Foundation stone laid for new College of Jewish Studies in Germany
The new centre, due for completion in 2009, will combine the traditions of Jewish teaching and learning with the future.
Heidelberg, Germany -- The foundation stone was laid Friday for a new building to house the College of Jewish Studies in the German university town of Heidelberg.
The college "is a meeting place for Jewish and non-Jewish Germans," said Guenter Oettinger, prime minister of Baden-Wuerttemberg, the federal state where Heidelberg is located.
Members of Germany's Jewish community attended the ceremony, among them Charlotte Knobloch, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany.
Knobloch said the new centre, due for completion in 2009, combines the traditions of Jewish teaching and learning with the future.
Costing 6 million euros (9 million dollars), the new structure in the old part of town will accommodate students currently housed in four different buildings.
The German government, the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg and the Council of Jews is covering 75 per cent of the cost, with the rest being met by private donations.
The original college was established in 1979.
In a related development, police said two men aged 15 and 23 had admitted to vandalizing two Jewish cemeteries in small towns in the nearby states of Rhineland Palatinate and Saarland.
The pair admitted to overturning 25 gravestones and daubing Nazi symbols in the towns of Thallichtenberg and Soetern in early March.
Police said the incidents had anti-Semitic motives. They occurred in an area that was once the heartland of Ashkenazi Judaism.
DPA with Expatica