The Conference of European Rabbis (CER), one of Europe’s most prominent associations of Orthodox rabbis, has opened its new official headquarters in Munich, Germany.
Supported by an annual stipend of 1.5 million from the Bavarian state government, the new Centre for Jewish Life is part of the CER’s vision to make Jewish life in Europe more visible and open. It will offer a base and headquarters to strengthen Jewish religious life throughout the continent.
As reported by Jewish News President of the CER Rabbis President Pinchas Goldschmidt confirmed in May that the UK’s EU exit was a leading factor in the move of the office from London to Germany.
The CER’s new centre will expand its educational offerings, providing training programmes for rabbis and rebbetzins of communities throughout Europe on a range of halachic and rabbinic issues. It will also host international conferences on current issues affecting Judaism and the contemporary Jewish world.
Munich has developed into a new focal point for Jewish life in Europe with the construction of the Ohel-Jakob Synagogue and Community Centre, which has brought Judaism back to the heart of the city of Munich.
Guests of honour and speakers at the opening ceremony included Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER), Dr Boris Mints, Chairman of the CER Board of Patrons, Joëlle Aflalo, Vice-Chair of the CER Board of Patrons, Dayan Menachem Gelley, Chairman of the European Beth Din of the CER, Dr Charlotte Knobloch, President of the Jewish Community of Munich and Upper Bavaria, Dr Florian Herrmann, MP, Head of the Bavarian State Chancellery and Bavarian State Minister for Federal Affairs and Media, Professor Dr Michael Piazolo, MP, Bavarian State Minister for Education and Cultural Affairs, Katrin Habenschaden, Deputy Mayor of the City of Munich, Dr Ludwig Spaenle, MP, Anti-Semitism Commissioner of the Bavarian State Government, Thomas Gehring, MP, Vice-President of the Bavarian Parliament, Dr. Wolfgang Heubisch, MP, Vice-President of the Bavarian Parliament and Talya Lador-Fresher, Consul General of the State of Israel.
Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the CER, said: “The relocation of the headquarters to Munich and the opening of the Centre for Jewish Life of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER) is a symbol of hope and a message to all the dark forces that threaten the Jewish people.
“Munich, a place with a tragic history, today shows a flourishing Jewish life. This development is proof that anti-Semitism will not succeed. We would like to thank the Bavarian Prime Minister and the Bavarian State Government for their commitment.”
Dr Florian Herrmann, MP, head of the Bavarian State Chancellery and minister of state for federal affairs and media, said: “The CER has arrived in the heart of Munich!
“It is a great honour to witness how another beacon of Jewish faith has found a home in Bavaria. We stand by our promise to protect Jewish life in Bavaria. “Never again” is our reason for being and an eternal mandate for all in politics and society.
“We will ensure that Jewish life in all its splendour and diversity has an eternal home in Bavaria. It’s good to have you here! I am glad you are staying here!”
Prof. Dr. Michael Piazolo, MP, Bavarian minister of education and cultural affairs said: “Hate, intolerance and anti-Semitism will not be tolerated in our schools. Our teachers in Bavaria are trained to deal with anti-Semitic incidents and have recently been supported in their work against anti-Semitism with a new internet portal.
“Our regional representatives for democracy and tolerance are also doing valuable work: in addition to their prevention work, they also intervene when incidents occur. This is unique in Germany.“
Dr. Charlotte Knobloch, President of the Jewish community of Munich and Upper Bavaria, added: “With the arrival of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER), Munich will become even more the capital of Jewish life in Europe: the heart of European Jewry beats in Bavaria today.
“As a Jewish citizen of Munich and as President of the local Jewish community, I look forward to further deepening the cooperation with the CER – locally, but also regionally and beyond.
“In order to strengthen the Jewish presence in Europe and in the fight against Jew-hatred, all forces must be combined today – and that is exactly what we want to do.”
Speaking at the opening, Dr Boris Mints, patron of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER), stated: “We are certainly celebrating a New Year and new period of Jewish communal life in Germany, yet this book as a whole remains with a dark past and a sometimes-troubling present. Our job, proudly and with purpose, is to keep writing these pages in a positive way, actively composing a future chapter of activism, and prosperity, authoring new pages, and chronicling our future with words and deeds of hope.“
The rabbinical group had been based in London since it was founded in 1956 and has around 1,000 member rabbis from across Europe, from Dublin to Vladivostok.
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