The Liberal Jewish Congregation, Gescher LaMassoret e.V. (registered association),
was founded in Cologne in March of 1996.
The name chosen for our congregation,
Gescher LaMassoret, "Bridge to Tradition" , was planned from its inception.
Aside from seeking to attract members who
come from liberal (reform,
conservative and reconstructionist) Jewish families or those who do
not feel at home in Orthodox Congregations, Gescher LaMassoret also places
great value on creating an atmosphere in which people, who for one
reason or another are not familiar with Jewish traditions, can find
a "way home."
At the time of its foundation, the congregation immediately began work on
the necessary infrastructure. A prayer book for Friday evenings was developed,
which was based on a traditional service with modern translations and additions
from various progressive prayer books.
Regular services on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings followed by Kiddush
quickly became the focal point of the congregation. Over time the community
has taken on all religious functions from observing holiday services,
celebrating Jewish festivals and developing religious and Hebrew instruction
for children and adults in addition to our Bar and Bar Mitzvah preparatory
Further milestones have been the consecration of the "New Jewish
Cemetery of Cologne," the engagement of Rabbi Rothschild as our supervising
rabbi and the move to our own space in Cologne-Riehl. A major highlight in
our development was the acquisition of our own Torah, financed exclusively
by our members.
Some people who have lived their entire lives as Jews, some with Jewish fathers,
whose attempts at conversion with the existing congregations were unsuccessful,
have now been prepared for conversion under the supervision of the European
Bet Din, of the World Union of Progressive Jews, the world's largest
Jewish religious organization.
The liberal Jewish congregation of Cologne is committed full scale to a Progressive
Jewish outlook. We strive to uphold tradition but also realize the necessity of
continuously reinterpreting the meaning and observances of our religion,
as we have learned from the founders of liberal Judaism. Therefore we
are guided by the discussions of progressive rabbis from around the globe,
as can been seen in our guiding principles.
We, the congregation Gescher LaMassoret are fully dedicated to encouraging the further
development of Liberal Judaism in Cologne. Due to our active involvement in the Union
of Progressive Jews in Germany and the World Union of Progressive Jews together with our
continuing negotiations with the Central Council of Jews in Germany and the Orthodox
Community in Cologne we have the support necessary to carry on with our work and look
forward to seeing what the future will bring us.