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JEWISH Strasbourg

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If you love heritage, culture and the art of living, there's no doubt that you'll fall in love with Strasbourg! Strasbourg is the capital of Alsace located at the border with Germany, the largest city of the Grand East region of Eastern France, and the official seat of the European Parliament.  Today around 16,000 Jews reside in Strasbourg but their history is similar to the rest of France and Europe with several expulsions, accusations, forced-baptisms and deaths. Alsace became part of France in 1648, but Jews still did not have civil rights until after the French Revolution. After the revolution, Jews were able to move into larger cities and Strasbourg’s Jewish population grew from 100 to over 1,000 by the early 1800’s.  The construction of synagogues was no longer banned and around 176 new synagogues were built all over Alsace between 1791 and 1914. Today’s Jewish community in Strasbourg is predominantly Ashkenazi, which differs from other communities in France. The Jews live in the regions around the main synagogue, near Parc des Contades. The current synagogue was built in 1958 to replace the previous synagogue that was destroyed by the Germans during World War II.  There are several Jewish historic and cultural sites to see in Strasbourg including Strasbourg's Cathedral of Notre Dame, where two statues of women stand to represent both Christianity and Judaism. The Jewish-themed statue has her head bowed and she is blindfolded because she cannot see the truth of Christianity.  Credit: Rama, CC BY-SA 2.0 FR <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/fr/deed.en>, via Wikimedia Commons  The Museum of the Oeuvre Notre Dame contains art from the eleventh through seventeenth centuries and also showcases Jewish tombstones from the twelfth through fourteenth centuries in the museum’s courtyard. These tombstones originally stood at the Place de la Republique cemetery. The Rue des Juifs (Jew street) is one of the oldests streets in the city (over 1,600 years old) and is the heart of the old Jewish quarter. Along this road one can see the site of the twelfth century synagogue; the Jewish bakery, the Mikvah, the butcher shop, and the Jewish cemetery at the Place de la Republique.   

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SITES TO SEE

Sites

Alsacien Museum of Strasbourg

A memory of Judaism in Alsace. A unique collection, testimony to rural and ancient communities, displayed from the very beginning in the museum. The Musée Alsacien has one of the most important collections of Judaica in Europe, thanks in particular to the special link established in 1907 with the “Société d'histoire des Israélites d'Alsace et de Lorraine (SHIAL)”. This society, created by Rabbi Moïse Ginsburger in 1905, initially aimed to collect and preserve documents and objects related to the history of the Jews of the region, so that they would remain in Alsace rather than be sent to Berlin, the capital of the German Empire to which Alsace belonged at this time. In 1907, the SHIAL was tasked by the founders of the Alsatian Museum to create a collection of Judaica for the museum newly opened to the public. The Society collected and placed objects, which today represent nearly 400 items, in addition to the museum's own acquisitions. This partnership, which is more than a century old, shows that from the beginning this project to report on the Alsatian identity fully integrates the Jewish communities. This approach has continued throughout the history of the Musée Alsacien: acquisitions, publications and also presentations. Thus, the Judaica are not confined to the "religions and beliefs" section, but are integrated, along with the other religions of the concordat (Protestantism/Catholicism, Judaism), into the presentation of the different ages of life and into temporary exhibitions. The donation of the Genizah of Dambach-la-Ville has enriched the Alsatian Museum both digitally (900 items) and scientifically, and it now possesses one of the most important collections of mappot in the world, including several from the 17th century. This exceptional collection was unveiled to the public at the "Héritage inespéré" exhibition in October 2016. http://judaisme.sdv.fr/today/musals/galerie.ht

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The Synagogue de la Paix

The construction of the Great Synagogue of Peace was inaugurated on March 23, 1958. It has about 1,700 seats. This building, the seat of the Chief Rabbinate, simultaneously includes several places of worship: the "Mercaz" youth oratory, and the Leo Cohn synagogue of the Sefarad rite, a Gan Chalom kindergarten, a Yehuda Halevy elementary school, administrative and social premises, a large library, as well as the premises of the Community Center and of the Jewish radio station "Radio Judaïca" (102.9 MHz in FM). The modernism of the building is reflected in the materials and the masterplan of the building. Traditional symbols of Judaism can be found in the building, such as: the vast vault is supported by twelve columns evoking the twelve tribes of Israel: the first two frame the exterior portal, and the ten located inside recall the Ten Commandments. The main front consists of a continuous network of stars of David, a monumental work of ironwork, at the base of which begin the metal portal, whose leaves are decorated with the emblems of the twelve tribes of Israel. Inside, the nave can be split in half by a large wooden wall and form a conference room of 400 seats: it is the Hirschler room in memory of the great rabbi of the Lower Rhine, who died in deportation. The Holy Ark, located on the stage ("Al memor") is a round sanctuary in wrought iron and above a large Star of David is placed horizontally on five thin columns. On the pediment is an inscription in Hebrew: "Do we not all have the same Father?" The curtain of the Holy Ark is a vast Aubusson tapestry cartoon by the famous tapestry artist, Jean Lurçat. For more information: http://judaisme.sdv.fr/histoire/villes/strasbrg/index.htm

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TOURS OF Strasbourg

Tours

Private Strasbourg Jewish Heritage Tour

Our Strasbourg Jewish tour reveals the tumultuous history of the city and its Jewish population through the ages. There are many fascinating things to do in Strasbourg for visitors interested in the city’s Jewish heritage. Visit the Judaica collection of the Alsatian Museum with its model ""stiebl"". Attend a service in heart of today’s vibrant community, at the imposing Strasbourg synagogue, the Ashkenazi Synagogue de la Paix (of peace). Strasbourg’s official history goes back 2,000 years. It has been part of the Holy Roman Empire, part of Germany and France numerous times, and today, is the official seat of the European Parliament. The Jews of Strasbourg have lived, thrived, and been persecuted here. Their fate, as perceived by the Christian majority during the Middle Ages, is attested to on the façade of the Strasbourg Cathedral, in the stylized image of the “Synagoga” depicted as a blindfolded maiden who has not “seen the light”. At the confluence of the River Ill and the Rhine, Strasbourg offered at once a beautiful and strategic location. Strasbourg’s “Grand Ile” historic city center was the first entire city core to be named a World UNESCO Heritage Site. The Rue des Juifs (Jews' Street) – one of Strasbourg’s oldest – offers a sense of the history Benjamin of Tudela, a Sephardic traveler, chronicled in 1170. One house in Strasbourg’s Jewish quarter dates back to 1290, while a 13th century Mikveh was unearthed during recent excavations which can be accessed by request. The region of Alsace was been named one of the top ten destinations on Earth by Lonely Planet! Strasbourg is also one of our many river cruise port destinations. If you plan to arrive in Strasbourg by ship, we would happy to arrange for your convenient transfer for a perfect Strasbourg shore excursion!

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Jewish Style Restaurants

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yannis wissinger August 4, 2022

The Jewish Story of Strasbourg, France

If you love heritage, culture and the art of living, there's no doubt that you'll fall in love with Strasbourg! Strasbourg is the capital of Alsace located at the border with Germany, the largest city of the Grand East region of Eastern France, and the official seat of the European Parliament.  Today around 16,000 Jews reside in Strasbourg but their history is similar to the rest of France and Europe with several expulsions, accusations, forced-baptisms and deaths. Alsace became part of France in 1648, but Jews still did not have civil rights until after the French Revolution. After the revolution, Jews were able to move into larger cities and Strasbourg’s Jewish population grew from 100 to over 1,000 by the early 1800’s.  The construction of synagogues was no longer banned and around 176 new synagogues were built all over Alsace between 1791 and 1914. Today’s Jewish community in Strasbourg is predominantly Ashkenazi, which differs from other communities in France. The Jews live in the regions around the main synagogue, near Parc des Contades. The current synagogue was built in 1958 to replace the previous synagogue that was destroyed by the Germans during World War II.  There are several Jewish historic and cultural sites to see in Strasbourg including Strasbourg's Cathedral of Notre Dame, where two statues of women stand to represent both Christianity and Judaism. The Jewish-themed statue has her head bowed and she is blindfolded because she cannot see the truth of Christianity.  Credit: Rama, CC BY-SA 2.0 FR <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/fr/deed.en>, via Wikimedia Commons  The Museum of the Oeuvre Notre Dame contains art from the eleventh through seventeenth centuries and also showcases Jewish tombstones from the twelfth through fourteenth centuries in the museum’s courtyard. These tombstones originally stood at the Place de la Republique cemetery. The Rue des Juifs (Jew street) is one of the oldests streets in the city (over 1,600 years old) and is the heart of the old Jewish quarter. Along this road one can see the site of the twelfth century synagogue; the Jewish bakery, the Mikvah, the butcher shop, and the Jewish cemetery at the Place de la Republique.   

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HOTELS IN Strasbourg

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