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Jewish traditions and customs

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It is crucial for Judaism to keep alive its traditions, customs and everything related to the Jewish culture. All those customs and traditions accompany the daily lives of the Jews and they are distinguished by special indicia. The Jewish traditions origin from the Hebrew biblical books, particularly from the Torah, the most important book of Judaism. It is consequently being read from a Torah Scroll during prayers. Now we will learn about the traditions which are for the Jewish culture essential.

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Keeping the customs and traditions alive not only reflects in the personal life of the Jewish community but also during the services in the synagogues which are sort of a social centre. The first tradition is performed right here because women and men pray separately. In synagogues, men are obliged to wear little caps on their heads, called the kippah, which they also put on their heads in traditional social circles.

Domestic traditions Menorah - a traditional seven-branched candelabrum
Jewish customs and traditions in Jewish families are manifested also by holding prayer books, Shabbat and Hanukkah candelabrums and also the winecups for consecration of the feasts. Typical is keeping ritual purity in the scope of food, the so-called kashrut. Based on this custom meals are divided into ritually pure (permitted) and impure (forbidden) and then into fleshy, dairy and neutral ones. Forbidden food is for instance pork meat, seafood or rabbit. Permitted animals need to be absolutely healthy and slaughtered in specified way, i.e. using one cut when all blood has to be consequently removed from the flesh. It is also important to keep other principles such as mixing dairy and fleshly products together. In order to prevent them mixin-up every kitchen contains two separate sets of utensils, one for dairy and one for fleshly meals. These customs are part of the everyday life of the Jewish culture for there are many strictly followed rules and procedures.

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The circumcision Ritual circumcision
Another very significant tradition is the engaging of an individual into religious life. For this purpose the traditional circucision is used. The circumcision, or brit mila, is a traditional Jewish religious ceremony waiting for the newborn Jewish boys. The circucision is in Judaism carried out as an indication of making a contract with God in attendance of the family and friends of the newborn baby. This ritual is usually carried out on the 8th day after birth. The circumcision involves the ritual during which the circumcised boy receives his Hebrew name. After it is finished a festive feast follows attended by all participants.

Pidjon ha-ben
There are many Jewish traditions related to children. One of them is pidjon ha-ben. It is an imortant Jewish ritual of redeeming the firstborn child. The custom is at present, just like the other ones, still alive, particularly with the Orthodox Jews. If the firstborn child is son his father is bound to redeem him according to a biblical direction. This ritual is carried out after the circumcision as soon as the boy gets his Hebrew name. The money which the boy is redeemed for are usually donated to a charity or for maintenance and operation of the synagogue.

Bar micva The rabbi teaches his students
This Jewish religious ritual is crucial for the Jewish culture.During this ritual a Jewish boy becomes a religiously mature man. As aoon as the boys pass this ritual they turn into adult men who take all responsibility for keeping all the assignments. According to the Jewish Law the boy can get married after this ritual. Before the actual ritual the boy needs to study for at least one year. The individual studies the Hebrew and also all the religious duties that he will have to keep after becoming adult.

The wedding Jewish wedding
Contracting a marriage bond is sacred for Judaism. The ceremony and the whole wedding is accompanied by many preparations and strictly defined traditional rules which are carefully followed. Proprieties of the wedding ceremony origin in the ancient biblical traditions. With help of the wedding a man and a woman make a contract about married living, progeniture and education and upbringing of the offsprings. The Jewish wedding consists of two main parts. The first part is called kiddushin or engamement and the second part nissuin, i.e. the actual wedding. The wedding is performed by the Rabbi. A wedding contract is submitted to the bride which she bewares for the time of the marriage. Another custom is the performance of the wedding under a canopy held by four unmarried young men. The actual ritual has also very special features. The bride makes seven circuits around the bridegroom and afterwards the actual wedding ceremony can start. The bridegroom pulls a ring on the bride´s index finger and he passes her wine to drink which they both need to finish. The cup of wine symbolizes matrimonial happiness, the second cup from which they drink just a little symbolizes the necessary matrimonial and life hardships. When the ceremony is over the bridegroom treads on the glass whereby the great wedding celebration and cheer can start.

The funeral Jews is taking out the dead body from the house (about 1780)
The Jewish funeral
is just like in other religions a ritual symbolizing the final farewell with the deceased. The dead is buried covered only in his prayer cloak and dressed in white grave clothes. Cremation of the dead corps is forbidden in Judaism. During the funeral the requiem prayers are said. According to the Jewish Law the funeral takes place possibly on the same day of death. Another followed custom is that the close relatives tear their clothes as a sign of sadness before the ceremony. A funeral oration follows, which is read by the Rabbi during the funeral. Then the procession lines up, the dignitary of the funeral brotherhood with his moneybox walks in the front. He is followed by the closest relatives of the deceased person, then by the hearse, the burial brotherhood society and the Rabbi. Other participants walk at the end of the procession, the men first and the women last. When they let the coffin down the grave every participant casts three shovels of earth on it. The final phase of the ceremony takes place in the synagogue, in exceptional cases also directly at the grave. All ritually wash their hands when leaving and together make for the feast of consolation.

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GENERAL INFORMATION ON JUDAISM:

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Life in the name of the Torah 
Jewish traditions and customs

Meaning of „Kosher“
Synagogue
Jewish prayer 
Mordechai Maisel

Rabi Löw
Franz Kafka 
Noted Jewish Personalities
 
Legend of Prague´s Golem

History of the Jewish inhabitants in the Czech lands
Sanitation of the Jewish ghetto

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Map of the Old Jewish Town- Josefov  in Prague:

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Pinkasova synagoga: 50.089283, 14.417005
Starý židovský hřbitov: 50.088983, 14.417166
Maiselova synagoga: 50.088781, 14.418677
Obřadní síň - budova pražského Pohřebního bratrstva: 50.090037, 14.417031
Staronová synagoga: 50.089926, 14.418488
Klausová synagoga: 50.090350, 14.421120
Vysoká synagoga a židovská radnice: 50.089971, 14.418582
Španělská synagoga: 50.090209, 14.421019
Jewish Museum in Prague (Židovské muzeum): 50.090649, 14.420930

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MAIN MONUMENTS OF THE PRAGUE OLD JEWISH TOWN:

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Prague Jewish Town – Josefov (Pražské židovské město)
Maisel Synagogue (Maiselova synagoga)
Pinkas Synagogue (Pinkasova synagoga)
Old Jewish Cemetery (Starý Židovský Hřbitov)
Klausen Synagogue (Klausová synagoga)
Jewish Ceremonial Hall – building of Prague Burial Society
Old New Synagogue (Staronová Synagoga)
Jewish Town Hall (Židovská radnice)
High Synagogue (Vysoká synagoga) 
Spanish Synagogue (Španělská synagoga)
Jewish Museum (Židovské muzeum)

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Map of the other Jewish Monuments in Prague:

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Židovské památky mimo cetrum: 50.087371, 14.420820

Jubilee Synagogue in Jerusalem Street (Jubilejní synagoga v Jerusalémské ulici)
The Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague´s Žižkov(Starý židovský hřbitov na Žižkově)
New Jewish Cemetery (Nový židovský hřbitov)
Smíchov Synagogue (Smíchovská synagoga)
Old Jewish Cemetery in Smíchov
(Starý židovský hřbitov na Smíchově)

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DOWNLOAD: Tourist guide PRAGUE PRAGUE CITY LINE 1

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Průvodce Praha 1 - ENG - úvodní stránka

  Tourist guide PRAGUE CITY LINE - Prague 1 (14,7 MiB)

Prague 1 still belongs to one of the most attractive parts of the whole Prague. Probably nowhere else you can find such a concentration of historic monuments and places where the history and romance of bygone times are all around you. Hardly anywhere you can walk on the same paths where were walking Franz Kafka, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and the Golem of Prague.

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PHOTO GALLERY :

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