Katzrin Synagogue 001

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  • Title:  Katzrin Synagogue 001
  • Description:  The Katzrin Synagogue was built in the 6th century CE atop a more modest 4th-5th century synagogue. Fragments of a mosaic floor have been found. The synagogue was apparently destroyed by the Golan earthquake of 749. In the Mamluk period, part of the standing ruin was roofed and used as a mosque. After a brief period, this use and the village itself were abandoned until 1967.

    The synagogue had two rows of four columns each. The building was two stories tall with rows of windows at the top of the walls. The roof was built of wooden beams covered with ceramic tiles. In the southern wall, which faces Jerusalem, two massive stone steps lead to a raised stone platform (bimah). It is thought that a wooden Torah ark would have stood here. stood on it. Under the bimah there is a long, stone-paved space thought to have served as a Geniza (storage space for sacred texts no longer in use). The walls were plastered and painted white, with the lower walls decorated with red geometric motifs. The walls were lined with stone benches in the form of a double step.

    The basalt lintel of one of the houses unearthed in the Golan bears a Hebrew inscription that reads: "This is the beit midrash of Rabbi Elazar the Caper Maker."This discovery ties in with a discussion in the Talmud that revolves around wearing new shoes on the Sabbath: What are new shoes? Shoes that have not “walked” a certain distance, in this case the distance between the synagogue at Katzrin and the beit midrash of Rabbi Elazar the Caper Maker.
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  • Keywords:  Synagogue, Katzrin
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