Dedication of a New Speyer Synagogue, 1104, Anonymous Twelfth-Century Hebrew Narrative


[This is a continuation of the account of the founding and history of the Speyer Jewish community (above, section 1). After noting that the bishop protected his Jews in 1096, the account continues-]

Eleven Jews were killed, but the rest of the community was saved, may his [the bishop’s] memory be blessed and exalted forever. Subsequently, we returned to the town, everyone to his own home and place. Those in the upper town could not descend to the lower town evening, morning, and noon—out of fear of the enemy that persecuted us. We thus prayed in the upper town in the school of Rabbi Judah son of Rabbi Kalonymous. Those in the lower town prayed in their [regular place, in the synagogue. Thus they did for some years.

All the work [on a new synagogue in the upper town] was completed in the month of Ellul, 4864 [1104]. On the eve of Rosh ha-Shanah, one of the elders came and said to the community- “Come, let us ascend to the house we have established formally and properly. The elders of the town, the priests, and the levites went and brought up the Torah scrolls into the ark in the synagogue with great joy. They have remained there to this very day. On the morrow, on Rosh ha-Shanah, we began to pray there, and we have prayed there to this very day.

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