The synagogue at Shfar’am dates back at least to the days of the Bedouin chieftain Daher el-Omar, under whose leadership Jews returned to renovate their ancient house of prayer here.
A visit to the synagogue, located in this Galilee Arab town in the hills west of Haifa, is the opportunity to experience a piece of the region’s living history and to understand the unique cultural mosaic that is Israel.
According to the Talmud, during Roman times Shfar’am was one of the headquarters of the Sanhedrin.
The cool interior of the one-room synagogue, last renovated in 1988, is the perfect place to hear the story of the Shfar’am sage Yehuda Bar Abba who continued to ordain rabbis despite the threat of execution by the Romans, and of Spanish Jews fleeing the Inquisition who made their homes here in the sixteenth century.
The last Jews left Shfar’am for Haifa in the 1920s, entrusting the keys to the synagogue to members of the Ja’afari family, who live across the street and are happy to give them to visitors.
To visit the synagogue, call the Ja’afaris at 04-986-5615