Shofar So Good

Oranienburgerstrasse Morning

Happy New Year to all. ObEthnic Jokes:

  • I can’t believe it’s already the first of Tishri, can you? The months just fly by.
  • Last year it was weeks before I stopped dating my checks 5764.
  • (narrative part of the joke here) … “No, Hazel, no! We blow the Shofar, not the chauffeur!”

I’m up to my elbows in a suit report and bleary from running on this strange hemi-semi-demi-quaver sleep thing, which has me going to sleep at the Usual Hours (I’m rarely tired before 1:00 or 2:00 a.m.) and waking up at a most unfortunate 6:00, an hour that has largely been theoretical for me over the years. So a brief wish for a good year to come, but heartfelt.

The domed building above is the New Synagogue on Oranienburgerstr. in Berlin. It was consecrated on Rosh Hashanah in 1866, and seated over 3,000 people, making it the largest synagogue in Germany. During the Kristallnacht pogrom in 1938 the building was damaged and set on fire, but it was saved from being razed by local precinct chief Wilhelm Krützfeld, who diverted the mobs. World War II did the destruction that the Nazis did not, and in 1958 the main hall was torn down on the East German and Soviet watch. The front section was left standing. In 1995, the year after I left Berlin, the New Synagogue was consecrated once again as a Jewish center and museum.

I lived about half a mile away, and the site was under 24-hour armed guard during the reconstruction — both Polizei and Wehrmacht stood guard over it. After President Clinton spoke at the nearby Brandenburger Tor, he was taken in for a quick tour; I was at the barricades at Tucholskystrasse, watching the bodyguards deploy.

The New Synagogue was designed by a well-known 19th century architect with the remarkable name Eduard Knoblauch — Edward Garlic, in translation. He died a year before it was completed and consecrated. How do you like them apples?

Why, with honey, of course.

About Linus

The man behind the curtain. But couldn't we get a nicer curtain?
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