Lonely Lives, Vibrant Hearts: Jews in the Urban Landscape

The phrase “the city of the lonely Jews” appears in an article from The Observatorial. The article states that Berlin has the highest density of kosher food, but also has a high number of lonely Jews. The Forward also has an article discussing Jewish loneliness in the big city, which explores the psychological crisis of young Jews at the turn of the twentieth century. Adat Ari El discusses loneliness through Jewish texts, using Tisha B’av as an opportunity to explore what the tradition counsels when it comes to loneliness.

Haaretz has an article about a lonely Ukrainian Jew fighting his country’s new fondness for Nazis. Hey Alma has an article about finding Jewish sites that made solo travel less lonely. Finally, there is a South Park episode called “Two Lonely Jews on Christmas.

history of Jewish population in Berlin

Jews first arrived in Berlin in the 13th century, migrating to the cities of the north to escape persecution and expulsions that had become a constant since the Crusades began in 1096. In 1815, the Jews attained Prussian citizenship, and the various regulations and taxes that had unfairly targeted the Jews were rescinded, although full equality came in 1850 with Prussia’s updated constitution. By this time, there were 9,500 Jews in Berlin, mostly involved in finance, commerce, and transportation. As Berlin’s Jews continued to infiltrate the social and economic elite, their ranks continued to grow, despite skyrocketing intermarriage and apostasy.

By the turn of the century, there were more than 110,000 Jews in Berlin, comprising more than 5% of the total population. Most settled in the center of the city. Berlin’s Jewish population fell to about 80,000 people as a result of emigration from Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1939, despite the movement of other German Jews to Berlin. Today, Berlin has about 170,000 Jews, making up approximately 4% of the city’s general population and about a third of Germany’s Jewish population

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