“Masada synagogue” by Kat Sniffen is licensed under CC-by-SA-2.0

STEP-BY-STEP. Like the assembly structure at Masada—converted into a synagogue by the Zealots during the First Jewish Revolt—stepped benches lined the walls of Second Temple-period synagogues, and the focal point was the center of the room. At Masada, four tiers of benches covered with white plaster were discovered. The congregation would have sat on these benches while the Torah was read and during other discussions—both religious and secular. Readers or lecturers would have stood in the middle of the floor or merely stood up in their places along the bench.