Safed is a windy town on top of a mountain. Up the steep road are the remains of a Crusader fortress. From that vantage point, you can see the rocky ledge where, long before the Christian knights arrived, bonfires signaled the start of the new Hebrew month to those in Tiberias, a link in a fiery chain that crossed ancient Israel.

Safed’s main street, Yerushalayim Street, has replaced the moat of the fortress. Shoppers pop in and out of stores, stop for coffee at one of the charming cafes or visit the bank, the post office, the supermarket. It looks busy, yet the pace is slow as befits a semi-rural small town.

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