Moment#2–Shabbat Shalom

Last week Dale Schmitt and I opened our photo exhibition, Moments and Souls at the Percolate Gallery in Pittsburgh. I realize that many of you can not make it in to the gallery so over the next few weeks I will be publishing “the moments” that were my contribution to the show.

This image was taken in Prague in The Czech Republic outside the one remaining active synagogue. Before the war there were 11 synagogues and the Jewish population was around 300,000, today there are about 4000 Jews remaining and they are allowed to practice their faith without reprisals for the first since the 5th century.

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Shabbat Shalom

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The Jewish Cemetery in Praha

The old Jewish Cemetery in Praha (Prague) is one of the important Jewish historical monuments in Prague. It served its purpose from the first half of 15th century till 1786. Renowned personalities of the local Jewish community were buried here. Today the cemetery is administered by the Jewish Museum in Prague.

During the more than three centuries in which it was in active use, the cemetery continually struggled with the lack of space. Piety and respect for the deceased ancestors does not allow the Jews to abolish old graves. Jews were forbidden from land purchases and from owning gold. Hatred of Jews was not invented by Nazis.

To gain space if necessary, a new layer of soil was heaped on top of an old grave. For this reason, there are places where as many as twelve layers now exist. Thanks to this solution the older graves themselves remained intact but the cemetery looks like none other with tombstones stacked on top of each other.

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The Jewish Cemetery in Praha