The Ein Gedi Synagogue

At the beginning of the 1970s, a rather well-preserved synagogue was excavated in the area of the ancient village of Ein Gedi. This small building had a number of phases, the earliest of which, dating from the third century CE, included a mosaic floor with a black-and-white geometric pattern. In the second stage, at the end of that same century, the doorway, which had been in the northern wall, was blocked and replaced with a niche for the Holy Ark facing Jerusalem. The colorful and well-preserved mosaic from this stage features geometric patterns as well as figures of birds and candelabra. Four inscriptions were uncovered in narthex before the main hall. One is a list of the generations from Adam to Japheth. The second is a list of the signs of the Zodiac and the months of the year. The third is an inscription pledging people not to reveal the secret of their community and the last is a dedicatory inscription. Many finds were unearthed in the excavation, especially around the Holy Ark, among them a hoard of 5,000 coins, found near the Ark. A bronze goblet with a cover was also found, along with gold threads and gold leaf, which may have been part of the decoration of a cloth curtain over the wall niche. A small seven-branch candelabrum made of silver was also found, along with a bronze lamp.

Conservation Plan:

– Renovation of the visitor’s route through the ancient synagogue
– Completion of archaeological excavations of the village
– Linking of the complexes for better understanding of the synagogue’s context in the ancient Jewish village
– Conservation and reconstruction work.

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