The Synagogue Ruins at Ein Nashut
The ancient Jewish community at Ein Nashut was situated 3½-km from Katzrin. The ruins of its synagogue are of interest primarily because of the surprise factor – that a synagogue is located in an isolated area in the middle of nowhere! The villagers were engaged in agriculture, particularly the production of olive oil.
A synagogue at Ein Nashut already existed in the 1st century CE, but was destroyed during the Great Revolt (66-73 CE). It was reestablished a few centuries later. Coins were found in its foundations from 390 CE and under the entrance paving from 408 to 421 CE during the reign of the Roman Emperor Honorias. This allows dating of the synagogue. It was a custom in those days to bury low-value coins in the foundations of synagogues. (See the essay “How do archeologists figure out when an ancient synagogue was built?” on this web page). The village was destroyed centuries later and not resettled.
This is a relatively small synagogue with six Ionic columns in two rows. Impressive sculptured carvings of lions, eagles and a menorah were found, but these were spirited off to the archeological museum in Katzrin. The entrance to the synagogue was from the west. Note the benches for seating adjacent to the wall. The ark was on the southern wall facing Jerusalem. We know this because of an impression for an ark in the plaster work and also because of the remains of the lowest step of its niche. In the north-east corner is the base of a staircase that led to a gallery or to the roof.
If you follow the path from the synagogue for a short distance, you will come across an olive press within the ruins of a building. The rest of the ruins of the village of which the synagogue was a part extend over about 6 acres.
TO THE RUINS OF THE SYNAGOGUE:
Distance: About ¼ Km each way.
Time: About 8 minutes each way.
Difficulty: It is a relatively easy walk to the ruins, although there are some rocks on the path.
Directions: Enter “Ein Nashut Ancient Synagogue” into Waze. The parking area is just off the main road.
Public transport: This site is about a 1.5 Km/18-minute walk from Tzomet North Katzrin from where there bus lines. Enter “Ein Nashut ancient synagogue” into Moovit.
The ruins of the ancient synagogue at Ein Nashut.
From the parking lot, go through the green turnstile that has a blue marking.
When you come to a fork in the footpath, take the right fork down to the valley.
Cross over Wadi Meshushim on a sort-of wooden bridge. Continue ahead and you will soon see the ruins.
After viewing the synagogue, look for an olive press in the ruins of a building close to the synagogue.
Return to the parking lot the way you came.
An olive press in the ruins of a building.