Jewish life in Berlin today

19 12 2007

According to official German websites, the Jewish population in Germany has tripled in the past decade, especially thanks to a large wave of immigration from past Soviet countries, but is still only one fifth of what it used to be before the Second World War. The Jewish community (at least the registered one) in Berlin is the largest in Germany, more than 12,000 people.

The main Jewish organization in Germany is the Central Council of Jews (a bit of an unfortunate name, I think…). Judaism is of course an official religion, which means it has the same legal status as the Catholics and the Lutherans.

The Jewish community in Berlin has a very nice website (although some of it is still “under construction”), in which they give information about the synagogues, rabbis, Kosher restaurants and delis, educational centers, social support for members, and Jewish events. One of these events is the Jewish Cultural Festival, which took place last September. You can also find a lot of relevant information in HaGalil website.

We, btw, tried one Kosher restaurant, called “Beth Cafe”. I don’t want to be mean, but I really, but really, do not recommend it. Maybe it was a bad day, but the Cholent Soup I ordered was very horrible, and wasn’t even remotely similar to anything I know as Cholent. And it was a big disappointment, since a good Cholent is really something to die for. So, to compensate, here is something about this dish, including recipe. It is especially appropriate on rainy weekends.


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One response to “Jewish life in Berlin today”

1 02 2008
Tamar (05:48:22) :

There are more than 12,000 Jews in Berlin. The law in Germany requires one to make a legal declaration if they’re interested in becoming a member of a religious community and to pay an extra tax (“Kirchensteuer”, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirchensteuer).

Many Jews in Berlin choose from one reason or another not to pay these taxes, and are therefore not counted as community members.

e.g. – According to the German authorities, there are more than 4,000 Israelis living in Berlin (the statistics only count those who registered in the “Foreigner’s Office” as Israelis, not those living in Germany legally because of German or other citizenship in addition to the Israeli). It is safe to assume that most are Jews, but 99% of the Israelis I know in Berlin are not community members.

In other words, there are many more Jews living in Berlin today.

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