Minister President Malu Dreyer signs the ShUM-UNESCO-Application, January 13 2020, Mainz

The Prime Minister of Rhineland-Palatinate, Malu Dreyer, signed the World Heritage application »ShUM Sites Speyer, Worms and Mainz« on 13th January 2020 in the New Synagogue n Mainz.
The three Jewish communities in the three cities on the Rhine were the leading Jewish centres in the Middle Ages, both architecturally and religiously. ShUM was a unique association of communities, which still radiates today.
With the printing of the approximately 1000 page application and the signature of PM Malu Dreyer, the formal path was taken. The application will be submitted in Paris on 23 January 2020.
»Rhineland-Palatinate has an extraordinarily rich Jewish history. With our application, we want to emphasize the comprehensive significance of our Jewish heritage and thus keep awareness of German-Jewish history alive,« emphasized Ms Dreyer.
The document, over 1,000 pages in length, explains the outstandinguniversal value that is necessary for a successful UNESCO application. With their pioneering monuments and traditions, the three Jewish communities have left their mark on Judaism and had a decisive influence on Central and Eastern Europe for several centuries. New types of synagogues, monumental Mikwaot and their own burial culture were created here. With the famous scholars like Raschi, Maharam and Maharil and Gershom ben Jehda, ShUM became the cradle of Ashkenazi Judaism.
A large, dedicated team of scientists from various universities, the Ministry of Science, Further Education and Culture, the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage, the association SchUM-Städte e.V., the cities of Speyer, Worms and Mainz and the Jewish Community of Mainz have been working on the World Heritage application since 2016. The nomination dossier particularly highlights the extraordinary universal value of the sites and, in a comprehensive comparative analysis, explains why ShUM is unique. The Management Plan shows how the protection of the sites will be ensured in the future and how the knowledge about their importance will be increased. On January 13, 2020, the state, the cities of Speyer, Worms and Mainz, the State Association of Jewish Communities of Rhineland-Palatinate, the Jewish Community of Mainz as well as the Jewish Community of Rhineland-Palatinate signed a continuation of the previous cooperation agreement in order to be jointly active for ShUM beyond the application.
Stefanie Seiler, Mayor of Speyer and Chairwoman of SchUM-Städte e.V.: »ShUM, the association of Jewish communities of the cities of Speyer, Worms and Mainz in the Middle Ages, was the cradle, center and heyday of European Judaism. Despite the destruction by the National Socialists, important historical monuments have been preserved in all three cities. This unique cultural heritage must be preserved, which is why I am particularly pleased that we can now take the application for UNESCO World Heritage status together into the home stretch. According to UNESCO's guidelines, World Heritage sites are 'invaluable and irreplaceable assets not only for each people, but for all humanity'. Inclusion of the ShUM Sites in this list would be - especially in times of growing anti-Semitism worldwide - a significant sign that can hardly be overestimated in its effect.«
Anna Kischner, chairwoman of the Jewish Community of Mainz: »I very much hope that the tourists will not only travel to the ShUM Sites to photograph old Jewish stones, but that these stones will tell them something that they can take away in their hearts.«
A first decision on the application could be made in June/July 2021 at the annual meeting of the UNESCO committee.

Tour Guides for ShUM - 99 hours learning and debating about ShUM

Tour guides from Speyer, Worms and Mainz were able to celebrate the completion of their tour guide training in time for the signing and handover of the World Heritage application to UNESCO. Accompanying the application of the ShUM Sites for inscription as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, experienced tour guides from Mainz, Worms and Speyer were trained to introduce guests to the ShUM communities and their monuments. On the initiative of the SchUM-Städte e.V. and the tourism experts of the three cities, renowned lecturers from the ShUM application team could be won over for the diverse training topics such as religion and history or methodology and didactics by supporting the Regioakademie of the Bezirksverband Pfalz. The practical preparation and communication of the special features of the ShUM topic took a large part. The tour guides received their certificates on January 14, 2020 at a small ceremony in the presence of the Mayor of Speyer, Stefanie Seiler. Mayor Seiler is also the chairman of the SchUM-Städte e.V.
»With this further education we would like to make a contribution to the increasing demand for spiritual journeys and the wish for a stronger networking of the three cities. In this context, ShUM is developing into an important topic for our target groups, which also include many guests who are following in the footsteps of their own history,« says Gisela Neumeister, chairwoman of the Wormser Gästeführer interest group. For the first time, tour guides from the three cities had come together for a joint further education course. »We benefit from the exchange of experience with our tour guide colleagues and can now jointly conduct one-day and multi-day tours for groups of guests through the ShUM cities«, Neumeister continues.

Documentary on Worms' Synagogue, Premiere, 23 January 2020 in Worms

The synagogue in Worms, which has experienced light but also many dark times, is a central place of remembrance worldwide, a living monument to the eventful history of the Jews.
The synagogue is one of the components of the World Heritage application. It has been rebuilt, changed and modernised again and again. It was an architectural model for other synagogues, embedded in an ensemble that provides information about how an early Ashkenazi community lived. Only a few years after the synagogue celebrated its 900th anniversary in 1934, completely ignored by the non-Jewish German public, Germans destroyed the building and its annexes in the November pogroms of 1938. The reconstruction - the recovery - after 1957 is as unique as the history of the whole place.
The small premiere at the conference centre DAS WORMSER took place on 23 January in front of numerous interested people. There were not enough seats available, so great was the interest.
At the same time a first insight into the interview with Philip Spiers, a descendant of Horst Spies, Jews from Biblis, was shown. Horst Spies was among others a pupil at the Jewish district school in Worms.
Both documentaries are in German and English available and you can see them online:

Under the title »Moreshet - Jewish Heritage Network« a EU-funded cooperation of regions and cities that understand Jewish heritage as part of their cultural history has been established. They strive to perpetuate dialogue and exchange on the preservation of Jewish cultural heritage and its presentation. The promotion of a common European approach to Jewish heritage is as much at the heart of the network as raising awareness of the dangers of intolerance and prejudice. Following a kick-off seminar in the Spanish Hijar in July 2019, a seminar was held in Worms in November 2019, which focused on involving young people in the preservation of Jewish heritage.
From 9 to 11 February 2020, representatives from Krakow, Worms, Hijar, Mantova and London met at Wrocław. The theme of the seminar was »Jewish heritage and local community engagement«. In addition to a city tour and a visit to the old Jewish cemetery, the programme included lectures and presentations. All this in the restored synagogues of the White Stork. There the participants could also see the restored mikvah. The Bente Kahan Foundation and the city of Wroclaw were responsible for the hospitality. A dinner in the community rooms, at the invitation of the Rabbi and his wife, provided a wonderful setting for living Jewish tradition together.

Innovation made in ShUM, August 23, 2020

The special exhibition »INNOVATION MADE IN SchUM« was opened at the Museum SchPIRA on August 23, 2020. It can be visited during the regular opening hours of the museum until the end of 2021. It is an exhibition of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate with the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage Rhineland-Palatinate in cooperation with the city of Speyer with the participation of the Institute for European Art History of the University of Heidelberg. The focus of the exhibition is the Judenhof Speyer - the earliest preserved Jewish community center in Central Europe. »The exhibition is a unique opportunity to refer to the creative power of the SchUM communities of Speyer, Worms and Mainz. In addition, it provides insights into the current UNESCO World Heritage application process, the results of which the people of Speyer are eagerly awaiting,« said Mayor Stefanie Seiler at the opening of the exhibition. »The presentation that we are opening today temporarily adds two aspects that are important to UNESCO to the already existing, meaningful offerings of the Museum Schpira: On the one hand, it focuses on SchUM as a serial nomination. On the other hand, it conveys the essential ideas of the World Heritage Convention that there are sites worldwide that 'have a cultural significance so extraordinary that it is important beyond national boundaries and is of importance to both present and future generations of humanity'. I would like to thank all those involved in the conception of this extraordinary exhibition and also especially for their intensive support in the preparation of the World Heritage application,«, said Dr. Denis Alt, State Secretary in the Ministry of Culture and Government Commissioner for the UNESCO World Heritage Rhineland-Palatinate.

Visit of General Consul of Israel in Speyer and Worms, August 25, 2020

Sandra Simovich is the only Consul General of the State of Israel in the European Union. Now the Consul General traveled to the SchUM cities of Speyer and Worms on August 25, 2020. In Speyer, Lord Mayor Stefanie Seiler and Mayor Monika Kabs received Sandra Simovich. The meeting focused on the exchange of information about the joint UNESCO World Heritage application of the ShUM cities Speyer, Worms and Mainz as well as the joint visit of the Judenhof and the Mikwe. On this occasion, Mayor Seiler underlined the emotional significance of the World Heritage application: »It is not only a matter of preserving the architectural monuments, but also of setting an example of how important the Jewish history of the SchUM cities was and is, and how inseparably connected Judaism is with the three cities, which are considered to be the roots of European Judaism«. Consul General Simovich hopes that the application will be successful. »It is important that the Jewish heritage of the ShUM cities, which is taught about in Israel at an early stage in history lessons in schools, also receives the recognition it deserves outside the country«.
In the City Hall of Worms, Lord Mayor Adolf Kessel welcomed Sandra Simovich. The ShUM sites have a very special meaning for the Consul General, which was clearly noticeable in the conversation. Anna Kischner, chairwoman of the Jewish community Mainz/Worms, agreed: »Many great rabbis come from Worms. The city was once virtually a center for European Jews«. Following her short visit to the city hall, the Consul General visited the Jewish cemetery Heiliger Sand, the oldest preserved Jewish cemetery in Europe, and the synagogue to see for herself the important monuments.

"ShUM on the Rhine - From Middle Ages to Modernity", September 13, Worms

An exhibition of the city of Worms with the Jewish Museum Worms in cooperation with the State of Rhineland-Palatinate with the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage Rhineland-Palatinate (GDKE) with the participation of the SchUM-Städte Speyer, Worms, Mainz e.V. Supported by the foundation »Gut.für die Region« of the Sparkasse Worms-Alzey-Ried
»Shum on the Rhine - From Middel Ages to Modernity« takes you on a time travel into the heyday of the Jewish communities in the ShUM-commuinties of Speyer, Worms and Mainz.
The exhibition was opened on September 13. Representatives of the City of Worms, the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage Rhineland-Palatinate (GDKE), the Jewish Community of Mainz, the SchUM-Städte e.V., but also those responsible for the exhibition - scenographer, carpenter, printing technician, lighting technician - were present as well as some invited guests. A representative of the Foundation of the Sparkasse Worms-Alzey-Ried was also pleased with the exhibition. Due to the applicable distance and hygiene measures, the opening was in a small circle. After speeches by Mayor Kosubek, Dr. Gerold Bönnen, Director of the Jewish Museum Worms and the General Director of the GDKE, Thomas Metz, the guests were invited to take guided tours of the exhibition.
Have a look: The exhibit

For the first time: ShUM Cultural Days in all three cities, autumn 2020

... The precious moonlight of the spirit
From Worms, from Mainz, from Speyer ...
(Abraham Valt /Avrom Liessin, 1872-1939)
In 2020, the cities of Speyer, Worms and Mainz jointly organized the Jewish Cultural Days in SchUM for the first time. Despite COVID19 several events took place. Some had to be cancelled. But some of them will be made up for. SchUM shines, sounds and discusses again.

Where is Golem? In Worms! Since 2020

Golem: inanimate mass, a being without a will of its own. Right?
Golem returns! Back to Worms on the Rhine, where the idea of a somehow protective being that can defend Jews and help them was already born in the 13th century. At the heyday of the SchUM cities, Rabbi Eleazar ben Jehuda Kalonymos (ca. 1165-1230) lived in Worms. Eleazar was married to Dulcia; they had a son, Jacob, and two daughters, Belette and Hannah. This modern, urban and emotionally close family was attacked by two crusaders/murderers in Worms in November 1196. Dulcia and her two daughters were murdered, the son was injured. Some time later Eleazar ben Jehuda wrote a commentary on the time-honored »Book of Creation« and introduced the idea of creating a Golem by using certain numbers and letter combinations of the Hebrew alphabet. Golem was conceived! From Worms, Golem wandered as a legend into the world, to Prague and Poland, and later, in an altered form, to the USA: Are Superman or the Bear Jew in »Inglorious Basterds« not also Golem? In Israel, the first computer in the 1960s was called Golem! And today? Modern fiction even knows female golems.
In the new exhibition in the Raschi House (Info on the exhibition), the Golem sculpture by the US-american artist Joshua Abarbanel is on display - one of many highlights.
A tour of the golem in mid-October 2020 brought 15 interested people together under applicable hygiene and distance rules. In the beginning of dusk, the tour went through the Judengasse, along the city wall, in the footsteps of Eleazar and his family. An encounter with the golem Abarbanels rounded off the evening. And behold: some of the participants created golems. A blue little golem by S. Schach, a helping golem hand for superheroes by G. Neumeister and the proof by F. Chiostergi, who encountered the golem everywhere in Worms. Have a look yourself.

Large Banner ShUM in Speyer und Worms

At the suggestion of the city of Speyer, large banners were created to showcase the Jewish heritage in ShUM and the World Heritage application. Speyer and Worms already installed them, in autumn 2020.