The Synagogue of Susiya (Randyjw; August 23, 2016)
Inland to the northern tip of the Dead Sea lies the rolling hills of the Sh’felah, the mountainous grouping assigned to the tribe of Judah, bordering the allocated land of the tribe of Benjamin. Known in Hebrew as “Yehudah”, from which the English word “Jewish” is derived, and in English as “Judaea”, this area is also home to the mountains of Jerusalem, further northward, which is the location of the Har HaBayit, the Mount of the Home, where the Holy Temple was built.
Israel’s second King, David, initially set his seat of power at Hevron, and moved the Ark of the Covenant around many times before making Jerusalem its final resting place. Other of Israel’s kings did so, as well, establishing synagogues all throughout the various regions of the land.
One of its beautiful synagogues is found at Susiya, and its construction, according to archaeologist Jodi Magness, at the 4th-5th century, is rife with Jewish symbolism, including the menorah (candelabra), the lulav (branch), the etrog (type of a citrus lemon), deer, and rams in the tesserae of its floor and in the sculpting of its stone structures.
Part of it has been moved to the Israel Museum, where it has been recreated for view. The Jewish Press lists it as its August 21st feature and photo of the day, which you can see, here:
The Jewish Press Staff. “The Ancient Synagogue of Susiya.” Photo of the Day. August 21, 2016:
Information on archaeological dating provided by Jodi Magness found at Wikipedia.org, “Susya”.