Etz Chaim, ‘tree of life’ was the title of a book by Rabbi Chaim Abulafia, the rabbi who re-established the Tiberias Jewish community in 1740. The Etz Chaim Synagogue was built over remains of an older synagogue once visited by the holy Ari, leader of sixteenth century Safed’s mystics. The synagogue was destroyed in the earthquake of 1759 and rebuilt. In 1815 it was mortgaged to cover community debts; the debt was eventually paid off, but the synagogue was destroyed shortly afterwards in the earthquake of 1837. It was rebuilt in 1847 with funds donated by Italian Jews and destroyed in the flood of 1934. The present synagogue was built in 1950 by the local community.