13. Jistebnice

Jews in Jistebnice are mentioned in written sources from the first half of the 16th century. The Jewish community was established in the first quarter of the 17th century at the latest. After 1930, due to its low number of members, it was annexed to the Jewish community in Tábor. In 1887, an association for the beautification of the town of Jistebnice and its environs was founded in Jistebnice at the instigation of Aug. Mark and postmaster Adolf Katz. Katz’s merits for these efforts were honored by a memorial which was unveiled in 1915 in the mu-nicipal orchards, situated in a charming location on Stará hora by the pond. In 1880, there were 127 Jews (7.4% of all inhabitants), in 1900 there were 66 Jews, and in 1930 there were 19 Jews.

A prayer room is mentioned in writing for the first time in the first quarter of the 18th century. It is not known when the the syna-gogue was built. It stood in the courtyard of the Wallachian House behind the south side of the square. It was evidently destroyed in the first third of the 20th century. The cemetery is 2.5 km southwest from the town, near the village of Pohoří. It was probably founded at the beginning of the 17th century. An area of 2,188 square meters holds 202 preserved tombstones from the end of the 17th century.

The oldest preserved tombstone still readable today comes from 1692. It is the tomb of Bendet, son of Jakov, and is located in the corner opposite the ceme-tery entrance. The second tombstone of Jaak, son of Binjamin, dates back to 1694. The gravestones are decorated with pilasters as well as epitaphs, including symbols of the blessing hands of the Kohens. In the corner near the entrance to the cemetery there stands a morgue of unknown age that houses a stone table for the ritual washing of the dead. The cemetery is freely accessible.

Interesting: In the northern part of the perimeter graveyard wall above the morgue is a walled Kohen Gate. The Kohens were the most respected Jewish family, their members having formerly served as priests in the Jerusalem Temple. The entrance of the Kohens into the cemetery is restricted by their specific religious duties and limited only to the funerals of their closest relatives.