Jewish Journal

Jewish Germany’s Growth

by Tom Tugend

Posted on Jan. 11, 2001 at 7:00 pm

"My message to American Jews visiting Berlin is: We're not the last Jewish remnant but a vital, growing community. Help us develop."

The exhortation and plea comes from Dr. Andreas Nachama, president of the Berlin Jewish Community, as he spoke last week at a breakfast meeting hosted by the American Jewish Committee.

There are now some 15,000 Jews in Berlin, in large parts immigrants from Russia and other Eastern European countries. The community celebrated a milestone in its history last year, when 13 students received their diplomas from the Jewish day school, founded in 1986.

A physical landmark is the domed, renovated New Synagogue in the Oranienbergerstrasse, which is now at the center of Jewish cafes, little theaters and bookstores.

Jewish culture is "in," even in remote German cities and towns, said Nachama, "so that now we have the phenomenon of Jewish culture in places where there are no Jews."

The 49-year-old Nachama holds a doctorate in Jewish history and is a "double" rabbi, with both an Orthodox and Conservative ordination. His Berlin-born mother survived the war as a hidden child, while his father is a Greek Jew.

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