What is liberal Judaism in Germany?
When we talk about liberal Judaism in Germany, we mean a form of Judaism that stresses gender equality and a connection between traditional Judaism and the modern world we live in. This should not be confused with liberal Judaism in the United Kingdom. Liberal Judaism (also known as progressive Judaism) in Germany is a mixture of the conservative, reform, reconstructionist and liberal movements.
Women and men pray together, women pray exactly the same as men: in the liberal Jewish community, Gescher LaMassoret, in Cologne, we put great emphasis on equality in our services – the same as all the other liberal Jewish communities in Germany. We want a contemporary and modern Judaism. This also means for us: a positive relationship to the LGBTQI community. We also believe it is important to have dialogues with other religions in particular with Christians and Muslims.
Gescher LaMassoret means: A bridge to tradition. Even though we live a modern Jewish life, the traditional literature is very important, e.g. the Torah, the other books of the Jewish Bible and the Talmud. Jewish tradition and the modern world: they fit beautifully together for us. Judaism has always put great emphasis on education and learning. The word Talmud comes from the Hebrew word for learning. Continuing to learn is the best way to be contemporary.
Our community has existed since 1996 but liberal Jews have been in Cologne for much longer: Before the Shoah (Holocaust), the liberal Jewish community celebrated their services in the Roonstraße – where the Orthodox services take place today.
We want to secure liberal Judaism in Cologne. Many of our members and people who pray with us come from other places around the Rhineland. We are connected with other synagogues in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany and the whole world and we are a member of the Union for Progressive Judaism in North Rhine-Westphalia, Union of Progressive Judaism in Germany and the World Union of Progressive Judaism.