Germany raises Jewish community funding

Germany’s growing Jewish community is slated to get more federal funds. 

German Interior Ministry spokeswoman Gabriele Hermani announced Wednesday that the annual funds allocated to the Central Council of Jews in Germany would be raised by about $2.9 million, to a total of $7.3 million.

Stephan Kramer, secretary-general of the Central Council, told JTA that the increase actually had been signed by the federal government last year, but only confirmed by the Upper House of Germany’s parliament on Sept. 19, following federal budget negotiations.

The council is the umbrella group representing some 105,000 Jews who are registered members of congregations. It is estimated that another 100,000 Jews remain unaffiliated.

Like Germany’s Protestant and Catholic churches, the Jewish community receives federal “religion tax” funds collected on its behalf from congregation members. But at least 75 percent of Jewish community
members are new immigrants from the former Soviet Union, and many are low-income, thus unable to contribute to the very programs designed to help them integrate.

Germany’s Muslims do not have one unifying body representing them to the government, thus various organizations collect their own funding from members.

In related news,  the council also announced on Tuesday that Kramer’s contract has been renewed through March 2015.

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