Four Holy Cities
We all know that Jerusalem is Judaism’s holiest city. It is the site of where the ancient great Temples stood. Here, on the Temple Mount, according to tradition, Abraham nearly sacrificed Isaac. Today, one of its borders is the Western Wall, an outer wall of the Second Temple complex. Many Jews flock there for prayer and inspiration.
Did you know there are three other Jewish holy cities in Israel? One is Hebron on the West Bank. This is the site of the Cave of the Patriarchs, where most of Judaism’s patriarchs and matriarchs are buried (and some say Adam and Eve, too). There are two small Jewish neighborhoods in Hebron. The most famous is Shchunat Avraham Avinu, not far from the Cave of the Patriarchs.
The next holy city is Tiberias, located on the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel. Here, the Jerusalem Talmud was compiled, and in the 18th and 19th centuries great rabbis came to study.
Finally, we have Safed (or Tzfat) in the Galilean mountains. Spanish Jews expelled from their country in 1492 fled there, and it became a center of kaballah, Jewish mystical thought. Today, it maintains several kabbalistic synagogues, as well as an eclectic collection of Israeli artists. •
— Maayan Jaffe