Reform revival in its German homeland

The new Reform synagogue in Hameln, Germany

The JTA wrote today of the completion and dedication of the first new Reform synagogue in Germany since WWII, emphasis mine:

Germany’s first newly built Reform synagogue since World War II was dedicated during ceremonies in the city of Hameln.


“It is another sign of the continuity of liberal Judaism in Germany today, particularly in the state of Lower Saxony, where Reform Judaism had its start 200 years ago…”

Cool stuff. Lots of interesting international Reform stories of late, I’ve noticed. Here’s the full story.


6 responses to “Reform revival in its German homeland

  1. I’m a bit confused by Reform and progressive being used rather interchangeably in the article and on the congregation’s website. Perhaps a field trip is needed to sort these things out….

    • Far be it from me to interfere with your field trip (in fact, I’d urge you to go for it!), but Progressive is the international synonym for North American Reform, a statement that is complicated by the existence in the U.K. of a Reform and a Liberal movement, both affiliated with the World Union for Progressive Judaism. But there is more confusion to come — I’ve heard that the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism is moving towards rebranding itself as Reformi, replacing the current Mitkademet. Accordingly, it would make sense for you to extend your clarifying field trip beyond Germany to Israel.

    • When I was in Israel, I often had more success explaining my tzitzit-no kippah routine to Israelis by saying, “Ani Reformi.” And they would just nod and move on.

  2. See more (new) german synagogues in a gallery:

    Most of them are orthodox (OK, the nussach is orthodox in most communities)…

  3. Thanks, Chaim, for posting the link to the gallery of synagogues. For the benefit of those who haven’t followed it, there are 179 photos, interiors and exteriors, some of which are new construction and some of which are restored.

    Thanks, too, for differentiating between davening Orthodox and living Orthodox. As in Israel, synagogues are state-funded, and the Progressive congregations in some cities have not been able to get their fair slice of the pie. In Munich, for example, there is an impressive new Orthodox synagogue right off the Marienplatz, which we are told is remarkably ungracious towards any kind of sharing with the Progressive congregation (which as suffered a fire since I was last in Munich — but which prior to the fire, was meeting in unmarked rented space in a secluded building a fifteen minute cab ride from downtown). The Munich congregation, by the way, is NOT dominated by Russian transplants; it has a strong x-pat contingent, as well as native Germans who had left and have now returned.

    We Americans tend to forget (if we ever knew) that in most of the world, Reform is not the dominant stream it is in the U.S., and establishment Judaism worships Orthodox although it does not necessarily live that way.

    As it happens, I am on the email list of the congregation in Hameln, and am impressed each time I get their newsletter how much they have going on. (They publish their newsletter in English, German, and Russian. I also get the newsletter of the Latin American sector of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, which is published in English, Spanish, and Portugese.)

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