Nestling in the heart of Ein Gedi Nature reserve, Ein Gedi’s ancient synagogue was discovered by chance in 1965. Kibbutz members were installing a water pipe for irrigating their date palm groves when the tractor hit a mosaic floor. An archaeological expedition from the Hebrew University uncovered the building, the proved to a be 1,500-year-old synagogue. Its mosaic floor was decorated with charming patters and 4 lengthy inscriptions. One of them alluded to a secret the community held whose nature is mystery to this day. A burnt scroll found on its floor was deciphered only in 2015. It proved to be a copy of Leviticus.
Visiting Ein-Gedi’s Ancient Synagogue
Ein-Gedi’s synagogue is with the Ein Gedi Nature reserve an national park. It is open every day, from 8:00 to 17:00. The synagogue is a great example of a Jewish community thriving in the Judean Desert in Talmudic times. Its wealth was probably based on the lucrative production of Balsam perfume.
For a full appreciation of the site it is recommended to combine it with a guided day tour of the Dead Sea.
Bar-Mitzvah in the Synagogue of Ein-Gedi
The ancient synagogue of Ein-Gedi can also be a really special location for a Bar/Bat-Mizvah ceremony. Reading from the Torah inside a genuine 1,500 year old synagogue is a truly special moment, connecting first-hand to Judaism in antiquity in the Holy Land. The event can be followed with a special tour to Masada, and a swim at the Dead Sea.