Finding a relationship with a city and its inhabitants upon arrival takes time and sifting through my own preexisting relationship with Berlin in particular and Germany in general in the wake of modern history seemed even more daunting. And yet, hitting the ground running, hearing the questions of the Germany Close Up director, Dr. Dagmar Pruin allowed me to recognize that my questions had a receptive audience and familiar terrain and in fact were deepened by her sensitive rendering and reflection of tumultuous history and ambiguous identity.
In telling a story, what is included and what drops away? We are commanded to remember, yet we are not told how. Perpeuating memory is rigorous and takes discipline and keen self regard. As we walked the streets of the Mitte district reclaiming Jewish Berlin for ourselves, we preceded the tour with a living vital minyan with Rabbinerin Gesa Ederberg in the New Synagogue and afterward, seeing the exhibits at the German Historical Museum. Past, present and future commingle as we enter this rare time of engagement, growth and possibility—as guests of Germany Close Up and as supportive colleagues and friends within the Rabbinical Assembly. A good grounding.
Rabbi Neil Blumofe, Austin, Texas