Ancient synagogues in Israel

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Ruins of the ancient synagogue of Kfar Bar'am in the Galilee.

Ancient synagogues in Israel refers to synagogues in the modern State of Israel, built by the Jewish community from antiquity to the early Middle Ages.

The designation ancient synagogues in Israel requires careful definition. Many very old synagogues have been discovered in archaeological digs. Some synagogues have been destroyed and rebuilt several times on the same site, so, while the site or congregation may be ancient, the building may be modern.

Archaeologists have uncovered many remains of synagogues from over two thousand years ago, including several that were in use before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Synagogues securely dated to before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem include the Migdal Synagogue, the synagogue of Capernaum,[dubious ] the Herodium synagogue, the synagogue of Qumran,[dubious ] and the small synagogue at the top of Masada.

Hasmonean synagogue of Modiin[edit]

Discovered between Modi'in and Latrun is the oldest synagogue within modern Israel that has been found to date, built during the second century BCE.[1] It includes three rooms and a nearby mikve.

Nabratein/Naburiya synagogue[edit]

Main article: Nabratein synagogue

Naburiya was a Jewish village in the Galilee during the First and Second Temple periods. Neburaya is believed to be identical with Nabratein, a location north of Safed where Eleazar of Modi'im and Jacob of Kfar Neburaya, a compiler of the Haggadah, are buried. [2]

The remains of the Nabratein synagogue, discovered in archaeological excavations, indicate that it is one of the oldest in the Galilee. The original synagogue was enlarged during the third century and destroyed in an earthquake in 363 CE. In 564, the synagogue was rebuilt. The date is known from the inscription over the main door, now displayed at the Israel Museum: "Built four hundred and ninety four years after the destruction of the Temple under the leadership of Hanina ben Lizar and Luliana bar Yuden [92 BCE]." The second-phase building stood until 640 CE. The façade was partially reconstructed by the Jewish National Fund and the Israel Antiquities Authority.[3]

Synagogues rebuilt on ancient sites[edit]

Several synagogues in Israel are located on the sites of far older synagogue buildings but, because the older buildings were destroyed by non-Jewish rulers of the city, the present buildings are reconstructions.

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