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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Jews in Germany Thrive 60 Years After Holocaust

BERLIN -- Every Friday evening, Conny Jarosch and her daughter Alisa, 6, each light two candles, raise their hands to their closed eyes and recite an ancient Hebrew prayer to welcome the Sabbath.

Conny's husband Siegfried, 42, blesses the wine and bread while his father Gerhard, 94, a Holocaust survivor, sings from his prayer book.

An ordinary Sabbath, but celebrated in an unexpectedly vibrant Jewish community, the fastest growing in the world according to the World Jewish Congress: Germany's.

This Passover, German Jews like the Jarosches are displaying new self-confidence about their future in the country that, within living memory, perpetrated the Holocaust.

"Twenty years ago, this would have been impossible in Berlin," said Jarosch, a real estate agent born and raised in the German capital. "But today we have an amazing Jewish infrastructure with kosher butchers, bakers, Jewish schools and several synagogues."

The Jarosches, three generations of German Jews living under one roof, are immersed in Berlin's Jewish community life. Siegfried is on the board of the Pestalozzistrasse Synagogue in Berlin's western Charlottenburg district, his daughter and son Joshua, 4, go to the Jewish kindergarten and elementary school, and his wife Conny, 42, keeps a kosher kitchen at home.

Since the German government relaxed immigration laws for Jews following reunification in 1990, tens of thousands of Jewish migrants have come here, mostly from the former Soviet Union. According to the Central Council of Jews in Germany, an estimated 250,000 Jews now live in the country, with some 110,000 of them registered religious community members.

Before 1990, there were only 23,000 Jewish community members in Germany, according to the Central Council.

"In 2005, more Jewish immigrants came to Germany than to Israel," said Stephan Kramer, general secretary of the Central Council.

Cosmopolitan, affordable Berlin in particular has become a magnet, home to several thousand young Israeli expats and hundreds of American Jews.

Berlin has the biggest Jewish community with 12,000 registered members and eight synagogues, followed by Munich with 9,200 members and a recently opened synagogue, community center and Jewish museum.

"It's a miracle that the Jewish people are coming back to resettle in Germany," said Rabbi Chaim Rozwaski, from Long Island, New York, who came to Germany nine years ago.