Fig Tree Gallery Safed

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Fig Tree Gallery
Fig Tree Gallery
חצר עץ התאנה
Ha’tzer Eitz Ha’Te’en-ah
Other Names
Fig Tree Courtyard
Newly-renovated group of galleries which showcase Tzfat artists and artisans as well as other Israeli artists.

The Fig Tree Courtyard is a gallery in which Israeli and Tzfat artists and craftsmen display their artwork in shared quarters on Alkabetz Street in the Old Jewish Quarter of Safed.


[edit] Background

The building which houses the Fig Tree Courtyard Gallery was once the home of the extended Hamami family. Members of the family would gather in the courtyard to cook, wash, eat and discuss family events. The family had an exclusive kerosene distribution license from the Turkish authorities and they were one of the wealthiest families in Tzfat. The Hamami family built their home with massive stone walls which surrounded the courtyard and could be closed with a double gate. This house served as a refuge for other Jews who fled to the secure building during times of Arab riots in the city. In the early 20th century Hamami family members planted a fig tree in the courtyard and the two-story building surrounds the courtyard and the tree.

[edit] Renovation

As “Rehov Alkabetz” -- Alkabetz Street -- developed into an art center, investors acquired the Hamami house which had fallen into disrepair. The investors conducted extensive renovations with the goal of creating a collective in which various artists and artisans could work and display their art. The gallery is managed by the owners of the nearby Sarah’s Tent gallery but maintains its own distinct character and flavor of Israeli and Tzfat art.

[edit] Exhibits

The Fig Tree Gallery exhibits contemporary Israeli paper-cuts, silks, ceramics, oil and acrylic paintings and sculptures of glass, metal, wood and bamboo. Many of the exhibits are devoted to Judaica and Jewish ritual objects. One room is devoted to the works of Raphael Abecassis who exhibits his paintings, serigraphy, embroidery, ceramics, and stained glass. The unique “soft painting” techniques of Calman Shemi are featured in an adjoining room. Michael Maduny fashions his exclusive beaded jewelry in a corner of the first floor of the Fig Tree Gallery. The gallery exhibits also include Leon Bronstein's wood sculptures, HaAri Jewelry, Magal ceramics and Enya Keshet’s paper cuts.

[edit] International Center of Tzfat Kabbalah

On the second floor of the Fig Tree Gallery, the International Center of Tzfat Kabbalah maintains its offices. The Center is open to visitors who can watch a 15-minute movie about the origins and meanings of Kabbalah and peruse the exhibits that provide an overview of Jewish Mysticism as it developed in Tzfat in the 16th century.

[edit] View and Excavations

Visitors are invited to ascend to the third floor of the building which offers a magnificent view of Northern Israel. In addition, a glass panel in the courtyard floor allows visitors to see the remains of buildings that existed in Tzfat prior to the 1759 Earthquake and the 1837 Earthquake.


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