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Dr. Hermann HIMMELMANN and friends Wittmund/Breme, 2017


Le judaïsme est fondé sur le souci de transmettre les enseignements légués par nos prédécesseurs, non sur l'effacement du passé, un choix qui témoigne d'une fascination de la modernité, qui incite l'homme à créer des dieux à son image.

Speechless with horror we notice the efforts to modernize your wonderful synagogue in Rue Copernic, Paris. We have been glad to have enjoyed the honour of being guests in this grand old building, a couple of times. Generations have held their services in its venerable walls. Do new times require fashionable adaption? Why not also adapt Judaism to modern times: the rituals, the service, Bar-Mitzva as well? Make it more fashionable. More attractive. Easier. For thousands of years, Judaism showed no eagerness or zeal to adapt to the changing spirits of changing ages. It has traversed with awe extermination camps, and survived. So we ask: what is it that drives some members of your community? Is it that you have acquired too much money? Are there, perhaps, some personal interests as well? Give the money to them, but prevent them from realizing this kind of supermarket-project, which will be out of fashion in less than twenty years, and which is going to steal away the inviolability, the sacredness of this place. Judaism will never be out of fashion. You are going to outbid Jewish contents, messages, basics, the source of all being, by striving for conformity, promoting clever ideas carved in concrete – and losing your unique selling propositions. To give, one needs to possess. And you possess no other life or vigour. What would your architects think of modernizing the buildings along Boulevard Haussmann, calling it Rue Osman afterwards? Will our suspicion will be confirmed, that your community has members who are searching for a God they are just going to invent for themselves, and not for God, who created them? They run the risk of categorizing Judaism as only some kind of cultural element of common religious life under some kind of neurotic duress to adapt fashion at all costs? Jewry could end up marginalised as some kind of ethnos, folklore, and lose their origins, if they themselves give up their inner values. This is not a question of building. It is a question of a personal shelter, of the place where He touches us. Remember destruction in Nineveh, al-Hadra, which you call an act of barbarism. We, as friends of your community in Rue Copernic, ask you kindly: do not give up your identity, your authentic past, history – and the memories of those who have crossed the threshold of that building, which deserves to be preserved, and should be, to inspire the memories of the younger generations. With our kindest regards, Dr. Hermann HIMMELMANN and friends Wittmund/Breme, 2017

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