The Galilee is a land of many different aspects and treasures: nature, history, and archeology, just to name a few! Located in the northern part of the country, it is known to be a diverse region throughout history, there are always places to explore! The green hills are home to many kinds of animals, religions, and people. People have in fact been living in the Galilee for thousands of years. We will explore it all in order to fully understand this rich and special area of Israel. We are going to spend two days in the Galilee, and all of its treasures.
During our 2 days we will see and discuss:
- and so much more
We will begin our first day in Safed (Tzfat), the capital of Kabbalah and Klezmer music. But there is so more than Kabbalah and Klezmer in the city. There is a rich history to the beautiful city, and for good reason! When we are there we will see that this city is on top of a mountain. It provides good protection against invaders, and a has great water source. According to CNN, Tzfat is one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
During our visit we will see and explore:
- The burial spot of Shem, son of Adam.
- There are Crusader remains from the Second Crusader Kingdom of the 1100’s.
- The Kabbalistic community, established in the 1600’s. We will unravel the some of the mysteries of this mystical Jewish movement.
- The Artist Colony, and the many shops of Kabbalistic and Jewish art.
- The cemetery of the Jewish population.
Mount Meron is the second highest mountain in Israel. Don’t worry, we won’t climb it (not this trip at least). There is a large nature park on Mt. Meron with several trails to hike along. But that’s not why thousands of people come here during the Jewish holiday of Lag B’Omer. It is also the site of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai’s burial. Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai is a great rabbi and writer, in addition to being a great Rabbi was in the 2nd century, who was considered a great teacher. We will visit his grave before taking a hike around the top of the mountain to see the beautiful Galilee around us.
The town of Peki’in is truly remarkable. The majority of the residents living here are of the Druze faith, but there are also Muslim, Christian, (and a Jewish) residents. It is here that Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai hid in a cave, in order to hide from Roman authorities. Today, there is only one Jewish woman living in the whole town! It is her job to care for the synagogue. We will discover this unique town, and learn about the Druze faith, culture, and role in Israeli society. We will also taste traditional Druze food for lunch in the city of Peki’in!
Yehiam Convoy Memorial
We are going to jump forward in the historical timeline to Israel’s War of Independence. During the second half of the War, the new army sent a convoy from Haifa to different parts of northern Israel to resupply and reinforce various communities. However, on March 27, 1948 the convoy was ambushed on the way to Kibbutz Yehiam. We will:
- hear the story of the convoy and remember the 47 Haganah fighters who were killed in the ambush,
- Look at the memorial, and discuss what it means to remember such events,
- And learn a little bit more about the War of Independence.
We will end the day with a short hike along the Kziv Riverbed, which flows into the Mediterranean Sea. Along the trail we will walk through some fresh water, and see some of the wonderful trees, and animals we have in Israel! It is a riverbed that passes the city of Ma’alot, the town of Mitzpe Hila, where Gilad Shalit is from, and more. It was an important region in history as well. The Crusaders built the Monfort fortress because of the high mountain and the fresh water below in the riverbed. We will take the time to meditate on the day, the importance of the region, and the beauty of the nature around us. After the hike we will go to the hotel for dinner and check in.
We will begin the second day of our Galilee trip at the moshav Nahalal. Its founders established the first moshev in 1921. It is designed in a very special style—in a circular manner with three separate circles.
- The inner circle was the town function circle, this is where the post office, the grocery, the town hall, etc.
- The middle circle was a residential circle, where people lived.
- The outer circle was for the fields the residents worked and grew produce.
We will explore the moshav, discuss what the difference between a moshav and kibbutz is, and talk about why the founders of Nahalal, like so many others came to the north, and the Galilee specifically, to begin a new life.
Tsipori was one of the centers of the Jewish leadership after the fall of the Second Temple. The Temple was destroyed, as was Jerusalem. The Jewish leadership couldn’t sit in Jerusalem. From Tzippori the Jewish leadership had very important decisions to make. The remains we see explain what life was like during a time, when Judaism had to change because of what had happened in the country. We will explore what Judaism was thousands of years ago, and what that means today.
We will take a look at:
- the lower city of Tzippori,
- the Roman theatre,
- a typical house of the time,
- and the synagogue.
Shifting our focus, we will continue to the city of Nazareth, a very influential city in the religion of Christianity. Mary’s annunciation by the angel Gabriel takes place here. Gabriel comes to the Virgin Mary to tell her she is pregnant with Jesus, and so begins a life and story that will shape one of the largest monotheistic religions in the world.
We will explore
- both the Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches that commemorate the annunciation,
- the Synagogue Church,
- the White Mosque
- and other important spots in the city before stopping for a tasty lunch.
Tiberius is an important city for Israel, and has been throughout history. The city was named after a Roman Emperor and fully equipped with hot springs, a synagogue and more. The Jewish leadership came here, moving from Tzippori. It was a center for Jews during a time where Jews couldn’t go to Jerusalem. During the Ottoman Period, Tiberius was built up again as a center in the Galilee region. We will:
- explore the city’s history,
- see how it developed,
- and talk about important figures throughout its history.
Ginosar is a Kibbutz on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee. It is also home to what is called the ‘Jesus Boat,’ a boat dating to the time of Jesus Christ. We believe it to be Jesus’ boat based off of both context and archeology.
We will see the Jesus Boat and discuss the role of the Sea of Galilee in the life and ministry of Jesus.
Kibbutz Ginosar was also home to Palmach commander and IDF general Yigal Alon. Alon was an essential general and figure in early statehood Israel. He fought many battles, and offered many plans of peace during his career.
We will visit his memorial and burial site, during which we will explore his life and impact on Israeli society.
Ein Gev Hotel
We will finish the day and our Galilee trip by driving to Kibbutz Ein Gev to check into the hotel, and an authentic dinner on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.