Tsipora Zaid traces the familiar shape of a menorah, the seven-branched Jewish ritual candelabrum, carved in high relief into the wall of one of Beth She’arim’s catacombs. The arched opening to the left of the menorah leads into a burial room. Numerous inscriptions on the catacomb walls, like the one in Greek to the right of the menorah, provide evidence that the people buried at Beth She’arim were pillars of their communities—rabbis, public officials, scribes, merchants and craftspeople.

Tsipora Zaid, the widow of the region’s watchman, lived atop the hill of Beth She’arim in the 1930s and gave the fledgling excavation its first funds.