Beit Alfa National Park, boasts the remains of one of the most beautiful synagogue mosaic floors in Israel, dating from the early sixth century CE. Located on Kibbutz Heftziba in the eastern Jezreel Valley, the colorful folk-art style designs of the floor reveals the allegiance of the ancient congregation to Jewish tradition and their community, as well as its links with the wider culture of its day.
The panel closest to the Torah Shrine reveals a Holy Ark, along with menorahs, shofars, etrogs, lulavs and incense pans, all elements of Temple worship in Jerusalem, showing that the long-destroyed Temple was not forgotten.
The center panel reveals a zodiac, labeled in Hebrew, revealing that this community was comfortable borrowing artistic motifs from the surrounding culture. The lower panel presents the biblical story of the offering of Isaac in moving detail.
An inscription in Aramaic notes the date, and the funding of the floor by donations. An inscription in Greek, “May the craftsmen who carried out this work, Marianos and his son Hanina, be held in remembrance” became the basis for a highlight of the Beit Alfa visit: an imaginative audiovisual dramatization depicting the choice by the “synagogue board” of Marianos and Hanina for the task.