German Jews celebrate new Reform synagogue

By Jennifer Lipman, February 22, 2011

The first Reform synagogue to open in Germany since before the Holocaust has been dedicated.

The synagogue has been built in Hameln, in Lower Saxony, at the site of one destroyed by the Nazis more than 70 years ago on Kristellnacht.

Building of the Beitenu synagogue and community centre, intended to serve around 200 Jews in the town, was partly funded by the state.

Rachel Dohme, president of the new congregation, said: "It's incredible that, after the Shoah, in Germany a synagogue could be built with money that came from German political organisations.”

Stephan Kramer, general secretary of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said at the ceremony that the new synagogue was “a clear signal that we take our future seriously and that we are ready to lay roots here."

In November, the first female rabbi in 75 years was ordained in Germany, another sign of how much the community has grown in the last two decades with the arrival of immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Germany is now home to more than 200,000 Jews.

Last updated: 10:35am, February 22 2011