The Shmooze

Does the German Government Like Some Jews Better Than Others?

By Allison Kaplan Sommer

  • Print
  • Share Share

With all of the painful history involved, the relationship between the German government and the country’s 12,000 Jews is never simple.

Right now, the German Jewish community is up in arms over the government’s apparent discrimination against Orthodox Jews. Germany currently subsidizes the training of Liberal rabbis — the European incarnation of Reform Judaism — and funds university-level Jewish studies, but it is now refusing to offer the same support to a seminary that trains Orthodox rabbis.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maziere has blamed budget constraints for refusing to fund the seminary, which opened its doors in 2005, graduated its first rabbis in 2009 and is the first to train Orthodox rabbis in Germany since 1938.

But the Orthodox community and the Central Council of Jews in Germany are crying foul, charging that the German government is only interested in subsidizing Jewish life as long as it means that life is lived by more assimilated, less identifiable Jews.

Stephan Kramer, the secretary-general of the Central Council of Jews in Germany told a British newspaper that “They like Liberal Jews because they are seen as easygoing, not reminding them all the time about anti-Semitism and the Shoah.”

An Orthodox rabbi at the seminary added angrily in an interview with Haaretz: “This dispute reveals the true attitude of the German authorities toward Jews . The Germans are prepared to finance Jewish educational institutions as long as the Jews are Liberal, look like them, define themselves as Germans first and Jews second.”


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Minister Thomas De Maziere, Liberal Rabbis, Germany, German Government, Central Council Of Jews In Germany, Orthodox Jews, Stephan Kramer

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • BREAKING: Was an Israeli soldier just kidnapped in Gaza? Hamas' military wing says yes.
  • What's a "telegenically dead" Palestinian?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.