Jewish Culture Center
While the Jewish Culture Center
(Juedischer Kulturverein) was founded after German reunification, it has
its origins in the mid-eighties in GDR. Young people, whose parents had
returned from exile to the GDR to build up a new antifascist Germany,
felt the need to meet and to share what being Jewish meant for them.
They sought out a cultural, rather than a specifically religious, form
of meeting in order to bring together a wider group of Jews and people
of Jewish origin. They founded a group "Jews for Jews: We for Ourselves"
which met under the roof of East Berlin Jewish Community on a regular
basis. There was an active and lively exchange of ideas. Later they also
organized cultural events. From time to time Rabbis, scholars and Jewish
artists and activists mostly from the United States visited and offered
When the Berlin Wall fell, some of
them started the Jewish Cultural Association which is an independent
group with a concept similar to Jewish cultural centers in the US where
everybody is welcome from orthodox to secular Jewish. After
re-unification in 1990, and the rise of a new German national identity,
the question of Jewish consciousness was reframed for many Jews with a
more distant relationship to their Jewish roots. For many of those
living in the former East Berlin, the opportunities for Jewish outreach
and learning provided a way to deal with the sometimes difficult
challenges of the changing lifestyles.
The Jewish Culture Center is now the
established home of programs and special meetings dedicated to
furthering Jewish identity, community, and history through cultural
events, classes, music, religious education and celebrations, lectures
and political discussions.
An increasing number of members are
immigrants from the former Soviet Union. As a consequence a certain
number of events take place in Russian and refer to their special
situation. For some time it was possible to publish the monthly
"Juedische Korrepondenz" (Jewish correspondence) in German and Russian.
From the very beginning the Jewish Culture Center has been at the
forefront in welcoming Soviet Jewish immigrants to Germany. Russian
language and the Soviet system was a part of the East German educational
curriculum, so the language and cultural differences were less
pronounced than in the former West.
The JCC is in contact with the
Lubavitch Chassidic Movement and thus get their support for the holidays
(religious instruction, glatt kosher passover seder ...).
Nach 20 Jahren:
Aus für den Jüdischen Kulturverein Berlin e.V. (JKV)
Nach 20 erfolgreichen Jahren beschloss die Mitgliederversammlung des
Jüdischen Kulturvereins Berlin e.V. (JKV) am 16. Dezember 2009 mit
großem Bedauern dessen Auflösung zum 31.12. 2009. Als Hauptgründe gelten
neben einer seit Anbeginn verweigerten institutionellen Förderung durch
den Berliner Senat auch die vorwiegend mangelnde Unterstützung durch
etablierte jüdische Institutionen in Deutschland, vor allem aber das
inzwischen sehr hohe Lebensalter vieler Gründungs- und Vereinsmitglieder
sowie der fehlende jüdische Nachwuchs. Der Verein konnte daher nicht
mehr angemessen aus eigener Kraft auf die sich verändernden
Anforderungen im 21. Jahrhundert reagieren…