Thursday, October 7, 2010

Living up North


People may think that the northern part of Israel stands for "vacation only", a higher unemployment rate, boring areas and inhabitants or no action except for Hizbollah missiles from time to time. Writing about Judaism and, in particular, the haredi world means living in Jerusalem or at least in Bnei Brak or Beit Shemesh. 
Who thinks about Tiberias or Tzfat (Safed) when it comes to Haredim ? 
Although both towns are among the four holy cities of Israel (besides Jerusalem and Hebron), both towns are also history. The Babylonian Talmud (Talmud Bavli) was finished in Tiberias and the small Sanhedrin had their court. Many Chassidim settled in Tiberias in the 18 and 19 hundreds but now the town is a kind of dead and full of tourists from all over the world. 

This claim is wrong, as also today, countless Haredim do live in Tiberias. Chabad, Breslov and Karlin - Stolin for instance. The rent here is much lower than in Jerusalem or in central Israel.

The same with Zfat. The town still stands for Kabbalah and all various forms of Jewish mysticism. Plenty of Breslovers live there. Not only the Na Nana Nachman's and Chabad is huge with its mainly Meshichistim stream. Additionally, you have chassidic groups such as Vishnitz, Stolin, Belz, Chernobyl or Zanz. Event the Toldot Aharon have been thinking about building a new center in town. Another popular direction are the Carlebachers. Not my cup of tea but they are around and hippie freaky looking.

Some Haredim consider Tzfat as a town full of religious nuts like the Na Na Breslovers. Not down on earth and only breathing spirituality. This is not always the case and you find many normal people in the area. 

Now I am up here in the area in order to look for a place to live. Today in Tiberias but from tomorrow, I am going to make Tzfat my temporary abode for looking around. I hope it won't be too boring for you hearing some stories from the "wild" north and about how things are going. I am here for ten days and then I have to return to Jerusalem for at least another two weeks in order to finish my bakery job and somehow get organized. 

So far I can only say that I feel a great need of going away from all the action in the big cities. Maybe I am getting old, maybe I have live in big stressful centers for most of my life. We will see ...


  1. > So far I can only say that I feel a
    > great need of going away from all the
    > action in the big cities.
    So you are in synch with Lech Lecha Parashah then !
    Good Luck !

  2. B"H

    I had thought about it already when I looked at the calendar.:-))))