Ein Zeitim in History

Ein Zeitim (see map in appendices) is located about three kilometers northeast of Safed, on the same side of the road as Meron, and is 725 meters above the water level of the Mediterranean Sea .. The name “Ein Zeitim comes from the Arab version ”Ein Zeitun”, which was the Arab name of the Arab village which was built on the remains of a settlement from the middle ages. Ein Zeitim remained Jewish, despite all the hardships that the Jews of this land went through [4]. It was always thought of as one of the holy places in the country. To the east, there is a cave which is the burial place of Aba Shaul, and nearby in Meron, Rabbi Simon Bar Yochai is buried There are also many Arabs, as well as Jews who honor his grave Its closeness to Biryah, where Rabbi Joseph Karo finished writing the Shulchan Aruch ( Code of Jewish Law ) adds to its' importance. According to legend, there was a continuous Jewish community here from the eleventh through the eighteenth centuries [5]. After the expulsion of Jews from Spain , those that were interested in making a living from agriculture in this area, settled here [6]. According to tradition, Rabbi Joseph of Sargasso was buried here. He was known both to the Jews and the Arabs of the vicinity, for his good advice and for his peaceful ways. Therefore for centuries, both paid respect to his grave [7]. Ben Zvi, in his book The Land of Israel and Her Settlements , wrote about how people from Safed came to settle in Ein Zeitim [8]. In the sixteenth [9] and seventeenth centuries there was a Jewish settlement here of about forty families of Moraiscus Arabic speaking Jews. Most of them worked in agriculture or trades, Ein Zeitim became a center for Jewish learning [10]. There was a Synagogue with twenty-six Torahs, which had many legends that interested both Jews and Arabs attached to it [11], and the printing press of the Ashkenazi brothers [12]. There was a Yeshiva, which was headed by Rabbi Moses Ben Makir [13]. His son-in-law, Rabbi Solomon Nachmias went abroad to collect money for this growing Yeshiva [14]. There was a Jewish cemetery [15] here, and there are many legends about important Jews who lived here and were buried here. Since many important people from Safed were buried here, many visited their graves for many generations [16].

Visitors in the area, such as Rabbi Basula of the sixteenth century, and Rabbi Simcha Ben Joshua, of the eighteenth century wrote about the importance of Ein Zeitim, in connection to legends, graves of important Rabbis, Synagogues, a spring of water [17]. Many Jews left Safed, for temporary refuge, at the time of plagues, or when there were Arab uprisings [18], or at the time of the earthquake in Safed (1837); and some remained in Ein Zeitim [19]. Among them then was Israel Bek [20], who moved the remains of his print shop here [21]. During the nineteenth century many Jews left Ein Zeitim [22].

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