Beit Alpha Synagogue 001

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  • Title:  Beit Alpha Synagogue 001
  • Description:  Beth Alpha or Bet Alpha or Bet Alfa is a sixth-century synagogue located at the foot of the northern slopes of the Gilboa mountains near Beit She'an, Israel. It is now part of Bet Alfa Synagogue National Park and managed by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.

    Architectural remains from the Beth Alpha synagogue indicate that the synagogue once stood as two-story basilical building and contained a courtyard, vestibule, and prayer hall. The first floor of the prayer hall consisted of a central nave measuring 5.4 meters wide, the apse, which served as the resting place for the Torah Ark, the bimah, the raised platform upon which the Torah would have been read, and benches.The Torah Ark within the apse was aligned southwest, in the direction of Jerusalem.

    The northern entryway features two dedicatory inscriptions in Aramaic and Greek. Although partially destroyed, the Aramaic inscription indicates that the synagogue was built during the reign of Roman Emperor Justinus, probably Justin I (518–527 CE), and was funded by communal donations. The Greek inscription thanks artisans "Marianos and his son Hanina", whom were also listed as the artisans of the nearby Beth Shean synagogue. The inscriptions are flanked on either side by a lion and a buffalo, who serve as the synagogue's symbolic guardians.
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  • Keywords:  Synagogue, Alpha, Beit
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