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Monday, October 24, 2005

A special wedding in Leipzig

Another positive story from the growing Jewish communities in Europe. Where before there was negativity, painful memories and negativity life springs. More and more Jews are on the move. Not to Israel but to Germany and other western European nations. They are undoing the evil of past dictators and putting Jews back at the heart of communities where they once flourished.

The German city of Leipzig has hosted its first traditional Jewish wedding in more than 67 years.

The couple - music scholar Rostislav Uciteli, 26, who grew up in Moldova and 25-year-old Maria Schapiro, a travel agent from Russia - said they were proud to take part in the groundbreaking ceremony. They have both lived in Germany for about 10 years.

American-born Rabbi Joshua Spinner, who runs the Lauder Foundation Yeshiva (Jewish Seminary) in Germany, conducted the wedding at the Keilstrasse synagogue.

Jewish weddings, whether Orthodox or Liberal (Reform), have been few and far between, in Germany’s 100,000 strong Jewish community.

And since 1938 there had been none at all in Leipzig, one of Germany’s largest cities.

Kuf Kaufmann, who heads the Leipzig community told the Juedische Allgemeine Zeitung Jewish newspaper that since the war the city’s aging Jewish population has not been very conducive to marriages. Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, only 35 people belonged to Leipzig’s Jewish community.

But the influx of Jews from the former Soviet Union has boosted the community’s numbers. Today, it boasts several hundred members, all from the former Soviet Union and many slowly coming of age.

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