In the news today, it appears that Germany's biggest synagogue has reopened after several years of renovation that aimed to restore it to its pre-Nazi era beauty. Surely this can't be seen as a bad thing. The restoration of this synagogue is a great achievement in a country which in the 20th century orchestrated the most brutal assault on my people the world has ever seen. The restoration, financed by the lottery (from what I've read), illustrates the support of the German government for the Jewish community. However, at the end of the article I linked, there are presented some sad realities about Jewish life in Germany.
"All Jewish institutions even bookstores and kosher groceries have 24-hour police protection and stand behind concrete or metal barriers to guard against vandalism and terrorism. The synagogue on Rykestrasse even has a police station inside."
It is truly disgusting that, even in this current age, Germany is still not a safe enough place for Jews whereas they can function without fear of attack/police protection. One has to take note as well that the "terrorism" mentioned in the above quote not only encompasses today's Islamist brand, but also (and most likely more predominantly) white neo-Nazi fueled crimes by German nationals.
Another down note in the article, is that only 20 people are expected to worship in this 1,074 person capacity synagogue this coming Saturday, with a peak of only 300 for the High Holy days. This is not to say that all Jews should be practicing Jews, but without a tangible 21st Jewish national identity (in the Diaspora) these figures reflect what can be assumed to be the assimilationist tendencies of Germany's 140,000 non-religious Jews (there are 250,000 Jews in Germany. By comparison there are over 1,500,000 Jews in New York state).
Let us not forget that in his speech, "The Future of Our Youth in This Country and Assimilation" (1935), Chaim Zhitlovsky points out Germany as the place where the belief that assimilation is the answer to the Jewish problem was first raised (no doubt by Jewish intellectuals disgusted with the "unsightly jargon" of their Eastern European brethren.)
The restoration of the synagogue up from the destruction wrought by Nazism and Stalinism is a great achievement for the Jews of Germany; however the Jews of the entire Diaspora (including Germany) still have much work to do on their own national restoration. Such a restoration will not be brought about by the government of an established state, but rather through the "creative life forces" of the Jewish people, a people that has a will to survive as "a normal respectable people, worthy of being a member of equal standing in the family of nations constituting humanity!"
5 months ago