Germany Boosts Financial Support for Jewish Community | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 25.09.2008
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Germany Boosts Financial Support for Jewish Community

Germany has increased its annual funding for the nation's Jewish community, in an effort to keep up with the group's expansion.

Jewish prayers in Berlin

A growing community means more funding

The country will increase funding for the Central Council of Jews in Germany by 2 million euros ($2.9 million) to around 5 million euros per year, Interior Ministry spokeswoman Gabriele Hermani said.

In addition, the German government funds several Jewish university departments and schools, and contributes to the upkeep of Jewish cemeteries.

In 2003 the German government struck a deal that committed them to spend 3 million euros per year for the Jewish community. They also agreed to raise the funding in five years based on growth.

Growing community, growing needs

Today an estimated 250,000 Jews live in Germany. Funding is expanding accordingly, the government said.

Berlin, Jewish Museum architecture photo

Germany has more and more Jewish museums

In addition to the money paid directly to the Central Council of Jews in Germany, the government funds the College of Jewish Studies (HfJS) in Heidelberg, the Central Archives for Research on the History of the Jews in Germany, also in Heidelberg, the Abraham Geiger College at the University of Postam, and the Leo Baeck Institute.

Moreover, the state funds half the security and upkeep costs for cemeteries of prior Jewish communities in the country.

On Wednesday, Sept. 24, German president Horst Koehler wrote a greeting message to Germany's Jews ahead of the Jewish High Holidays, which include the Jewish New Year festival Rosh Hashana on Sept. 29 and 30.

"Long roots" of Jewish history

In his message, he said he thinks life in the country's Jewish communities is becoming increasingly diverse, colorful, and self-evident.

"I'm very happy about that," Koehler wrote.

He said he thinks it is a good sign that more and more Jewish museums are being created to memorialize the long history of Jewish life in Germany.

"These long and deep roots have made Jewish life in Germany possible, even following the enormous and terrible rupture of the Shoah," Koehler wrote. He extended New Year's wishes to all Jews in Germany.

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