Tag Archives: synagogue

A new synagogue in Speyer!

For centuries, Speyer was a center of German Jewish life. It was one of the three “Shum” (which also means garlic) communities–Speyer, Worms, Mainz–that formed the heart of the earliest Ashkenazi settlements in the Rhineland. All founded in the eleventh century, they quickly became cherished places of Jewish learning, and of commercial life. The great commentator Rashi studied here, and so did the Gershom the Light of Exile, who brought about a ban on polygamy to the Jews of Europe.

This week, on the seventieth anniversary of Reichskristallnacht, this upcoming Wednesday November 9 (a weighty date in German history I’ve written about  before), the Jewish community in Speyer will celebrate its new synagogue. The German TV station SWR has posted a well-done half-hour program on Jewish life in the Rhineland, in German only, and with a bit of Klezmer.

Speyer is organizing a whole series of events, and you can find a program  here.

The new synagogue, a former church, looks like this:

And here you can see the bold new synagogue in Mainz. They are not afraid of stark statements, those German synagogues!


Two more events in Jewish Studies this week

“Constructing Christianity”

November 5, 2011
Close-Hipp Building (BA) 401

A USC History Center Mini-Conference

Taking a historical perspective, this conference examines in a workshop format how Christian culture and community was constructed and reconstructed in various circumstances, in ways that defy most modern generalizations.

Assembling scholars from across the region, this gathering features papers and discussions on the shaping of early Christian teachings, rituals, sacred spaces, and communities; on the meaning of “Christian” for people ancient and modern; and on methods that scholars use to study religion. All people interested in the academic study of religion are welcome.

conference details
conference schedule

This is the schedule:

9:00 Coffee, sweet tea (in the morning?) and welcome

9:30 “Armadillos and Ancient Christians: What do they have in common?” H. Gregory Snyder (Davidson). Comment: Benjamin Whitte (Clemson)

10:10 “Constructing a Christian concept of sin” Erin Roberts (USC). Comment: Heike Sefrin-Weis  (USC)

10:50: More coffee and sweet tea

11:00 “Bakhtin and the Fathers: The ethics of the (written) word” Jeremy Schott (UNC Charlotte). Comment: James Cutsinger (USC)

11:30 “Liturgy and the production of penance: towards na early Byzantine theory of ritual,” Derek Krueger (UNC Greensboro) Comment: Judigh Kalb (USC)

12:20 pm Lunch break

1:50 “Constructing the Christian clergy: Letter collections and social networks” Adam A. Schor (USC). Comment: Carol Harrison (USC)

2:30 “Controlling contested places: Constructing religious orthodoxy in fourth-century Antioch” Tina Shepardson (UT Knoxville). Comment: Saskia Coenen Snyder (USC)

“Emergence of Christianity in the Jewish Middle Ages” Katja Vehlow (USC). Comment: Dan Littlefield (USC)

And on Sunday, 10 am, I’ll be talking about the Disputation of Barcelona at Beth Shalom Synagogue on Trenholm Road, as part of their Jews & Justice Series. Come and join us!

As preparation, watch this video: