November 1, 2016: The Reform congregation in Hamburg of Germany has dedicated its very first Jewish Cemetery.
The community’s section of the Ohlsdorf cemetery was inaugurated by Rabbi Moshe Navon, head of the Liberal Congregation in Bad Pyrmont, earlier this month. The inauguration was supported with $3,280 worth of gift for plantings at the area from the Hamburg-west/Südholstein parish church. The Holy Ghost Community of Pinneberg also donated $1,090.
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The main Jewish cemetery of Hamburg-Altona is the cemetery that has been in use by the community till date.
The vice president of the synod of the Pinneberg community, Ursula Büttner, who is also a frequent guest at the services of the Liberal Congregation, stated that the donation is a “sign of reconciliation and peace,” as reported by the September newsletter of the Europian Union for Progressive Judaism.
According to a news portal, the Liberal Jewish Community of Hamburg, first established in 2004, is a member of the Union of Progressive Jews in Germany. It reports having a circle of friends and supporters of nearly 200 people that include the non-Jews and a membership of about 300 people. The website of the community says that its next target is to open its very own synagogue.
The Central Council of Jews in Germany says that there are 2445 registered members of the Jewish community presently, in Hamburg.
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Reports from related news states that Hamburg has plans to submit an application in December, to UNESCO- the United Nations Organizations, responsible for the heritage sites and education, for recognition of their main Jewish cemetery, named- the Jüdische Friedhof Altona, as a World Heritage Site. The decision would have to wait till mid-2018.
The cemetery, famous for its grave designs, holds about 8100 graves and covers nearly 400 acres of area. It was established by a Sephardic community in Portugal in 1611. An Ashkenazi section was built and added later. The famous personages who are buried inside include the father of the popular German poet Heinrich Heini. Since 1960, it has been an official and popular cultural landmark of Germany, mentioned forward.com.
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The Jewish cemeteries in Germany are targeted by Vandals at times, even though they are officially well protected. The police in Strasburg reported that some unknown perpetrators had demolished a heavy grave-stone in the Jewish cemetery of the city, last week. The public has been asked for assistance in identification of the culprits.
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