"The Great Jewish Cities of Central and Eastern Europe" is the most comprehensive guidebook covering all aspects of Jewish history and contemporary life in Prague, Warsaw, Cracow, and Budapest. This remarkable book includes detailed histories of the Jews in these cities, walking tours of Jewish districts past and present, intensive descriptions of Jewish sites, fascinating accounts of local Jewish legend and lore, and practical information for Jewish travelers to the region. "The Great Jewish Cities of Central and Eastern Europe" is much more than a tour guide. It is a rich storybook filled with illuminating gleanings from all aspects of Jewish culture in the region: inspiring legends from the streets of Jewish Cracow; a secret glimpse at the former facade of a Prague synagogue in Budapest; a virtual reality tour of Warsaw's former Jewish quarter. The author combines experience in several disciplines to elucidate all aspects of Jewish history in these cities, from architectural history to religious symbolism. The entire history of Jewish life, including local traditions and contemporary anecdotes is covered. In addition, "The Great Jewish Cities of Central and Eastern Europe" is also a practical sourcebook essential for the Jewish traveler, containing information ranging from kosher restaurants to the prayer times and service descriptions of active synagogues in the region. Whether it's an ancient legend or a description of a kosher restaurant. Eli Valley describes the topic in a style that is both enthusiastic and easy to read. The author's years of experience in the region give him an insight into the local Jewish communities rarely seen by the outside world. A vital companion for the casual visitor as well as the scholar, this book includes: More information than any other source concerning some of the most famous synagogues in Jewish history, including the building histories, vital events and customs unique to these congregations. Step-by-step tours of Jewish cemeteries highlighting scores of eminent personalities in the religious and cultural realms. Detailed and easy-to-read maps of Jewish quarters and cemeteries. Countless legends, anecdotes, and customs particular to each city. Explanations of Jewish tradition in its religious and historical context. Full information on Jewish community offices, kosher restaurants, mikvehs, and times of prayer in local synagogues. An emphasis on the living history of Jewish communities, with special attention paid to recent changes and the contemporary situation of Central Europe's Jews. In spite of the renewed accessibility of Jewish sites, local tour guides are not well-versed in the history of Jewish compatriots, and guide books include only sparse, misleading information about the Jewish sites. The unfortunate result is that there has been a disturbing lack of reliable information about Jewish sites for the visitor to Central Europe. "The Great Jewish Cities of Central and Eastern Europe" closes this information gap.
by Eli Valley