It is fitting that Mrs. Merkel should be doing her political gardening in Berlin. Beforethe wall fell, it was nearly the only place where one could still feel the divisionbetween East and West. In the 20 years since, it has become the best place towatch that division disappear.”
From a Jewish perspective the Wall made a tremendous difference. Likewise, itsdisappearance. When it went up the small Jewish communities in East Germany(DDR) were totally removed from those in the West. (FRG). Neither grew very muchat all, however, those in the West did have connections with Israel and the other countries in the West. The tiny number of Jews in the DDR remained pretty muchisolated.The disappearance of the Wall and the DDR as well changed things dramatically.The West Berlin Jewish community swallowed up that in the East. Once Jewsstarted arriving in Germany (early 1990’s) some of the minute communities in theEast gained new members and survive to this day. The larger communities in theWest have grown larger yet. The total number of Jews in Germany (overall) hasgrown from 28,000 in 1989 when the Wall came down to probably over 200,000today. Estimates as high as 250,000 are heard today.
The disappearance of the Walltotally changed and re-energized Jewish life in Germany.
GEMANIZING ISLAMNo, I haven’t got it backwards. There is indeed an effort afoot to get Islamic leadersin Germany to better understand the country in which they live and to incorporatewhat they learn into their teaching and preaching in the Federal Republic’s mosques..James Angelos writing in
The Wall Street Journal (reprinted in Terminal X, an Arabwebsite),
“Having given birth to the Protestant Reformation and the current pope, Germany is now at the fore of a broad effort to foster a European theological tradition for a relative newcomer: Islam.In a brightly lit university classroom in this small northwestern German city (Osnabrueck), some 30 German mosque leaders are participating in a government-backed course in inter-religious understanding. The experiment, one of many acrossthe Continent, covers subjects ranging from the Reformation to the Germanconstitution.Much of the resurgent popularity of Europe's far right in recent years has beenfueled by populist fears that the rise of immigration in Europe—particularly in Muslimcommunities that remain connected to their native languages and cultures—iswashing away European or national cultural identities.