Carol and Eric Meyers

Ancient synagogues were designed using three basic architectural plans. The Khirbet Shema synagogue , in the northern Galilee, is a broadhouse-type synagogue: Its entrance lies along the wall oriented toward Jerusalem, on the right side of the photo; inside the synagogue, along the wall opposite the entrance, the excavators found a well-constructed bemah—a raised place where the Torah shrine was set. In the so-called “Galilean Basilica” (as in the Bar’am synagogue), three large portals adorn a facade oriented southward toward Jerusalem; the Torah shrine was probably between the doors on the southern wall.