The first Jewish settlement in Ein-Gedi began in the seventh century B.C. and lasted until some time after the destruction of the First Temple by Nebuchadrezzar of Babylonia in 586 B.C.. The colony was reestablished in the fifth century BCE and again during the Second Temple period in the second century B.C. . This period of Jewish habitation lasted intermittently for 700 years, until the end of the Byzantine empire around 550 AD, when the settlement was destroyed by fire and abandoned. Ein Gedi was developed extensively during this time and the remains of agricultural terraces, cisterns and aqueducts can still be seen.
The ruins of an ornate synagogue dating from the Byzantine era and mosaics with Hebrew and Aramaic inscriptions have been extensively restored.
A Byzantine (Talmudic) Oil-Lamp
The Holy Ark
The mosaic floor inscreption
First Section: a list of the generation from Adam to Japheth.
Second Section: a list of months and signs of the zodiac, the three patriarchs, Daniel’s and three companions.
Third Section: an Aramaic inscription mention the benefactors of the synagogue, an oath swearing the reader to maintain the secrecy of the settlement.
Fifth Section: an Aramaic inscription thanking the citizens of the town.
Incantation Bowl – with Aramic Inscription
The Synagogue Mosaic