Additional activities to be undertaken by the Association of SchUM Cities in the weeks and months ahead include a new website with both new content and a new structure, along with an initial informational flyer and an exhibition on “Wine and Judaism”. In addition, there will be presentations at conferences and networking with nationally and internationally proactive experts on museology and education, as well as with UNESCO experts.
Ever since 2005, the state of Rhineland-Palatinate has been campaigning for the acceptance of the SchUM cities into UNESCO’s World Heritage program. Since 2014, the SchUM cities have occupied 5th place on the provisional list maintained by the cultural ministers’ conference which decides the sequence of the petitions for the coming years. In 2020, the state of Rhineland-Palatinate will hand in via UNESCO’s Foreign Office in Paris its nominating dossier together with its Management Plan. The decision will be made in 2021. Should the SchUM cities become a World Heritage site, preservation, tourism and mediation will be intensified, along with exchanges on the question of the relationships between cultures and religions and the conflict with Jewish traditions and Jewish scholarship in the context of the present day.
Information about the SchUM cities
The Jewish communities of Speyer, Worms and Mainz, all cities located along the Middle Rhine, formed a network that strongly shaped the culture, the religious beliefs and the dispensation of justice in the Central and Eastern European Jewish diaspora. The acronym SchUM that designates this network is composed of the first letters of the Latin-based Hebrew names these cities had during the Middle Ages:
Schin (Sch) = Schpira = Speyer
Waw (U) = Warmaisa = Worms
Mem (M) = Magenza = Mainz
However, SchUM is much more than an abbreviation and it is not just history. SchUM is a concept along the Rhine and in the world-at-large. Witnesses in stone of this important era — synagogues, cemeteries and ritual baths — have been either preserved or archeologically secured. Woven inseparably into these unique physical spaces of Jewish tradition is the intangible Jewish heritage of SchUM: scholarship, commentaries on the Torah, liturgical poetry, everyday customs, and myths. SchUM also represents the Judaism of today.
The Association of SchUM Cities — Speyer, Worms, and Mainz is being supported by the State of Rhineland-Palatinate, the cities of Worms, Speyer and Mainz, the Jewish community of Mainz-Worms, the Jewish religious community in the Rhineland-Palatinate and the State Association of the Jewish Communities of Rhineland-Palatinate.