There’s always something old to be found in the Holy Land and this year there’s something about Mary Magdalene.
And as always we have the archaeologists to thank.
Those who ply their trowels 24/7 and 365 days a year have only uncovered Jesus’s pal’s birthplace.
And it’s a sacred place, a 2,000-year-old synagogue from the Second Temple period in Migdal.
So where are we? Migd-where you say.
Well, Migdal served as the main base for Yosef Ben Matityahu (Flavius Josephus).
And what the Bible didn’t tell us was that he was waging a war against the Romans in the Galilee during the Great Revolt.
This site is also mentioned in Christian texts as the birthplace of Mary Magdalene.
And now we’ve got your attention…
And we can tell you that the newly-excavated synagogue is a broad, square-shaped building constructed from basalt and limestone.
While in a small room on the south side of the hall, a plaster-coated stone shelf was found.
And we’re told the room may have been used to store scrolls…
And maybe (and I’m going straight to hell here) some love letters to J of Nazareth.
Building on history
So bringing us up to date, Magdalene’s birthplace comes hard on the heels of the building uncovered in the 2009 excavations.
That was the first synagogue from the Second Temple period found in the Galilee.
Professor Adi Erlich, head of the Zinman Institute of archaeology at the University of Haifa put it all in context.
He said: ‘The stone bearing a relief of the Menorah from the other synagogue at Migdal, suggests that the local Jews saw Jerusalem as their religious centre.’
We dig what you say
While excavator Dina Avshalom-Gorni built on that.
She added: ‘We can imagine Mary Magdalene and her family coming to the synagogue here.
‘Along with other residents of Migdal, to participate in religious and communal events.
‘The exposure of a second synagogue casts new light on Jewish communal life in the Galilee, the area where, according to the New Testament, Jesus performed his miracles.’
At this time of the year we’re all focusing on birth, and a new beginning.
And Israel, which led the way in vaccination roll-out, is born again (they’ve a history for this too) for visitors.
Old and new
The Land of Milk and Honey‘s latest campaign, Two Cities, One Break, encourages us to visit Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
They serve as diverse destinations that boast the country’s mineral beaches, Bauhaus architecture, 3,000-year-old history and biblical background.
And you’ll know too that Israel is home to a number of UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the Old City of Jerusalem, Acre and Masada.
And you can take in both on a G Adventures Israel and Jordan trip… they’re pals, you know.
Yes, there’s something about Joseph, Jesus and there’s something about Mary Magdalene.