Today we toured the Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague. This cemetery has what is believed to have grave on top of grave up to 10 layers deep. What they would do is cover graves with dirt and add another one on top. While about 12,000 tombstones are visible today, they estimate that approximately 100,000 people are buried there.
Some famous people in Jewish history, including Maharal (Judah Lowe ben Bezalel), who was an important Talmudic scholar. He also is the subject of the golem, an animate being fashioned from clay, which was created to protect the Jewish people of Prague. This is, of course, a legend and not true, but is still a very popular topic. There was even an old X-Files episode about a golem.
Ceremonial Hall of the Prague Jewish Burial Society.
This building is where bodies were prepared for burial according to Jewish law. It is a beautiful building, constructed in 1906-1908. This is now part of the Jewish Museum in Prague.
We also visited some beautiful synagogues, including the ones below.
The Spanish Synagogue (R) and the Meisal Synagogue (L).
The Spanish Synagogue was built in the Moorish Revival style. It was built for the Reform branch of Judaism. During World War II, it housed the confiscated property of Jewish residents.
The Meisal Synagogue had very interesting artifacts for all of the Jewish holidays. It was located next to the Jewish cemetery, where Mordecai Meisel (the benefactor of the synagogue). He was a very well-known philanthropist who died in 1601.
Going on Jewish History tours gives us a great opportunity to share with people a little bit about our faith. Discussing the Holocaust, faith, end times, etc., all come up in conversations.
Tomorrow we will be heading to the Ukraine, where Baruch will be teaching a Conference.