Retrospect: What happened in 2021
Purity in Judaism: Teaching House ShUM, Online, April 11, 2021
Living Water and Spiritual Purity
Water can be understood as synonymous with Torah and God who is like a mikveh for Jews. Fountains, springs, living water feed the ritual baths (mikvaot). Jewish cemeteries usually have a tahara house for ritual washing of the deceased and preparation for burial.
Tahara, ritual purity, and tumah, ritual impurity, are important concepts in Judaism. These concepts are still discussed, questioned, reinterpreted, adapted today. Monumental ritual baths and women's schools in Speyer and Worms or the Tahara House at the Holy Sand in Worms are architectural answers also to inner-Jewish discourses about ritual purity from the 12th century on. Today, Mikwaot in many places are also rooms for unmarried women or of female self-confidence.
Last but not least: in times of COVID-19 we all wash our hands often. In Judaism, there are ritual hand washings. Among other things, the hands are also doused with water after visiting the cemetery or before meals. For this purpose there is a special vessel with two handles.
On this very intersting Sunday morning discussed:
Rabbi Prof. Dr. Elisa Klapheck (Frankfurt)
Chasan Jalda Rebling (Berlin)
Prof. Frank Stern (Vienna)
Rabbi Aron Ran Vernikovsky (Jewish Community Mainz)
Moderation: Dr. Susanne Urban
After a preceding introduction and cinematic examples by Prof. Frank Stern, the discussion was lively, controversial, from different perspectives, appreciative and open. There were exciting insights and equally exciting statements.
»The mikvah is a place of new beginnings.« »Is water still pure? Let's think about microplastics ...« »Many mikvahs no longer offer a spiritual experience.« (Elisa Klapheck).
»The Torah is the source of the mikveh.« »Purity - impurity is a duality like light and darkness, like the creation of the world and darkness.« »A mikveh is more important than a synagogue.« (Aron Vernikovsky)
»Passing on 'Joy to be a Jew'.« »Conquering a female space.« (Jalda Rebling)
»I'm not a religious person, although others would say otherwise, but as soon as I arrive in Israel, the first thing I do is go to the sea. That's my mikveh.« »A mikveh is a sensual place.« (Frank Stern)
In the end, everyone agreed with the idea:
»Purity is an absolutely egalitarian approach, anyone and everyone, everyone can achieve this purity.«
Apps and digital offers
Since 2021, we have new and also digital possibilities to present the unique ShUM-Sites.
Discover and experience the innovative power of the three Jewish communities in Speyer, Worms and Mainz since the Middle Ages with the help of a free app (Google and Apple Store).
With the ShUM app, you can experience the monuments in the Judenhof in Speyer and the synagogue district, as well as the old Jewish cemetery Holy Sand in Worms. On the finish line to the hoped-for recognition of the ShUM Sites Speyer, Worms and Mainz as UNESCO World Heritage Sites at the end of July 2021, you can digitally experience the unique monuments and cemeteries in ShUM.
Different perspectives on Judaism - traditional, orthodox, liberal - and thought-provoking debates about the role of women, the Jewish community's reaction to the Crusades, or the special building forms in Worms and in the Judenhof Speyer open up in this app. You will be guided through the monuments and cemeteries in a playful, educational and definitely also with funny and touching moments.
In German and English (text and audio)!
Discover and experience the innovative power of the three Jewish communities in Speyer, Worms and Mainz in the exhibition at Rashi-House Worms, in the accompanying catalog and now also in the free app (Google and Apple Store).
The Exhibition: Exhibition and Audioguide
The catalogue is only in German.