A romantic memory of the disappeared ghetto...
During the blanket demolition of the Jewish ghetto of Prague, its picturesque atmosphere was lost forever. The little narrow streets were replaced by wide avenues lined with tenement houses that had absolutely nothing to do with the character of the original ghetto. The only place that retained at least semblance of the original atmosphere was the area around the Old Jewish Cemetery. A fleeting illusion of the unique ghetto is offered not only by the cemetery with its tombstones, but also the few buildings that remain: the Old-New Synagogue, the Klausen Synagogue, the Great Synagogue and the Jewish City Hall.
The former ceremonial hall of the Burial Society (Chevra Kaddisha) is one of the few newer buildings seeking to reconnect with the style of the extinct ghetto. It was founded between the years 1906–1908, and with its neo-Romanesque aspects, it is as though it was attempting to evoke the thousand year history of the Jewish ghetto. The morgue on the ground, the first floor housed the room for the ritual cleansing of the deceased and the second floor had a community hall, adorned with paintings depicting the activities of the society, dating back to the late 18th century.
Since 1926, the building has been administered by the Jewish Museum of Prague. Today it houses an exposition dedicated to the Old Jewish Cemetery and the history of the Burial Society.
If you have decided to visit the former ceremonial hall, you are required to buy a ticket to the Jewish Museum, which will also allow you access to the following: the Spanish Synagogue, Pinkas Synagogue, Maisel Synagogue, Klausen Synagogue, and the Old Jewish Cemetery. It is not possible to purchase a ticket only to the ceremonial hall.
It is also possible to visit this ceremonial hall with our guided (English language) tour of Prague synagogues, in order to learn much more about the history of Czech Jews, their traditions and daily life.