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A pillar from 1,600 years ago was repositioned in the ancient synagogue in Arbel - Walla! Tourism

2021-08-03T16:04:49.216Z

A 5-ton stone pillar, hewn in the rock as a single (monolithic) unit for the ancient synagogue in Arbel, was restored to its place after it was feared it would collapse in an earthquake. Walla! Tourism



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A pillar from 1,600 years ago was placed again in the ancient synagogue in Arbel

A 5-ton stone pillar, hewn in the rock as a single (monolithic) unit for the ancient synagogue in Arbel, was restored and upgraded, after fears that it would collapse if an earthquake occurred.

Watch the restoration project and the new balcony on the site

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  • Arbel

  • Synagogue

  • Archeology

Ziv Reinstein

Tuesday, 03 August 2021, 18:10 Updated: 18:43

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Lifting a 1600-year-old pillar in the ancient Arbel Synagogue (Photo: Assaf Dori, Nature and Parks Authority)

In a special and exciting class in the Arbel National Park in the Lower Galilee, a pillar from before 1,600 was placed in the ancient synagogue in the national park.

This is a monolithic pillar with a heart section, the kind of pillar that was discovered in many synagogues in the country, and some consider it a sign of Jewish architecture in the Talmudic period.



The re-lifting of the pillar was carried out after about a year ago, as part of surveys and conservation operations carried out by the Nature and Parks Authority, cracks were detected at the base of the heart pillar, weighing about 5 tons, and there was concern that it would collapse if a slight earthquake occurred in the area.

In light of this it was decided to pull out the pillar and carry out conservation work on its foundations.

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There was concern that it would collapse if an earthquake occurred.

The pillar placed in the Arbel Synagogue (Photo: Nature and Parks Authority, Assaf Dori)

The project was made possible thanks to a donation from the Taglit Foundation and the family of the late lone soldier Max Steinberg (Photo: Nature and Parks Authority, Moti Dolev)

The Arbel Synagogue dates to the 3-4th century CE (Photo: Nature and Parks Authority, Assaf Dori)

The lone soldier's family donated the money for the renovation

After the pillar was removed by a crane, an archeological excavation was carried out under its foundations and about 140 coins from the Roman and Byzantine periods were discovered at the site, which taught about two phases of construction, one in the 3rd century AD and the other (where the heart pillar was incorporated) in the early 5th century.



At the same time, as part of the project, a thin wooden balcony is being built on the site, leading into the synagogue, which will allow easy access to the place for visitors to the national park.

At this point it is possible to reach the thin observation deck overlooking the synagogue and later upon completion of the works, in about a month or so, it will be possible to descend the stairs towards the impressive gate opening and into the synagogue.



The project was carried out by the Nature and Parks Authority together with the Amir Janah Guard, as part of projects led by the Nature and Parks Authority together with the Foundation for Nature and Heritage Preservation, and the preservation and restoration of ancient synagogues in the Galilee and Golan Heights.

The implementation of this project was made possible thanks to the donation of the Taglit Foundation and the family of the late Max Steinberg, a lone soldier who served in the Golani Brigade and fell in Operation Eitan in the ADF incident in Sajaiya.

About 140 coins from the Roman and Byzantine periods were discovered beneath the pillars of the pillar (Photo: Nature and Parks Authority, Assaf Dori)

The column is a monolithic with a heart section - a sign of Jewish architecture in the Talmudic period (Photo: Nature and Parks Authority, Assaf Dori)

"There are people with a heart of stone, there are stones with a human heart"

According to Dr. Dror Ben Yosef, an archaeologist and heritage director in the Northern District of the Nature and Parks Authority: "The poet Yossi Gamzo wrote in his poem - 'There are people with a heart of stone, there are stones with a human heart.'

This is how we see the stones and heritage values ​​in Israel in the nature reserves and national parks and this is how the heart of the late soldier Max Steinberg continues to beat in the Arbel Synagogue. Israel has been blessed with impressive and special heritage values In order to preserve the heritage and also allow visitors to enjoy it in all its glory by visiting the sites. "

As part of the project, a thin wooden balcony is being built on the site, leading to the synagogue (Photo: Nature and Parks Authority, Assaf Dori)

The ancient synagogue of Arbel National Park - the second largest in all of Israel (Photo: Nature and Parks Authority, Moti Dolev)

About the ancient synagogue in Arbel

The abundance of ancient synagogues in the country is a unique and rare phenomenon in the ancient architecture of the Land of Israel. Already in the days of the Second Temple, a number of synagogues operated in the country, which served as sacred buildings for diverse community activities, among the most famous of which are the synagogues in Masada, Jerusalem, Herodium, Gamla and more.



After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD and after the Bar Kochba revolt (136 CE), the Jewish center of gravity moved from the Judean region to the Galilee and Golan Heights. As a result, hundreds of community synagogues were built in the north to replace Jewish worship. were discovered in the Galilee and Golan Heights - mostly aligned between cities Sanhedrin birds of Tiberias.



the ancient synagogue of the National Park Arbel - the second largest in all of Eretz Israel (about 26 m long) - includes two architectural phases at least, the first Roman and the other Byzantine. this site was investigated For the first time in 1875, by members of the delegation surveyed the Western Palestine of the Foundation for the Study of Palestine.



In 1905 the building was excavated by a German delegation led by Karl Watsinger and Heinrich Kohl who dated it to the 3-4th centuries AD.

During their research, the Germans drew a rare plan of the synagogue building and the eastern entrance gate.

Later excavating Israeli archaeologists Nahman Avigad, Benjamin Arubas and Dr. Dror Ben-Yosef - archaeologist in charge of heritage in the northern district of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.



Synagogue of Arbel built light of the plan rectangular-Bziliklit and included two rows of seven columns (oriented north-south) And one row of four pillars (east-west axis) One of the rare features of this synagogue is a monumental eastern entrance gate made of a single monolithic stone.

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