Safed Yosef Caro Synagogue 001



  • Title:  Safed Yosef Caro Synagogue 001
  • Description:  This synagogue is named after Rabbi Joseph Caro, scholar and Kabbalist, author of the "Shulchan Aruch" (the codification of Jewish laws). It was built in the 16th century as a large and magnificent synagogue and house of learning, using marble and carved stone. The building was destroyed in the 1759 earthquake but was later rebuilt in a more modest style. The Hassidim who came to Safed in 1777 began praying here, and also took part in its reconstruction after it was destroyed again in the Great Earthquake of 1837. Three men, headed by the Italian philanthropist Yitzhak Guetta, contributed jointly towards its rebuilding over a period of a decade. Yitzhak Guetta heard about the destruction of Safed while in Italy and decided to use his fortune to help rebuild the ruined city. If you look to the floor of this synagogue you will see an Italian marble floor imported from Italy by Guetta. Legend has it that Guetta used only half the budget he set aside for this structure's reconstruction and that he buried the other half in the ground for when the messiah comes.

    Until the beginning of the 20th century this building served as a house of learning. You can tell that this structure was not originally build as a synagogue since by Jewish law all synagogues need to place their entrance on the wall farthest away from Jerusalem. This way when worshippers enter the building they will automatically be facing Jerusalem, the direction they need for prayer. However, in 1903, the building was once again refurbished and transformed into a synagogue by the Ben-Shimon family, who administer it to this day.

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  • Keywords:  synagogue, caro, yosef, safed
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