I saw this first the Washington Post, but it’s in the JPost as well: “The first rabbis since the Holocaust were ordained in Germany on Thursday, the latest marker in the gradual return of Judaism to a nation where most vestiges of Jewish life were once eradicated.”
The Rabbinical School is called the “Abraham Geiger College,” which I find unfortunate and particularly distasteful for a Jewish institution in Germany. Geiger is considered one of the early Reformers, to be certain — but his vision and message were completely refuted by Hitler and the Nazis. Geiger and his group “believed that people hated Jews because Jews acted strangely, differently;” Hitler picked out typical, church-going Germans who happened to have a single Jewish grandparent. Geiger believed that if Judaism were made into a religion of “reason, science, and aesthetics, they would enable Jews to remain both modern and Jewish;” Hitler celebrated the Jews’ development of reason by calling the Jewis “wily” and “the great masters of the lie.” Geiger “sought to remove all nationalistic elements (particularly the ‘Chosen People’ doctrine) from Judaism, stressing Judaism as an evolving and changing religion;” Hitler wrote of the Jews that “their whole existence is based on one single great lie, to wit, that they are a religious community while actually they are a race…” It is reported (but as yet unconfirmed) that Geiger was even responsible for coining the phrase “Berlin is our Jerusalem;” Hitler’s response to that requires no elaboration.
This is hardly the only example of our stubborn, stiff-necked people refusing to learn from our own past mistakes — it is, however, unusually distressing. We should be similarly pained by the way the organized Jewish community stumbles blindly on issues of “Jewish continuity” while even more than six million are lost to assimilation and intermarriage… but that’s not the way we think.