German-Jewish author Rafael Seligmann has launched a Jewish quarterly magazine.
Jewish Voice From Germany, a private initiative started last week, is aiming to convince English-speaking Jews around the world that there is a future for Jewish life in Germany.
Seligmann, 64, a native of Israel who came to Germany with his parents in 1957, said it pains him that many Jews outside Germany associate his country only with the Holocaust.
“The fact is, we are a small but a very fast-growing Jewish community in Germany,” Seligmann said in a telephone interview. “We have a vivid community — it is a shadow of what it was — but it blossoms again.”
About half of the initial run of 30,000 copies went to Jewish households in the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel and Canada. Several thousand were distributed to politicians and other leaders in Germany, and also are on sale at sites such as the Jewish Museum in Berlin.
Seligmann, who is funding the initial print run with his own savings and advertising revenues, has made the first edition available online by request. Each issue is slated to cost about $4; annual subscriptions are available, too.
Germany is home to an estimated 240,000 people of Jewish background, but less than half affiliate with Jewish communities. About 85 percent have come to Germany from the former Soviet Union since 1989, bringing their own cultural traditions. The next edition of Jewish Voice will focus on them, Seligmann said.
“There are some Jews who say, ‘That is not our culture, not our people,’ but that is nonsense,” he said. “I think we should take it and enjoy it.”
Seligmann noted that while there are conflicts, “They are our Jewish brothers and sisters, and it is an enrichment.”