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Polish City Marks First Rabbinical Ordination Since World War II

In the city’s first rabbinic ordination since before World War II, four rabbis and three cantors were ordained at a ceremony in the White Stork synagogue in Wroclaw, Poland.

Germany’s foreign minister and other dignitaries attended the ceremony Tuesday.

The new clergy graduated from the Abraham Geiger College in Potsdam, Germany, a Reform rabbinic seminary founded in 1999 and named for a 19th-century pioneer of Reform Judaism. Geiger was rabbi at the White Stork synagogue for more than 20 years and was instrumental in founding the Jewish Theological Seminary in Wroclaw, a city that before World War II was in Germany and known as Breslau.

Breslau had prewar Germany’s third-largest Jewish community. The White Stork synagogue, built in the 1820s, is the only one of the city’s synagogues to have survived the Holocaust. Long abandoned, it was rededicated after a full restoration in 2010 and serves the local Jewish community.

The ordination ceremony took place one day after Geiger College, the German education minister, the Wroclaw municipality and the city’s Jewish community marked the 75th anniversary of the German invasion of Poland with a memorial concert.

Ceremonies were scheduled for Wednesday to mark the 160th anniversary of the Breslau Jewish Theological Seminary and the 140th anniversary of the death of Abraham Geiger.

Geiger College, the first rabbinic seminary founded in central Europe after the Holocaust, is a member of the World Union of Progressive Judaism.

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