The Schmooze

Speyer Hosts First Jewish Wedding in 70 Years

Many German citizens — at least the royal wedding watchers among them — will be caught up in the festivities this weekend of the marriage of two descendents of royal families. Georg Friedrich Ferdinand, Prince of Prussia, and Sophie Johanna Maria, Princess of Isenburg (who are really just private German citizens since the country’s aristocracy was stripped of their titles way back in 1919), will be saying their “I do’s” on the grounds of a former royal palace in Potsdam.

Meanwhile, another notable wedding has taken place recently in the German town of Speyer. There was no royalty involved, but the event did have historic importance. For the first time in 70 years, a Jewish simcha — in this case, a wedding — took place in the ancient city.

Chabad reports that one of its rabbis, Rabbi Menachem Gurewitz, director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Offenbach am Main, conducted a wedding ceremony for two Jewish students beside Speyer’s ancient synagogue and mikveh.

Speyer is located along the Rhine, and was one of the three great centers of learning in the Medieval Ashkenazic community. The other two centers were in Worms and Mainz. By 1933, there were only 269 Jews living in Speyer, and most of them were killed in the Holocaust. A Jewish community in the city was reconstituted only in 1996, when a small number of Jews immigrated to there from Eastern Europe.

Following the wedding, a curator of the local Jewish museum reportedly remarked that from now on, he “no longer needs to describe dead stones, but a place where Jewish life is starting to reemerge.”

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Speyer Hosts First Jewish Wedding in 70 Years

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