The ancient synagogue of Kfar Bar’am, Northern Israel, 3 kilometers from the Lebanese border, dates to about the 2nd- 3rd century C.E. Bar’am was an ancient Jewish village, and was later abandoned between the 7th and 13th centuries.

A Hebrew inscription on the synagogue reads: “Peace be upon the place, and on all the places of Israel.”

The synagogue’s main facade (the Jerusalem-oriented wall) is still preserved to its original two-story height (not reconstructed). This building has the characteristic features of the Galilean type described for Capernaum and Chorazin. It also had a porch supported by columns in front of the main facade. A large, semicircular window that is still persevered above the central doorway in the main facade lets light into the interior.

The lintel of the main doorway was carved in relief with two winged females holding a wreath between them. In a later period the female figures were carefully chipped away, leaving only the wreath intact.These figures depicted Nikae (Victories) -Nike was the Greco-Roman goddess of victory (wreaths were awarded to victors). Eventually this motif was absorbed into early Christian art, which transformed Victories into angles.

Reference: The Archaeology of the Holy Land: From the Destruction of Solomon’s Temple to the Muslim ConquestJodi Magness.

Photos courtesy & taken by vad_levin.

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