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Jewish Quarter in Prague
Josefov
#About the Ancient Jewish Quarter in Prague

Today the quarter is nicknamed Josefov, but some will always call it the Jewish Quarter of Prague. The Old Jewish Quarter of the city is one of the most toured areas in the city, the most ancient part of Prague. There are old and ancient buildings filled with history, including the Jewish Museum, the old Jewish Cemetery and a number of synagogues.

Though Jews were settling in the city from the 10th century, the Jewish Quarter in Prague exists from the 12th century. In the past Jews were allowed to only live within the Quarter limits, which received the name "The Jewish Ghetto."

More than any other city in Europe, the Jews of Prague received a high status in the financial and cultural life of the city, and made strong ties with the rulers. Here too in the Czech Republic, there were difficult stories of blood libels, accusations of arson, fires, poisoning of wells, and persecution of Jews for any reason.

The location of the Jewish Quarter is between the Old City Square to the Vlatava River Banks. The name of the Jewish Quarter, Josefov, was given after the ruler of the Joseph II, who set a reform that greatly elevated the living status of the Jews in Prague.



#Jewish Quarter Constructions

The ghetto is a merger of two Jewish centers in the city - the first is the center of the "Ashkenazi" Jews, which centered around the Old New Synagogue (Altneuschul), the famous Maharal Synagogue, and the Sephardim, which were located around the Spanish Synagogue.

In the past, the Jewish Ghetto was one of the poorer parts of the city. It was repeatedly hit by floods from the river, a story that was resolved only in the early 20th century, when the batteries were lifted to prevent flooding from the river. Until then, the ghetto was one of the less well-tended neighborhoods in Prague.

Try not to look here only at graves on the ground. Look up and see the special buildings of the Quarter. Here is the world's largest concentration of buildings decorated with Art-Nouveau decorations. There are also representatives of Art-Deco and cubist architecture, two other interesting styles, which were also in fashion in the first half of the last century.



A Closer Look at Prague's Jewish Quarter:

https://youtu.be/nnAO5XiVg7U
Pinkasove Synagoga
Pinkas Synagogue
#About the Synagogue the Memorializes the Czech Jews Who Perished in the Holocaust

The Pinkas Synagogue (Pinkasove Synagoga), memorializes the Jews that were killed by the Nazis from Moravia and Bohemia. On the walls are engravings of 77,297 names of Jewish victims, and some personal information about them, and the communities they belonged to.

On the second floor is an exhibit of Jewish children drawings from the Theresienstadt Ghetto, between 1942-1944. Back then the Ghetto was used as a last stop for the Czech Jews, before being taken in masses to death camps, and most of the children who drew the drawings did not survive the Holocaust.


#The Synagogue's Architecture

The synagogue you are now in, built in 1535 by the Horowitz family, was one of the richest Jewish families in the Jewish Ghetto.

About 100 years later in 1625, another wing was added to the synagogue, in the Renaissance style. In the following century (18th), additions were made to the building in the Baroque style.

At the end of World War II the synagogue became a memorial center, dedicated to the Jews of Moravia and Bohemia that were murdered by the Nazis.

During the Communist rule some construction and renovations took place here, and in 1968 a vaulted cavity that contained an ancient Jewish ritual bath ("Mikveh" in Hebrew) and a water well were discovered beneath the building.

This is when the names of the victims were erased from the walls, with the excuse that the dampness in the walls caused the damage. However after the end of the Communist rule over the Czech, the names we re-written on the walls of the synagogue, and were not erased again. With time this synagogue has gone on to become part of the Prague Jewish Museum.



A Closer Look at the Pinkas Synagogue:

https://youtu.be/y6MflaLr71o



A Very Famous Video:

https://youtu.be/evI3X9QM5rA
The Jewish Museum in Prague
Prague Jewish Museum
#About Prague's Jewish Museum

History knows to tell that Hitler planned to build his diabolical museum in Prague to commemorate the extinct race, the Jewish faith. For this reason he prevented Nazi soldiers from destroying the synagogues in the Jewish Quarter in the city. Additionally, the Nazis gathered massive amounts of Judaica items. Everything was set up for the museum, the fruits of the thoughts of a cynical and original evil dictator. However, as per all our happiness, this museum was established by the Jews themselves after the victory over the Nazis.

The Prague Jewish Museum contains a large collection of rare Jewish art, a collection that attests of the long history and rich tradition of the Jews in Prague and all of Czechoslovakia.

The different museum wings are spread around Jewish sites around the whole city, for example the Maisel Synagogue, Klausen Synagogue, the Spanish Synagogue and the Pinkas Synagogue - the several buildings still standing from the Jewish ghetto in Prague. The ghetto is 1,000 years old, most of it destroyed in the 19th century, to construct wider streets in the city.



#What to See Here and Where?

The museum wings are spread around Prague, like;

Klausen Synagogue - Judaica displays and documents of ceremonies and Jewish holidays.

Maisel Synagogue - More from the Judaica displays, with a focus on textiles and books.

Pinkas Synagogue - Children drawings from the Theresienstadt Ghetto closed to the city, and the memorial walls for the Czechoslovakian Jews who were killed in the Holocaust, included 77,297 engraved names.



#Tips

If you wanted to visit a few sites in the Jewish Quarter, you can buy a combination ticket, that includes entrance into all the sites.



Here is Part of the Prague Jewish Museum:

https://youtu.be/ewMgYk3zmA8



A Visit and Part of the Museum:

https://youtu.be/RQOxsz1L2Dw
Klausova Synagoga
Klausen Synagogue
#About the Synagogue that was in the Ghetto

Klausen Synagogue (Klausova Synagoga), of Klausen in Prague was the biggest synagogue in Prague. It's entertaining to know that its name comes from the word Klaus, the German word meaning a small building, and in Yidish; a small synagogue or house of prayer.

The Klausen was built in the end of the 17th century during a long period of time, and it housed the burial society, which was responsible for burial matters.

The synagogue that reminds of the Baroque church in Prague, replaced the ancient synagogue that was sitting here and burned in 1689, in a fire that destroyed most of the Jewish Ghetto, with many of the houses and synagogues in it.

Today the synagogue displays hand written rare antiques, historic Jewish printed materials, and paintings where traditions and customs are eternalized in Jewish Prague in the 18th century.



A Closer Look at the Klausen Synagogue:

https://youtu.be/6qkvieYdn6o



Another Look:

https://youtu.be/0bJxLmkbt90

Josefov

Maiselova Synagoga
Maisel Synagogue
#About the Synagogue with the Wonderful Display of Judiaca

The Maisel Synagogue (Maiselova Synagoga) is one of the sites of the Jewish quarter of Jozefow in the city, which serves as a museum only and holds no prayers.

As part of the "Jewish Museum," a collection of Judaica is displayed in the synagogue, including medieval Talmudic writings, synagogue ritual utensils, Shabbat candlesticks, Hanukkah menorahs, religious vessels, and crowns.

There is a silent display of the development of the Jewish community of Bohemia and Moravia, from the founding of the community in the 10th and 18th centuries during the Emancipation.

This display is only the tip of a huge collection, collected by the Nazis, with the intention of showing it in the museum about the extinct race, after they finished annihilating the Jews.



#Architecture of the Building

The Maisel Synagogue is housed in a Neo-Gothic building built in 1905. Until then, there was a Renaissance Synagogue that was burned down. This synagogue was founded in the 16th century by Rabbi Mordechai Maisel. This Maisel was head of the Jewish ghetto of Prague during the reign of King Rudolph II, and bought the land for the construction of the synagogue. At that time Maisel was the richest man in Europe. There is a legend about him that explains the wealth he accumulated with divine help. But without mystical religious explanations, Maisel was one of the great merchants of the 16th century, and his business, which was conducted with wisdom and a rare business sense, embraced trade with all parts of Europe.

In 1689, the Maisel Synagogue was burned down in a fire that destroyed most of the city's Jewish ghetto. Renovation and reconstruction had reduced the height of the synagogue structure by about a third of its original height.

During World War II, the Nazis, who had occupied the Czech Republic before the war, used the Maisel Synagogue as a storehouse for Jewish property confiscated and robbed.

Today the Maisel Synagogue in Prague belongs to the Czech Jewish community and is maintained by the Prague Jewish Museum.



A Closer Look at Maisel Synagogue:

https://youtu.be/i8hcV8IvKuI
Starovon Synagoga
Starovoná Synagoga
#About the Old Synagogue in Prague

Old New Synagogue (Altneuschul or Starovoná Synagoga) is a Gothic-Baroque synagogue, built in 1270 by the Jewish community of Prague.

Altneuschul is considered the most active, oldest and most famous synagogue in Europe. Around it the flourishing Jewish community of the city of Prague flourished. Here, the Mahal prayed and worked hundreds of years ago, and the legend tells us that the remains of the Golem of Prague, created by the Maharal, remains in the attic of the synagogue.

By the way, if you in Prague on a Friday night, you could enjoy a special Jewish experience in prayer. The prayer in this ancient synagogue is full of holiness and connection to the past. It is far from luxurious but is authentic and Jewish.

In the past they nicknamed the synagogue "on conditional terms." The story says that the synagogue was built, among other things, from stones brought from the ruins of the Temple in Jerusalem. Construction according to tradition was made "conditional." When the Messiah will come, they made a promise that the stones would be returned to their place in the temple to be built again in Jerusalem.



#What is the Story of the Golem of Prague?

The Jewish story of the "Golem of Prague," which deals with an ill-conceived creature, is a kind of "robot story," perhaps the oldest in history. It is already possible to learn about the great fear of loss of control over an artificial creature like man.

"The Golem of Prague" was written by Rabbi Yehuda ben Bezalel Loew, the Maharal of Prague, and the Maharal's most famous legend tells of a human created by the Maharal during the period when he fought the anti-Semitic Christian priest Thaddeus.

He wanted to save the Jews of Prague from the blood libels, "from all evil and all the troubles that their enemies immediately suffer." He created a mysterious Golem, made of clay and Earth. He was helped by mysterious combinations of letters and was assisted by his son-in-law and his close disciple.

The Golem who was created received the name Yosef and the people called him Yossele Golem. He functioned like everyone else - see, hear and understand - but he could not speak. The Maharal alone activated the Golem, using a piece of parchment he placed under the tongue of Yossele Golem with the name of God.

Every night the golem would go out to the streets of Prague to uncover plots against the Jews of the city. He did so diligently, in the Rabbi's orders, and saved many Jews.

However, every Sabbath eve, the rabbi used to take the spirit of life out of the Golem, for fear that he would spoil the Sabbath. Thus the Golem lay like a lump of clay until the end of the Sabbath. One Friday the Rabbi forgot to take the spirit of life out of him and the Golem came out and desecrated the Sabbath, endangering the gentiles of the city. The rabbi who was chasing him managed to reach him at the entrance to the ancient Altneuschul Synagogue in Prague. The Golem was shattered to pieces after the Maharal took out the spirit of life from his body.

According to another version, when the blood libels ended, the Maharal removed the piece of holy parchment from the mouth of the Golem, turning it back into a mound of earth and whose remains were buried, according to legend, in the attic of the Altneuschul Synagogue in Prague. And instead of the remains of the Golem, some old furniture was found there ...

The Golem who saved the Jews of the community from conspiracies and blood libels, often acted on behalf of the Maharal to help establish order and peace within the Jewish community itself.



Here is a Video About the Oldest Synagogue in Europe:

http://youtu.be/llZ0IK-9DgQ
Spanelska Synagoga
Spanish Synagogue
#About the Spanish Synagogue

The Spanish Synagogue (Starovoná Synagoga, or the Spanelska Synagoga), also known as the Temple or Der Tempel, is the synagogue that replaced the old Altschule Synagogue, which was built in the 12th century and served the Jews of Spain who fled to Prague from persecution of the Inquisition. It is located in the Jewish quarter of Josefov, in Prague. The funny thing is that in recent centuries, despite the name of the synagogue, not Sephardic Jews prayed there, but Ashkenazi Jews.

The architectural style of the Spanish Synagogue is Moorish, built-in 1868 and completed in 1893. This is reflected in his gold decorations and colored tiles. It has an impressive glass dome and a great deal of luxury. Notice the stained glass windows and the large organ, which is a result of the 19th century, which the Reform congregation of Prague began to use, though not on the Sabbath. At that time, certain synagogues in Europe began to put an organ in the synagogue for Jewish prayers.

The building, designed by the architect Wojciek Ignac Ulman, had 4,000 seats. To write the synagogue regulations, Leopold Tsunz was hired during the renovations. The prayers, accompanied by the organ, were led by a choir conducted by Michael Zacks.

During the World War II, the synagogue served the Nazis to store Jewish ritual objects that had been looted throughout Europe, for Hitler's plan to establish, after the destruction of the Jews, the museum of an extinct race. In the decade following the war, the synagogue was restored to the Jewish community of Prague and renovated in the 1990's and reopened in 1998.

Today the synagogue is no longer used for prayer, but for the Jewish Museum in Prague. From time to time there are concerts. It displays an exhibition of religious objects and silverware stolen by the Nazis and looted from Jewish communities that were destroyed in Europe. Thanks to its beauty, the synagogue attracts many visitors, both Jewish and non-Jewish tourists.



A Video About the Spanish Synagogue of Prague:

https://youtu.be/arP_tgm6-hg



A Closer Look at the Spanish Synagogue's Exterior:

https://youtu.be/1UW-rShdU50
Star Zidovsk Hbitov
Old Jewish Cemetery
#About the Most Ancient Cemetery in Europe

Inside the most ancient cemetery in Europe, the Old Jewish Cemetery (Starý Židovský Hřbitov), is no less than 12,000 tombstones and another 1,000 hidden graves (though there are assumptions that there are more hidden graves than this, about 100,000). The years give their marks in the shriveled graves and many of the tombstones are crumbling and some of them are slowly swallowed up in the ground. In general, there is even a little magic in this disorder, crowded and mess.

For more than 300 years this place was used as a cemetery, but in 1787 it was closed to use. It is surrounded by trees and the graves are very crowded, possibly even too crowded. Though the area was expanded more than a few times, the number of deaths gets larger than the available land. Today there are 12 layers of graves here.

The atmosphere here is special and mysterious, mainly it sends a shudder down your spine. Many see this cementery as the symbol for the destruction of the Jewish community in Prague during the Holocaust. It is one of the most important and preserved historical sites in the Jewish Quarter of Prague.



#Graves at the Cemetery

The oldest tombstone here was built in 1439, and it belongs to the poet Avigdor Karo.

Another grave that has become a popular spot (the candles lit all around here will testify to its popularity) is the grave of the Jewish Mahal of Prague, Rabbi Yehuda ben Bezalel Loew. He was an important rabbi and spiritual leader, teacher, and guide, and his name is involved with many stories and legends. The most famous of these stories is the story of the golem of Prague. Many visitors come here to ask for forgiveness, and blessings.

The tombstone that looks the best in this cementery is that of a women named Hendl Bassevi. Though it is very ancient (since 1628), it has been nicely preserved and has stayed whole, at its head is the sculpture of a lion.



#Who is the Golem from Prague

Rabbi Yehuda ben Bezalel Loew, the Maharall, was for many years the main rabbi of Prague. He dedicated his life to the welfare of the community and his goal was to was to purify the Children of Israel from the false rumors spread about them, that they used the blood of Christian children to knead the matzo dough on Passover.

One night, the rabbi heard a voice telling him, "make a human figure from clay and through it you will succeed in thwarting the plots of your enemies."

And so the rabbi did. He summoned his son-in-law and his best student and updated them with the vision he had experienced. They formed the Golem in seven days. In the Jewish year 5340, the three scholars went to the banks of the Holtba River and formed a human figure three cubits high from the clay. After they finished, the rabbi's son-in-law turned around the figure as he recited a Kabalistic prayer. After doing this several times, the Golem opened his eyes and came to life. The rabbi turned to him and said: "We have created you from the dust of the earth to protect the Israelites from their enemies and to prevent them from their sorrows and suffering." The figure received the name Yosef and he became a servant in the rabbi's court.

For most of the day the Golem was sitting in the corner of the study room, a bit like a fly on the wall. In order not to attract too much attention, the rabbi put a talisman around his neck that made him invisible. During the week leading up to Passover, the Golem began his mission - he walked around the city and checked every person who entered the quarter with packages. Quite a few times, he found a dead baby in them, which was supposed to serve as proof of the false plots against the Jews. The Golem served the members of the Jewish community in Prague.

He did so until the Jews finally arrived at the longed-for day, when it was widely declared that the plots were baseless and that persecution of future Jews was prohibited. At this point the rabbi decided to take back Yosef's life. They performed the ritual again and the Golem was once again a lifeless mass of clay. They placed it under a pile of books in the attic of the Alt-Noy Synagogue in Prague.



#Tips

The cementery is surrounded by a tall fence, so if you want to see the whole place, enter the museum for decorative arts, in the bathroom on the first floor is a window from which you can see the entire cementery.



A Closer Look:

https://youtu.be/HmPvyK78mMI


אֵאוּרִיקַה - האנציקלופדיה של הסקרנות!

העולם הוא צבעוני ומופלא, אאוריקה כאן בשביל שתגלו אותו...

אלפי נושאים, תמונות וסרטונים, מפתיעים, מסקרנים וממוקדים.

ניתן לנווט בין הפריטים במגע, בעכבר, בגלגלת, או במקשי המקלדת

בואו לגלות, לחקור, ולקבל השראה!

אֵאוּרִיקַה - האנציקלופדיה של הסקרנות!

שלום,
נראה שכבר הכרתם את אאוריקה. בטח כבר גיליתם כאן דברים מדהימים, אולי כבר שאלתם שאלות וקיבלתם תשובות טובות.
נשמח לראות משהו מכם בספר האורחים שלנו: איזו מילה טובה, חוות דעת, עצה חכמה לשיפור או כל מה שיש לכם לספר לנו על אאוריקה, כפי שאתם חווים אותה.