where the Shapiros are from

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This post is about Jewish life in Speyer. We visit a museum holding the ruins of the old synagogue and the ritual bath.

We stayed in Speyer for two days and looked around a little bit. Speyer wasn’t just a Kรถnigspfalz and the site of the Imperial Cathedral of Speyer, it was also home to one of the most vibrant Jewish communities in German history.

Ashkenazi life along the Rhine

Or rather: it used to be. Before the Holocaust. That doesn’t mean Speyer was safe for its Jewish community before that, no. But there were times, starting from the Middle Ages, when the Christians of Speyer weren’t currently blaming their Jewish neighbors for something bad, like a pandemic or a bad harvest or a bunch of crusaders coming through – there were times when the Jewish community had actually been thriving in Speyer. When they were numbering several hundred people. When they had a synagogue, a ritual bath, and a cemetery.

the chipmunk’s name

Actually, Speyer, along with Worms and Mainz, used to be one of the centers of Ashkenazi life in Europe. It reminded me of Edirne, where the Great Synagogue had hinted at the size and the wealth of the Jewish community that once used to live there.

And here’s something you probably didn’t know: that bigoted little chipmunk Ben Shapiro, along with virtually all the other Shapiros in the world, can trace his last name to the city of Speyer aka Spira aka Shapira.

Cool shit.


museum showing the ruins of jewish life in Speyer:

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