Zev Radovan/BibleLandPictures.com

ARK OF THE SCROLLS. Synagogues were often decorated with floor mosaics, depicting everything from Biblical scenes to zodiacs. Among the most important motifs was a representation of the Torah Shrine or just the Ark of the Scrolls usually featured on the mosaic floor panel next to the real Torah Shrine. At the Beth Alpha synagogue, the Ark of the Scrolls is portrayed as a chest with two decorated doors. A lamp from the ark’s gable hangs above the chest. Flanking the ark on either side is a seven-branched menorah, as well as a lion, a bird and ritual objects—a lulav (a palm frond used on the festival of Sukkot) and a shofar (a trumpet-like animal horn blown on the Jewish New Year). On either end of this mosaic panel is a veil separating the Ark of the Scrolls and Torah Shrine from the synagogue hall.