Letter from Mr. Heinrich Olmer
President of the Bamberg Community
Dear former Bambergers,
After the immigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union starting in 1990, the year 2001 may be seen as another milestone in the rebuilding of a Jewish community in Bamberg. In pursuit of this aim, the Bambergh City Council voted unanimously at the end of October for the building of a Jewish community centre in the structure of the former silk thread works of Kupfer & Heßlein at the rear of the Community House. With this decision, the way is now clear for the creation in the centre of Bamberg of a Synagogue with a Community hall, a Mikwe, a hall for events, rooms for educational purposes, a large enclosed yard, and thus the complete infrastructure of a Jewish community. 80% of the money required will come from public funds.
Attached to the Community space will be an educational centre, to create an effective barrier against Rightwing extremism, hostility to aliens and antisemitism. Beyond that, the Jewish community intents to become a meeting point for all Bamberg citizens, for which we shall plan an extensive programs and events, in which all cultures, nations and religions can find themselves again, in order that we may in this way come a step nearer to mutual tolerance.
A building in itself cannot, of course, ensure an active Jewish life. Above everything else, we are a religious community and it is our principal task to provide means to acquire a knowledge of and love for Judaism and the Jewish religion, and to encourge our members to attend the regular religious services we provide. Added to this basic purpose, we provide many other activities, for our children and youths, for our seniors, social work, German language courses and excursions to other Jewish communities and cult places. Means of integrating the immigrants from Russia will remain high on our agenda.
We cannot evade the fact that we shall still have to make major efforts to reintroduce our new members from the former Soviet Union to a Judaism of which they were largely ignorant. We must not forget, however, that without the Russian immigrants, there would have been no future at all for small Jewish communities.
It is because of this migration, that the Jewish community in Germany is the fastest growing in the whole world, and it establishes itself ever more firmly in the country. New Synagogues, Community centres, Jewish Kindergardens and Schools are being set up in many places.
In Bamberg, too, we have a basic number of members who will guarantee the continuation of the Jewish community. Our new Center will soon give us the infrastructure for a hopeful future. In the end, however, it will be up to the coming generations to use the facilities offered and recognise the great opportunities.
Those responsible for guiding the affairs the Community will certainly do everything to take advantage of the present favourable circumstances and thus to create the basis for a future Jewish life in Bamberg.
I would be pleased if you would show your support for our new Community Centre by a donation (Hypo Vereinsbank Bamberg Konto Nr 3880311, BLZ 770 200 70, Stichwort "Neue Synagoge", or Cheque to the
Willy-Lessing -Straße.7, 96047 Bamberg.
Perhaps we shall meet one day in the Bamberg Jewish Community, perhaps even with your children and grandchildren.
Cordial greetings to you all
and above all, good health,
signed: Heinrich Olmer.
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