Bar’am National Park

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The synagogue at Bar’am is one of the most beautiful and impressive vestiges of a synagogue from the talmudic period. There is no historical information about this location, nor has the name of the synagogue come down to us, but the remains point to an established and well-to-do community. This place is first mentioned in 1210 in the book “Voyage to Palestine” by Samuel bar Shimshon: We came to the village of Bir’am; at the entrance we found the grave of rabbi Pinchas ben Ya’ir and on top of it was a large tombstone in the shape of a grindstone. Beyond this stood a very beautiful synagogue with its walls still standing; there we found an open floor with a house of learning above it. An unknown traveler, a student of the Ramban (Nahmanides), passed by this place at the beginning of the 14th century, and he wrote in Boundaries of the Land of Israel: The distance from Gush Halav to Kfar Bar’am is about 2 parasangs [about 13 km]. Inside the village there is a synagogue dedicated to rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, a very magnificent building, with large glazed stones and large, lengthy columns. I had never seen such a magnificent building. Rabbi Moses Basola, who traveled through the country in 1523 and left us the most important book of the period, writes: Afterward, we went to Kfar Bar’am, and this is a large village; there [preached] Obadiah the Prophet, one of the great sages of Zion, and below it the cave. And beside this a destroyed building; only two portals remained and on the lintel of the small portal was inscribed in square letters:
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