web analytics
May 23, 2015 / 5 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


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.

Current Top Story
Tzipi Hotovely, new Deputy Foreign Minister.
Foreign Minister Hotovely: Tell the World ‘God Gave Israel to the Jews’
Latest News Stories
Chabad of Dead Sea brings friends from Arad to create a last-minute celebration sheva brochot with the seven wedding blessings with a new married couple.

At the ninth hour, Chabad of Dead Sea whipped together sheva brochot in 2 hours for a newly wedded tourist couple — out of nowhere.

Tzipi Hotovely, new Deputy Foreign Minister.

Israel finally has a Foreign Minister who is not ashamed to say the word “God.”

Cairo Jews shove and curse a journalist dressed up as a Jew.

An Arab language website sent a reporter, dressed as a Jew, to the streets of Cairo.

Volunteers with Shomer Hachadash.

Eight years ago, an Israeli rancher from Moshav Zippori in the Lower Galilee region reached a breaking point. Thieves and marauders had been targeting Chaim Zilberman’s sprawling ranch; his land was burnt black and cattle fences cut down. On the verge of bankruptcy, the rancher told his family during a Friday Shabbat dinner one night […]

Scotland Yard said it cannot prevent the upcoming neo-Nazi march that is planned for July 4th.

A store in Rafah, Gaza displays women’s Islamic head coverings for sale.

A State Dept. official is in Israel to talk about making the region nuclear-free.

The highway at the property is a favorite spot for PA Arabs to try to throw

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu annual medical report  as written by his personal physician, Dr. Tzvi Berkovitz, states, “Blood tests were completely normal including those for sugar, cholesterol and fats. The Prime Minister’s blood pressure was normal (120/80), aided by light medication.” The reports notes that “Prime Minister Netanyahu trains several times a week at a […]

The President will speak Friday night at Washington’s largest Conservative synagogue, probably to continue to express his opinion that Israel is racist & Israel should embody “Judeo-Christian”/universal values (as opposed to Jewish values). They’re going to lap it up .

This week ISIS captured two major cities, one in Iraq, one in Syria. Assad’s escape plan revealed.

Israeli Pres. Rivlin expresses deep concern after vandals torch a Bnei Akiva building and synagogue in northern Israel.

More than 70 percent of Muslims in Netherlands reportedly view their brethren fighting the “jihad” in Syria as “heroes.”

Israel rejects a Swiss court decision granting $1.1 billion to Iran after an oil deal went sour after the Islamic Revolution.

Liberman apologizes for describing Netanyahu’s decision to meet with head of Arab Joint Party List as “autistic.”

Former FM Avigdor Liberman slams PM Netanyahu for scheduling talks with the head of the united Arab parties.

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: