A group of German Christians have joined together with a Jewish community to help raise funds to pay for a new Jewish cemetery.
A joint raffle was held in the town of Wuppertal, a center of Germany’s coal mining industry, in the far west State of Northrhein-Westphalia, the Juedische Allgemeine Zeitung Newspaper (JAZ) reported.
On August 28, the Friends of the New Synagogue that invited local Jewish and Christian residents to an Inter-cultural festival where the raffle was held.
The Protestant parish of Elberfeld, a few miles outside of Wuppertal, had already donated a piece of land for the future cemetery which will go alongside the recently built Wupprtal synagogue.
Laying its infrastructure and constructing a 60 seat chapel will cost the Jewish Community about 800,000 euros.
The current cemetery, with its 1,500 graves, in the suburb of Weinberg, will have reached capacity by the end of next year.
“Now that the new synagogue has been built, we can concentrate on the cemetery. A cemetery is just as important as the synagogue,” Leonid Goldberg, head of the Wuppertal Jewish Community told JAZ.
Friends of the New Synagogue was founded 10 years ago as a fundraising initiative for the building of a new Synagogue building for Wuppertal. Its members consist of both Jews and Christians.
Interaction between the two faiths takes place, daily, in the car park that separates Wuppertal’s synagogue from its neighboring Lutheran church. JAZ reported that the interaction resulting here, as well as at the festivals, gives Rabbi Rabinowitz “a good feeling about living in Wuppertal.”
According to the article, the community’s three Deacons and one Rabbi, get along well with each other, in particular when it comes to working together on joint projects, from joint Chanukah and Christmas celebrations to ecumenical prayers for peace.
Ursula Kraus, co-founder and board member of the Friends of the New Synagogue and former mayor of Wuppertal told JAZ that the aim of her organization is to gain support for the Jewish community and its endeavors from the entire Wuppertal population. “It has always been important for us to support the Jewish community – to make it feel at home,” she told JAZ.