Alter Jüdenfriedhof

Heidelberg Region

Inaugurated in 1076, the Old Jewish Cemetery, also known as the Heiliger Sand (‘holy sand’), is one of the oldest Jewish burial grounds in Europe. The most revered gravestone is that of Talmudic commentator Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg (1215–93).

Rabbi Meir died in captivity after being imprisoned by King Rudolf of Habsburg for attempting to lead a group of persecuted Jews to Palestine (emigration would have cut the king’s income from a tax only Jews had to pay). His grave is on the left just after you enter, the left-hand gravestone of the two that are topped with large piles of pebbles (left by visitors as tokens of respect) and prayer notes.

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