On a hill overlooking the Jezreel Valley stands a statue of a bold, muscular young man mounted on his horse. He seems alert and ready for action, inspecting the vast valley with his eyes. This is the statue of Alexander Zaid (1886-1936), a legendary figure in recent Israeli history.He was born in Siberia in 1886 and immigrated to the Land of Israel...more
During the 3rd and 4th centuries AD Beit-She'arim was a very desirable place to get buried in: a thriving town which used to be the seat of the Sanhedrin (the Council of the Elders), where the great Rabbi Yehuda Ha-Nassi, who compiled the Mishna (codex of Jewish laws) chose to be buried.As a result, a magnificent necropolis was built in...more
Ancient Beit-She'arim was a thriving Jewish community between the second and fourth centuries AD. On the hill, above the famous necropolis, you will find the remains of the town's synagogue right next to the road.Arches, walls, capitals all attest to the former glory of this synagogue and this community.The site is always accessible, 24 hours a...more
This is the largest of the excavated caves in the National Park. It is 75 meters in length and width with many rooms branching off the main corridors. You will find very beautifully decorated coffins. These decorations mainly show animals like bulls, eagles and fishes. There are several coffins with inscriptions, many refering to Rabbis. I enjoyed...more
In this cave you will find the tomb of Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi which turned the site of Bet Shearim into the important burial cave town. On the way to the grave of Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi you will pass tombs of other Rabbis. There were candles burning in the cave and I decided to wait a little as I heard a woman praying in the chamber of Yehuda Hanassis...more
This cave structure has twelve rooms all together. It is built quite impressively into a narrow rock gap and has two levels. There are several inscriptions around the cave of which one says in Hebrew: 'This is the last resting place of Yodan son of Levy, Levy is in Eternity, at peace, may the grave remain worthy of Yodan son of Levy'.It is possible...more
This is the cave of the Lulavim, which means plam branch referring to engraved palm branches on the wall inside of the cave. There is an inscription on the lintel of the door which says: 'Lord, remember Thy servant Sarcadus'. It is possible to go inside the cave, which is pretty dark.more
The Cave of the Lone Sarcophagus had a front wall with an arch. As original plan the cave was a coffin burial, but arcades were added and more burial places hewn into the rock. One decorated coffin was found in the cave. There is an opening on the right of the cave from where you can look down into the Cave of the Coffins.more
Here in this picture you can see some ancient Hebrew, the letters are read from right to left, so at the far right the first letter is Kuf, the second is Yud and the third is Resh....the other two I could not make out so I am not sure what is written here, the name of the person who was at one time buried here or a name of town or blessing.more
A simple design of a wreath, similar to what you can see on the doors of many people at holiday time in the USA.. I wonder if in addition to the Jewish burials here there were a few Christians who wanted to be buried near the Rabbi HaNanasi who was considered by many to be not only a religious scholar, but also at his death a holy man.more
Alexander Zaid whose staute you see here was one of the originators of the group known as "The Guard" (HaShomer). This group was formed to protect the isolated and sparsely populated Jewish settlements here before the state of Israel was formed. These settlements were being constantly attacked by Moslem raiders from the surrounding towns and villages, the raiders were well armed and the Jewish settlements had almost NO arms. The Guards of Alexander Zaid saved many, many lives by providing a deterrent to these raiders. Here is what I found on the internet:
Zaid, Alexander (1886-1938)
Alexander Zaid, pioneer and founder of HaShomer, 1886-1938
Born in Siberia, Alexander Zaid moved to Vilna at the age of 13 and subsequently joined the Zionist labor movement. In 1904 he was one of the first pioneers of the Second Aliyah to reach Eretz Yisrael, working in Rishon LeZion and Petah Tikvah. He was wounded by Arabs in Zikhron Ya'akov, and then moved to Jerusalem where he worked as a stonemason.
In 1907, he was one of the founders of a secret defense organization which was at the originis of the HaShomer organization. HaShomer was established in Kfar Tavor in the Lower Galilee in 1909. He devoted himself to the organization until his death.
In 1916, Zaid joined a group of HaShomer members who settled in Upper Galilee in what was to become Kfar Giladi. He stayed there for 10 years and then moved to nearby Tel Hai, and then to Sheikh Abrek in the Jezreel Valley to take charge of guarding the neighboring settlements for the Jewish National Fund. He was repeatedly faced with dangerous situations, but never abandoned his position, even when he was wounded by Arab rioters in 1932.
He was killed by Arabs while he was on guard duty in 1938. A statue of Zaid on horseback with a commanding view of the Jezreel Valley was erected at nearby Givat Zaid.
It was very interesting to see this room where the sarcopagai were still in the process of being cut from the material of the cave wall itself. As the cave was dug deeper and deeper, as more and more chambers were added, the workers would cut the sarcopagai out as they dug the caves. Then they only had to wait for someone to come along and die so...more
Inside one of the burial caves you can see the "chamber" where the body was laid down in its final resting place. This is a period before the use of coffins and the size of the chiseled out "chamber" was determined by the actual size of the body to be placed there.more