House of Prayer (בית תפילה; Bet Tefila): Synagogues have also long been known as houses of study. chiefly of the ancient sacred Jewish texts; in addition, they have long been the focal point of communal life. Synagogues have existed in Israel for more than two thousand years, including a number that were built before the destruction of the Second Temple. The Galilee and Golan regions of Israel witnessed a boon in synagogue construction in the fourth to sixth centuries C.E. Huqoq (or Hukkok; חוקוק) is the site of an ancient Jewish agricultural village located about six kilometres west of Capernaum and Migdal and 12.5 kilometres north of Tiberias. This particular synagogue is interesting for both its biblical mosaics and its depiction of non-biblical art. Ilan Ben Zion writes, in 2014, for The Times of Israel about the excavation of the Hukkok site led by Jodi Magness, a professor of Early Judaism at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: “Excavations at Huqoq began in 2011, and during the first season archaeologists led by Magness found the wall of a synagogue. In the subsequent seasons, Magness’s team uncovered portions of the Galilean synagogue’s mosaics. The part of the mosaic uncovered this summer, however, stunned archaeologists because it’s the first time they’ve found a synagogue decorated with a non-biblical story scene.” Hukkok is mentioned in the Book of Joshua (19:34).
Photo Credit: Jim Haberman
Source: Live Science