First Rabbis Ordained in Germany Since Holocaust

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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.

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3 Responses

  1. mycroft says:

    Reading your critique of Abraham Geiger reminded of his one time good friend R. Samson Raphael Hirsch ZT”L (SRH)
    SRH was a great believer in German culture-he gave a sermon commemorating Schiller’s birthday. SRH is probably the father of modern religious anti-Zionism. In truth-it is possible that the Agudah while nominally founded a couple of years after the Mizrachi to oppose the Mizrachi-really is the spiritual successor of a German Jewish organization founded by R. Hirsch. Thus, of course Rosenheim and Breuer-SRH’s son-in-law led the Agudah in its first decades.
    Of note is the Hirschian community had a higher rateof casualties in WW 1-than the general German community. Of course, that didn’t stop German leadders from claiming during WW 1 that Jews are avoiding their duty tio the fatherland.
    BTW-I believe that there 4 people who expect to recieve an Orthodox smicha-it should be redundant Orthodox and Smicha-but words can be misused. in Germany in the next year.

  2. Ahron says:

    I am truly mystified as to why there are any Jews today who continue to reside in Germany. I am open to suggestions.

  3. David says:

    Being a follower of some German/Jewish customs, I too was excited when first seeing this headline.
    My heart sank when I saw the picture of the “Classically Reform” rabbi.
    Bare-headed, black-robed, and wearing a micro-tallis that seemed to immitate a priests vestaments. I’m not even 100% sure that there were tzitzis on it.