Star Architect Libeskind to Design Munich Synagogue | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 12.11.2008
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Star Architect Libeskind to Design Munich Synagogue

New York-based star architect Daniel Libeskind said he plans to design a synagogue for a liberal Jewish congregation in Munich.

A photograph of the outside of the Jewish Museum in Berlin

Daniel Libeskind also designed the Jewish Museum in Berlin

Libeskind, who designed the Jewish Museum in Berlin and is the master plan architect for the World Trade Center redesign, has agreed to build a synagogue for Beth Shalom in Munich.

Having gotten the nod from the Polish-born architect, the Liberal Jewish congregation with some 250 members is calling for donations to help finance the building.

Historic site sought

The site has not yet been determined, but Matthias Strauss, a board member of the Friends of Beth Shalom, said he hoped it would be built on Westenrieder Strasse, where Munich's first synagogue was built in 1850.

Orthodox Rabbis are carrying the torah in a procession when Munich's Jewish Community Center and synagogue were inaugurated

In 2006, a synagogue opened in Munich that caters to the Orthodox

Libeskind is expected to present his design next spring in Munich, Strauss said. The group is aiming to complete the building by 2018.

Beth Shalom is a member of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, the largest Jewish religious organization in the world, representing about 1.5 million Jews in nearly 40 countries.

Strains of Judaism

Liberal, or Reform, Jews differ from Orthodox Jews in many ways, including the key fact that Liberal Jews stress equality of the sexes. In Liberal services, women and men sit together and take equal part in the liturgy, while in Orthodox synagogues, women sit in upstairs galleries or behind screens, and do not take an active role in the service.

In Liberal Judaism, women can also become rabbis and lead congregations. Reform Judaism began in the 1920s in Germany.

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