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New beginning with a strong message

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Jewish life has returned to Ulm. A visible expression of this is the new synagogue on the Weinhof. Inaugurated on 2nd December 2012, it is close to the place where its 19th century predecessor once stood.

After the number of Jews living in Ulm steadily increased again in the 1990s, the arrival of the Rabbi Schneur Trebnik in the year 2000 enabled Jewish community life, which had been extinguished during the Shoah, to be established once again. Given that the prayer and community rooms soon became too cramped, the Israeli religious community in Württemberg set itself the task of reconstruction. The Ulm municipal council offered space for this on the Weinhof and thus a prominent place in the heart of the historic city centre.

The design language of the cube developed by ›kister, scheithauer, gross‹ based in Cologne, is not at all ›historic(ist)al‹, but instead clear and angular while being allusive at the same time. Besides the actual synagogue, it also houses the Mikwe (ritual bath), a meeting room, school and administrative rooms as well as a nursery school with a hidden inner courtyard.

It is not just by chance that the prayer hall is south-east facing – and hence perfectly geographically aligned with Jerusalem as the religious centre of Judaism. A pattern made of Stars of David with over 600 openings highlights from the outside the most important room with its liturgical centrepiece, the Torah scroll, and creates a rich illumination on the inside.

The new beginning was of great political importance, as underscored by the presence of the President of the Federal Republic of Germany at the opening ceremony. Joachim Gauck concluded his ceremonial address with the words: ›Words can scarcely express how grateful I am to be able to experience this day.‹


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