Welcome to World Jewish Heritage
Rediscover your heritage like never before
|Location Baram, Israel|
|Open to visitors yes|
|Need appointment no|
|Handicap accessibility no|
|Geographical Coordinates 33.05898,35.43323|
The synagogue is preserved up to the second story and has been restored. The architecture of the synagogue is similar to that of other synagogues in the Galilee built in the Talmudic period. In 1522, Rabbi Moses Basula wrote that the synagogue belonged to Simeon bar Yochai, who survived the Second Jewish War in 132-135 CE (the Bar-Kochba revolt). But archeologists have concluded that the building was built at least a century later. The Israeli archaeologist Lipa Sukenik (1889–1953), who was instrumental in establishing the Department of Archaeology at the Hebrew University, excavated a relief in one of the synagogues in 1928, and dated the Bar’am synagogue to the 3rd century CE. The synagogue is made of basalt stone, standard for most buildings in the area. The six-column portico is an unusual structure. The front entrance of the synagogue has three doorways that face Jerusalem. In front of the entrance are some of the (originally eight) columns with Attic bases which supported a porch. There is an inscription under the right window on the facade, which reads: "Banahu Elazar bar Yodan", which means "Elazar bar Yodan built it". Elazar bar Yodan is a Jewish Aramaic name. The interior of the synagogue was divided by rows of columns into three aisles and an ambulatory. An unusual feature in an ancient synagogue is the presence of three-dimensional sculpture, a pair of stone lions. A similar pair of three-dimensional lions was found at Chorazin. A carved frieze features a winged victory and images of animals and, possibly, human figures. There was a second, smaller synagogue, but little of it was found. A lintel from this smaller synagogue is at the Louvre. The Hebrew inscription on the lintel reads, "Peace be upon the place, and on all the places of Israel." In 1901, publication of photos of the ancient synagogue led the Jewish Hospital of Philadelphia, (now the Albert Einstein Medical Center) to erect a synagogue, the Henry S. Frank Memorial Synagogue, inspired by Bar'am and other ancient Israeli synagogues. The hospital's synagogue replicated the round arch of the door of the standing ruin and the lintel from the smaller synagogue that is now in the Louvre.
Bar'am was established in ancient times as a Jewish village. At an unknown point following the Arab conquest of Palestine in the 7th century, but before the 13th century, Jews abandoned the village. By the 19th century the village was entirely Christian. A church on the site , the Maronite church, is maintained and is always open. Kafr Bar'am was badly damaged in the Galilee earthquake of 1837. The local church and a row of columns and other standing remains of the ancient synagogue were destroyed to the ground. In the 19th century the village had a population of 160 males, all Maronites and Melkites.
Kfar Baram (Hebrew: כְּפַר בַּרְעָם), also Kafr Bir'im or Kafar Berem, is the site of an ancient Jewish village in Northern Israel, 3 kilometers from the Lebanese border. An ancient Hebrew inscription from one of the village synagogues reads: "Peace be upon the place, and on all the places of Israel."
The name is often assumed to mean "Son of the People," incorporating the Aramaic word bar בר, meaning "son" and the Hebrew word am עם meaning "people". However, if like at Shfar'am, both elements are Hebrew, the name could derive from a literary Hebrew word בר indicating cleanliness, purity, pristine and wholesomeness - "The wholesome people" or "wholesomeness of the people". In modern Hebrew, בר is most commonly used in phrases to indicate "wilderness" or "nature".