Daily Israel Report

Talmud-Era Jewish Community at Elad?

Archaeologists are confident the findings point to a Jewish population, probably 1,600 years ago.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 12/31/2013, 9:28 PM

Mayor of Elad
Mayor of Elad
Mayor's bureau

Did a Talmud-era Jewish community exist at the site where Elad, a religious city in central Israel, currently stands?

Archaeologists conducting digs at the site are confident that the answer is positive.

Several wine and olive oil presses have been found at the dig location, on Shamai street in the city. The wine presses include special pipes that carried wine directly to storage containers, without being touched by human hands, making it possible to employ non-Jews in the production of wine without affecting its kashrut.

Some of the oil presses included a “part-automatic” mechanism for pressing the oil, so that the wine could keep on flowing even during the Sabbath, when the Jews cannot tend to it.

Another find at the site was what archaeologists term a “heart column”. This is a corner column of a kind that was placed in numerous synagogues in the Land of Israel at the time. Its heart-shaped cross-section is created when two columns are placed in adjacency,which ends in a sharp point on one side.

There are plans to build a visitors' center at the location.