After meeting Mark in Frankfurt yesterday we starting on our Family vacation...
The last few days Mark had spent time meeting with the Jewish Community of Germany and seeing how the United States could help the non orthodox movement grow.
We then \240left Frankfurt and drove to our First stop Mainz
There are reliable indications of Jewish life in Mainz from the 10th century. In the Middle Ages, Mainz, Speyer and Worms were some of the most important business and religious centers of Jewish life. After the expulsions of the Jews in the 15th century there were few Jews left until the end of the 16th century. In 1662 they were forced into Jews alley.
In the museum we saw gravestones from the 11th century and Judaica from excavated areas. After walking around the beautiful town, entering the cathedral and getting our First amazing view of the Rhine we headed to what is the current synagogue in Mainz which was an amazing building and showed the remains of the original. Unfortunately it was closed so we were \240unable to go inside
Out next stop was Worms where we saw the synagogue still in use today and remains of a mikvah as well as Rashi house which was home to where Rashi taught and had many students. The shul in Worms was destroyed several times from when it was built in 1034. It was destroyed during Kristallnacht but rebuilt in 1961.
In the museum were torah scrolls that had been burnt and recovered from Kristallnacht. Really remarkable and amazing to see this community now active again. We walked across town to the oldest Jewish cemetery in Europe. Still in amazing shape with graves from Rabbi Meir Von Rothenberg from 1293. Was a very peaceful space and so glad to see these people’s graves had not been destroyed.
On our walk back we noticed plaques on the sidewalk. These were dedicated to those that had been deported and where possible it listed where they went and if they survived. Very moving and a way the Germans have to see daily what happened in their history.
Following our walk around town we got some ice cream and watched the Germans all gather round the TV watching the soccer. The streets were empty as we drive to our overnight stop of Heidelberg.
Preserved gravestones of Mainz
New and remains of old synagogue
The reconstructed ark in Worms
Rabbi Meir Rotherberg grave
Plaques in streets dedicated to those who were deported
The Germans watching soccer in the square.