Jewish reform community in Berlin - Jüdische Reformgemeinde zu Berlin
The Jewish Reform Community of Berlin was a division within the Jewish Community of Berlin with an independent structure and a renewed cult. It was the result of the scholarly debates of the 1830s and 1840s and existed from 1845 to 1939. It gave rise to important impulses for Reform Judaism. 
The cooperative for reform in Judenthume was constituted on May 8, 1845  and at that time had 248 Berliners and 69 independent external members. The festive foundation took place in the “Englisches Haus” at Mohrenstrasse 49  , speakers were the publisher Carl Heymann , the secretary of the “ Society of Friends ” Ludwig Lesser and Sigismund Stern . 
This was preceded by reform efforts around Moses Mendelssohn and Salomon Friedländer and around the Association for Culture and Science of the Jews .  The aim was to find a way between the Mosaic- Talmudic and the biblical-scientific approach.
“The more this contradiction between the higher conception of Judaism, which became more and more prevalent as a result of advanced education, and its appearance, which persists in historical conventionality, was vividly felt by the German Jews and their scientific representatives among the rabbis and in the communities the need for a thorough reform of Judaism, that is, for a definite and clear view: what demands Judaism makes on its believers in the present for ideas that have been spiritually stimulating and regenerating from its beginnings and throughout its entire historical course to the present day ? becomes more and more urgent and inevitable. "
The aim of the cooperative was to follow an independent way of practicing religion that differed from the traditional rite. “Not the negative elements, the unleashing of the outdated forms by which it differs from the old orthodox Judaism, but the positive components of Judaism , by which it is closely connected with it, but freed from the barriers which the breakthrough of his Inhibiting and hindering the spirit of the people of today are the essence and core, basis and focus of the reform. " 
For the New Year celebrations of the same year, the first large festival service with a predominantly German liturgy and German sermon was held in the “English House” . The cooperative had the changed rite later approved by the authorities, so the main community had no opportunity to intervene.
The members of the cooperative continued to belong to the main Jewish community, so they paid a double contribution: that for the community and that for the cooperative. Complete independence from the main community could not be achieved, the application for a separate corporate status was rejected by the Prussian government in 1850.  That meant ongoing conflict and clashes with the main church. The long-standing preacher Wilhelm Klemperer was even refused to be buried in the honor row at the Weissensee cemetery, which is owned by the community. 
Up until the inauguration of the first temporary synagogue on April 2, 1846 on the Gropius family's property in Georgenstrasse at the corner of Stallstrasse, the services were held in rented halls. 
“The religious school opened on April 10, 1847. On March 30, 1850, the cooperative was constituted as a 'Jewish reform community' and after another four years it saw its own church completed at Johannisstrasse 16  , the inauguration of which took place on September 10, 1854. " 
Since a large part of the community members lived in the west of the city, from around 1924 services were increasingly held in the halls of the Jewish box houses at Kleiststrasse 10 and Joachimsthaler Strasse 13.
The community published its own bulletin, which appeared from 1918 to 1934 under the name Mitteilungen der Jüdische Reformgemeinde zu Berlin , and from 1935 to 1938 under the name Jüdisches Gemeindeblatt. Announcements from the Jewish Reform Community in Berlin .
Preacher of the congregation
The first rabbi and preacher of the congregation became Samuel Holdheim on September 5, 1847 , after the first asked Abraham Geiger had refused. Holdheim had already held the service for the opening of the temple in Georgenstrasse in 1846 as a guest rabbi. He had, and that was the desired requirement for the community, both religious and secular academic training. He was ordained at the Prague Talmud School and received his doctorate from the University of Leipzig . Other preachers of the reform church were: 
- Salomon Friedländer , 1847 (1 month)
- Gustav Gottheil, ca. 1857–1860
- Immanuel Ritter , 1860–1890
- Popper, no information
- Julius Oppenheimer, 1860–1909
- Moritz Levin, 1884–1914
- Wilhelm Klemperer , 1891–1910
- Julius Jelski , 1897–1934
- Joseph Lehmann, 1910–1933
- Felix Coblenz, 1917–1924
- Karl Rosenthal,  1925-1938
- Benno Gottschalk,  1933–1939
- Max Koppel,  1934–1937
In the principles of the "community, as far as it appears in the changed cult and in the elimination of ceremonies", Immanuel Ritter describes how this new spirit shows itself in the worship service:
- German prayer was introduced instead of the old Hebrew. [...]
- In addition to the translation, we also read the Bible in the original Hebrew text. [...]
- Instead of being covered, we stand before God with our heads bared. [...]
- We no longer celebrate our day of rest on Saturday, but on the weekly business-free day. [...]
- We have eliminated all those prayers from the ancient liturgy which express the wish that Israel as a nation, Palestine as its kingdom, a scion of David as its king, and with Jerusalem as its capital also the perished forms of sacrifice, temple service and the priestly acts are restored. [...]
- In our prayers, the kingdom of the Messiah is the kingdom of the future, as the prophets saw it and longed for salvation for all. [...]
- Biblical ceremonies do not apply to our public and domestic worship services. [...]
- The secretive ceremonial law has fallen for us in life too. [...] 
That also included
- the joint blessing of boys and girls at Shavuot ;
- Renouncing circumcision ;
- no legislative position of the rabbis who carried the title "preacher". 
The congregation employed a cantor for the dignified musical arrangement of the service with organ and mixed choir . The first conductor of the choir was Julius Stern ,  from 1927 Hermann Schildberger was the music director. The music in the temple was described as 'interdenominational' in a contemporary music newspaper.  Rare evidence of this musical tradition has been handed down through recordings that were made between 1928 and 1930 and that were saved from destruction. 
The position of women in the community is particularly noteworthy. Bianca Hamburger, member of the board of the Jewish Reform Congregation and of the Assembly of Representatives of the Jewish Congregation in Berlin, describes this as follows:
“Anyone who knows the development of the Jewish Reform Congregation in Berlin in the 80 years of its existence will learn without surprise that this congregation has also done pioneering work with regard to the position of women. In their place of worship, women were always on an equal footing with men: there were never barred women's seats and special women's galleries, and as far as the room layout allowed, as in the newer halls in the west, women and men, husband and wife, parents and children sit together. [...] Years ago, the same right to vote was introduced in this community. I can say that women have achieved it themselves, and in a peaceful manner. They had proven themselves as members of the various commissions so much that their male colleagues cherished the desire to work with them on the board of directors and in the college of representatives. As a long-standing member of the reform community in Berlin, I welcome it with particular joy and satisfaction that women are given more and more the opportunity to serve their religious community in the faithful fulfillment of their duties. "
“The members of the Jewish reform community belonged to the middle and upper classes of Berlin”, in 1895 the proportion of women was 25 percent, which was exceptional at the time. They were registered as independent members, in contrast to the wives of the male members. The members represented more humanistic ideals.  Among them were the following personalities:
- Moritz Galliner 
- Hans Gumpert
- Bianca Hamburger 
- Hans Lachmann-Mosse
- Georg Minden
- Rudolf Mosse
- Magdalena Marcuse-Grünberg
- Lina Morgenstern
- Alfred Peyser
Reconstructed lists of members from 1859, 1898 and 1918–1933 can be found in Ladwig-Winters (see: Literature ).
In 1934 an educational association was founded as a sub-organization, which in 1935 opened the Joseph-Lehmann-Schule in a converted garden house at Joachimsthaler Straße 13, an elementary school up to the 4th grade. Almost without exception, the teachers were educators who had been dismissed from the state school service in 1933 under the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service . The school's director was the reform pedagogue Fritz Wachsner  .
Presumably because the temple in Johannisstrasse was closely integrated into the development, it was not destroyed by fire during the November pogroms in 1938 . However, the interior was badly devastated.
On October 24, 1939, it was decreed that the community would be incorporated into the Reich Association of Jews in Germany . A month later it was deleted as a registered association. From then on, the main congregation was responsible for the divine service, which it also carried out according to the 'Third Rite', the rite of the former reform church.
The former temple of the reform community in Johannisstrasse was renovated and consecrated as a liberal synagogue on Pesach 1940 after the Wehrmacht had confiscated the New Synagogue in Oranienburger Strasse .
Rabbi Wolfgang Hamburger describes this event:
"Dr. Max Nussbaum delivered the sermon on this peculiar occasion. He said that it was actually a question of the rededication of a synagogue, but then, in his own way, he put an end to Berlin's reformed Judaism. He spoke on the subject of 'The Myth of the Synagogue' and emphasized in the presence of the last representatives of the dissolved Reformed Church, who had been officially invited to the reopening of their own house of God and who were seated in the front row, that the 'transformation of one House of God in a synagogue '. Because with the designation 'house of God' instead of 'synagogue' and with the 'privatization' of the entire worship service, to which it is the 'traditional, collective, juxtaposed supra-personal prayer 'of the Jewish people and destiny community and which was thus robbed of the specifically Jewish of the partnership between God and the Jewish people, the movement that had built the now consecrated house would have committed two errors and thus tore the thread of tradition. Thus, at the last hour and at the very last opportunity, the emotionally subjective and therefore unjustified accusation of the past 95 years was repeated and held up to the small remainder of the reformers in their own sanctuary: 'Anyone who breaks the thread of tradition places himself outside the stream of Jews Life. " committed two errors and thereby tore the thread of tradition. Thus, at the last hour and at the very last opportunity, the emotionally subjective and therefore unjustified accusation of the past 95 years was repeated and held up to the small remainder of the reformers in their own sanctuary: 'Anyone who breaks the thread of tradition places himself outside the stream of Jews Life. " committed two errors and thereby tore the thread of tradition. Thus, at the last hour and at the very last opportunity, the emotionally subjective and therefore unjustified accusation of the past 95 years was repeated and held up to the small remainder of the reformers in their own sanctuary: 'Anyone who breaks the thread of tradition places himself outside the stream of Jews Life. "
- Ladwig-Winters, Simone: Freedom and Bonding: on the history of the Jewish Reform Community in Berlin from its beginnings to its end in 1939 . Ed .: Galliner, Peter. 1st edition. Hentrich & Hentrich, Teetz 2004, ISBN 3-933471-65-6 .
- MM Sinasohn, 1971. The Berlin private synagogues and their rabbis 1671– 1971. In memory of the 300th anniversary of the Jewish community in Berlin. Jerusalem.
- Samuel Holdheim: Freimann Collection / History of the Origin and Development of the Jewish Reform Congregation ... Accessed on June 4, 2020 .
- Mohrenstraße 49
- Simone Ladwig-Winters: Freedom and Binding: on the history of the Jewish Reform Community in Berlin from its beginnings to its end in 1939 . Ed .: Peter Galliner. 1st edition. Hentrich & Hentrich, Teetz 2004, ISBN 3-933471-65-6 .
- Moritz Levin: Die Reform des Judentums Festschrift to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Jewish reform community in Berlin. In: Freimann Collection. Retrieved June 4, 2020 .
- Klemperer, Victor: Curriculum vitae: Memories of a Philologist: 1881-1918 . Ed .: Nowojski, Walter. 1st edition volume 1. Rütten & Loening, Berlin 1989, ISBN 3-352-00247-9, S. 601.
- Memorial plaques in Berlin - Memorial plaque advertisement. Retrieved June 4, 2020 .
- Oppenheimer, Julius, Dr. In: BHR Biographical Portal of Rabbis. Verlag KG Saur, accessed on June 17, 2020 .
- Moritz Levin
- For historical orientation: The Rabbi Joseph Lehmann German Press Museum. Accessed June 8, 2020 (German).
- Karl Rosenthal - Central and State Library Berlin. Retrieved June 15, 2020 .
- Gottschalk, Benno, Dr. In: BHR Biographical Portal of Rabbis. Verlag KG Saur, accessed on June 17, 2020 .
- Koppel, Max, Dr. In: BHR Biographical Portal of Rabbis. Verlag KG Saur, accessed on June 17, 2020 .
- Immanuel Heinrich Ritter: The Jewish Reform Community in Berlin and the realization of d. jew. Reform ideas within the same; with 2 Anh. Apolant, Berlin 1902 ( uni-frankfurt.de [accessed June 4, 2020]).
- Cordula Heymann-Wentzel: The Stern Conservatory of Music in Berlin. Reconstruction of a repressed history . ( kobv.de [accessed on July 20, 2020]).
- Booklet: The Music Tradition of the Jewish Reform Community in Berlin. Edition The Jewish Music Center of Beth Hatefutsoth, edited and commented on by Rabbi John Levi. Melbourne, BTR 9702
- Jüdisch-Liberale Zeitung 6 (1926) 45 of November 5, 1926 (323) , accessed on June 9, 2020
- Moritz Galliner on Stolpersteine Berlin, accessed on June 10, 2020
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- Stumbling blocks in Berlin | Places & biographies of the stumbling blocks in Berlin. Retrieved June 15, 2020 .
- Susanne Knackmuss: Willi Lewinsohn (1886–1941 / 42?). In memory of a Jewish classical philologist at the Berlinisches Gymnasium zum Grauen Kloster . In: Forum Classicum . No. 3, 2012, S. 179–189 ( uni-heidelberg.de [accessed June 8, 2020]).
- In: Tradition and Renewal. Journal of the Association for Religious-Liberal Judaism in Switzerland H 36 (II): 13 ff.