This and That

Random bits of my life

Maisel Synagogue, Prague

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 14, 2013

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The photo above shows the interior of the Maisel Synagogue. I was certain I’d also photographed the exterior of the synagogue but I can’t find the photo at the moment. It might turn up later! We booked a tour of Prague’s Jewish Quarter through Precious Legacy Tours and found it very worthwhile. The guide was knowledgeable and our group was small–just us and a German family with two grown daughters. The Jewish Museum of Prague is housed in several synagogues and a ceremonial hall for the burial society.

The Maisel Synagogue was originally constructed in 1590. Around 1900 it was rebuilt in a pseudo-Gothic style.

The heavily illuminated document below is a legal document granting rights to the Jews.

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The silver objects in the bottom of the next photo are silver “breastplates” that adorn a Torah scroll.

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The white letters at the top of this 16th century Torah ark curtain are actually embroidered with hundreds of tiny pearls. The other threads are tarnished gold thread. Sorry about the reflections. Photography isn’t permitted in the Jewish Museum, so all these photos were taken surreptitiously.

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This Torah ark curtain, also 16th century, was done in an “Italian technique,” according to the guide, although she wasn’t sure what that meant. The parokhet appears to be elaborate appliqued velvet and smooth silk. The edges of the appliqued motifs are covered with a heavy couched cord.

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This elaborate linen robe (ca 1530) belonged to Solomon Molcho, a messianic figure and kabbalist who was burned at the stake in 1532. The Jewish Museum site has a detailed description of the construction of this robe. The body comprises 28 pieces of fabric, flaring outwards, which accounts for the extravagant dimensions of this robe. I can’t even imagine how heavy it must have been to wear.

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2 Responses to “Maisel Synagogue, Prague”

  1. Anne said

    I love seeing your photo’s of your travels. The Jewish cemetery is amazing, I am so glad it wasn’t destroyed and the beautiful synagogue, so much history inside🙂

    • Avital Pinnick said

      Thanks, Anne! Prague was extremely well preserved, unlike many other European cities. The floods, however, are an ongoing problem because the Jewish Quarter is close to the river and in a low-lying area.

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