Rucheli's Writings

Readings, Ramblings, and Religious Rantings

Stars, Stairs, and Soulmates September 22, 2010

Filed under: My Blog,Photos — rucheli @ 3:31 pm
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I’ve realized that I really enjoy using alliterations in my titles… Hope you like them as much as I do 🙂 And I also enjoying tweaking the blog design of my page, but I think that I’ve found one that I really like, so it should stay like this for a while at least.

Anyway, since my last post was mostly about the holiday of Yom Kippur itself rather that our experiences in Northern Israel, I figured that another post was in order. Like I said earlier, Northern Israel is similar to central California, with vineyards, mountains, rivers, forests, and amazing views. The city of Tzfat is no exception.

Tzfat is a city with some amazing history to it, with some of the most famous kabbalists of all time setting up shop there over the years. It also is a city of some amazing sights. The place is thousands of years old and built into the side of a mountain that overlooks most of Israel. Because of that, there was a citadel that was built on the top of the mountain. It was built by the Crusaders and has been used in every major war for reconnaissance. Since Roman times, the city of Tzfat has been fought over and whoever controlled it has controlled the entire Northern Israel/Galilee/Golan Heights area. Now the top of the mountain where the citadel once stood has been turned into a beautiful park with incredible overlooks and a monument at the top for the fallen soldiers of Israel’s Independence War. The ruins of the Crusader’s citadel is still there and we had the pleasure of exploring the area by the light of the moon the night after Yom Kippur ended. When we reached the peak of the mountain where the monument stands, what did we find? An Orthodox Rabbi with a bunch of secular Israelis, all playing guitar and singing under the moonlight while passing LChaims around the circle… Only in Tzfat 🙂

Citadel Park

Entrance to Citadel Park

Lonely Chair

Lonely Chair at the Overlook

Independence War Memorial

Independence War Memorial

All over Tzfat you’ll also see ruins from the various wars: houses that were never rebuilt, bullet holes in the sides of walls, and demolished buildings turned into local hangouts. (more…)


Day of Atonement, Day of Ascent

Filed under: My Blog — rucheli @ 12:55 pm
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I’m going to attempt to catch up on the missing blog posts from the last few days, we’ll see what happens. I think we left off just before Yom Kippur, so here we go.

Last Friday morning I got on a bus from Jerusalem to Tzfat with Menucha, Talia, Chana, and Amy. It was a 3.5 hour bus ride, which in Israel is a very long time since the entire country is the size of Rhode Island. It took so long because Tzfat (or Zefat or Safed) is almost as far north as you can go before hitting Lebanon or Syria.

Map of Israel

Tzfat is in the Top Right Corner

The ride wasn’t bad though because the scenery was great. Israel is one of those places where you are a few hours from everything… Beaches, mountains, deserts, living history, modern skyscrapers, snorkeling, surfing, camel riding, whitewater kayaking, you name it. Northern Israel in particular looks like central California. Green mountains, vineyards, flourishing farmlands, large bodies of water, it’s just gorgeous.

We got into Tzfat at about 1:30pm and found our way to Ascent, a hostel and retreat center in Tzfat. Ascent is a great place to go for a cheap night of sleep, meals, holiday programming, and great classes with local Chabad shluchim (emissaries). For Yom Kippur they were completely full, with about a hundred of us staying and participating in the holiday programming. We had called and made reservations for 4 people…. and there were 5 of us. And since I was the last one to join on the bandwagon, I was left without a place to sleep. So when we got there we asked if there were any beds that had opened up. No. Any cots or extra mattresses? No. Any extra pillows and blankets so I could sleep on the floor? NO. Great… (more…)