Explore Rothenburg ob der Tauber on our Jewish tour in Rothenburg ob der Tauber! A fairy tale town on Germany`s picturesque Romantic Road, Rothenburg ob der Tauber also represents one of the most significant centers of Torah studies in medieval Europe and a perfect place to discover Jewish heritage.
Jews settled in Rothenburg already at the beginning of the 12th century, and soon the town became the focal point of Jewish life in Bavaria. Jews lived in a special quarter of the town, the Judengasse (Jews` Lane), and had a synagogue and a cemetery.
At the time, Meir ben Baruch (1220-1293), better known as the Maharam of Rothenburg, one of the major Talmud scholars of the Middle Ages, was the rabbi of the city and head of the local yeshiva, a school of Talmudic studies that attracted scholars from all over Europe. In the 1280s, he became the leader of a group of Jews who wanted to emigrate to Eretz Israel. However, Kaiser Rudolf ordered his arrest, as he was worried that the income from Jewish taxes would severely decrease. Meir ben Baruch died in captivity seven years later, and more years had to pass before the Jewish community was permitted to bury him in Worms, his hometown.
Over the course of the Middle Ages, Jews in Rothenburg were faced with similar challenges as Jews in other cities, with situation oscillating from the presence of Jews being tolerated to ruthless persecution. In 1520, Jews were expelled, and would settle down in the city only 350 years later, in 1870.
As a result of a fierce anti-Semitic propaganda, almost all Jews had already been expelled before the pogrom of November 1938. Within just a few years, Jewish community of Rothenburg has entirely disappeared.
Explore the traces and historical pointers to centuries of Jewish history in the town, with our Jewish Rothenburg ob der Tauber Tour!
We’ll stroll through Kapellenplatz, medieval center of everyday Jewish life, with the synagogue, the community hall and businesses providing for daily needs. A bronze plaque at Kapellenplatz No. 5 commemorates the place where the Maharam founded his Yeshiva, and where he taught for over forty years. The community hall, also called “Jewish Dance house”, is located on the corner of Judengasse and White Tower. The house at no. 10 of the Judengasse, the only Jewish street in Europe left from medieval times, hosts mikveh.
A visit to the Rothenburg Museum, with its unique Judaica Collection and the medieval Jewish gravestones from the 13th and 14th centuries, is essential.
In the midst of a maze-like web of cobbled lanes and towered walls, Rothenburg ob der Tauber’s Jewish Heritage intertwines with Christian gems like the Jakobskirche, hosting Rothenburg's most treasured reliquary, a rock crystal capsule which is believed to contain three drops of Christ's blood, or the Reichsstadtmuseum, a former Dominican convent with a fascinating history.
Join us on a journey into Middle Ages Germany with our Rothenburg ob der Tauber Jewish Tour!