Germany Gets 1st Military Rabbi in Over a Century

Berlin -
Rabbi Mordechai Eliezer (Zsolt) Balla, appointed as the chief rabbi of the German army, speaks to the Kan public broadcaster on June 3, 2021. (Screenshot: YouTube)

The German military got its first rabbi in over a century Monday, with the inauguration of Hungarian-born Zsolt Balla at a synagogue in Leipzig.

The German government in 2019 approved a proposal by the Central Council of Jews to restore religious counseling for Jews serving in the armed forces.

“This was unthinkable for decades and still can’t be taken for granted,” the head of the Central Council, Josef Schuster, said. “That’s why we have all reason to be happy and grateful today.”

According to German news agency dpa, there are about 300 Jews in Germany’s 180,000-strong Bundeswehr.