July 27th, 2010

Rabbinical ordination in Leipzig on 30th August 2010

On Monday, 30th August 2010, two graduates of the Rabbinical Seminary of Berlin (Rabbinerseminar zu Berlin), which was re-established a few years ago, will receive their rabbinical ordination in the historic synagogue of the Jewish Community of Leipzig. The ordination represents another milestone in the Seminary's mission to train German-speaking rabbis for Jewish communities in Germany and is an important contribution to the revival of Jewish life in this country.

Prominent figures from all around the world such as the President of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald S. Lauder, and the President of Yeshiva University in New York, Richard M. Joel, leading European rabbis, numerous prominent representatives of the Jewish community, and other distinguished guests are expected to attend the ordination ceremony. This year's ordainees are Rabbi Moshe Baumel and Rabbi Shlomo Afanasev.

Rabbi Shlomo Afanasev was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. There he completed a degree in financial management and accounting. After his family had moved to Leipzig, he joined Yeshivas Beis Zion in Berlin and then continued his studies at the Rabbinical Seminary. After his ordination, he will serve Jewish communities in the state of Brandenburg.

Rabbi Moshe Baumel emigrated as a child with his family from Vilnius, Lithuania to Berlin in 1991. After graduating from the Gymnasium of the Jewish Community of Berlin, he entered Yeshivas Beis Zion in Berlin where he prepared for his studies at the Rabbinical Seminary. In parallel, he completed a degree in art history and antiquarian studies at Distant Learning Institute in Darmstadt. Rabbi Baumel will serve as school rabbi and Jewish Director at Zwi Peres Chajes School of the Jewish Community of Vienna.

The Rabbinical Seminary of Berlin was established by the Central Council of Jews in Germany and the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation. It is named after its legendary predecessor, Hildesheimer's Rabbinical Seminary, which was founded by Rabbi Dr. Esriel Hildesheimer in Berlin in 1873 and ordained dozens of rabbis until it was closed after Kristallnacht in 1938. Since its re-establishment, the Seminary has become one of the leading institutions in Central Europe.

The Seminary's mission is to prepare a new generation of orthodox rabbis for working in a radically changing Jewish landscape in Germany. 90 percent of members of Germany's Jewish communities are East European Jews most of whom are immigrants from the former Soviet Union.

Accordingly, the Rabbinical Seminary of Berlin is targeted , in particular, at young Jewish men of immigrant background who have finished school or completed a university degree in Germany. This aspect makes it unique among similar institutions. Studying at the Seminary not only helps to accelerate the integration of the students, but also strengthens their own identity. In addition, the graduates of the Seminary do important work by imparting their knowledge to non-Jews as well. The Rabbinical Seminary of Berlin works in partnership with both the Conference of European Rabbis and the Orthodox Rabbinical Conference of Germany.

Berlin, 27th July 2010