I should explain that our trip coincided with the nine days of Av. Oh, I know you may not understand the significance. So, I’ll explain.
The Ninth of Av (Av is a Jewish month that may appear on the secular calendar in July or August) is the day that the Great Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed. Not once, but twice. First by the Babylonians in 587 BCE and then by the Romans in 66 CE. That place was where all Jews were commanded to appear on holidays (Pesach, Shvuot, Sukot), among other times of the year.
Now, that would be enough reason to remember the day, had not almost every other enemy of the Jews chosen that day to torture or harangue the Jewish people. The pogroms in the Middle Ages were scheduled for this day. Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain chose this day to banish my ancestors from their homes in Spain. (Please note that Columbus’ voyage was financed with the riches these royals stole from their banished Jews- and the day of his departure. Yes, this is curious, isn’t it?) It was even the day that Hitler chose to start his campaign against the Jews.
But, enough about this matter. Let us return to the affirmation of life- despite the calendar.
Upon our arrival in Prague, we stayed at the Marriott, not the Hilton, this time. ( After all, we need to split our alliances.) This one was a wonderful hotel, near the Jewish Quarter of Prague. Admittedly, a little further than I had contemplated, so a taxi was required to transport us to the area.
But, first, we enjoyed a stupendous meal. With outstanding service. Where we enjoyed a local wine. The Mylnec was the name of the restaurant. It was situated on the river bank, with a view of the Prague Castle and the bridges.
When we finished our dinner, we walked to the Jewish Quarter (less than 500 meters away). Saw the shuls of old. The cemeteries that were too small to accommodate all the dead, so the remains were stacked upon one another.)
Moreover, these synagogues were still in use. Demonstrating that at least this portion of Europe (as opposed to Poland) still retained a vital, lively Jewish presence. An affirmation that the designs of the Nazis and their collaborators across Europe didn’t succeed.
This was one of the reasons why we elected to visit Prague after Auschwitz. To affirm the ability of our people to survive, to continue to live and grow.
From here, we will return to Frankfurt to continue our affirmation of life. That’s tomorrow’s post.