We are happy to welcome you to the Jewish Community of Bergen!
The Jewish Community of Bergen, (in Norwegian: Det Jødiske Samfunn i Bergen), is the first organization of its kind in the history of Bergen, Norway. It exists to support the Jewish population of the city and surroundings as an organizing body to further the interests of the Jewish population. In particular this will include official organization of religious, cultural and language-based activities. Eventually, we hope to establish a center for the Jewish community where holidays, learning and cultural events will occur.
In 2021, DJSB began organizing official community celebrations such as Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year), the first of its kind in 80 years. In 2022, DJSB has become even more involved in the community such as being observers on the board of STL (The Council for Religious and Life Stance Communities in Norway) as well as being in constant dialog with local schools, other religious and minority organizations, and government to foster tolerance and combat antisemitism. In 2023 we continue to grow, offering shabbat services to the community when resources allow.
We plan to offer language courses relevant to Judaism (Hebrew and Yiddish) as well as seminars on Jewish history, culture and religion.
Cultural events (concerts, theater and literature) will be a mainstay of the organization and we plan to have a lecture series that will investigate Jewish themes, all open for the wider public.
In the future we hope to bring a rabbi and cantor to Bergen as well as to, eventually, create a synagogue to allow for regular synagogue services for the Jewish population in Bergen and Vestland.
Jewish History in Bergen
By creating this organization, we also connect to the history of the Jewish community of Bergen. While Jews were not allowed to live in Norway until the middle of the 19th century, prior to World War II approximately 2,100 Jews were living in the country. In 1942 approximately 700 Jewish residents remained in Norway and in the fall of 1942, the remaining Jewish residents were arrested and sent to Auschwitz and other concentration and labour camps.
Over 80 years ago, the main street of Strandgaten was the place for Jewish stores and housed a small but vibrant Jewish community. Storeowners like Chaim Hirsch and Herschel Rabinowitz played an important role in the larger Bergen community. Jewish residents of Bergen lived mainly in the neighborhoods of Møhlenpris and Nordnes and were well integrated into Norwegian society (Sebak, 2008).
The members of the Jewish minority never formed an official organization in Bergen but would often celebrate holidays privately, with families coming together, or travel to the main synagogue in Oslo for the high holidays. This Jewish community in Bergen was tragically annihilated during the Holocaust.
Today, visiting Strandgaten and the surrounding streets, one finds shiny stumbling stones of Jewish residents murdered in the Holocaust. These stones tell the story of Jewish citizens of Bergen whose life ended abruptly during the Holocaust. Storeowners like Julius Eidenbom, who ran a tailor shop in Strandgaten, were part of the larger community and these stumbling stones exist today as monuments of Jewish lives lost during the war.
Who we are and how we got started
In February of 2020, a group of people got together to discuss creating an official Jewish organization in Bergen, Norway. Nine of those people were designated to establish a formal Jewish community in Bergen. The founding meeting of Det Jødiske Samfunn i Bergen (DJSB) took place on October 24th, 2020 and shortly thereafter, DJSB was officially registered as a volunteer organization in Brønnøysundregisteret, the Norwegian governmental administrative agency.
DJSB is an association for Jews in Bergen which aims to preserve and further develop Jewish culture, identity, language, religion, traditions and cultural heritage in Bergen.
Interested in knowing more about our organization or would you like to be become a member?
Don’t hesitate to send us an email at email@example.com
Please note that Bergen unfortunately does not have a synagogue.
Would you like to make a donation?
We have Vipps! Scan the QR code below or search for DJSB #811084