Peki'in Synagogue

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Peki'in Synagogue
A tall, white bricked, domed building against a blue sky.
Basic information
Location Peki'in
Year consecrated 1873

The Peki’in Synagogue (Hebrew: בית הכנסת העתיק בפקיעין The Ancient Synagogue in Peki'in), is a synagogue located in the centre of Peki'in, Northern Israel, said to have built into its walls two stones taken from the walls of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.

Stone tablet found at the synagogue.

According to local tradition the synagogue was built on the site of the Beth midrash, where Rabbi Joshua ben Hananiah has taught before the Bar Kokhba war, and Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai after it. The current structure dates from 1873 after the former one destroyed by an earthquake 30 years before. Funding for the construction, attested to on a plaque commemorating the donation, was given by a Jew named Rafael Halevy from Beirut.

In 1926 and 1930 two old stone tablets were uncovered at the synagogue. One depicts a menorah, shofar and lulav and the second depicts a Torah shrine. Both are dated between the late 2nd century CE and the early 3rd.[1]

In 1955 the Israeli Ministry of Religious Affairs renovated the building at the request of president Yitzhak Ben-Zvi who had visited the Jewish community of Peki’in in 1922 and documented it in his book Shaar Yashuv.[2] To this end the 100 NIS banknote which features Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, also features the Peki’in synagogue on the reverse side.[3]

The synagogue, not usually active, is kept by Margalit Zinati. Zinati is of a Jewish family who have lived for centuries in Peki’in, reportedly since the time of the Second Temple.[4]


In February 2017, the Council for Conservation of Heritage Sites in Israel uncovered an 1800 year old limestone column capital. Engraved on the column capital are two Hebrew inscriptions dating to the Roman period. The column was found upside down in the buildings courtyard. “A preliminary analysis of the engravings suggests that these are dedicatory inscriptions honoring donors to the synagogue.” said Yoav Lerer, the IAA inspector in the Western Galilee. Uriel Rosenboym, director of Beit Zinati, exclaimed that "No one can argue with the written artifact. There was an ancient synagogue here and the synagogue was built in its current form in recent centuries."[5][6]


  1. ^ Joyce Segal Chiat, Marilyn (1982). Handbook of Synagogue Architecture. Brown Judaic Studies. 29. Scholars Press. pp. 53–54. ISBN 978-0-89130-524-8. 
  2. ^ Researchers race to document vanishing Jewish heritage of Galilee Druze village, Eli Ashkenaz, 25 July 2012, Haaretz
  3. ^ "Banknotes and Coins Catalog; Second Series of the New Sheqel: One Hundred New Sheqalim". Bank of Israel. Retrieved 2007-07-04. 
  4. ^ "Cities: Peki'in (Buke'a)". Ministry (Israel). Retrieved 2007-07-04. 
  5. ^ "Israel Antiquities Authority". (in Hebrew). Retrieved 2017-02-21. 
  6. ^ "1,800-year-old Hebrew stone inscriptions found in ancient Galilee synagogue". The Jerusalem Post | Retrieved 2017-02-21. 

Further reading[edit]

Coordinates: 32°58′39″N 35°20′08″E / 32.977499°N 35.335564°E / 32.977499; 35.335564