The Jewish Cultural Quarter offers a vast array of guided tours led by professional tour guides trained by the Education Department. For those with special wishes customized tours can be arranged. Tours include the Portuguese Synagogue, the Jewish Historical Museum, walking tours around Jewish Amsterdam, and more.
The Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy is passionate about sharing and celebrating the Jewish heritage of the Lower East Side. The Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy is the only non-profit organization dedicated solely to the historic preservation of the Lower East Side’s sacred sites. Their mission is accomplished through quality touring programs, both private, public, and educational, which showcase the Lower East Side’s landmarks, history and people. A portion of the proceeds of each tour is returned to the sacred sites visited on that tour, contributing to their restoration and conservation. The Conservancy takes great pride in being a full service organization. What that means for their visitors is that they take the time to customize your tour and make your experience as enjoyable and memorable as possible. On your request, they will recommend restaurants, hotel accommodations, shopping venues, and transportation routes.
From its inception in 1998, the Conservancy has worked collaboratively with a broad spectrum of the Lower East Side’s cultural, social, historic, religious, architectural, programmatic, and business resources. The Conservancy’s local partners include the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, the Lower East Side Business Improvement District, The Educational Alliance, Henry Street Settlement, The Museum at Eldridge Street, the Angel Orensanz Cultural Foundation and Center for the Arts, 6th Street Community Center, and virtually all of the historic synagogues on the Lower East Side from East 14th Street. These collaborations have provided value-added for our visitors and partners.
In addition to the Lower East Side, the LESJC provides tours of other New York neighborhoods of Jewish importance, such as Jewish Harlem, the Upper West side, and Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Through graffiti and street art, food and culinary, artists and craftsmen- join us on a tour that will uncover a world you never knew before!
Our 5 senses tour is a full on experience that takes you through the mystical, ancient part of Tzfat, to be seen, felt , heard , touched, and tasted. We will experience Tzfat like never before. We will visit the ancients sites, we will hear the beautiful prayers, we will touch the ancient ruins, and we will taste the local delicacies. This is a unique tour given by a local, who has lived in Tzfat for 12 years and who made aliyah from Los Angeles, and the experience will be verstaile and informative, yet fun and interactive.
Just mention “Tzfat” to any Israeli, and you’ll automatically see the far off gaze and glimmer in his eye…Who doesn’t long for Tzfat, home to the one time Tzfat Kabbalists and mystics of yesteryear, the city perched upon a hill with clear air and mystery around every corner….Come visit this magical city, where the past and present are intricately woven together……
On this special tour we will explore the winding alleyways and cobblestone streets of Tzfat. We will view the varied and beautiful artwork displayed in the Artists’ Quarter and admire the awe-inspiring views of Meron and the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). We will also hear the miraculous stories of the War of Independence, and enter the Ancient Synagogues admiring their beauty and taking in their holiness. This historical tour also includes a few stop-offs at important historical religious sites in the Old Jewish Quarter, and the once operating British Police Station among other places.
You can also visit Otzar HaStam, Tzfat’s newest Biblical attraction – and one of the best. Not only is it a hands-on, time-travel adventure, Otzar HaStam brings Judaism to life with its interactive trivia game show, and the Letters of Adventure ride (built by the same people who make educational adventure rides for Disney’s Epcot Center). It also takes you back in time to the world of the ancient scribes when you participate in a scribe workshop. Discover the mystical secrets of the Hebrew letters, their role in creation of the universe, the receiving of the Ten Commandments and more.
Photo attribution: Adam Jones from Kelowna, BC, Canada, CC BY-SA 2.0
Safed Old City – the capital of the Upper Galilee, a city full of charm and inspiration that lies between the mountains of the Upper Galilee. The magical alleyways of Safed have been preserved from ancient times, bearing ancient secrets and legends that were told over the years and became an integral part of the Safed tradition.
The spiritual capital of the Galilee, an captivating and mystical city. The perfect way to experience the north of Israel. During the tour we will visit unique places in the city that have historical significance, view the breathtaking scenery of the Galilee Mountains, hear stories about figures from the ancient world, visit the galleries alley in its picturesque lanes and be inspired by the local art.
Visitors to Israel are often amazed by the juxtapositions of ancient and modern that define their tour experiences. With findings dating back to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th centuries, Beit She’arim National Park definitely falls on the ancient side of the continuum. Located approximately 12 miles east of Haifa, Beit She’arim is best known for its range of intact burial sites. The most famous is the grave of Rabbi Judah HaNasi, the compiler of the Mishnah, a central Jewish reference text that is still studied today.
So impressive are the archeological finds at Beit She’arim that it appears on a tentative list for being recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Within the past five years, two new caves were opened to the public here, so that there are now more than 20 burial caves to explore.
The Beit She’arim burial caves are richly decorated with reliefs and paintings rich with Jewish symbols, including the shofar, which is associated with the Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur holidays; the lulav and etrog, which are still used on Sukkot; and the Ark of the Covenant and a menorah with seven branches, which are symbols of the Temples in Jerusalem. Other images that are not specifically Jewish – such as boats, animals and geometric patterns – can be found here as well. Images of Greek gods in human form are also pictured. Inscriptions appear most often in Greek, but there are some in Hebrew, Aramaic and in the obscure Aramaic dialect known as Palmyran.
In addition to touring the caves, the top of park’s hill has many ruins of the ancient city of Beit She’arim to explore. Look for the bronze statue of Alexander Zayid, who was among the founders of two Jewish defense organizations in the early 20th century, including Hashomer. Literally, Hashomer means “the guard.” It was an organization of Zionist pioneers that defended and protected the nascent Jewish agricultural settlements in pre-state Palestine. Also on the hill is the tomb of the Muslim Sheikh Abreik, distinctive because of its double dome.
In 1956, a construction crew at this site unearthed what was eventually identified as a nine-ton piece of glass. When a furnace for glassmaking stood here, ancient Beit She’arim must have been home to a remarkable glassmaking operation.
Beth Shearim was an important Rabbinical center in the time of the Mishnah, and one of the Sanhedrin’s seats. Later, the site was abandoned, and even its location was forgotten. Rediscovered in the 1930s, today Beth Shearim is an important archaeological site and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Located in the fertile plains of the western Jezreel valley, Beth Shearim (In Hebrew ‘House of Barley’) was a Jewish center in antiquity. In the 2nd century CE Beth Shearim housed the Jewish high court (the ‘Sanherdin’) and was also the hometown of Rabbi Judah ‘Hanasi’ (‘The Prince’).
During the Temple’s period, the higher court assembled in the ‘Hall of hewn stones’ which was on the Temple Mount. Later, after the destruction of the Temple, it resumed its activity in Yavne, and later it wondered between Usha, Sheferam, Beth-Shearim, Sepphoris, and Tiberias. The Talmudic-era Sanhedrin was disbanded by the Byzantine Christian Authorities in 425 CE, and was never resumed again. Read more about the Sanhedrin and a tour following the Sanhedrin here.
Bet Shearim was also reputed for its cemetery, where many Rabbis were buried in catacombs. But following the Galus rebellion, in 350 CE the site was abandoned, and eventually even its location was forgotten.
Beth Shearim was rediscovered by chance by Alexander Zaid, a Jewish pioneer who oversaw Jewish properties purchased in the Western Jezreel valley. He reported on the discovery of an ancient burial cave to the Hebrew University. An archaeological expedition dug the cave and its surroundings and discovered that it was part of an ancient cemetery (necropolis), adjacent to a city from Roman times. A Greek Inscription engraved over one of the tombs indicated the deceased was native of “Bisara” – the Greek name for Beth Shearim. Beth Shearim was finally re identified.
The excavations yielded evidence mostly of the city’s cemetery. Hundreds of burials, mostly in stone coffins (sarcophagi) were recorded in over 50 burial caves set like catacombs. Some of the coffins were well decorated, and some were found with inscriptions. It is estimated that many Jews wanted to be buried here, as it was the burial site of the famous Rabbi Judah Hanasi.
Of the city itself little in known, and most of ancient Beth Shearim is still waiting to be excavated. Nevertheless, two basilica-shaped public buildings found near the city’s walls are possibly ancient synagogues and perhaps even the Sanhedrin’s council building.
Visiting Beth Shearim
Today, Beth Shearim is a national Park and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is known mostly for its catacombs, now all lit up. One of the caves was developed to a museum that also includes an introduction video.
The site is children-friendly and can be a great adventure for kids fond of mystery caves.
A tour of Beth Shearim can be combined with in a day tour in the north.
A unique tour covering amazing and exciting sites that have yet to be discovered by everyone. As their popularity is rising, they are excited to offer a very authentic experience for all, such as Beit Shearim – The city of Dead, a winery with social values, and the most beautiful mosaics in the Holyland in Zippori. Rich history, exciting archeology, great wine, and a funky guide all combined in one tour. I love guiding, I love the land of Israel and nothing makes me happier than to share this love with others. I present very rich and informative guidance while presenting the information in a very vivid manner.
Siege of Masada from first sight. Watch the sunrise from the top of masada, float in the dead sea, and find other unforgettable desert experiences with pickup and drop-off in Jerusalem. Departures are offered everyday.