In the Golan: day 6 - ancient Synagogues

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Middle East » Israel » North District » Golan
April 4th 2018
Published: May 8th 2018
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Wednesday we went on an another outing led by the local guide Shouka. Again about 5 families drove their own cars, following the guide's car with flags clipped to windows. Our objective was to visit the sites of two ancient synagogues, or as they are called 'bet knesset' which means 'meeting house' in Hebrew.

First we went to Dir Aziz. The entry to this synagogue has a large stone arch. This leads to a portico with pillars. Much of the base structure has been preserved or reconstructed by archaeologists.

The second bet knesset was at Ein Keshatot. In this case the pillared portico leads to an arched doorway into the synagogue proper. Most of these external pillars have tumbled. Inside it is clear that the front part is largely preserved or reconstructed. Likewise the interior pillars and the holy ark area are in good shape. The tall arched ark housing is particularly impressive. However the back wall is mostly missing. A crane hovering above the building indicates that the archaeologists are busy here.

Near the Keshatot synagogue is a spring from Nahal Semech. A pair of stone arches in the hillside cover the routing of the spring water as it flows into a stone pool. The water also feeds the nearby modern pool where children play and families picnic. This picnic area has been built of stone to fit with the original style.

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