Welcome to the Jewish Congregation of Hamelin


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Donations for our congregational work and synagogue building are gratefully accepted by credit card through PayPal. Click the PayPal button on the left to go to JGH’s secure page at PayPal and enter the amount of your donation. Please accompany your donation with an e-mail message to racheldohme@jghreform.org, informing us of your donation so that we may recognize your gift in our next newsletter.

Hamelin (Hameln), Germany is best known as the home of the famous “Pied Piper” and of Glückel of Hameln, the Jewish female chronicler of daily life in mid-17th–early 18th century Germany. The town supported a small but vibrant Jewish community for over 400 years until Kristallnacht or Pogrommnacht, November 9, 1938, when the synagogue was destroyed and the Jewish population decimated.

Jüdische Gemeinde Hameln, the Reform Jewish Community of Hamelin, founded in 1997 by Rachel Dohme, Polina Pelts, and a small group of Russian immigrants, is the first organized Jewish community to be established in Hamelin since the Shoah. The congrega­tion has grown to include over 200 congregants, almost all of whom are recent Russian Jewish émigrés. JGH is a member of the Union of Progressive Jews in Germany, the World Union of Progressive Judaism, and the Central Council of Jews of Germany. Close work­ing relationships with the local government, cultural and church groups, and the Society for Christian-Jewish Solidarity have contributed to the congregation’s success.

JGH is a dynamic congregation that has made important strides in revitalizing Jewish life in Hamelin. In 1999 the congregation was successful in having Hamelin’s historic Jewish cemetery, desecrated during WWII, reopended for use. A new, larger Jewish community cemetery, administrated by the city, was dedicated in November 2001. The community built the first newly constructed Reform synagogue in post-war Germany. The synagogue stands on the very ground the town’s synagogue stood until its destruction on November 9, 1938. The new synagogue was dedicated on February 20, 2011. See Dedication photos.

JGH is proud to have its own rabbi, Dr. Ulrike Offenberg, who is in residence with the community bi-monthly and serves as its spiritual leader and advisor. Dr. Ulrike Offenberg is successor to our Rabbi Emerita Irit Shillor, who served the congregation for 15 years. The congregation observes and celebrates the holidays and Shabbat with rabbinic assistance, augmented by lay leaders.

Shabbat Melodies by Rebekka Dohme

We are pleased to announce that Shabbat Melodies, the first CD by our young cantor, Rebekka Dohme, has been released. The CD has Shabbat melodies from the Friday night and Saturday morning service. All money raised through the sale of the CD will go to our synagogue building project.

Listen to a song from Shabbat Melodies,
“Esai Enai—Psalm 121” (click arrow to begin):

Download the CD liner booklet (German) (PDF) or

CD liner booklet (English translation) (PDF)

Shabbat Melodies is available to synagogues and other organizations in packages of 25. Write Rachel Dohme at racheldohme@jghreform.org.

This Web site is an important outreach vehicle to educate others about the special needs of German Jews and Russian Jewish immigrants in Germany. The congregation is beginning to raise money for its own needs with a new Tree of Life. We look forward to the future with hope. Contributions to the synagogue building fund can be made online. May you be blessed for you generosity.

Please see the following article (in German): “Hoping to Return: Jewish-Albanian family to be deported — Jewish Congregation in Hameln trying to help,” Albanisch-jüdische Familie steht vor der Abschiebung – Gemeinde will helfen.

For more information about the Jewish Community of Hamelin, contact Rachel Dohme: racheldohme@jghreform.org

Please support our community. A tax-deductible donation may be made through The Good People Fund.
      Please select Tree of Life or JGH Building Fund.

To view our past newsletters, please see our Newsletter Archives.