We’re in the Galilee region again this week with a visit to the ancient town of Korazim. Founded in the first century CE, the town covers around 100 dunams (24.7 acres) and has five neighbourhoods.
It is mentioned in the Babylonian Talmud for the high-quality grain grown by its inhabitants and was one of three towns (together with Caperneum –Kfar Nahum – and Beithsaida) mentioned in the New Testament as having been condemned by Jesus because its population would not accept his teachings.
The beautiful late third to early fourth century south-facing synagogue boasts wonderful stonework, including human figures which are thought to have been brightly painted. Later, the same figures were deliberately defaced and this iconoclasm is thought by some researchers to be the result of later, more strict Jewish interpretations of the second commandment.
The synagogue also boasts a carved stone seat bearing an Aramaic inscription and nearby is the town’s mikve (Jewish ritual bath). Reconstructed houses and the ancient olive press give an idea of what life must have been like in this town which was mentioned by the French naturalist Pierre Belon in his accounts of his travels in 1547 as having a population of Jewish fishermen and was inhabited until the beginning of the 20th century.