JDC Service Dispatch from Berlin

Molly, the 2009-2010 recipient of the Roslyn Z. Wolf Cleveland—JDC International Fellowship, is also the first Jewish Service Corps fellow to work in Berlin, Germany. Here she shares a few thoughts on Jewish life and recent Purim festivities hosted by the JDC-supported Bambinim program.

Something that many people don’t know about Germany is that it has the fastest growing Jewish community in the world, owing largely to emigration from the former Soviet Union. Everyday as I work here, I ponder how JDC can recognize the unique history of Jews in this country while also addressing the current issues of an increasingly diverse, multicultural, multilingual Jewish community.

Enter Bambinim. This Jewish center located in central Berlin is a haven for German-, Russian-, Hebrew-, and English-speaking families with young children. In any given week, Bambinim’s cozy space is filled with these families engaged in learning about Judaism in their native language. Every Friday, a Shabbat playgroup unites families of various backgrounds. And the holiday programs, which I help develop, emphasize the cultural and traditional aspects of Judaism in a way that many Jews can relate to, no matter what their personal Jewish education or experience has been before they walk through the doors.

The most recent highlight—a week of Purim activities including Israeli dance, singing, puppet-making, and hamentaschen-baking—was truly a fest for the “ganz mishpocha!”

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