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Kefar Gamala

KEFAR GAMALA (Heb. כְּפַר גַּמְלָא), ancient village in the territory of Jerusalem. It is mentioned in Byzantine sources as the place where the tomb of R. *Gamaliel, the grandson of Hillel the Elder, the teacher of the apostle *Paul, was discovered following a dream by Lucian the local priest (PL 41:807, 809). Interred together with the Jewish sage were the remains of his two sons and of St. Stephen the deacon, the first Christian martyr. The distance of Kefar Gamala from Jerusalem is given as 20 miles. After the discovery of the tomb, the body of the saint was exposed in Jerusalem and then transferred to Constantinople in 415. Kefar Gamala is generally placed at Jammāla, a ruin 7 mi. (11 km.) west of Ramallah and this identification is supported by the fact that Kefar Gamala is mentioned in the sources together with Arimathea (Rantis) and Selemia (Khirbat Salamiyya) in the vicinity. From 1851 it was proposed to identify it with Beit Jimāl, 16 mi. (26 km.) south-west of Jerusalem, but this village was outside the territory of Jerusalem in Byzantine times.


Abel, in: RB, 33 (1924), 235ff. 306; Beyer, in: ZDPV, 51 (1931), 225–6; A. Sacchetti, Studi Stephaniani (1934).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.