Slovak coin commemorates 19th century rabbi’s birth


BRATISLAVA (JTA) — A special commemorative Slovak coin marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of one of the early 19th century’s most influential European rabbis.

Rabbi Moshe Schreiber, a Frankfurt native known as the Chatam Sofer, long headed a yeshiva in Bratislava, where he died in 1839. The city’s Old Jewish Cemetery was destroyed in World War II, but the Chatam Sofer’s tomb is preserved in an underground chamber that is still a place of pilgrimage.

Issued last week, the silver 10 Euro coin has the Chatam Sofer’s name written in Hebrew and bears a portrait of him with a menorah and Torah scroll on one side, and a panorama of Bratislava’s historic Jewish Quarter on the other.

The Jewish Quarter was destroyed in the late 1960s when Communist authorities built a bridge and major highway in the area.

For the next four months a two-thirds replica of the grand, twin-towered synagogue demolished at that time will stand on its original spot in central Bratislava as part of an initiative called the Lost City. Launched last week by the Slovak-Israeli Chamber of Commerce, the project aims to restore awareness of the Jewish history of the city and includes a guidebook to the sites that were destroyed to build the highway.

Recommended from JTA