Thursday, March 15, 2012

I miss Safed!!

The mountains, the air, the Klezmer, the kerchiefs. 
Especially personal because of my Chabad family living there, working hard to ensure every Jewish child has a school to go to where he or she can learn about their incredible heritage.

The following (written by a friend in Tzfat) is a basic overview of Chabad in Tzfat with links to the Zissil encyclopedic website for more detailed info. Enjoy!

Chabad's roots in Tzfat go back to the early years of the 19th century. The third Chabad Rebbe encouraged his followers to move to the Land of Israel and acquire property in the country. Many of these disciples moved to Israel and the Chabad community bought land in the eastern part of the Old Jewish Quarter in 1820. They built the Tzemach Tzedek synagogue on Hatam Sofer Street.

During the ensuing decades the Chabad community dwindled along with the general Jewish population of Tzfat. In the early 1970s the Rebbe of Chabad directed a "garin" -- nucleus '' of his followers to settle in Tzfat and establish a Chabad community. Several young couples heeded this request and in 1972 the revitalized Chabad of Tzfat began to plant its roots in the city.

The early focuses of the Chabad settlers of the '70s was housing and education. To answer the need for low-income housing, Chabad established Kiryat Chabad in the Canaan neighborhood of Tzfat. Today the neighborhood includes several hundred apartments along with a central synagogue, mikva, and supermarket which carries food products which carry the Chabad hechsher.

The Chabad leadership also opened schools, kindergardens and other educational institutions to serve the needs of the Chabad community. All Chabad educational institutions are open to the general Jewish public in Tzfat. The Machon Alte seminary provides instruction for women who are interested in learning about Judaism. Ascent serves as a hostel with drop-in classes for Jews of all ages and nationalities. Kollel Chabad operates Tzfat's largest soup kitchen. Tememei Derech Yeshiva teaches young English speakers about Chabad  and the StamCenter serves as an interactive center for teaching about the craft of Sofer Stam.


rutimizrachi said...

I'll be so glad when you and Tzfat are hanging out together again! I'm behind in my Chava'le reading... but soon it will be less crazy-work-pressure around here; and I'll catch up. And of course there's Pesach cleaning...

the sabra said...

Well, Chava'le reading can be a reward for Pesach cleaning, no?

Currently, Ruti reading will be my reward for Pesach newsletter writing :)