City in Upper Galilee. The economic life of Safed was strengthened by the influx of Jewish immigrants after the expulsion from Spain in 1492. Perhaps because of its elevation, nearly 3,000 feet above sea-level, its wide panoramic views, and its pure air, Safed was considered to be one of the four holy cities in the land of Israel, the others being Jerusalem, Hebron, and Tiberias. In the sixteenth century Safed was the home of some of the great luminaries in Jewish spiritual history, among them Joseph Karo, Moses Cordovero, and Isaac Luria. All three are buried in Safed and their graves are still visited in pilgrimage. The circle of Kabbalists in Safed pursued a mystic and ascetic way of life that became a model for later Jewish pietists. In modern Israel an artists’ colony has been established in Safed.
Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies.