New military rabbinate premises of the Federal Defence Forces of Germany inaugurated

In a ceremonial procession from the Central Council of Jews’ building on Tucholsky Street to the Military Rabbinate, Germany’s Federal Minister of Defence, Boris Pistorius, and the President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Dr Josef Schuster, inaugurated the new Military Rabbinate premises

Earlier, at the Leo Baeck House of the Central Council, a religious scribe completed the Torah. Minister Pistorius and President Schuster, along with rabbis and Jewish soldiers, participated in writing the final letters of the sacred scroll. The Torah scroll was then wrapped in cloth. Jewish soldiers and military rabbis carried a chuppah, a traditional canopy, under which the Torah scroll was brought to the Military Rabbinate.

“It was a special honour for me to be present at the completion of the Torah scroll today. I now serve as a sponsor for these final letters, symbolising the courage and hope that the Torah embodies. The Jewish Military Chaplaincy holds a firm place within our armed forces and now has a home on Johannisstraße. A vibrant Jewish Military Chaplaincy benefits us all,” stated Boris Pistorius, Federal Minister of Defence.

“With the inauguration of the Military Rabbinate’s Torah and the move into its new premises, the Jewish community has firmly established its place within the Bundeswehr. The integration of Judaism in the Bundeswehr is a given, yet even the obvious requires continual effort. I am pleased that the Jewish community in Germany contributes to the Bundeswehr’s development,” said Dr Schuster, President of the Central Council of Jews, during the Torah’s arrival at the Military Rabbinate.

The completion of a Torah scroll is one of the most solemn activities in Judaism, often accompanying the dedication of synagogues and other religious sites. The Sofrim, or religious scribes, are specially trained text experts who finalise the Hebrew text with ink and quill, typically in the presence of rabbis and the community. The ceremony concluded with a prayer by Military Chief Rabbi Zsolt Balla.

Since its establishment in 2021, the Military Rabbinate was temporarily housed in a Bundeswehr barracks near Berlin-Köpenick. In the newly inaugurated offices of the Military Rabbinate, the Torah will now be kept in a travel case, ensuring its use not only on Jewish holidays but also during Bundeswehr deployments.

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