Liberal Jewish Congregation Rotterdam

20 May 2019 | 15 Iyyar 5779

History

History

The Jewish reform movement blossomed in the middle of the 19th century in Germany and the Anglo-Saxon countries but it had little impact in The Netherlands. Not until the 1930’s did progressive Jewish congregations develop in Amsterdam and The Hague, under the influence of German-Jewish refugees.
After World War II, Rotterdam still only had an orthodox congregation. 

In 1968 Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp of The Hague, with the support of the student P.J.A. van Hessen, took the initiative to investigate whether there was enough interest in Rotterdam to establish a progressive Jewish congregation.  A committee was formed and a start was made with regular meetings  in Rotterdam. By 1970, the  congregation had grown to about 20-25 families. A start had been made.

The lack of a permanent place to meet and praye was a constant source of concern. Use was made successively of Groothandelsgebouw (1969-1972), the Humanistisch Centrum and a LOM school (1972-1975), ’De Nieuwpoort’ (1975-1976), the Salvator church in Hillegersberg (1977-1982, 1992-1996) and a temporary synagogue in a school annex on the Molenhoek in Hillegersberg (1983-1992).
Gradually, the congregation grew. Up until 1990 services were led mostly by Rabbi Soetendorp.  However, the need for our own rabbi became increasingly urgent. On August 27, 1993 Rabbi Menno ten Brink was installed as the first progressive rabbi in Rotterdam.

In the course of 1994, plans for a permanent synagogue started taking shape. After a lot of negotiating, we bought a former school on the Mozartlaan in Hillegersberg and on August 25, 1995 the first  work was begun.  Thanks to successful fund-raising and hard work of our members, the former school was rebuilt as a modern synagogue.

In 2004 Rabbi David Lilienthal succeeded Rabbi ten Brink and in January, 2009 Rabbi Albert Ringer took over the position.

More information about the history of our congregation may be found in the book “30 jaar Liberaal Joodse Gemeente Rotterdam”, published on the occasion of our 30th anniversary.

May

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