During the years, many ancient Synagogues have been discovered in archaeological digs. Some synagogues have been destroyed and rebuilt several times.
One of the most ancient synagogues in Israel is located in Kfar Bar’am, an ancient Jewish village in the Galilee. The synagogue in Bar’am is the most beautiful old synagogue in Israel. The meaning of the Name Bar’am in Hebrew is “Son of the People”.
The Synagogue was built during the Talmudic period. In 1522, Rabbi Moses Basula wrote that the synagogue belonged to Simeon bar Yochai.
The very well preserved façade has 3 beautifully carved doorways facing Jerusalem, the central of which is particularly grand. A second, smaller synagogue left practically no remains. Its lintel is on display in the Louvre in Paris.
The park also contains remains of the Maronite village of Bir‘am, whose inhabitants were required to leave by the Israel Defense Forces in 1948 for security reasons. The village church is still the spiritual center of that community.
Near the synagogue is the Bar‘am oak forest, a reserve of impressively large Kermes oaks.
Photo: Dr. Avishai Teicher