Live out the values of the constitution

What unites us all is our Basic Law – our values, our morality and our responsibility before God. Finger-wagging alone will not help. And neither will harsh punishments for the repugnant agitators. We need a change of mindset. A change of mindset through a broader-based co-existence.

We need to start the process at a very early age. Those who don't want Islamists, anti-Semites, neo-Nazis and left-wing radicals must begin, in the presence of the youngest members of the community, to live out the values of our constitution and the benefits of a diverse, vibrant, open and also international society. We need to pay much more attention to education, a tolerant, democratic education. From the kindergarten right through to the college of adult education.

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One-and-a-half years ago I, Raed Saleh, proposed on this very website the historic rebuilding of a synagogue for the first time in German history. As a sign of how central Judaism once was in Germany and as an indication of where we are again today. That article has in the meantime given rise to a very concrete project reported on from Washington to Tokyo and well on the way to being realised very soon.

Chairman of the Berlin chapter of the SPD Raed Saleh gives a speech during a meeting of local SPD members of parliament (photo: dpa-Bildfunk/Daniel Bockwoldt)
A unique project in Germany: Raed Saleh, chairman of the SPD in Berlinʹs local parliament, is committed to the reconstruction of the synagogue destroyed by the Nazis in Berlin-Kreuzberg. "As a sign of how central Judaism once was in Germany, and as a sign of where we are again today"

The first two million euros have been raised. Several Berlin mosques announced they would be collecting donations for the reconstruction. From the Jewish perspective, a moving gesture. The complex will also include a kindergarten, in which Jewish children will play together with Muslim and Christian children, as well as children of no faith, and together learn the wonderful values of our constitution.

Encounter, dialogue, exchange

Just as on the Jewish Campus currently being established in the Berlin district of Wilmersdorf. Together we have both campaigned for many years to ensure that this important project can flourish and that it will soon become a reality. A figure in the tens of millions of Euros has thus been amassed, the foundations have been laid. We still need another six million euros, but the project is nevertheless growing by the day.

Very soon on the Campus, young people from different countries representing a variety of religions will come into contact with each other, study, play and pursue sports together. This is the only way coexistence can arise from difference – through encounter, dialogue and exchange.

Almost 80 years after the Holocaust, very few of those who experienced this human catastrophe are still with us. We owe it to them at least to do more than follow terrible deeds with nothing but words and gestures. Let's make a start today!

Raed Saleh & Yehuda Teichtal

© Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung/ 2019

Translated from the German by Nina Coon

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