a question on Jewish Cemetery of Worms #germany

Metin Delevi

Dear all,
Recently I heard that the tombstones at the Jewish Cemetery of Worms - Germany ( part of Schum) are facing southward and not to the east as is the tradition.
The only answer I found was that the first Jews buried in this cemetery had İtalian names ( could it be Kolonymus?) so its tomb faced south i.e. Italy. And the others continued this tradition.
Is there any other known reason? If so, how the Hachamim of the time let this happen?
Thanks in advance for the clarification.
Best regards
Metin Delevi

David Seldner

As far as I remember the graves facing south are those of high rabbis. And the reason is that the other graves - eastward - face the cathedral of Worms.
David Seldner, Karlsruhe, Germany

David Shapiro

Rabbi Moshe Sofer-Schreiber of Pressburg in his responsa to Yoreh Deah no. 342 discusses this question concerning the cemetery in Eibschutz which also had this custom. He explains there custom is to bury in the way one travels from Europe to Israel, which could either first south and then east or first east and then south, so either way is acceptable. For other prayers which should be facing Israel he says to face to the southeast.

David Shapiro


They are also cemeteries facing north! (Strasbourg Cronenbourg and Koenigshoffen,) I do not remember why. Another funny situation: In Fegersheim, they used to bury people in the direction of the access door of the cemetery! In order that at revival the dead can go out fast without having to climb over the wall. But the access door changed 3 times, so we have tombstones in 3 different directions in the same cemetery.
JP Lambert, past président, Historical society for Jews in Alsace-Lorraine


Good evening,
Direction of tombstones in european Jewish cemeteries is often east, but not allways. It can be south, direction of the mediterranean see which was the normal  route to go to Israël. It is north in the main cimeteries in Strasbourg (Cronenbourg and Königshoffen) for a reason I do'nt remember; In Fegersheim, graves were oriented in the direction of the access door... to avoid climbing the walls for the resurrected people! And as the access road changed 3 times, so does the door and the graves! Even the synagogues in the middle ages were not allways oriented to Jerusalem direction. As God is present everywhere, orienting synagogue to the west direction was seen for some rabbis as a proof of trust in God (see Krautheimer, 1928)!
Jean-Pierre Lambert, past président of the historical society of the Jews in alsace-Lorraine  geo_lamb@...