Monday, April 16, 2007

Germany has the fastest growing Jewish community of any country in the world, including Israel

Kate Connolly:

Berlin's Jewish community was on the verge of splitting last night, after a long-running disagreement between its intellectual wing and newcomers from the former Soviet Union.

Albert Meyer, a former chairman of the community, has announced he is setting up a new group because many members of the community are fed up with what he called "pseudo Bolsheviks who want to turn the community into a Russian club".

Mr Meyer, a lawyer, is backed by the historian Julius Schoeps and other intellectuals who accuse the Russians of employing "Stalinist methods" to influence the development of the community and having no interest in the Jewish faith.

Germany's Jewish community has grown in recent years with most newcomers coming from the former Soviet Union after Berlin relaxed its immigration rules for them in a gesture of reconciliation after the Holocaust. The influx has transformed the community, which has increased about tenfold from 1990 when it had about 23,000 members.
Last year three rabbis were ordained in a Dresden synagogue for the first time in Germany since the second world war.

But while many have welcomed the fact that Germany has the fastest growing Jewish community of any country in the world, including Israel, within the community itself the influx has caused a growing rift.

Tensions have risen in recent years between the established and often socially conservative German Jewish community and the Russian immigrants, many of whom are secular. While the German Jews see themselves as Jewish first and German second, many of the Russian immigrants see themselves as Russian.

They often have little knowledge of the workings of the faith, sometimes not knowing what a rabbi is, and many are poorly informed about the Holocaust.

"We are no longer prepared to accept that the current leadership wants to turn the old, deeply traditional Berlin community into a Russian-speaking cultural club," Mr Meyer told the magazine Stern. "We will no longer accept that a clique made of up egotistical, power-oriented people sometimes employ Stalinist methods to drive away and freeze out all the others who stand for the German-Jewish tradition and the role of the community as a religious community."

Soviet Jews flooding Germany


At 3:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


This is something, much heard of. Though personally I think it isn't correct.

In Israel, annually an average of 100.000 Jewish (!) babies are being born and there are about 20.000 Olim Chadashim, about 5.000 - 10.000 leave (Yordim) aswell, so let's say 110.000 are "coming" to Israel. Does Germany recieve more than 110.000 JEWS annually? I also think that a lot of those "Jews" entering Germany are in fact, not Jewish according to Halacha. BTW, I ask the non-Jewish Russian immigrants coming to Israel, to move to Germany, but oh well, whom am I to ask!


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