MAGAZINE: EDITION JUNE 2023
PLACES

Places of Worship – Jubilee Synagogue

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Location: Prague, Czech Republic

Belief: Judaism

Era: 1906 CE

The Jubilee Synagogue is located in Prague, Czech Republic’s capital city. It was constructed in 1906 on Jerusalem Street to replace three other synagogues (Zigeuner, Velkodvorska, and New) that were demolished during the city’s redevelopment between 1898 and 1906.

It was named to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of Emperor Franz Joseph I of the Austro-Hungarian Kingdom. More recently, it hasbeen referred to as the Jerusalem Synagogue, after the name of the road on which it sits. Ironically, the road takes its name from the Church of Jerusalem situated on the same road.

Prague had a thriving Jewish community possibly since the 10th century CE, and the Josefov Jewish enclave of the city had six synagogues, a Jewish town hall and a dedicated Jewish cemetery. By the 16th century CE, the Jewish community was thriving in the city, and in 1708, 25% of the population of the city were Jews.

The architecture of the synagogue borrows from Spanish Muslim designs such as the arches, the red and white stonework and some of the internal features. It has a capacity of 850 seated worshippers.

During the dark period of Nazi German occupation, the synagogue was used as a store for property taken from the Jewish community of Prague.

There are inscriptions on the outside in Hebrew, German and Czech inviting the righteous to enter, but also saying ‘Don’t we all have but One Father? Have we not been created by the only God?’

The synagogue has been used for religious services to this day, (except for during the period in World War II), hosting concerts and events, and there are exhibitions in its gallery providing information about the Jewish community in Prague and the Jewish monuments in the Czech Republic.

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