Feb. 22 – Italian Synagogue and Old City

Today we began our tour with the beautiful Italian Synagogue, located on Hillel Street.   It is one of those hidden gems, not only in the history of Jerusalem but in the artistic beauty of the artifacts. The Museum was set up to collect, preserve and display objects pertaining to Jewish life in Italy from the Renaissance period through to the present time.  We had an outstanding guide who described the Museum’s collection and the  richness of Jewish life in Italy throughout the ages.

The outstanding highlight of the Museum is the ancient synagogue, which is now used by Italian Jewish community in Jerusalem: it was originally the synagogue of Conegliano Veneto, a village located between Padua and Venice. We were all in awe as we toured the synagogue and the museum.

From there we drove to the  Zion Gate and walked in and out of rain showers, to the Jewish Quarter and another majestic synagogue, the Hurva.  Our local guide for this tour was Yoel and quite the guide who brought the history of the synagogue to life!  We first saw the main sanctuary filled with religious men studying the Torah.  From there Yoel took us to the basement of the building to see the ancient Roman Street.  The synagogue was founded in the early 18th century by followers of  Shabtei Zvi brought to Israel by Yehuda HaHasid in 1700 and  it was destroyed by the local Muslims in 1721 due to the fact that the Jewish population borrowed money and could not pay it back. Joel explained that the synagogue was rebuilt several times.  After the 6 Day War in 1967 one arch was rebuilt,and  after years of deliberation  the synagogue we rebuild and dedication in 2010.  The view from the roof, even in the pouring rain, was amazing.  Ask Gloria!

Time for lunch and a warm place – we highly recommend the Jewish Quarter Cafe!

After lunch and a little shopping Neil gave us a short tour of the Jewish Quarter and we made our way through the Christian Quarter to the Church of the Holy Seplucher Church.
From there we went to the Western Wall and the Kotel.  Even in the pouring rain people continue to pray at the Wall.   A special moment for us!

Back to the hotel for dinner and a wonderful speaker,  Rabbi David Rosen who functions as the advisor to the Israel Rabbinate in relations with the Vatican. He was our last speaker in our CAARI Speakers Forum who explained the importance of relations between Israel with the Vatican and in general relations bewteen Judaism and Christianity

 As so closed CAARI’s 2016 outstanding Speaker Forum!

Enjoy our day’s pictures!

The Canadian American Active Retirees in Israel, CAARI, offers active seniors a unique opportunity to experience Israel. The program is designed to explore the biblical landscapes, follow the footsteps of the early pioneers, and envision the future of our Homeland. The CAARI Program includes community service, toursa speakers forum and the camaraderie of the CAARI Family. The Program is designed for to feel, touch, hear and see Israel from the mountains to the desert, from sea to sea, and from ancient to modern.

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Links: Jewish National Fund USA : https://www.jnf.org/