Oldest synagogues in the Land of Israel


Oldest synagogues in the Land of Israel
Ruins of the ancient synagogue of Kfar Bar'am in the Galilee

The designation oldest synagogues in the Land of Israel requires careful definition. Many very old synagogues have been discovered in archaeological digs. Some synagogues have been destroyed and rebuilt several times on the same site, so, while the site or congregation may be ancient, the building may be modern.

Archaeologists have uncovered many remains of synagogues from over two thousand years ago, including several that were in use before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Synagogues securely dated to before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem include the Migdal Synagogue, the ancient synagogue at Gamla, the synagogue of Capernaum, the Herodium synagogue, the synagogue of Qumran, and the small synagogue at the top of Masada.

Contents

Wadi Qelt Synagogue

The Wadi Qelt Synagogue located in Wadi Qelt west of Jericho, is the oldest synagogue that has been found to date.[1][2] It dates from between 70 and 50 BCE, and was built as part of a Hasmonean royal winter palace complex in the warm desert oasis of Jericho.[1][2]

Despite the excavator's identification of a building among the Hasmonean palatial complex near Wadi Qelt as a synagogue,[3] the matter is far from conclusive. In fact, few scholars seriously consider this suggestion in discussions of Second Temple period synagogues, though even fewer have openly challenged the identification in print.[4][5]

Oldest buildings

The Torah Ark of the Ari Ashkenazi Synagogue

One of the oldest synagogue buildings currently in use is the Ari Ashkenazi Synagogue in Safed, which dates from the 16th century CE.

Synagogues rebuilt on ancient sites

The Karaite Synagogue in the Old City (Jerusalem)

Several synagogues in Israel are located on the sites of far older synagogue buildings but, because the older buildings were destroyed by non-Jewish rulers of the city, the present buildings are reconstructions. The Karaite Synagogue in Jerusalem is the oldest of Jerusalem's active synagogues on a site in use as a synagogue for many centuries. It was first built in the 8th century. It was destroyed by the Crusaders in 1099 and Jews were not allowed to live in the city for 50 years. In 1187 Saladin restored the site to the Karaite Jews who promptly rebuilt the synagogue. It has been active continuously since its foundation, except during the Crusades and Jordanian occupation of the city from 1948. In 1967, the Israeli government returned the synagogue to the Karaite community, who finished rebuilding it in 1982.[6]

See also

  • Palestinian synagogues

References

  1. ^ a b Israel's Oldest Synagogue, Archaeology, Volume 51 Number 4, July/August 1998 by Spencer P.M. Harrington
  2. ^ a b Oldest Synagogue Found in Israel, March 29, 1998. Associated Press
  3. ^ Ehud Netzer, "A Synagogue from the Hasmonean Period Recently Exposed in the Western Plane of Jericho," Israel Exploration Journal 49 (1999): 203-31.
  4. ^ David Stacey, "Was There a Synagogue in Hasmonean Jericho?" http://www.bibleinterp.com/articles/Hasmonean_Jericho.shtml
  5. ^ S. Japp and H. Schwarzer, "Synagoge Banketthaus oder Wohngebaude?" Anitke Welt 3 (2002): 277-88.
  6. ^ Jerusalem curiosities, Abraham Ezra Millgram, Jewish Publication Society, 1990, pp. 123-4

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Oldest synagogues in the world — The Santa María la Blanca synagogue was built in Toledo, Spain in 1190 …   Wikipedia

  • Jerusalem during the Crusader period — The Crusader period in the history of Jerusalem began with the conquest of the city by the Crusader army in 1099, during the First Crusade, as it is now known, Jerusalem became the capital of the kingdom for the crusading Christians, these events …   Wikipedia

  • Outline of Israel — The …   Wikipedia

  • Histoire des Juifs en terre d'Israël — L histoire des Juifs en terre d Israël (hébreu : ארץ ישראל Eretz Israel) se développe sur près de 3000 ans et témoigne, malgré la dispersion des Juifs, de l importance particulière, pour eux, de la terre d Israël. La terre d Israël[1],… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • NETHERLANDS, THE (Holland) — NETHERLANDS, THE (Holland), kingdom in N.W. Europe. The Middle Ages It is not known when exactly the Jews settled in the area which is now called The Netherlands. As early as the 11th century one can find some indications of Jewish settlers in… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Congregation Sherith Israel (San Francisco, California) — Temple Sherith Israel Main Sanctuary Gallery and Dome (SE aspect) Basic information Location 2266 California Street San Francisco, CA, 94115 2184 …   Wikipedia

  • Histoire des Juifs en terre d'israël — Les Juifs et le judaïsme Généralités Qui est Juif ? · Terminologie · Conversion Judaïsme : Principes de foi Noms de Dieu dans le judaïsme Tanakh (Bible hébraïque)  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Histoire des Juifs en terre d’Israël — Histoire des Juifs en terre d Israël Les Juifs et le judaïsme Généralités Qui est Juif ? · Terminologie · Conversion Judaïsme : Principes de foi Noms de Dieu dans le judaïsme Tanakh (Bible hébraïque)  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Congregation Mickve Israel — This article is about the synagogue in the US state of Georgia. For other uses, see Mikveh Israel (disambiguation). Mikveh Israel synagogue Basic information Location 20 East Gordon Street …   Wikipedia

  • Congregation Beth Israel (Honesdale, Pennsylvania) — Beth Israel Basic information Location 615 Court Steet, Honesdale, Pennsylvania,  United States Geographic coordinates …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.