Lecture titled: "Imagining Jerusalem in the Streets of Medieval Ashkenaz: Worms, Speyer, Mainz, and Cologne"
At the centre of the Jewish urban spaces in Worms, Speyer, Mainz, and Cologne was a square with communal buildings - synagogue, dance house, guest lodgings, and ritual bath. On the high holidays the community’s men would carry out liturgy reserved for the priests in the Temple of Jerusalem, comprising of ritual immersion in the special bath, specific blessings and instatement of ephemeral furnishings to the synagogue. Thus, the local ‘lesser Temple’ and the buildings around it were treated at certain times of the year as embodiments of the lost Temple in Jerusalem, giving momentary priestly status to the community, and formulating a special aura on the physical surroundings for a vanishing moment. The combination of Temple liturgy with transformations of the physical space in these community centres in the twelfth to thirteenth centuries was the topic of this paper.