September 21st, 2008

New synagogue inaugurated in Bielefeld

Bielefeld – On 21 September, the Jewish Community of Bielefeld inaugurated its new synagogue. The President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany , Charlotte Knobloch, who was not able to attend the ceremony, emphasised in a statement read out at the inauguration that the opening of the synagogue in Bielefeld was a further indication of the revival of Jewish life. She said that the bringing of Torah scrolls into the synagogue ushered in "a new era in the Jewish life of Bielefeld ". According to the newspaper Neue Westfälische, Knobloch stressed in her statement that the new Community Centre was of invaluable importance as a place of worship and encounter. The Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Jürgen Rüttgers (CDU), called the inauguration of the synagogue a "token of confidence and hope". In the summer of 2007, the Jewish Community of Bielefeld, numbering about 300, purchased a former protestant church and had it reconstructed. There are 19 Jewish communities in North Rhine-Westphalia with almost 32,000 members in total. (21.09.2008)