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Spanish Ex-king Alfonso Attends Friday Night Service in Famous Prague Synagogue: Hears Congregation

Ex-King Alfonso of Spain, accompanied by the Duke of Miranda, visited last night the famous “Old-New Synagogue” in Prague, the oldest synagogue in Central Europe, and hallowed by centuries of Jewish tradition, remaining there about half-an-hour during the Friday night service, including the singing of the “Lecho Dodi”, the famous hymn of welcome to the Sabbath bride.

It is difficult to determine the date of this synagogue, the “Jewish Encyclopaedia” says, since its builders did not follow any certain style. The framework of the roof, the gable and the party wall date from the Middle Ages. On the Almemar there is a scarlet flag bearing a Magen David, and a Swedish hat, the latter given as an escutcheon by Ferdinand II in recognition of the services of the Jews in the defence of Prague against the Swedes. The flag was presented to the Jews by Charles IV. This synagogue was the only building spared when the Ghetto was plundered in 1744.