Mosaics

According to the Talmud there were thirteen synagogues in Tiberias. Only one has been found. This was excavated during the building of the plaza hotel around about 1973. Previously the site was totally covered by sand left by earth quakes and landslides. When they came to build the hotel many items were discovered including remnants of an Ottaman fort dating back to the crusaders. Also discovered the structure of a synagogue dating from the byzantine/ muslim era and beneath this an even older synagogue.

They identified the structure as part of a synagogue because of the coloured mosaic that was found on the floor. The mosaic shows the Jewish symbols,  lulav and etrog and a Greek inscription with the name of the person who built the mosaic next to the structure of the synagogue.

It was dated from treasure they found underneath notably old coins in jars. The shul was about 20m x 30m. More amazingly this shul dates back to the writing of the Talmud.

So when the Talmud speaks Eruvim about a sea wall forming part of an eruv  they are talking about the Kinneret about 50m away! Which means they’re shaking lulav while a few kilometres along the coast the instruction manual how to do it is being written down.

The story is told is that when the Roman’s took Rakkat and Herod’s son Agrippa re-named it after the late Emperor Tiberius there were two families descended from the Hasmoneans. One family go to war with the Romans and along with 30 000 Jews get wiped out up the road near Migdal. The other family make peace with the Roman’s. Reasoning that they are never going to defeat such a powerful army. 400 years later the family are still rich enough to build this synagogue. Flavius describes wars in the area and makes numerous references to Tiberias.