Golem of Prague

The informant tells the story of a famous golem from Prague, its demise, and its supposed future reselection when the Jewish people need him.

M: When I was very young, my grandpa told me a story that he heard from his folks, about the, uh, golem that lives in the old new synagogue attic– of the attic of the old new attic in Prague. Basically like, my understanding of it– I’ve done more research about it in recent years, because its really interesting. 

  But the way I always heard this story growing up is the rabbi of that shul, um, he built a golem, who, i think, originally helped out with, um, like farm work. And helped out in the fields, with the upkeep of the synagogue, so he made him out of clay. And um, put a — he made a necklace that had the word for “life” around it, and he put it around the golem’s neck. So that brought the golem to life, and he, like, kept the shul safe from burglars. He helped out around town. But no one ever saw him except for the rabbi. 

Until one day, he fell in love with a, um, with a German girl. 

L: The Golem?

M: The Golem, yes. And Um, that meant, that a bunch of, uh. . .  anti-semites descended upon the village trying to, like, kill the Golem and his maker. So, what the rabbi ended up having to do is take the necklace off of him so he wouldn’t get killed ‘cause he convinced everyone that the golem didn’t exist. 

And legend has it that the Golem is waiting in the synagogue for the next time the Jewish people need him, to keep us safe. 

When I heard this story, I like how it fits in with the overall feeling of other Jewish folklore this informant told me. In a separate conversation about another piece of folklore, the informant told me that there is a lot of anxiety and worrying about other Jews in Jewish culture. And the golem, as a protector figure, really showcases and highlights this anxiety. Not only is the golem worried about the Jewish people in this story, but the Jewish people in the story are also worried about the golem and do not want to see him die.