A Personal Look at the Safed Klezmer Festival

The summer that we made aliyah (immigration to Israel), four and a half years ago, we went to the Safed Klezmer Festival. We had heard that they had a great festival every summer and that it would be a wonderful way to enjoy Safed. We booked our bed and breakfast early, knowing that they would fill up quickly, and we were ready for our adventure.

Arriving in Safed

When we arrived in Safed, we were thrilled to find that our bed and breakfast was in a beautiful area. Safed is full of narrow alleys, hidden corridors and small streets. Our bed and breakfast was off of a small alleyway and was part of someone's home. They had a lovely courtyard in the middle of their property with three bungalows around it. Our bungalow was painted in light blue, as is so much of Safed, to ward off evil spirits. It was roomy and designed in a rustic, Mediterranean style. It was a great beginning to a fantastic experience.

Other Perks of Safed

The festival covers three days and is filled with fantastic music, food, venders and other adventures. Safed feels like it is bursting at the seams during this time period, as people come from all areas of Israel to experience the festival. When the music wasn't playing during the day, there were tons of other activities to enjoy. Safed has a rich history of Jewish life and there are many historic buildings to see and history to learn. Safed has a candle making factory that is world famous and where you can see people making candles and where you can purchase all sorts of beautiful items. There is also a bustling artist's colony in Safed, making it a wonderful place to admire paintings, pottery, and sculptures and more.

The Festival Begins

In the evening each day, the city would turn into a magical oasis. Everywhere that you looked there was entertainment. While I didn't have a schedule of events at the time, I saw later that there were artists scheduled to perform virtually every hour of the evening in every available location. When we walked down the street, we would suddenly turn a corner and find ourselves in a courtyard with a musician. Everywhere that you looked, there were talented people playing klezmer music. And since all of this was happening outside, we didn't have to worry about there being enough seats or enough room for everyone. No one felt pushed or cramped and everyone was able to enjoy the music.

Other Entertainment

Along with the klezmer selections, many other musicians and entertainers came to Safed for the festival. We watched one man who made music with unusual objects. He played the flute with his nose, played the drums with a child's truck and played the guitar with a coke bottle. He had dozens of unusual items in front of him and was able to make great music with each of them. In another location we saw a woman playing the harp. The rich melodies coming from her instrument blended so beautifully with the surrounding landscape and made for an unforgettable experience.

Great Memories

Our children were only four and two when we went to the Safed Klezmer Festival, but they still talk about the experience today. It was a beautiful way to enjoy this sacred city and to soak in some of Israel's culture. There is nothing like the Safed Klezmer Festival to make you appreciate klezmer music and Jewish history. We can't wait to go back and to enjoy it all over again.