Today was a 10 mile day! And the weather couldn’t have been any better! Our date exploring Prague begin with a lecture by Peter Brog who shared with us the intricacies of government and history of Czechoslovakia a.k.a. the Czech Republic. He was amazing and was able to lay out before us the complex history of this country and region.
Then it was time to head out into the city on our walking tour. We visited Jewish Prague which in and of itself is the Jewish Museum. There are artifacts contained with in the four synagogues we toured: the Maisel Synagogue, the Pinkas Synagogue, the Old
Cemetery, the Altneu Shul, and the Spanish Synagogue.
The Maisel synagogue contains numerous Jewish artifacts collected during World War II and stored there until after the war. This was also where the Torah scrolls collected from throughout the Czech Republic were brought to and catalogued. The Pinkas Synagogue is now set up as a memorial to the Jews of Czechoslovakia who were murdered during the Holocaust. On the walls throughout the entire synagogue are the names of each Czech resident. The cemetery outside dates back to 1439 and has been used for many generations. So much so that graves are stacked and the headstones are all very close to one another. One of the notable people buried in the cemetery is the Maharal, Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel, a Talmudic scholar.
I was really looking forward to visiting the Altneu Shul, The oldest still active synagogue in all of Europe. This is the home of the Golem! Of course, I had to go find the ladder leading up to the attic. It’s on the backside of the synagogue outside. I was not allowed to try to go climb the ladder, however, I have since learned that on Sukkot people do go up and sleep in the attic! I
think I’m going to have to come back! I bought myself a little Golem and I’m bringing him home.
And finally we saw the Spanish synagogue. This too is an active synagogue that leans more toward Reform as it has a beautiful pipe organ installed. And of course, I had to check out the acoustics! An absolutely beautiful space.
Following a lunch along the streets, we took a bus to the top of the hill where we entered the castle. We walked through the beautiful gardens and grounds and then into the church which is like a sister to Notre Dame. We made our way through the castle, looking at all of the various rooms. We then headed outside, down the hill and across the Charles bridge. By the time we made it back to the old square, we had walked many miles and experienced 11 centuries of architecture and history.
Of course, the visit to Prague would not be complete without exploring a little bit of Kafka. Mom and I made our way through the city to the rotating Kafka head. It’s definitely a sight to be seen.
Tomorrow we head to Terezin and then back for a little last minute shopping and our farewell dinner.