Foundation and Function (1869-1933)

The founding of the Jewish Congregation Adass Yisroel, Berlin (Public Corporation) in June 1869 was the Jewish response to the pressure of social and ideological assimilation which was prevalent in the 19th century. The goal of this newly established congregation was not anti-liberal isolation, but to unite an orthodox lifestyle with an openness for culture, education, and art. Emancipation and the active participation in society were encouraged, whilst maintaining Jewish traditions.

© Archive Adass Yisroel

‘What enclosed the address’ Artilleriestrasse 31 ‘was a unique complex … a rich world of teaching and life, of idea and realization, of tradition and culture, as it was authentic for German Jewry in this historically grown and authentic form.’
(Dr. Alexander Altmann, former lecturer, 1986)

With the opening of religious schools, synagogues and religious facilities, Adass Yisroel developed into an independent community. Rabbi Dr. Esriel Hildesheimer, who was born in Halberstadt and had been actively engaged in the Austro-Hungarian city of Eisenstadt, became the Congregation’s first Rabbi, and in 1873 he founded the Berlin Rabbinical Seminary. In 1880, Adass Yisroel consecrated its own community cemetery in the Berlin-Weissensee area on Falkenberger Chaussee (today Wittlicher Strasse). After originally being located on Gipsstrasse, the community centre and synagogue were moved in 1904 to Artilleriesstrasse 31 (today the address is Tucholskystrasse 40), where they are still to be found. With the growth of the Congregation, a second community centre was established at Siegmundshof 11 in Berlin’s Tiergarten quarter in 1924, with a synagogue, a secondary school and college – the first, and until recently only Jewish secondary school in Berlin. A community hospital, called »Israelitisches Krankenheim der Adass Jisroel«, was opened in 1909, and several synagogues were kept running or supported in the Berlin districts of Prenzlauer Berg, Tiergarten, and Charlottenburg. By this time the Rabbinical Seminary, which was affiliated with the Congregation, had become the most important training school for orthodox rabbis in Germany, and had acquired an international reputation. At the beginning of the 1930s, one sixth of Berlin Jews were affiliated with Adass Yisroel, either as members, or as supporters who used the services offered by the Congregation and participated in community events.

Adass Jisroel Certificate of Constitution (1869)Herunterladen
Adass Jisroel Certification of Jewish Community Rights (1885)Herunterladen