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Rabbis

Confronting Germany

I have never been to Germany before, and this is no accident. My mother, who lost extended family members in the Holocaust, raised me not to buy German products. I do not walk on the site of the Temple in Jerusalem, for it is sacred. I did not go to Germany, because it was the very opposite of sanctity. The sound of the German language made me cringe; it was the sound of the Nazis. But over the decades, I had come to be in relationship with young Germans who were profoundly remorseful about the Holocaust. I was ready to explore a new personal relationship with the German people, and to travel there when the right opportunity presented itself. This trip is that opportunity.

Rabbi Amy Eilberg

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Rabbi Amy Eilberg.
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Rabbi Amy Eilberg.

Rabbi Lucy H.F. Dinner and Rabbi Denise Eger

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Rabbi Lucy H.F. Dinner and Rabbi Denise Eger take a selfie upon arriving in Berlin, Germany.
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Rabbi Lucy H.F. Dinner and Rabbi Denise Eger take a selfie upon arriving in Berlin, Germany.

Rabbi Lucy H.F. Dinner and Rabbi Denise Eger

2vvovgx0xd42sjfdb7bjijejlwzsq0nd9lqvla07erw.jpg
Rabbi Lucy H.F. Dinner and Rabbi Denise Eger take a selfie upon arriving in Berlin, Germany.
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Rabbi Lucy H.F. Dinner and Rabbi Denise Eger take a selfie upon arriving in Berlin, Germany.

Related content:

"We Who Are Her Successors": Honoring Rabbi Regina Jonas

Our knowledge about Rabbi Regina Jonas has been limited. I had heard that she was ordained in Berlin, her thesis was on whether women could be rabbis, and that she had died during the Holocaust. I was intrigued, but there was not much more information to fill in the blank spaces. This trip has opened up a wealth of material about her life, her vision and her contributions.

Historic Berlin

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Schlesiches Tor, a historic station in Berlin, Germany, circa 1900.

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Schlesiches Tor, a historic station in Berlin, Germany, circa 1900.

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Before the Plane Trip, A Personal Journey

For many years, I resisted going to Germany or Eastern Europe, but when I learned about this trip to Berlin and Prague, I spoke without thinking: “I’d really like to go on that journey.”

Reflecting now on that immediate response (and the fact that I didn’t have second thoughts afterward), I’ve learned a few things about what has changed and what has crystallized for me, individually and, I think, as a member of my generation.

Regina Jonas, circa 1939, Cropped

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Rabbi Regina Jonas in a photograph presumed to have been taken after 1939.
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Rabbi Regina Jonas in a photograph presumed to have been taken after 1939.

Rabbi Sally J. Priesand

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Rabbi Sally J. Priesand.
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Rabbi Sally J. Priesand.

Regina Jonas Kiosk, Berlin, Germany, Cropped

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An image of Regina Jonas on a street kiosk in Berlin, Germany, part of a citywide exhibition titled “Diversity Destroyed: Berlin 1933-1938-1945.”

An image of Regina Jonas on a street kiosk in Berlin, Germany, part of a citywide exhibition titled “Diversity Destroyed: Berlin 1933-1938-1945.”

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Rabbis." (Viewed on February 7, 2016) <http://jwa.org/topics/rabbis>.

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