Spotlight on Tveria, Northern Israel
Residents of chutz l’aretz are usually surprised that I live in Tveria. They think Tveria is a resort city and a great place to bring the family for vacation, especially during the chaggim, but to live here? They don’t think of it. But, slowly, new olim are discovering the jewels of this holy city and confirming that it is a great place to live, raise your family, establish a business and enjoy the amazing views from just about every home and building in the city.
Tveria (Tiberias) sits on the shores of Lake Kinneret, also known as the Sea of Galilee, in
northern Israel. The city’s name comes from the Roman Emperor Tiberius, but Jews have
made their homes in Tveria since the times of Joshua and the original settling of the Land of Israel.
The Jerusalem Talmud, for the most part, was actually written in Tveria, following our exile from Jerusalem. For this reason, Tveria will be the initial city where the Sanhendrin will re-convene in the time of Moshiach.
Herod Aztpa, son of Herod, built the “modern” Tveria in approximately 20 CE. It was constructed
over the previous village of Rakkat, which was destroyed. The city endured many earthquakes
and wars and fell into general disrepair during the rule of the Byzantine and Arabs. It again became a central city of importance during the Crusades, called “Kingdom of Jerusalem.”
Saladim invaded the city in 1187. Then, in the 16th century, Tveria to the Jews and it was finally left alone to restore its previous glory and thrive for the next 100 years. Tveria has weathered many storms between then and now, but it survived and today stands as one of the four holy cities of Israel—the crown jewel of the Galil.
More than 45,000 people call Tveria home. Most have lived here for generations, arriving from Morocco many decades ago. The mayor can trace his roots in Tveria all the way to the time of David HaMelech! Teveriani’s are warm, friendly and ready to be your new family.
You need only a brief walk around the city to see and sense the growth, new development and
excitement for the city’s future. Practically on every corner there is a new café up or on the way. There are over 100 synagogues in the city, plus an untold number of minyanim. There are kollels in every neighborhood, yeshivot, and an outstanding religious and public education system. Built up the side of the hill, Tveria’s residential neighborhoods offer stunning views of the Kinneret
and Golan. The architecture spans the breadth of Tveria’s history, from ancient Turkish, basalt stone houses to modern, luxurious apartment buildings.
Of course there is also the tourist aspect to Tveria, and the mainstay of its economy. Tveria is Israel’s most popular holiday resort in the north. In the summer months, the streets, marina, beaches, restaurants and stores are filled with vacationers from all over Israel as well as around the world.
Tveria is probably best known for the Kinneret where you can spend the day boating, fishing,
swimming, camping and sampling all the delicious food from the restaurants and cafes along
the pedestrian walkway (tayelet). It is said that the well of Miriam is buried in the Kinneret. century, Ask any fisherman and he will tell you exactly where it is, as well as some of the many stories about the mysteries of the water surrounding it. The Kinneret waters are healing, warm and soothing to both body and soul. Be sure to stick around for the amazing lazer show which tells the history of Tveria with water, lights, fire and music.
Tveria is home to many keverot of Tzaddikim (graves of Holy Ones), the most famous one being the Kever of the Rambam. However, at the site of the Kever of the Rambam, is also the Kever of the Shl’a Hakodesh and several of the Tanna’im. In addition, in the city there are the Keverot of Rabbi Meir Ba’al HaNes, Rabbi Akiva and the Ramchal, Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai, and many
others, some barely marked. Tveria’s old cemetery is filled with keverot of Tzaddikim, including the grandfather of Rebbe Nachman.
One of the best things to do after a day of visiting Holy Sites, playing in the Kinneret, house hunting, or exploring the many nature parks and archeological digs is to visit Hamey Tiberia – the famous hot mineral springs that have soothed the aches and pains of travelers since the time
of Rabbi Akiva. Over 70 different minerals are in the water and it is well known for its healing powers.
Tiveria—crown jewel of the Galil—a place for fun, for rejuvenation, for inspiration, but most important of all, a place to plant your roots and enjoy your life in northern Israel.