Restoration of the complex of historic premises of the Synagogue under the White Stork in the framework of the Four Temples’ Cultural Paths Programme in Wrocław at Włodkowica 5-7-9 complex
Several decades after the last bath, the pools of the Wroclaw Mikveh can again be filled with water in accordance with the requirements of the Jewish ritual. Bente Kahan foundation has renovated the undergrounds of the Synagogue under the White Stork, creating a unique place that combines religious and secular functions.
Mikveh in the Hebrew language signifies „a water tank”. The water must be alive or come from natural sources, such as water from a river, melted snow or rain. It should flow into the pool through the channels, and not through the pipes. What is more, the pool itself should be deep enough to allow for total immersion. Washing in the Mikveh was a ritual comprising cleansing from impurities; for example, women after menstruation were considered unclean.
Wrocław mikvah is one of the few and the oldest objects of this type that have survived World War II and the events of March 1968. The modernist bath built in 1901, was a part of expansion of the synagogue under the White Stork for the needs of the Orthodox part of the Jewish community in Wrocław, containing at that time approximately 22 thousands members. It was the third largest Jewish community in the former Germany.
Urban regeneration project included not only the restoration of these valuable objects but also making them available to all interested people – the Wroclaw synagogue has become the only place in the world, combining the ritual functions with the exhibition ones. In the new spaces, two expositions are presented: Jewish Life Cycle – a multimedia, educational exhibition telling us stories about the Jewish holidays and traditions, and the Incomplete Lives – artistic impression on the art during the times of Holocaust and afterwards. Also, new spaces for the purposes of teaching were opened – workshop and film rooms.
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