Posted by: LM | April 23, 2008

The Golem

The legend of the golem is a famous story of Czech-Jewish culture. Although there aren’t many Jews left in Prague today, it was once a very large community. One of the leaders in that community during the 16th century was a man by the name of Rabbi Loew (pronounced “Lev”). According to the legend, he created the Golem (which derives from a Hebrew word literally meaning “raw materials”) out of the four elements (earth, wind, fire, water) to protect the Jews from Anti-Semitic attacks. The Rabbi had control of Golem through a tablet that he could insert into its mouth. He used his creation to protect the Jews and terrorize their enemies.


The Old-New Synagogue (pictured below) is where Rabbi Loew kept Golem. According to the legend, he was kept in the synagogue’s attic. One day while the Rabbi was working inside the synagogue, Golem left and began to terrorize the town without being ordered. After being told what was going on, the Rabbi rushed to take the tablet from the Golem’s mouth. That was the last time the Golem was brought to life. The Jews begged Rabbi Loew to destroy the Golem since he was getting so powerful, but the Rabbi refused to do so. Instead, he locked the Golem back in the attic of the synagogue forever. To be sure that no one would be able to reach the monster, the stairs were removed that led to the attic. When the synagogue was finally explored, no Golem was found.

Prague’s Jewish Quarter is one of the oldest and most mysterious parts of Prague. The tourist industry has made lots of money giving night tours of Prague’s “haunted” streets and telling tourists the story of Rabbi Loew and his Golem. There are restaurants that use pictures and statues of the Golem in their decore and every Czech child hears the story of the Golem. Some versions of the legend claim that the Golem eventually turned on its creator and killed him. The truth is, though, that no one really knows what happened to the Golem or the Rabbi. Ask a little Czech boy, though, and he’ll tell you that the Golem still wanders the streets of Prague at night searching for victims.

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Responses

  1. hey girl!

    i just wanted to say i love your blog and homey writing styles. the photos are wonderful~

    anyway, critiques were given last class period and i thought i’d let you know that you got nothing but good reviews. everyone thought yours is awesome!

    anyhoo, hope you have a good night!

    ~Lady E

  2. I didn’t know your parents went too!!! Fun!! 🙂

  3. I’m using your photo of the Golem of Prague as an illustration for my article on AI. This legend is import to understanding the development of androids today. I didn’t see an attribution, so I’ve just linked to you blog. Did you take it yourself? Great article though, I’d be happy to link to you any which way.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post. I didn’t take the first picture myself. I found it in a google search, I believe. The only picture that’s actually mine from this post is the last one, of my parents and I in front of the Old-New Synagogue. Go ahead and link to the blog either way, though. Thanks!


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