Reestablishment of the Church
There has been a Jewish community in Unna again since May 13, 2007: the liberal Jewish community “haKochaw” (Hebrew: the star) was re-established in the former Israelite old people’s home for Westphalia (today: St. Bonifatius old people’s home) by former Soviet quota refugees founded. Our community sees itself as the successor to the centuries-old Jewish tradition in Unna, which was completely wiped out in 1942 with the declaration that the city was now “Judenrein”.
“haKochaw” considers it a matter of the heart and an obligation to restore the destroyed continuity of Jewish life in the region. After a few years of worship in the former building of the Bodelschwinghhaus in Unna-Massen, the prayer room became a synagogue in 2012 when the Torah scroll was moved in.
Later, our synagogue was completely rebuilt and given a new, dignified appearance, the Jewish elements of which are impressively reflected in its architecture in many ways and set significant impulses in the city.
In addition to church services and cultural activities for all Jews in the Unna district, our community members also see themselves as active bridge builders between all religions and cultures. Numerous concerts with Jewish music and invitations to interested citizens to gain insight into Jewish ethics and culture enrich the existing religious and cultural landscape of the region.
We are part of the progressive Jewish communities that unite millions of Jews around the world. As a liberal congregation, we insist on equal rights for women and men in synagogue life. Women lead services, are called to the Torah, ordained as rabbis, and can hold any office in the synagogue. We welcome all Jews, regardless of their marital status or sexual orientation.
Since 2014, Natalia Verzhbovska has been the rabbi in charge of the community, Paul Yuval Adam is the cantor. The Jewish community “haKochaw” has been a corporation under public law since December 2021. We belong to the state association of progressive Jewish communities in North Rhine-Westphalia and are a member of the UPJ, the Union of Progressive Jews in Germany K.d.ö.R.
The community uses the Jewish cemetery on Massener Strasse. The oldest surviving tombstones date from 1854.