This Sept. 7 marks the 400th anniversary of the death of the famous Rabbi Judah Löw ben Bezalel --a renowned scholar known as the Maharal and also the legendary creator of the Golem, the artificial man brought to life to defend Prague's Jews who then ran amok, was deactivated and then hidden in the attic of the Old-New Synagogue.
Prague is gearing up to mark the date with events including a major exhibition jointly sponsored by the Jewish Museum in Prague and Prague Castle.
This exhibition aims to trace the Maharal’s life and work and to examine the image of this scholar in the eyes of his contemporaries and succeeding generations. Few people have attracted such a broad range of admirers, including those with starkly contrasting religious, philosophical and cultural views. There is a cavernous divide between the historical Maharal and the predominant image of him today. This fact is of such importance that it serves as the basis for the exhibition concept.
The exhibition, called "Path of Life," runs August 5-November 8 at the Royal Stables . The exhibit is divided into two main parts, one focusing on the historical Maharal and the authentic traditions connected with him, while the second will look at Rabbi Löw's legacy and the origin of the legends that are linked to his name.
The idea of the Maharal as the personification of the mystery of the ghetto, a miracle worker, mathematician and creator of an artificial being may not be historically grounded but it has provided immense inspiration for literature, drama and art. The historical and the imaginary Maharal both have a right to exist.A major catalogue of the exhibition will be published in Czech and English, and other events and exhibits are also planned.
Already on June 3, an interactive installation called Golem, by the artist Petr Nikl will open at the Jewish Museum’s Robert Guttmann Gallery (it will run until Oct. 4).