The nationwide prelude to the festival year begins on February 21 with a ceremony in the Cologne synagogue.
The aim of the festival year is to make Jewish life in our society more visible and tangible. It is intended to commemorate the extensive history of the religious community in Central Europe, which is characterized by numerous cultural achievements as well as great suffering – especially in the Shoa. In addition, the increasing anti-Semitism is to be counteracted, as it says on the homepage for the festival year.
First evidence of Jewish life
The decree allowed Jews to be appointed to public offices on German territory for the first time and is considered to be important historical evidence that Jews have been an important part of Central European culture since late antiquity.
Jewish community – between celebration and worry
The re are currently 150,000 Jews living in Germany. Its largest umbrella organization is the Central Council of Jews in Germany. Its president, Josef Schuster, prefers to speak of a festive year rather than an anniversary year on the occasion of the 1700th anniversary. Because to celebrate, he says in SWR1 Sunday morning, there is “not necessarily a reason”. It is important for him to show what was also “created by Jewish people in Germany” during these 1700 years and “that Jewish people should actually belong to Germany as a matter of course”.
Be clairaudient and vigilant
The attack in Halle in 2019 “initially dramatically changed Jewish life,” says Schuster. Due to the increased security measures for Jewish institutions, however, “a feeling of security was created again.” Although – as in previous years – around 20 percent of local society had an anti-Jewish attitude, it was now opportune again to express these prejudices in public – from what Unfortunately, action followed. “It is important to be attentive here, to be vigilant here, to educate without regard to people and institutions,” emphasizes Schuster.
The patron is Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
The re will be numerous events in Baden-Württemberg – for example a documentary on the subject of “Jewish in Baden-Württemberg”. An evening with music and poetry by Jewish composers and poets is planned for April 25 in the Stuttgart Hospitalhof. On June 20 there will be an insight into Jewish humor in the Bischof-Moser-Haus.
World Heritage ShUM Cities?
Rhineland-Palatinate participates in the festival year with around 70 events. The so-called ShUM cities of Speyer, Worms and Mainz – named after their first Hebrew letters – are a focus of the festival program.
The decision of Unesco is eagerly awaited in the summer whether the ShUM cities are recognized as world cultural heritage.
“We want to pay tribute to 1700 years of Jewish life, overcome prejudices, strengthen cooperation and fight this growing anti-Semitism,” said the general secretary of the association founded especially for the festival year, Sylvia Löhrmann, at the presentation of the Rhineland-Palatinate festival program in Mainz.