The Golem Lives!
The Golem of Prague is ever-present - from postcards to souvenirs to books, you can't avoid the creature in the city. But what exactly is a golem anyway? The original word “golem” has Jewish origins, meaning an “animated being created entirely from inanimate matter.” Though legends of golems exist from long before Prague was settled, such as in ancient Jewish folklore, our favourite animated being is a relatively modern creation, created by a Rabbi named Yehudah Levi ben Betzalel (or Loew in some sources) of Prague, known as "the Maharal."
According to legend, the Maharal created his Golem from the mud of the river Vltava to help save the Jews of Prague from the malicious accusations of blood libel, or the belief that Jews used the blood of a Christian child during Passover. Dead or murdered Christian children would often be planted in Jewish houses for priests to “discover” and incite the masses to their pickaxes and torches, as the masses liked to do.
After the Golem had put a stop to these harmful murderous rampages through the Jewish neighborhoods, the Maharal deanimated him and locked his body in the attic of Prague's Old-New Synagogue. To keep him safe, the Maharal enacted a ban on anyone entering the attic of the Old-New Synagogue, and it is widely believed that the body of Prague’s Golem rests there to this day. During the Second World War, the Old-New Synagogue miraculously survived the destruction of synagogues by the Nazis, and even the Gestapo did not enter its attic.
Besides the playful art featuring Prague’s Golem by Fun Explosive adorning postcards and posters for sale at all the tourist spots, a statue of the Golem of Prague stands at the entrance to the city's Jewish sector, reminding locals and visitors alike that Prague is indeed a city of Golem. And because no legend is real without merchandising, behind the New Old Synagogue postcards, T-shirts, and miniature Golems of Prague are sold to all.
ROMAN avec GOLEM
Il y a un lien entre l’histoire du Golem, créature d’argile qui vivait dans les combles de la Synagogue Vieille-Nouvelle de Prague, des chaussures abandonnées le long de l’autoroute E51, le poil de martre kolinsky dont on fait les pinceaux, la Ronde de Nuit, tableau de Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. Ce fil ténu commence par une histoire d’auréole sur le mur d’une synagogue en Lorraine, histoire brisée par l’explosion d’un obus de la Deuxième Guerre oublié dans la terre glaise, traverse Berlin-Est Unter den Linden 6 et se terminera dans un grenier poussiéreux dans une ruelle qui n’existe plus.
Pour commander ce livre : http://www.unibook.com/fr/Jean-Villemin/Roman-avec-Golem
Jean Villemin © 2010
Taille de page : A5
Nombre de pages : 109
Prix (TVA incl.) : 14.00 €
reviewed by jean villemin from France on Mar.13.2010
i'm trying to discover the name of the sculptor who created the golem statue at the entrance to the jewish section of prague. also, pertinent facts, dates, etc. this is for a paper to be read at a conference on Sept. 24, so time is of the essence.
reviewed by peggy lowe from United States on Sep.10.2008