hebrew: ‘In Memory of Jacob’) is one of the first Jewish agricultural farms in the Holy Land. Founded by the Baron James (=Ya’akov) de Rothschild, Zichron Ya’akov was named in his honor, and developed to a great degree thanks to his financial support. Rothschild also established a wine company in Zichron, which is operates to this day (Carmel Mizrahi). In the early 20th century a Jewish espionage organization called NILI operated from Zichron Ya’akov to support the British. Sadly, they eventually were uncovered and some of its members were hanged in Damascus.
Touring Zichron Ya’akov
Zichron, as the Israelis call it, is known today as a small but welcoming town. Visitors are welcomed to stroll along the ‘Founders street’, where stone-built houses with pre-modern agricultural utensils still stored in the backyard. Zichron is also a great for wine tasting, at several local wineries. Its old synagogue is an impressive sample of early Zionist architecture. The Aharonson Family House is also a popular attraction, presenting the family and their leading role in the NILI organization. The old cemetery is also worth a visit, presenting the terrible death toll among the early pioneers due to malaria, and especially among infants. The most famous tomb however is of Sarah Aharonson, member of the NILI organization. When she was captured by the Turks, she shot herself, favoring a more honorable death to being hanged in Damascus.
A tour of Zichron Ya’akov can be combined with a day tour in the north.
Setting a Bar-Mitzvah in Zichron Ya’akov
Zichron Ya’akov is a great and unique location to set a Bar-Mitzvah event. Its old stone-built synagogue is a great setting to read the from the Torah, connecting the event to the earliest stages of the Zionist movement. The ceremony can be followed by an event in one of the local restaurants or hotels.