International Appeal

This statement of support was submitted to the Mayor of Hamburg, Peter Tschentscher, in October 2020. Almost 300 people from 16 different countries signed the petition. Among them numerous Rabbis, members of Jewish communities, Museum directors, architects, art historians and many locals and neighbors. Many of the signatories sent moving personal statements in addition to their signature. If you also want to support this statement, please do so via email to: (including: Name, Location, Institutional affiliation and (if any) connection to the Temple)

The New Israelite Temple Association in Hamburg, founded in 1817, was one of the world’s first Reform Jewish congregations. The founders intended to preserve and expand Jewish religious observance by offering liturgical practices that were compatible with the modern sensibilities of a new generation. The reforms included the publication of a vernacular prayer book and the introduction of sermons delivered in German rather than Hebrew. For its first 20 years, the Congregation held services in a rented building. The cornerstone for a new synagogue was laid in the Poolstraße in 1842 and religious services were inaugurated on September 5, 1844. The Temple was used continuously until 1932, when the congregation moved to a new and larger building on Oberstraße. The Poolstraße synagogue was heavily damaged by Allied bombing in 1943/44, but two remnants, the front and the rear parts, still stand as reminders of the origins of the historic movement of Reform Judaism.

Today, the last remnant of the world’s first Reform Temple building, in private ownership, is threatened by plans to sell the lot. Proposals for development have the potential to destroy this historic monument, which is central to the spiritual lives of millions of Reform Jews around the world. The ultimate form in which this structure can best be preserved has yet to be determined. It is essential that the authorities of the City of Hamburg take all necessary steps to prevent further damage to this structure while a long-term preservation plan is developed. The plan should assure public access to the site and honor and protect this eloquent relic of Jewish and Hamburg heritage, which the City of Hamburg should finally embrace as its own.

WE THEREFORE URGE the City of Hamburg to act now to preserve and make permanently accessible the remains of the New Israelite Temple in Poolstraße, as well as the original Temple site. Public access must be protected, so the site may stand as a permanent monument to this historic institution in world religious history.

ACT NOW! Please indicate your support of this statement via email to: (including: Name, Location, Institutional affiliation and (if any) connection to the Temple)

For more information see here: +++Please circulate this appeal! +++++ Please excuse crossposting ++++++