Friday, February 17, 2012

Baram's ancient synagogue

Off The Beaten Track: Baram's ancient synagogue

By JOE YUDIN 02/16/2012 16:14

Remains of synagogues throughout the Galilee tell the history of the continuous Jewish presence in Israel.

"Peace be upon this place, and upon all the places in Israel." This Inscription was found in the 19th century on the lintel of the smaller of two synagogues, now destroyed, in Baram.

The Galilee holds some wonderful treasures for any traveler looking for some off the beaten path sites. One of my favorite pastimes is to make my way to the over fifty ruins of ancient synagogues in Israel's northern regions. These synagogues range in age from the first century BCE through the eighth century CE. Some of the synagogues are in the middle of overgrown fields and only accessible by hiking trail or off road vehicle. Others, albeit not many, have been incorporated into national parks that are easily accessible. The best way to see these synagogues is to check out one of the better preserved ones, like at Baram, Capernaum or Khorazin and then seek out the harder to find ones using a trail map.

When I first visited the Baram synagogue, I was simply shocked. Here we have a synagogue, one of at least two that existed in the village, serving a large Jewish community maybe as early as the second century CE through the Middle Ages, and whose fa├žade has remained intact to this day. ...