After going to the mosque we visited the synagogue in Mannheim where we were warmly welcomed by Mr. Wolf who is the district manager of citizen services, councillor Mr. Löbel, Mr. Mesca and members of the Jewish center which belongs to this wonderful synagogue.
Firstly Mr. Wolf indroduced himself and his Partner Mr. Mecsa who is a consultant for immigrants coming from east europe. They talked about the significance of migrants in Mannheim during the 50ties and 70ties where thousands of migrants had come from Turkey and Italy to rebuild Germany after the second world war. These workers stayed in Mannheim and brought their families which resulted in an extremely multicultural environment.
The migrants were a chance for Mannheim!
In the current situation migration is associated with problems and difficulties. These involve the migrants coming from easten europe from countries like Hungary or Romania, which have been included in the european union in 2007. The migrants are mostly uneducated and illeterate and come with the hope of a better life in Germany. They come to Germany thinking that they will find a job very easily. This view is destroyed the moment they enter the country. Due to their low education standard the are unable to find a job. They are left with no choice but to start working in the black market. Just to survive!
Their job opportunities are restricted to jobs like a char or as a illegal worker on a building lot. They are exploited and have to work under miserable working conditions.
Their accomodations aren't any better. They mostly live in small basements with broken furniture and bad lighting!
Later on he told us that in 2013 the city of Mannheim introduced a budget of 600.000€ for integration which allows the city to take care of the poor migrants!
After this inspiring speech we students talked to members of the Jewish community. It was very impressive to see how they were able to keep a culture alive which had been prosecuted for years and had almost been estinguished by Hitler and his followers.
Later on that day we were invited to take a look at the synagogue. For the most of the German students it had been the first visit to a synagogue. It was extremely exciting to see a culture, that had been a part of the German history, from the inside. And for the Israeli students it was a great experience to visit a synagogue outside of Israel and see how different the Jewish culture is around the world.
The day was crowned by a shabat service
All students and their parents were invited to attend the traditional shabbat service in the Jewish center in Mannheim. It started with numerous prayers which were not understood by the Germans. But to experience the atmosphere created by a service of a foreign religion was extremely valuable. Thereafter we had the traditional shabbat dinner together, which was extremely delicious.