Monday, August 15, 2016

First-century synagogue excavated in Galilee

ARCHAEOLOGY: Ancient synagogue discovered in Galilee. Leading up to fast of Tisha B'Av marking destruction of two temples, archaeologists make massive discovery in northern Israel which survived Roman attacks; Expert says find also important for Christians (Yitzhak Tessler, Ynetnews).
A synagogue dating back to the end of the Second Temple Era was discovered on the Tel Recheš Peak in the Galilee last week in a rare and unique archaeological find.

Last Tuesday, an excavation team discovered, just ten centimeters below the peak’s surface, a synagogue from the first century AD. The find contained a huge and impressive room nine meters high and eight meters wide with walls lined with benches made of limestone blocks. Diggers also discovered one of the two foundational pillars supporting the synagogue's roof.

The discovery is important not only because it coincides with the three-week mourning period preceding the fast of Tisha B’Av marking the destruction of the First and Second Temples, but because of its significance for the Christian population. The finding also reveals insights into customs of the ancient Jewish community and sheds light on watershed moments in Jewish history.