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(RNS) Germany saw the ordination of its own Orthodox rabbis on Tuesday (June 2), a first in the more than six decades since the Nazi Holocaust and World War II.
Broadcast live on German television, the historic ordination of Zsolt Balla, 30, and Avraham Radbill, 25, signals a slowly reviving German Jewry, which once faced near extinction at the hands of the Nazi regime.
The graduates, educated at the new Orthodox seminary Rabbinerseminar zu Berlin, officially became rabbis at Munich’s Ohel Jacob Synagogue, according to news reports from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA).
Rabbi Steven Burg, the New York-based director of the National Council of Synagogue Youth, attended the ceremony, having met Balla and Radbill when the two came to the United States to take a three-week course on kosher law.
Calling the ceremony “absolutely historic” and “very moving,” Burg also highlighted the growing German Jewish community, buoyed by an influx of immigrants from the former Soviet Union. The need for German-educated rabbis has become more pressing, he said.
“We could bring in outside rabbis to hold services, but there is something special when you get servicing in your local tongue,” Burg said in an interview. “When your rabbi grew up watching the same Saturday morning cartoons that you did, there’s more of a connection.”
By Tiffany Stanley
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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