A Berlin day school is planning a major expansion.
Rabbi Yehudah Teichtal, who directs the city’s Chabad, told JTA Thursday that the Talmud Torah Or Avner will add on an elementary school building and a sports facility.
Its kindergarten opened with eight students in 2004. Now 100 students from kindergarten to fifth grade attend the school, which is housed in a former Gestapo building.
“Our goal is not to have them full right away, but to reach every single Jew,” he said, adding that buidings are the “hardware,” and “we will fill them with the software – we will fill them with life.”
Berlin officials have approved the architectural design, but because the city owns the property, a lifetime lease must be signed before construction begins, Teichtal said. No construction date has been set.
Funding will come from private donations, Teichtal said, like Chabad’s Szloma Albam House-Rohr Centre, a synagogue and educational complex that was dedicated several months ago.
An estimated 120,000 Jews – about 12,000 in Berlin – are registered members of the German-Jewish community. More than two-thirds of German Jews came to the country in the last 18 years from the former Soviet Union. Jewish leaders suggest that another 100,000 Russian-speaking Jews remain unafiliated.