Interior of the historic Sephardic Ary synagogue in Tsfat, Israel.

© Howard Sandler/Shutterstock

Sephardic Ari Synagogue

Upper Galilee & Golan

Tsfat’s oldest synagogue – it's mentioned in documents from as far back as 1522 – was frequented by the Ari, the great 16th-century Kabbalist, who found inspiration in the panoramic views of Mt Meron and the tomb of Shimon bar Yochai. To the left of the raised bimah (platform) is a small room, glowing with candles, where he is said to have studied mystical texts with the prophet Elijah. The present structure is partly the result of rebuilding after the earthquake of 1837.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Upper Galilee & Golan attractions

1. HaMeiri Museum

0.04 MILES

Housed in a 150-year-old building that once served as the seat of Tsfat’s rabbinical court, this museum illustrates Jewish life in Tsfat during the 19th…

2. Kadosh Dairy

0.05 MILES

Run by the Kadosh family for seven generations, this microdairy produces minuscule quantities of deliciously sharp, salty gvina Tzfatit (Tsfat-style…

3. Ari’s Mikveh

0.06 MILES

A boldface Hebrew sign on the gate reads ‘entry for men only’. The reason: not fear of women but rather the fact that inside naked men are taking ritually…

4. Abuhav Synagogue

0.07 MILES

Named after the 15th-century Spanish scholar Rabbi Yitzhak Abuhav, this synagogue was founded in the 16th century but moved to its present location after…

5. HaMeiri Dairy

0.08 MILES

Run by the same family for six generations, this small dairy takes about 80,000 litres of sheep’s milk a year and turns it into delicious cheeses,…

6. Caro Synagogue

0.08 MILES

Decorated with Middle Eastern arches, hanging lamps and bookshelves heavy with holy texts, this synagogue – like the street it’s on – is named in…

7. Tombs of the Kabbalists

0.09 MILES

The graves of many of Tsfat’s greatest sages and Kabbalists are about one-third of the way down the slope of the Ancient Jewish Cemetery, just below a…

8. Yehezkel HaMeiri Viewpoint


Situated at the very bottom of Ma'alot Olei HaGardom, this platform affords views of the Kabbalists' tombs and Mt Meron.