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Berlin rededicates synagogue

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Berlin rededicated its only major synagogue to survive the Holocaust.

The Rykestrasse Synagogue, which holds up to 2,000 worshippers, is located in former east Berlin. The dedication ceremony Friday also kicked off the 21st annual Jewish cultural festival here.

Among the guests at the ceremony were Rita Rubinstein, 85, whose parents – Morris and Esla Kindermann – were married in the synagogue in 1905, one year after it opened.

Several politicians, Jewish leaders, and representatives of all major faiths were present at the dedication ceremony, where Torah scrolls were placed in the ark. The sanctuary was used during the Communist era, but only seldom in the years since Germany’s reunification.

Rabbi Leo Trepp, 94, who was ordained in Nazi Germany and fled with his family to Britain and the United States, told the gathering that he was celebrating the renovation of German Jewry as well as that of the synagogue.

Trepp, who now lives and teaches in Germany, said Germany’s Jews, whose numbers have increased in recent years, were “the building blocks for the future.”

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