Berlin I: This country is once again a homeland for Jews

On Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010 I had the honor of attending a ceremony at Germany’s Federal Foreign Office in Berlin in which the Benno Jacob Scholarship was initiated. The scholarship, offered by the Ernst Ludwig Ehrlich Studienwerk is aimed at supporting rabbis and cantors from the world over who wish to study in Germany at the Hochschule für Jüdische Studien (University for Jewish Studies) in Heidelberg, the Rabbinerseminar in Berlin or the Abraham Geiger Kolleg at the University of Potsdam.

Jews from all over the world are invited to study in Germany again

After friendly greetings and an introduction by Federal Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, the Chair of the Central Council of Jews in Germany spoke. It was these words by Dr. Charlotte Knobloch that so moved all those present. “This scholarship provided by the Federal Foreign Office and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), is sending a clear message—Jewish life today in Germany is once again diverse, exciting and significant not only for German society but for Jews all over the world.”

No “sitting on packed bags” anymore

Knobloch herself survived the Holocaust as a child on a farm in Franconia. As of the end of November 2010 she will leave the position as chair shortly after the Abraham Geiger Kolleg ordains the first female rabbi since the Shoah at the Pestalozzi St. Synagogue: Alisa Treiger. Charlotte Knobloch has an optimistic and moving message for Alisa Treiger and all the young people, who will form the Jewish community in Germany in the future: “This country is once again a  homeland for Jews.”