In Worms, directly administrated by Emperor Henry IV, the Jewish community obtained the right to trade by public edict of the emperor as early as 1074.
The synagogue of Worms was founded in 1034. Not only the location of worship but also a center for study, the synagogue made Worms the spiritual and cultural center of Judaism during the Middle Ages.
A native of Troyes, the rabbi-scholar Salomon ben Isaac settled in Worms in around 1060 to study and edit commentaries of the Torah under the pen name Rashi. His commentaries and writings still have great authority today.
With 2000 graves, the Jewish cemetery of Worms is the oldest preserved in Europe. Numerous small scrolls of paper slipped between the bars of Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg’s tomb attest to the number of Jewish pilgrims from the world over who regularly come to honor his burial place.
Rebuilding the Jewish quarter
In 1961, the city of Worms reconstructed the synagogue destroyed for the last time during Kristallnacht.
Located in the former Jewish quarter (the Judenhof), the synagogue is composed of a Männerschul (hall of prayer for men) and a Frauenschul (hall of prayer for women).
The former yeshiva, a study hall known as the “chapel of Rashi”, is located behind the synagogue. Beyond the study hall, underground, is one of the oldest mikva’ot in Europe, dating from the twelfth century.
The Rashi House (Raschi-Haus) located near the synagogue on the Hintere Judengasse contains the collections of the Jewish Museum (Jüdisches Museum).
The restoration completed in 1982 took special care to preserve the original vaults of the cellars, which date from the fourteenth century. This museum is dedicated to the history of the Jewish community in Worms from its origins to its annihilation by the Nazis. It also retraces the Jewish way of life in the city in its full splendor, displaying objects of worship, items taken from daily life, paintings, and historic documents.