Hundreds turned out out last week to participate at a dedication ceremony for the first Orthodox synagogue to open in Saxony, Germany since the Holocaust. The synagogue is part of a new facility named the Rohr Chabad Center, which includes classrooms, social halls, recreational facilities and a fully kosher commercial kitchen. “This is only a beginning” promised Rabbi Schneur Havlin, Chabad-Lubavitch representative to Dresden.
Among those attending the ceremony were government officials, the Deputy Prime Minister of Saxony, the President of Finland who was in the region on official business, Chief Rabbi of Israel, Yona Metzger and Saxony’s Chief Bishop, who congratulated Saxony’s Jewish community on this new development.
The Mayor of Dresden expressed his enthusiasm and support for the work of Chabad-Lubavitch to revive Jewish life in his city. “The arrival of Israel’s Chief Rabbi here is a historic first for us, and I am pleased to announce, in his presence, that the city will do everything to facilitate the development of Jewish life in Dresden. If Rabbi Havlin agrees, I’m the first that will help with the opening of a Jewish school.”
Rabbi Havlin took the challenge. “Our newly opened preschool had 18 Jewish children enrolled in its first year,” he said. “We expect that to double next year, and then we will open a Jewish day school to serve all of Dresden’s 3,000 children!” He went on to promise to serve Dresden’s Jewish population by doing his best to bring “the light and warmth of Judaism to the people of this city.”
Dr. Solka Frankhag, a member of the Dresden Jewish community board, could not hide her delight. “I am not religious, but I’m so pleased that people here are beginning to recognize that they can connect to their Jewish roots through the work of Rabbi Havlin. Just look at how many people turned out here today!”