In a groundbreaking move, the University of Potsdam launched its School for Jewish Theology this week — the first Jewish divinity department incorporated into a public university in Europe.
Up to now, Germany has only subsidised Catholic and Protestant theological training programmes.
The new department puts Jewish theology on a par with its monotheistic counterparts. Several Muslim theological programmes have been launched under state auspices as part of a government effort to encourage moderate Islam in Germany.
The School for Jewish Theology has 47 enrolled for its first year and is open to participants of any religious affiliation.
Jewish students can also pursue rabbinical or cantorial ordination at the Abraham Geiger College, the Reform seminary opened in 1999; or the Zacharias Frankel College, both in Potsdam. The latter is a new conservative seminar that opened for applicants on November 17.