BERLIN (JTA) — Berlin’s Chabad center has opened a new student program, which it is billing as the city’s first Jewish student house.
The three-story Chabad on Campus house in former East Berlin was officially dedicated in ceremonies on Oct. 27.
“As Berlin has become a magnet for Jewish students from throughout the world in recent years, it’s time to have a regular home for Jewish students in the city,” Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal, head of the Chabad Lubavitch Educational Center in Berlin, said at the ceremony, which drew Jewish leaders, community members and politicians.
Chabad on Campus is a cooperation between Chabad and a local, student-run organization called KSpace, an initiative of young Jewish activists Mike Delberg and Michael Groys. The aim of the student house is to serve as a venue for pro-Israel programming as well as for cultural and entertainment activities, which will be organized by KSpace.
The Chabad student house is one of several recent initiatives in Germany from different organizations aiming to reach younger Jews.
In June 2012, students at the Abraham Geiger College progressive seminary and the University of Potsdam founded Beth Hillel for social, cultural and religious activities.
Earlier this year, Western Europe’s first “Hillel-Hub” under the auspices of the international Hillel organization opened at the College for Jewish Studies at Heidelberg.
The Lauder Yeshurun Jewish student program has grown into the Jewish Students Berlin program, “focusing on serious Jewish learning plus a social component.”
In addition, the multi-denominational Moishe House movement recently announced it is seeking applicants to live in a sponsored house in Berlin, where they would run Jewish community programming for young professionals.