It is not new, yet many prefer not to know anything about it. Jewish facilities are under constant threat. On my way to work, today I made a little detour to visit Beth-Cafe, a little Jewish cafe, run by the frum Jewish community Adass Jisroel.
It’s easy to find. I just had to take the Berlin suburban train S1. It stops almost in front of it. Since I was coming from the south, I exited the station on the head of the train – north and that’s already in Tucholskystraße. From there it’s only a few meters. You see it, that you are near, when you meet the first police officer on the sidewalk, walking the opposite direction.
You cross Auguststraße and you are there. Beth-Cafe – you actually can see the sign in the moment, you exit the S-Bahn station on its northern end.
Tucholskystraße 40 – you can’t miss it. The parking lots in front of the cafe are blocked with a red-white steel barrier. There is always police on that side of the street, but basically they are only decoration. It’s not without reason, that in Bavaria, we often call these folks “Trachtenverein“. They appear to be mostly harmless. Yet, for Germany it’s a strange feeling, but this country never seriously tried to fight anti-Semitism. When you carefully watch their officials behavior, the conclusion suggests itself, that Germany still like dead Jews more than the living.
The cafe is small and narrow. There are only a few tables. Maybe the cafe can accommodate 25 people at a given time.
The cafe is pretty much what you would expect. Coffee, tea, cake , cookies, Baklava and little dishes – everything 100% kosher and they sell you some kosher stuff in preserving glasses, …… etc
So I get in, take a seat and a moment later, the waitress is there, asking me to choose another table, because I was alone and I chose a table with four chairs. This is a typical problem in Germany and I’m not free of it. People prefer to sit alone and as Beth-Cafe only has few tables, it would take only seven or eight persons to have every table occupied. So the waitress prevents this situation right in the beginning and asks guests to choose tables that fit their group-size. So if you are alone, you better choose a table with two chairs. That’s still a 50% waste.
At the neighboring table a couple took seats and after a while the woman took out her smartphone. It took only a few moments until the waitress politely asked her to put it away. Security concerns. Outside, the police patrolled the sidewalk and inside it’s a cosy place, comfortable chairs and sofas…..
A few months ago, I good friend from Israel visited me and since he was so fond of Berlin and Germany, I gave him a little tour through Neukölln, Sonnenallee, Kottbusser Tor….. with its open market for illegal drugs, Friedrichshain, Rigaer Straße 94, where hard left militant activists are squatting a house and the government of the state Berlin doesn’t act on it….. Already in Sonnenallee, we visited a little Arab cafe and their cakes are in stark contrast to what you see in Beth-Cafe.
So I had a light meal and a water, for lunch. No, it wasn’t cheap, but it was kosher and peaceful and this is the big extra you get in Beth-Cafe!