The Tzippori Synagogue

Tzippori was the largest and most important city in the Galilee during the Roman and Byzantine periods. Many sages made their homes there, the most important of whom was Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi (Rabbi Judah the Prince), who lived in Tzippori for 17 years, during which time he redacted the Mishnah. It was built in the fifth century CE or the beginning of the sixth. The bimah (platform) for the Holy Ark was located in the western wall of the building, not in the direction of Jerusalem as were the bimahs known from most other ancient synagogues. The mosaic floor of the synagogue features rare scenes of great significance for the understanding of Jewish art. The floor is divided into seven panels, from the entrance to the base of the bimah. Only small remnants of the first panel have survived, which have been identified with a high degree of certainty as depicting the visit of the three angels to Sarah the Matriarch. The second panel, which was divided into two parts, apparently shows the offering of Isaac. The next panel, was adored with a Wheel of the Zodiac. The fourth panel depicts elements from worship in the Temple, among them a basket of First Fruits. The next panel shows additional elements of Temple worship. The sixth strip shows two candelabra, shofars, the Four Species and tongs for trimming the wicks of lamps. In the center, the Holy Ark and an incense pan are featured. The seventh and last panel, at the foot of the bimah, depicts two lions standing on either side of a wreath, each of which has a paw placed on the head of a bull.

Conservation Plan:

– Completion of the display
– Interpretation
– Improving the building and the surrounding streets in order to hold special events such as bar mitzvahs and weddings

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