Abuhav Synagogue is a 16th-century synagogue in the old city of Safed. It was named after Rabbi Yitzhak Abuhav, a Spanish Talmudic scholar and Kabbalist. Let’s begin our visit!
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Abuhav Synagogue is located on Simtat Abuhav in the old city of Safed.
Here is a map of the area with marked POI.
And here is the touristic map of Safed.
- You can enlarge the map by clicking on it.
- Abuhav Synagogue is located on Simtat Abuhav, and it is marked as #20 on the map above.
If you are interested in directions and parking, then check out my guide to Safed.
Here are the approximate opening hours:
Sunday – Thursday: 09:00 – 16:00 and 18:00 – 20:00.
Friday: 09:00 – 12:00 and 18:30 – 20:30.
Saturday: 06:00 – 11:00 and 17:00 – 20:00.
Phone: 04-692-3885, 050-411-5127
About Abuhav Synagogue
A 16th-century synagogue named after Rabbi Yitzhak Abuhav, a 15th-century Spanish scholar, author of “Menorat Hama’or.”
The Holy Ark on the far right of the southern wall contains the “Abuhav Torah scroll,” which, according to tradition, was scribed by Rabbi Abuhav himself.
Because of its sanctity, the scroll is taken out only on Yom Kippur, Shavuoth, and Rosh Hasanna (forming the Hebrew acronym “Kosher”). Historical sources indicate that the original Abuhav Synagogue was located in another building, next to the Sephardic Ari Synagogue. In the 1759 earthquake, that synagogue was destroyed, and the Abuhav scroll was brought here. This building was then known as the “Great Synagogue” and was subsequently renamed Abuhav Synagogue.
Tradition relates that only the sanctity of the Abuhav scroll saved it. The synagogue has since been restored. It is unique in its dimensions and opulence-at its center is an oval dome, decorated with murals, supported by four massive columns. The stone facade outside had severely deteriorated. It was replaced at the end of the 20th century with newly carved replicas of the original designs. It was customary to hold wedding ceremonies in the spacious front courtyard to ensure fertility and longevity.
Source: sign on site.
The synagogue was built in the sixteenth century, and its southern wall contains three Arks. The bima is in the center, and the benches for the congregation are arranged around it, as was customary in ancient synagogues. The interior of the synagogue dome is decorated with depictions of musical instruments that were used in the Temple in Jerusalem, symbols of the tribes of Israel, and four crowns, representing the Torah crown, the priestly crown, the royal crown, and a crown unique; to Sated: “the crown of impending redemption.” in keeping with the numerological tradition of Kabbalah, the design of the synagogue has numerical significance: one bima, two steps to it, three Arks, and so forth. The works of well-known Israel artist Ziona Tagger adorn the walls.
Abuhav Synagogue is one of the most popular synagogues in Safed. And if you are visiting the old city, I suggest making a stop there.
Have you been to Abuhav Synagogue? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.
That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!
For additional points of interest nearby check out Safed.
Additional ResourcesHere are several resources that I created to help travelers:
- Israel Trip Planner is the page that will help you to create your perfect travel route.
- National Parks And Nature Reserves page lists and put all national parks on the map. There is also a top list, information about ticket types and campsites.
- If you are looking for things to do, here are the pages for Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Sea Of Galilee, and Makhtesh Ramon.
- Wondering what events are there in Israel? Here is the Events And Festivals By Season guide.