This year, Rosh Hashanah services were held in Bergen, Norway’s second largest city, for the first time since World War II. Menachem Wecker describes the revival of the city’s Jewish community, many decades after it was wiped out in the Holocaust, and places it in its historical context:
Norway, whose constitution banned Jews from entry until 1851, has struggled with anti-Semitism. It took until 2012 for Norway to apologize for the first time for complicity in arresting and deporting Jews during the Holocaust. . . . A December 2017 Norwegian Center for Holocaust and Minority Studies survey found 8.3 percent of Norwegians held negative views of Jews—down from 12.1 percent in 2011. (More than 30 percent disliked Muslims.)
And . . . the Norwegian public television station NRK has recently broadcast [programs with] anti-Semitic tropes and references, including the Jewish domination of the media, “pizza ovens” in concentration camps, and the idea that it might be good if the COVID-19 vaccine didn’t work rather than protect Israelis.
Bergen Jews created a new organization, Det Jødiske Samfunn i Bergen, last year, and the city recognized it in December. On Rosh Hashanah, the group’s leader, Gideon Ovadya, a Beersheba native, read from the Torah, and a University of Bergen musician proved “the world’s greatest shofar player,” said Dániel Péter Biró, the deputy leader and a music-composition professor at the university. The menu featured High Holiday fixings like apples and honey and local pescatarian flavor: very-spicy cod and salmon.
More about: Anti-Semitism, European Jewry, Norway, Rosh Hashanah