(Inside the Boskovice synagogue. Photo (c) Ruth Ellen Gruber, 2004)
The Los Angeles Jewish Journal runs a nice travel feature by Jay Firestone on Jewish heritage in the Czech Republic. I have covered all the material in my own writing -- and all the sites mentioned are covered, in more detail, in Jewish Heritage Travel. On this blog I have also posted a lot more information on many more Czech sites.
Still, it's great to see an article that goes beyond Prague and takes in some of the the wonderful little towns in Moravia, such as Boskovice, Trebic, and Telc -- though it's too bad that Mikulov wasn't mentioned, as it is one of the most important site of Jewish heritage in the country.
October 1, 2008
Czech Republic surprises with Jewish treasures
By Jay Firestone
A tight budget, an embarrassing exchange rate and exponentially expensive flights -- it's a tough time to be an American, and an even tougher time to be an American traveler. But it's still possible to enjoy a first-rate European experience while keeping travel costs reasonable.
The Czech Republic's strong cultural balance between bustling urban life and calm rural communities features a wide variety of tourism options, from breweries to castles to Jewish ghettos. Major cities like Prague and Pilsen are ripe with history at nearly every corner, and Jewish tours offer everything from the construction of the second-largest synagogue in Europe to the creation of the mythical Golem.
As the author of National Geographic Jewish Heritage Travel: A Guide to Eastern Europe, I have roamed thousands of miles around Europe's historic Jewish heartland, bringing Jewish heritage to light for on-site explorers and armchair travelers alike. On this blog I will post photographs, links and personal experiences related to Jewish heritage sites and travel, particularly in the countries of east-central Europe.
Aside from clearly marked quotations, links and pictures, all material on this blog is copyright ⓒ Ruth Ellen Gruber
I'm an American writer, photographer, and public speaker long based in Europe. I've chronicled Jewish cultural developments and other contemporary European Jewish issues for more than 20 years. My latest books are "National Geographic Jewish Heritage Travel: A Guide to Eastern Europe," published in 2007, and "Letters from Europe (and Elsewhere)," published in 2008.
I also am working on "Sturm, Twang and Sauerkraut Cowboys: Imaginary Wild Wests in Contemporary Europe," an exploration of the American West in the European imagination for which I won a 2006 Guggenheim Fellowship and an NEH summer stipend grant.