Israel is full of architecture achievements and one of the most outstanding – that is not usually seen on tours – is the Italian Synagogue, located on Hillel Street. If you passed the building you would say – ‘oh interesting’. You must go inside! It is a hidden jewel. As you enter the synagogue you are in awe with the ornately decorated gold leave ark and the exquisite craftsmanship of Italian artists. This synagogue, built in 1701, was transported from Conegliano, a small village located near Venice, Italy to Jerusalem by a group of Italian residents. Our guide described the history and details of this beautiful interior. “Amazing and breathtaking” is how CAARI participants described their impressions. The tour continued through a small museum with a variety of religious items crafted in Italy, some from the 16th century. What workmanship!
Our next stop was another of King Herod’s gems – what a builder! During our CAARI tour we have seen several of King Herod’s colossal building projects – the Second Temple, Masada, Caesarea and the Herodian, located just outside Jerusalem. Not only did he build a palace, but also he built the mountain on which the palace was constructed. It is really hard to imagine how they did this so many centuries ago. One of the most interesting aspects of our visit was that this is still a current archeological dig. Ehud Netzer, an archeologist from Hebrew University, and his team have recently discovered (and are uncovering) the tomb of King Herod! It is just amazing to see them working on this! We can say that CAARI was there! From Herodian to a visit to Efrat and the Etizion Winery. This is a small winery located in the Judean Hills, but a big winner for their for their Cabernet Fran Wine of 2005 – in the “Golden Medallion” in the Teravino Wine Contest. A toast to their achievement!