from the Machon's old website:
"Machon Moreshes Ashkenaz - The Institute for Ashkenazi Heritage - is the leading institute dedicated to the research, preservation and transmission of the unique religious values, customs, and folklore of German Jewry, as they existed prior to the Holocaust.
"The history of German (Ashkenazi) Jewry dates back to the destruction of the holy Temple in Jerusalem. First in Roman Italy, later on in the Rhine Valley, these Jews developed their own remarkable tradition. That tradition is the cumulative product of two millennia of brilliant scholars and dedicated community leaders. It remains today one of the priceless spiritual legacies of our people.
"Rabbi Isaac of Vienna the 'Ohr Zarua' exclaimed nearly eight hundred years ago, "Do you not know what towering geniuses and men of holiness are the Rabbis of Mainz, Worms, and Speier? From them has the Torah gone forth to all of Israel!" After Rabbenu Asher (the 'Rosh') was forced to flee Germany for Spain, he wrote, "I keep to our tradition as we received it from our ancestors of blessed memory, the Sages of Ashkenaz. Their Torah was a legacy from their fathers from the time of the Temple's destruction."" continue