Going, Going, Gone

In the 16th century, two doorways still stood at the small synagogue outside the village of Bar‘am, in the upper Galilee. By the 19th century, only one survived (right)—a pair of molded monolithic doorjambs supporting a decorated lintel. According to an old description, the relief on the lintel featured a pair of winged Victories bearing a wreath. Only the wreath is left in the 19th-century photo. By the time the larger synagogue inside the village was excavated, in 1905, no remains of the synagogue outside the village could be seen.

Well preserved in part, the synagogue in the village stands as a preeminent example of the elaborate monumental style of Galilean synagogues. The obliterated, smaller synagogue, according to historical documents, featured a similarly elaborate and beautiful style. The existence of two such structures suggests that Bar‘am was a flourishing Jewish settlement in the third century C.E.