Old-New (Alt-Neu) Synagogue

Old-New (Alt-Neu) Synagogue

This is the old side of the Old-New Synagogue, built in the 16th century, at the heart of the Jewish Quarter, also known as Josefov (in honor of Emperor Josef II’s Edict of Toleration in 1781.) Later legends say that angels brought the stones to build the synagogue from Jerusalem, on condition that they would be returned when the Messiah comes. The synagogue is still a site for worship, and also houses a museum of Jewish history and culture in Prague. The population of Josefov suffered innumerable Pogroms over the centuries, but managed to survive and rebuild. Tragically, nearly the entire Jewish population of Prague was murdered during the Holocaust. And in a macabre and cynical twist of fate, the buildings and many treasures were preserved because the Nazis intended to keep this Jewish ghetto as an “Exotic Museum of an Extinct Race.” There is a good article on Wikipedia about Josefov at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josefov. Today a much diminished Jewish community works to keep the memory of the Jewish community alive, and to rebuild.

133 Medieval iron and stone work near the Old-New Synagogue.


About pcooperwhite

Christiane Brooks Johnson Professor of Psychology and Religion, Union Theological Seminary, New York NY
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