Moses Mendelssohn Synagogue - Our Vision
Moses Mendelssohn (1729 – 1786) was one of the leading figures of the European Enlightenment. Using the Torah as his fundament, Mendelssohn infused the ideals of the Enlightenment with the spirit of religious Judaism in a manner which still rings true today – Reform Judaism, the largest single denomination in Judaism.
Lessing, the most famous and respected German intellectual of the period, immortalized Moses Mendelssohn in his still popular play Nathan the Wise. It was in Berlin where Mendelssohn made his impact and his close friendship with Lessing ushered in a new era of cosmopolitanism, tolerance and respect in the Prussian capital. Long after his death, Mendelssohn’s spirit had not waned and in 1854 the city inaugurated its first Reform temple. The Johannisstrasse Temple was desecrated by the Nazis in 1938 and then destroyed by Allied bombing during the war.
With the dispossession and murder of millions of Jews, homosexuals, political opponents, Roma and Sinti, and all those the regime felt did not deserve to live, National Socialism left a deep wound on the world’s consciousness. Germany and Austria will forever bear the guilt and be tasked with responsibility for their actions.
As a small step toward healing this wound, Berlin‘s once great Reform Temple will be rebuilt as the MOSES-MENDELSSOHN-SYNAGOGE. The synagogue will be constructed and used according to the highest principles of rationality, in harmony with nature and in service to this universal message:
“The world rests on three pillars - justice, truth, and peace”