The Czech 10 Stars project includes 10 synagogues and associated Jewish heritage sites, in 10 towns all over the country: in Úštěk, Jičín, and Brandýs nad Labem to the north; Plzeň and Březnice to the west; Nová Cerekev and Polná in the south-central part of the country; and Boskovice, Mikulov and Krnov to the east.
Carried out by the Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic, the 10 Stars is the most ambitious single Jewish heritage project in the Czech Republic and was financed by an approximately €11 million grant from the EU, with further funding from the Czech Culture Ministry.
The sites have all been renovated (or re-renovated) with a mono-thematic exhibit installed in each to form 10 regional centers of Jewish culture and education (and tourism). (See our JHE posts on the progress of the 10 Stars project HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE.)
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In Polna, the synagogue has been re-renovated, and the rabbi’s house next door has been restored: the rabbi’s house also includes a “winter shul” prayer room and a mikvah. Polná was the scene of a notorious blood libel case in 1899, and the permanent exhibits deal with that case and anti-Semitism in general, as well as with the history of the Jewish community.
The Polná Jewish cemetery, with gravestones dating back centuries, is well signposted, but the gate is kept locked; ask in the synagogue for the key.