There is a great and growing need for rabbis and cantors in Germany.
That’s thanks to the flourishing of Judaism in the country.
A flourishing of Judaism: 26 reformed/liberal/progressive congregations form the Union of Progressive Jews in Germany. These UPJG congregations are joined by some 130 Orthodox and other congregations.
And by Jewish day care centers (+20, according to the Central Council of Jews in Germany), schools (elementary and secondary – in 7 cities), old age homes, social institutions and other bodies requiring pastoral attendance.
Since 1999, this need for rabbis and cantors has been met by the Abraham Geiger College. This theological seminary is named after the rabbi whose ideas form one of the bases of reformed Judaism.
The founding of the College was a big deal. It was the first to be launched since World War II. The College is the successor to the University for the Sciences of Judaism, which was shut down by the Gestapo in 1942.
In 2006, Daniel Alter (from Germany), Tomas Kucera (from the Czech Republic) and Malcolm Mattitiani became the first Abraham Geiger graduates to be ordained as rabbis.
This was a big day for the new rabbis – and for me. Dr. Kucera has been “my” rabbi for 14 years. Rabbi Tom is the spiritual leader of Beth Shalom Munich, the congregation of which I have been a member for many years.
Abraham Geiger gave Beth Shalom another great gift: Nikola David – our congregation’s cantor. Nikola’s voice has “the power and spirituality of an entire gospel choir,” as one of Beth Shalom’s members put it.