If you want to find out what's going on in Safed, Baruch Adler has his fingers on the pulse. He can usually be found sitting outside his shop at 88 Jerusalem Street schmoozing with friends, giving information to tourists or helping someone log on to the internet.
But don't be fooled by his casual manner, he is very involved with the community. As a Safed native, he seems to know everyone, even though he spent a large part of his working life traveling abroad for the government.
His Hassid great-grandfather came to Safed after the earthquake in 1837, sent by the Vishnitz Rebbe as part of a group to help rebuild the town and to build a synagogue - the Kosov. His grandfather ended up returning to Romania to find a wife, and his father was born there. After surviving the Shoah, his father made aliyah and asked to be settled in Safed. Baruch's father became one of the first business people in Safed, opening a gas station. With few private cars around, the gas station soon metamorphosed into a "neft" (kerosene) supplier for heating and cooking,with an adjacent hardware store. His father ran this until the mid-nineties when Baruch came home to help his parents in their later years.
After finishing school and yeshiva, Baruch did his military service. He then worked abroad for the government in a business capacity, returning when needed to do his miluim (reserve duty) serving twice in the Lebanon. Over the years he worked all over South America, the Far East and Australia picking up Spanish, Portuguese and English along the way to add to his Hebrew, Yiddish, Hungarian and Romanian. He can also get by in Arabic should the need arise.
On his return to Israel he took over his father's premises and now runs it as an internet café and candy store. With six computer terminals and a fax machine he is able to offer tourists a way to keep in touch. You can book tickets, make confirmations, and check emails while having a coffee or a beer. You can also ask Baruch about what to see and do in Safed as he offers a voluntary tourist information service and even has that rare commodity - maps of Safed!
If you are looking for a place to stay, Baruch can help with that too. He has 13 rooms available and although he has no receptionist or front desk, it feels more like a small hotel than a hostel. The rooms all have air conditioning, shower, toilet and a small kitchenette and the prices are very reasonable starting at 250shks a night midweek for a couple. As he also acts as an accommodation agency for other B&B's and guest houses in the city, he should be able help you find somewhere to stay even at the height of the season. He is a mine of information about Safed and helps tourists as well as locals as much as he can.
Since moving back to Safed, Baruch has been very involved in local politics, helping to coordinate several mayoral campaigns. He wants to help Safed and the community in any way he can and is a member of the Civil Guard for which he does at least 4 shifts a month. So if you want to know the latest about Safed, Baruch Adler is the person to ask and in the unlikely event he doesn't know, he'll know who to ask