The old synagogue in Peki’in is located in the heart of a village that is one of the most charming and interesting in the country. High, high above the beautiful Bet Kerem Valley in Upper Galilee, the stone houses of Peki’in hug the steep hillsides, studded with pomegranates, olive trees and grape vines, and are home to Jews, Christians and Muslims.
A tiny cave in the heart of the village is reputedly the place where Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, Mishnaic-era sage, rebel against Rome and author of the Zohar, hid with his son from the Romans.
No knows how old the synagogue is; the last time it was restored was in 1890.
Visitors consider themselves fortunate to find the synagogue’s caretaker, Margalit Zenati, at home and willing to open the door for them. Zenati is the scion of a Jewish family who has lived in Peki’in for 2,000 years!
The synagogue contains a fragment of an ancient Torah scroll, and stone carvings said to have been brought here for safekeeping by refugees fleeing the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.