June 2nd, 2009

Two graduates of newly established rabbinical seminary ordained

Munich – Zsolt Bella and Avraham Radbil received their rabbinical ordination at Munich's Ohel Yakob Synagogue on Tuesday. They are the first two graduates of the newly established orthodox Hildesheimer Rabbinical Seminary. The President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Charlotte Knobloch, called the ordination a "small miracle" that completed the return of Jewish life to Germany. The Central Council's Secretary General, Stephan J. Kramer, said the event marked a "milestone" in Jewish life in Germany and Central Europe. He told the Deutscher Depeschendienst news agency that the ordination of the orthodox rabbis who received their rabbinic education and were going to serve in Germany showed that Jewish life in Germany had not been destroyed by the Holocaust.

The Hildesheimer Rabbinical Seminary was founded by the Central Council of Jews in Germany and the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation in 2005. It is named after its predecessor established by Rabbi Esriel Hildesheimer in 1873. This institution, that was at that time regarded as one of Europe's most important orthodox rabbinical seminaries, was closed by the Nazis in 1938.

Rabbi Zsolt Bella, 28, has been living in Germany since 2003. He has been hired by the Jewish Community of Leipzig as a "weekend rabbi" and will lead outreach programmes for Lauder Yeshurun from Berlin when not in Leipzig. Rabbi Avraham Radbil, 25, was born in Ukraine and moved with his family to Leipzig at the age of twelve. In August, he will take up the post of the assistant to the Chief Rabbi of Cologne. (02.06.2009)