A short account of Bar’am, given by your Israel & Jerusalem private tour guide

The ancient Jewish village of Bar’am left us the impressive remains of their beautiful synagogue, which is now a national park.

The synagogue was built during the 3rd century in the Roman style of a basilica that was very common then. Since we have no historical record of the Jewish community who built it, we don’t even know the name by which the village was called. According to the size and majesty of the building, and the fact that the community had another, smaller synagogue (which was recorded in the 19th century, but didn’t survive), we can understand that Bar’am was a wealthy community.

An inscription in the Aramaic language saying “built by Elazar, son of Yudan,” and the fact that the building is facing Jerusalem, according to the Jewish custom, attest to the fact that this, indeed, was a synagogue. An unusual item found in it was a three-dimensional sculpture of a pair of stone lions.

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Next to the synagogue are the ruins of the Christian Arab village of Bir’am. In 1949, the IDF told the villagers to leave Bir’am for security reasons, and they settled nearby. Despite the Supreme Court decisions to allow them to return, they are only allowed to return to hold church services in their church.

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