1 Day – Galilee of the Mishna and Talmud

jewish heritage tour galilee

The Second Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in the year 70 ACE , at the peak of what is known as the Great Jewish Revolt against the Romans. In the year 132 ACE (only 62 years later), another riot – ‘the Bar Kochba Revolt’ – took place, the outcome of which was complete disaster for the Jewish community in Judea, including of course Jerusalem.

The survivors of the Jewish population and their leadership relocated in the Galilee and started to rebuild Jewish society, culture, and livelihood.

Not such a long time after this great catastrophe which some consider a genocide, new leadership arose under the very special personage of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi. During the period of his administration, the tensions with Rome lessened and the ties were strengthened. Jewish society was united, religious spirituality reached a peak, and economy prospered, even to a degree of Jewish autonomy. The time of the Mishna and later the Talmud can be referred to a Golden Era in Jewish life. 



The Galilee ,stretching from the Jezreel Valley northwards to the Lebanese border; and from the Mediterranean on the west coast, eastward to the Jordan River and Sea of Galilee at the foot of the Golan Heights ; constituted the region that became the heart of Jewish life during the Mishnaic and Talmudic (Late Roman and Byzantine) periods. Visit important centers and synagogues remaining from this period, as well as Safed (Tsfat) which attracted the Spanish immigration of many intellectuals and philosophers during the Ottoman reign and became a base for Jewish mysticism (Kabala).

Tour Itinerary

  • Stop at SEPPHORIS(ZIPPORI)  major town of the Galilee, and home of Rabbi Yehuda Ha Nasi, who edited and organized Jewish Oral Law (the Mishna) approximately 200 ACE.
  • The town of KATZRIN thrived during the Talmudic period and it’s reconstruction in the original location, brings it to life.
  • TSFAT (SAFED), highest city in the Galilee, is not specifically associated with the period of the Mishna or Talmud, but is fully entrenched in Jewish heritage and considered 1 of Israel’s 4 Holy Cities. Walk through the alleyways of the Old City bright with colorful designs and wares from contemporary artists on display. Visit the synagogues of prominent leaders such as that of Rabbi Joseph Karo, who came to Sefad from Spain after the expulsion of Jews at the beginning of the 16th C. and is known for cataloguing Jewish Law in a book which he named “The Set Table” . Also a possible stop at the synagogue of Rabbi Issac Luria ,who established new concepts accepted in present day Kabbalah.
  • Drive to BAR’AM where remains from a synagogue substantiate the existence of a flourishing Jewish settlement in the 4th and 5th C.

Optional Sites

Sites on the same route and close in themes and therefore can be exchanged or added, depending on personal preferences and time constraints.

Beit Shearim: the Jewish necropolis of the Roman Period.
Beit Alfa: where depictions in the ancient mosaic floor together with a modern audio visual presentation are an eye-opener to Jewish life in the area from 1600 years ago.