The Bornblum Eretz Israel Synagogues Website Mission

The main goal of the The Bornblum Eretz Israel Synagogues website is to display the world of synagogues from the Land of Israel for the scholar, student and layperson.  This website provides information such as bibliographical references, geographical location, photos, plans and brief descriptions of ancient synagogues from the Roman and Byzantine periods in the Land of Israel.  It also presents information on selected historically significant synagogues from the Middle Ages through the beginning of the 20th century.  This site will be constantly updated including the latest relevant research news and scholarly works. A search of bibliographical references is currently in preparation.

Public structures in the Land of Israel dating as early as the beginning of the 1st century BCE have been identified by excavators, surveyors and researchers as synagogues. This region contains the largest concentration of identified ancient synagogues in the world.  The number of identified ancient synagogues reaches a peak in the Roman and Byzantine periods, mainly from the 3rd through 7th centuries CE, and decreases during the 7th through 10th centuries with the collapse of the Jewish population. From the Middle Ages to the early modern period, the size of the Jewish population in the Land of Israel was relatively limited, and usually perceived as secondary to the major thriving Jewish communities in the diaspora. The relatively few synagogues, which were established and functioned in the Land of Israel during this period, had a significant social and spiritual status. From the beginning of modern times, the number of synagogues serving the different Jewish communities grew gradually to over 500 by 1948, and were diverse in terms of their appearance, social significance and liturgical nature.

We hope that visitors to the website will find it to be a useful tool for the learning, study, and research of synagogues. We welcome your comments, corrections and suggestions:

Project Academic Team: Prof. Chaim Ben David, Prof. Mordechai Aviam, Dr. Reuven Gafni and Dr. Mechael Osband
Web Developer: Tzahi Harary



We are deeply thankful to all those institutions and the many contributors who provided plans and pictures as well as helpful suggestions: Archaeology Department of the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria, Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel Antiquities Authority, Israel Exploration Society, Kfar Etzion Field School, University of Puget Sound and Centre College Excavations at Khirbet Qana, B. Arubas, E. Ayalon, D. Bahat, Y. Ben Ephraim, Y. Buchman, H. Cohen, S. Dar, Y. Dray, A. Ganor, Y. Gekht, R. Hachlili, A. Izdarechet, A. Kloner, U. Leibner, L.I. Levine, J. Magness, Z.U. Maoz, E. Meir, E. Meyers, S. Miller, R. Or, A. Ovadiah, R. Porat, D. Raviv, R. Reich, D. Sar Avi, J. Strange, D. Syon, O. Tal, F. Vitto, Z. Weiss, S. Weksler-Bdolah, J. Zangenberg, and B. Zissu.

Most importantly, we thank the Bornblum Foundation for sharing in our vision and providing the generous financial support that made this website possible.


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