Cantors Mission to Germany Day 4
A Shabbat full of music, meaning and ruach!
I had the privilege of participating in our morning Shabbat service that we entitled “Shabbos at the Ritz”. You can guess which hotel we were at! This was an opportunity for FOURTY FIVE cantors to participate in our minyan. Each cantor, as you can imagine, made their section of the liturgy uniquely theirs while bringing in new and innovative melodies. It was a chance to see what melodies and styles our own congregants responded to. The kahal was also privy to a wonderful d’rash/interactive dialgoue with the wife of one of our CA officers, Rabbi Laura Metzger. Many commented on how well the red heifer story was explained. To really understand these stories, we have to live them; we have to experience them. This had to be the most musical, most inspiring 4 hour shabbat service I’ve ever attended.
In the evening we walked to the Jewish Museum of Berlin, which happens to be the most visited museum in the entire city (and there are hundreds of museums here). Since Shabbat didn’t end until almost 10:30, we get another talk by Professor Berke plus a private tour of the museum followed by a latin flavored Melava Malka concert. Shavua tov indeed!! A few points to ponder from Professor Berke:
1) One must understand the appeal AND the the fear of communism
2) In WWI, German soldiers were convinced they could have won the war without the depression (finding both a political and economic scapegoat)
3) From WWI to 1920 to 1928, the rate of mark to dollar went from 4 to 1 to 8 to 1 to 12 to 1 to, eventually, one BILLION to one dollar. Germany’s unemployment rate was hovering around 25% (for context, spain, winner of this year’s Euro cup, suffers a similar unemployment rate).
4) Anti Semitism in the bar is one thing, but in the hands of the elites is another (fyi we’ll travel to Munich where Hitler famously used the beer halls to spread his rhetoric)