web analytics
October 26, 2014 / 2 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Stunning Synagogue Discovered in Huqoq


Huqoq mosaic with female face and inscription.

Huqoq mosaic with female face and inscription.
Photo Credit: Jim Haberman

A monumental synagogue building dating to the Late Roman period (ca. 4th-5th centuries C.E.) has been uncovered in archaeological excavations at the ancient Jewish village of Huqoq in Israel’s Galilee.

Revealed in the excavations are a stunning mosaic floor decorating the interior of the building.  Made of small, high-quality colored stone cubes, the mosaic depicts a scene of the biblical judge/warrior Samson tying fiery torches between the tails of foxes, as described in the book of Judges 15.  In another section of the mosaic, two female faces border a circular medallion, with a Hebrew inscription praising those who perform Torah commandments.

 The excavations are being conducted by Jodi Magness of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and David Amit and Shua Kisilevitz of the Israel Antiquities Authority, and sponsored by UNC, Brigham Young University in Utah, Trinity University in Texas, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Toronto in Canada. Students and staff from UNC and the consortium schools are also participating in the dig.

“This discovery is significant because only a small number of ancient (Late Roman) synagogue buildings are decorated with mosaics showing biblical scenes, and only two others have scenes with Samson (one is at another site just a couple of miles from Huqoq),” said Magness, the Kenan Distinguished Professor in the department of religious studies in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences in a press release issued by the Israel Antiquities Authority. “Our mosaics are also important because of their high artistic quality and the tiny size of the mosaic cubes. This, together with the monumental size of the stones used to construct the synagogue’s walls, suggest a high level of prosperity in this village, as the building clearly was very costly.”

Huqoq is located just  west of Capernaum and Migdal.  It was discovered in 2011 by Magness.

About the Author: Malkah Fleisher is a graduate of Cardozo Law School in New York City. She is an editor/staff writer at JewishPress.com and co-hosts a weekly Israeli FM radio show. Malkah lives with her husband and two children on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

7 Responses to “Stunning Synagogue Discovered in Huqoq”

  1. Violating the Commandment against graven images, and being located in the Galilee, one wonders if this was sponsored by the Jesus Movement-Christian-Jews, though this late it might suggest assimilated Jewish-Romans…

  2. Chayim Goldberg says:

    have you ever visited the synagogues in Tzipori, Beit Alpha, Ein Gedi, etc.? They all have "graven images." Some even have the zodiac. The Beit Hamikdash also had images in it (eg. the keruvim on the paroches). The images are not necessarily a violation of the prohibition of graven images and were rather something that was common in the culture of the time. By this time, there were artistic distinctions between churches and synagogues (eg. menorah vs cross) so this is most likely not a Christian site.

  3. Part of the mosaic depicts the biblical scene of Samson placing torches between the tails of foxes, as well as another image of two human faces flanking a medallion with a Hebrew inscription about rewards for those who perform good deeds.

  4. The Synagogue at Dura Europos is quite revealing. Mosaics display various Biblical episodes, however they suffered extensive damage in antiquity. Academics have surmised that this was a Jewish " iconoclasm " – a clash between old and new ideals. The representation of humananimal form was considered strictly forbidden. However, by the 3rd century the sentiment was becoming relaxed.

  5. Chayim Goldberg says:

    Interesting example- I was only thinking of examples in Israel, but DE is a perfect example of Biblical scenery. An interesting book on this subject was published by Dr. Steven Fine of YU

  6. Oh, this naughty Samson, allways troublemaking, but vulnerable upon female perfidity.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Terrorists attack Israeli soldiers with a Molotov cocktail in Arab village near Ramallah.
Palestinian Authority-American Shot Dead while Trying to Kill Jews
Latest News Stories
Liberman and Ariel

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Avigdor Liberman (L) speaks with Israel’s Minister of Housing and Construction Uri Ariel during a cornerstone laying ceremony for a new Synagogue in the community of Nokdim in Eastern Gush Etzion, on October 23, 2014. Nokdim is Liberman’s home town. This is what we think they spoke about.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency Saturday after terrorists carried out a deadly assault in the northern Sinai, killing 33 Egyptian troops. Al-Sisi charged that “this operation had a foreign fund to execute” he attack against the Egyptian army… to break the back of Egypt and Egyptians.” A car bomb […]

Israeli police shoot tear gas to disperse Arab rioters throwing rocks after Friday prayers in Arab neighborhoods n Jerusalem.

Arab youth are trying to spark a widespread intifada but so far have failed.

Broken headstones and monuments in the Mount of Olives cemetery.

Jewish headstones and monuments were smashed, broken and knocked over. Firebombs were thrown into the cemetery.

The Galil Medical Center has treated 408 wounded Syrians to date.

At least 14 people have been killed in Tripoli battles.

India has chosen to purchase Israel’s Spike anti-tank missiles after rejecting a competing offer for US Lockheed Martin’s Javelin missiles.

The US sends its “condolences” and urges “all parties…to avoid escalating tensions.”

Kerry snubs Ya’alon, but the Israeli D.M. gets great press coverage in leading U.S. newspaper.

The first of 2 nurses to contract Ebola in Texas has been cured. NY and NJ have begun quarantining health-care workers returning from West Africa.

“Mourning” a terrorist means carrying the torch of terror.

Israel changes it clocks Sunday morning at 2 AM.

Terrorist attack in NYC and in Canada came after ISIS urged Muslims in the West to strike police and soldiers.

“For these international artists, the history and heroism at Masada together with performing at the lowest point on earth – 424 meters under the sea – is something that is truly unique,” Yossef explained.

At best, the Hareidim have been eating “Heter Mechira”. At worse, they’ve been eating vegetables grown in sewer water or pesticides from unknown and unsupervised Arabs fields.

More Articles from Malkah Fleisher
Godzilla (R.)

A green bell pepper affectionately dubbed “Godzilla” by the children of Moshav Ein Yahav in the northern Arava desert has won a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Though the permissibility of watching hired sports players go to battle in a large stadium is a source of controversy amongst Torah observant Jews, the food being served at the upcoming Super Bowl games in New Orleans is not.

Rabbi Yitzchok Moully, youth director at the Chabad Jewish Center in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, will be introducing a new art installation in honor of Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish New Year of Trees, inspired by the destruction of Hurricane Sandy.

More than 2,000 people have made contributions in memory of the young victims of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut to plant a grove of trees in Israel.

Shoshana Hebshi, a half-Jewish, half-Arab woman from Ohio is suing Frontier Airlines, the FBI, TSA and other governmental agencies after she says she was forced off a flight, strip-searched, and imprisoned on the tenth anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks.

Women may enter military combat in the United States, following the lift of a military ban on women in combat by defense secretary Leon Panetta.

The Jewish National Fund will reconsider a plan to forest parts of the Arava desert, following the request of environmental organizations to consider the impact of trying to alter the native ecosystem.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Israel and western countries not to attempt to stop Iran’s nuclear program through military means.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/stunning-synagogue-discovered-in-huqoq/2012/07/02/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: