42b Ashkelon

The Synagogue at Ashkelon

During the Byzantine period, the synagogue was constructed to promote an atmosphere of sanctity and was often referred to as “the holy place.” It featured wall inscriptions and intricately carved reliefs as well as a chancel screen. Fragments of the Ashkelon Synagogue were discovered during the nineteenth century.

Dedicatory inscriptions were common in synagogues. This beautifully carved example from the chancel screen refers to the synagogue in Greek as “the holy place.” It reads from front to back and includes among the donors Donna, daughter of Julianus; Mari, son of Nonnos; and Master Commodus.