November 10th, 2008

Synagogue openings in Göttingen and Lörrach – Laying of the foundation stone in Speyer

Göttingen/Lörrach/Speyer – Exactly 70 years after the Kristallnacht pogrom, a new Community Centre was inaugurated in Lörrach on November 9. The modern cube-shaped building of glass and concrete is situated in the centre of the city and contains a community and a prayer hall, office rooms, two kosher kitchens, and a mikvah. Most of the construction costs, which totalled € 1.5 million, were met by the association of Jewish communities of Baden . The city of Lörrach provided the building plot and the state of Baden-Württemberg made a financial contribution to the project. The state's Prime-Minister, Günther Oettinger, donated a Torah that he had brought back from a journey to Israel .

The former synagogue of Bodenfelde was re-inaugurated on the premises of the Jewish Community Centre in Göttingen also on November 9. For decades the small half-timbered house, built around 1825, was used as barn after the expulsion of Jews from Bodenfelde, a village not far from Göttingen. The building was in danger of collapsing when it was discovered by the Jewish Community of Göttingen. Ten years ago the community started efforts to save the former synagogue. The restoration of the building and its transfer to Göttingen cost about € 500,000, with most of the money coming from donations. "We are witnessing history today," said Harald Jüttner, long-time head of Göttingen's Jewish community, speaking at the re-inauguration ceremony on 9th November.

Finally the foundation stone was laid for a new synagogue in Speyer also on November 9. The construction costs will amount to around € 2.5 million and will be met by the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, the city of Speyer , and the Jewish community of Speyer . The head of the community, Michael Tsenteris, said the new synagogue would ensure that Jewish life takes root in Speyer again.

On 23rd November, the foundation stone will be laid for a new synagogue in Mainz. (10. 11. 2008)