Only Safed can rival Jerusalem in holiness

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Any tour of Safed should include the artists' quarter. One can also buy havdallah candles, visit the cave of Shem v'Ever, have lunch in an Elvis restaurant, make pilgrimages to the grave sites of kabbalists, and walk through its Old City at night.

At some point, however, one should sit down and breathe the pure Safed air and gaze across to the mountain of Meron and contemplate. According to legend, Meron is the place from which the Messiah will first announce himself before riding to Safed and then on to Jerusalem.

The name Safed means "overlook" and also "expectation." Its Hebrew letter can be seen as an acronym for tziyor — art, piyut — poetry, and Torah.

A second day in Safed can include hiking or visiting Livnot U'Lehibanot, which means build and be built.

The program attracts young people from around the world who volunteer their time to rebuild historic structures in Safed.

If one chooses to hike from Safed to Meron, a whole world of Jewish history can be traced.

One can visit grave sites, starting in Safed at the grave of Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz, who is known for, among other things, writing the words to Lecha Dodi, which is sung in synagogues every Friday night

Tired of graves? Want to see life blooming? One can visit nearby Nachal Amud, a nature preserve where grapes, figs, pomegranates, raspberries and flowers grow wild.