Safed Candles

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Safed Candles
Safed Candles
Hebrew:
נרות צפת
Other Names:
Tzfat Candles, Safed Candle Factory
Description:
Shop that sells and produces Judaica-themed candles in Tzfat, Israel.

One of the most popular galleries for visitors who come to the Old City of Tzfas is the Safed Candle Shop. The shop displays a wide variety of candles which are used for Jewish ritual purposes, along with wax sculptures of Biblical characters and and other Judaica themes.

Contents

[edit] Safed Candles

A local businessman established the Safed Candles shop in 1991 in a small complex next to the Ari Ashkanazi synagogue. The candles were produced in a small workroom and displayed in the adjacent shop area.

[edit] Types of Candles

The Safed Candles displays candles which are used for a variety of Jewish ritual purposes, including Sabbath candles, Hanukah candles and braided candles for “havdallah” -- the end-of-Sabbath ceremony. The candles come in all different sizes, colors and shapes. At one time the havdallah candles were hand-braided at the Safed Candles shop where visitors could see the process. In addition, the shop periodically sponsored candle-making workshops. These options are no longer available.

[edit] Special Candles

In addition to the regular candles, the shop also sells candles that display Jewish themes, including Hassidic figurines, Jewish stars, and other Jewish ritual and holiday symbols. There are also candles of flowers, plants and animal images.

[edit] Sculptures

The shop displays intricately-sculpted wax sculptures, created by American immigrant Moshe-Chaim Gress. Moshe-Chaim works out of his home, in Tzfat’s Artist Quarter, and displays his artwork at the Candle Shop. The sculptures feature Biblical and other Jewish themes such as Noah’s Ark (along with dozens of animal candles), a soldier praying at the Western Wall, a chess set of Jewish figures, a model of the Temple, young David holding Goliath’s severed head and others. The sculptures are a main viewing attraction at the shop and Moshe Chaim adds new sculptures ever few months.

[edit] Fire

In 2008 a massive fire gutted the entire shop. During the ensuing renovations, the construction workers discovered several small rooms which had existed at street level in Tzfat many centuries ago. These rooms had been covered over during Tzfat’s 1759 and 1837 earthquakes which triggered landslides that buried the city. The renovations incorporated these ancient rooms into the new shop design.

[edit] Candle Production

Today the non-sculptured candles are produced in a factory in the southern industrial zone of Tzfat. The candles are still made from beeswax and the havdallah candles continue to be hand-woven.

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