There was a day when some more radical scholars were denying the existence of synagogue buildings in the first century, until Lee Levine and others put that myth to rest. We will be talking about the new find of the synagogue at Migdal in a later post, but here we get to look at the re-created one at Nazareth Village. Most ancient buildings, including synagogues did not have conventional windows, though they might have sky lights of a sort, but otherwise most of the light came in through the door, or from lamps hanging in the building.
What you were not likely to see in a first century synagogue was three women waiting their turns to read the Biblical text. For one thing, few ancient women could read Hebrew. For another thing, there were those who said it was inappropriate for women to speak in the synagogue. These women however are well qualified— they are my wife’s sister Elaine, my wife Ann, and our Russian daughter Yuliya.