This Sunday, a new synagogue was opened in the German town of Herford, which had been without a synagogue since its last one was destroyed over 70 years ago during Kristallnacht. There had been a pressing need in the community for a genuine place of worship, as the prayer room in a Jewish school nearby had started to become overcrowded in recent years. North-Rhine Westphalia, the state in which Herford is located, has been the site of the construction of 10 synagogues since the mid-’90s. This short article provides a few more details.
It’s no surprise that North-Rhine Westphalia, as the most populous and economically powerful state in Germany, would be seeing a resurgence in the Jewish population, but nevertheless reports such as this are heartening. It’s true that the status of Jews in Germany is not only controversial, but also extremely difficult to define, yet the fact that the Jewish presence is growing and becoming more visible is good news for both those within the Jewish community and for Germany as a whole. Only by exposure will the mostly uneasy relationship between German Jews and non-Jews ever reach some sort of reconciliation and normalcy.