Ben Ezra Synagogue
About Ben Ezra Synagogue
Just outside the walls of the Church of St. Barbara, there is a 9th-century synagogue sitting right on the shell of a 4th century Christian Church. The restoration of the synagogue is credited to Abraham Ben Ezra, who was the rabbi of Jerusalem in the 12th century.
Traditional history has it that this spot is where the Jews gathered in the 6th century, on the invitation of Prophet Jeremiah after the Jerusalem temple was torn apart by Nebuchadnezzar.
There is a spring adjacent the spot, which indicates two additional spots – where Mary drew water she used in washing Jesus, and the place where Pharaoh’s daughter found Moses in the reeds.
The Geniza documents were found in the synagogue in 1980. Researchers later joined the cache, which is about 350,000 papers, and they were able to recreate the history of the life of the North African Jewish Communities between the 11th and 13th centuries.