This has been a whirlwind week for us here in Berlin where we have learned about how Germans have confronted their past and are looking to their future.
This Shabbat, in Parashat Tetzaveh, we learn about the ner tamid. We can compare the ner tamid -- a main focal point in the Temple -- with European Jewry. Considering the horrific history our people in this part of the world endured during the last century, it is crucial to remember that this Jewish community's light was never fully extinguished -- it is eternal.
In the past few days, we visited a concentration camp and several Holocaust memorials. That is precisely what one would expect our group to experience here in Berlin. But that is only the first part of the story. We also visited a liberal rabbinical school (Abraham Geiger College), progressive synagogues (like our own Masorti congregation), Jewish centers, a Masorti nursery school, kosher restaurants, and Jewish museums. We learned how German school children are confronting their nation's history during the Shoah. We are a group of fourteen rabbis who spent an entire morning in the German Foreign Ministry being briefed on international relations by a high level, career diplomat. We were hosted at a luncheon on the top floor of the Reichstag, looking out on Berlin. We had a glatt kosher dinner with our Protestant colleagues, exchanging theological viewpoints and perceptions about memory over shnitzel and goulash.
This is a changing country. The light of our Jewish brothers and sisters here is not only still kindled, but it is burning bright.
Rabbi Robyn Fryer Bodzin
Rabbi Jason Miller