Kfar Bar’am (כְּפַר בַּרְעָם; village of Bar’am): The synagogue, in the eastern upper Galilee (between kibbutz Sasa and moshav Dovev), is located on rolling hills only three kilometers from the border with Lebanon. Dating to the second century CE, it is situated within the ancient site of Kfar Bar’am. The entrance is directed southward toward Jerusalem, common to the many synagogues in the area. One Jewish site describes this place as “the most beautiful old synagogue in Israel.” Geography and age both play a part, no doubt, as does its history, the same site notes: “Bar’am was a Jewish village in Mishnaic and Talmudic times. Perhaps building a village at this deserted location was maybe inspired by a legend that Queen Esther was buried in Bar'am. On Purim, the Scroll of Esther (Megillah) was read at her grave. […] The large synagogue also has an inscription, which can be found under the right window on the facade: ‘Banahu Elazar bar Yodan’. This is Aramaic for the name of the builder. The synagogue is made of basalt stone. The main feature is a hall with rows of six columns. They supported a roof, of which parts lie scattered in the park. The front courtyard also used to be covered and enhanced by a triangular pediment.” Bar’am is now situated in a national park.
Photo Credit: MASQUERAID; 2009
Monday, February 20, 2017
Ancient Synagogues of Israel: Bar’am