Synagogen in Berlin
Berlin Synagogues - History
Before 1933 the Jewish community umbrella organization ran 16 synagogues (Jewish Address Book, 1931), 7 of "old rite" (alter Ritus), that meant orthodox and 9 of the "new rite" (neuer Ritus). Many private synagogue associations had their own synagogues and there were the "stiblech" in the "barn quarter" (Scheunenviertel), a poor area, where many East European immigrants lived. Altogether there were more than 90 places for prayer. (see Max Sinasohn, Synagogen in Berlin). For the high holidays a number of rooms were rented to provide for additional seats. Today 7 synagogues offer regular services.
The Jewish Community in Berlin today is organized as an umbrella community (Einheitsgemeinde). This goes back to the last century when the State allowed only ONE Jewish Community in a city. Different wings of Judaism thus were forced by German Law to join under one roof. In the last third of 19th century a second community was recognized by the State, the orthodox Adass Yisroel Community.
After the Shoah, Jewish life in Germany was seen by Jews as temporary and so the model of the umbrella community (Einheitsgemeinde) was re-established. In 1989 the Adass Yisroel Community was re-founded.
Today (May 2003) the Jewish Community in Berlin has 12 000 members (individuals not family units are counted), Adass Yisroel 1000, but there are many unaffiliated Jews in Berlin. It is supposed by the American Jewish Committee that the total number is between 20 000 and 30 000. During the 1990ies Berlin was the fastest growing Jewish community in the world. When the Iron Curtain fell, the West Berlin community had over 6000 members and the East Berlin community about 200.
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