Ascent Institute Safed
The Ascent Institute is located on HaAri Street along the northwestern border of the Old City of Tzfat. It offers a wide range of classes, weekend seminars, discussions and other opportunities for Jewish people who want to explore their heritage and Tzfat based Kabalah. The Ascent hostel provides sleeping facilities for over 85 people.
Ascent’s founders are members of the Chabad Hassidic sect which engages in outreach to unaffiliated Jews and are part of the local Chabad community. The center opened in 1983 in a small Tzfat hotel. It offered classes and Shabbat hospitality to travelers. In 1990 the Institute bought a larger hotel on the edge of the Old Jewish Quarter and expanded activities to include an extensive hostel, a library and weekend seminars in English and Hebrew.
Ascent’s mission is to increase the Jewish knowledge and identity of unaffiliated Jews. As a result the Ascent programs are open only to Jewish individuals.
Classes at Ascent take place on a daily basis and participants can choose from a variety of classes on Jewish theology, Hassidic thought, the Sabbath, Jewish holidays, Kabbalah, the Torah portion of the week, Jewish meditation, Ethics of the Fathers, current events and Israel politics, the Jewish view of science, women in Judaism and much more.
Ascent runs weekend seminars throughout the year, alternating between Hebrew-speaking and English-speaking seminars. Many of the seminars are connected to various themes such as current Jewish holidays and other interesting concepts. Past seminars include The Mysticism of Love, The Full Moon -- The Way of Happiness, Tanya -- the Way to Tranquility, Chanukah -- Light your Soul, Kabbalistic Tu B’shevat Seder, Bringing Joy Into Our Lives, Jewish Nutrition and Finding your Soulmate. Seminars take place from Thursday evening through Saturday evening and include home hospitality with Tsfat families for Sabbath meals.
The Ascent hostel sleeps 85 people. Hostel prices are kept low to enable individuals with limited budgets to make use of the hostel facilities. Ascent further reduces the price for guests who attend (free) classes at Ascent. The hostel rooms are dorm-style with up to eight people per room. They are clean and comfortable.
 Special Events
Local residents come to celebrate holidays and special events at Ascent together with Ascent’s guests. A special seminar over the Lag B’Omer holiday includes classes, Hassidic storytelling and a trip to nearby Mt. Meron, site of the Lag B’Omer festivities. During the intermediate days of the Passover and Succot holidays, Ascent hosts lively evenings with music and refreshments. Over the summer vacation when many people come to Safed, Ascent offers tours of Tzfat, hikes in the nearby mountains and workshops with art and music.
 Learning Activities
 Russian Program
Ascent operates a daily brunch and learn program for elderly Russian immigrant men. The men meet each morning to learn Torah and Hassidic philosophy over a hearty breakfast.
The Ascent Library is open to hostel guests and drop-in visitors. The library offers a wide range of Judaica along with a staff librarian-Rabbi who is on-hand to answer questions and engage visitors in discussions.
 Name Codes
Visitors who want to have a taste of Jewish mysticism may ask the rabbi to explain their name according to the kabbalah. According to Jewish wisdom, a person’s Jewish name is the channel for the energies that come from the upper spiritual worlds. The name affects a person’s entire human essence. A person’s name, in conjunction with his birthdate, has an important impact on each Jewish person’s life. The staff rabbi at the Ascent library will help visitors decipher the significance of a name which can reveal how this impacts on the person’s personality and other aspects of his life.