Abraham Geiger Kolleg was founded 1999 as the only seminary in Germany since the Holocaust, when the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin was shut down by the Gestapo. The college is named after Abraham Geiger (1810- 1874), a German Reform oriented rabbi and scholar, and is managed by the Rabbis Walter Jacob and Walter Homolka. In 2009, the college ordained Juval Porat as a cantor; he is the first person to be trained as a cantor in Germany since the Holocaust. In November 2010, the college ordained Alina Treiger, who is the first female rabbi to be ordained in Germany since World War II. Her ordination was held at Berlin's Pestalozzi Synagogue, and attended by Christian Wulff, then president of Germany, and Jewish leaders from around the world. In 2011 the college ordained Antje Deusel, who is the first German-born woman to be ordained as a rabbi in Germany since the Nazi era.
In 2001, Abraham-Geiger-Kolleg joined the World Union for Progressive Judaism and in 2005, the examinees received accreditation towards the Central Conference of American Rabbis. The first generation of ordained rabbis - Daniel Alter, Tomáš Kučera and Malcolm Mattitiani - left the Kolleg in 2006. Daniel Alter is caring for the Jewish community in Oldenburg, and Tomáš Kučera leads Beth Shalom, a reform Jewish community in Munich. Malcolm Mattitiani returned to South Africa to lead the Temple of Israel Congregation in Kapstadt.
The five-year long studies take place in conjunction with the Kollegium Jüdische Studien, and upon completion, the examinees receive the title of Magister in Jüdischen Studien. The Kolleg is part of Universität Potsdam, funded by the German government, the Central Council of Jews in Germany, the state of Brandenburg and the Potsdam Leo Baeck Foundation. The founding principal of the Kolleg is Rabbi Professor Dres. Allen Podet, who came from State University College at Buffalo to take the post and served from 2001 to 2002.
The Abraham-Geiger-Kolleg dedicates a biannual prize for Verdienste um das Judentum in seiner Vielfalt or, service to Jewish cultural diversity. Laureates:
- 2000: Susannah Heschel
- 2002: Emil Fackenheim
- 2004: Alfred Grosser
- 2006: Karl Lehmann
- 2008: Hassan bin Talal
- 2009: Hans Küng
- 2011: Helen Zille
Emil Fackenheim lecture
Famous and outstanding representatives of Jewish studies are invited as guest lecturers.
- 2003: John Desmond Rayner
- 2004: Daniel Boyarin, UC Berkeley
- 2005: Jacob Allerhand, Universität Wien
- 2007: Michael Marmur, Hebrew Union College, Jerusalem
- 2008: Shimon Shetreet, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
- 2009: Seth Kunin, Durham University
- 2010: David Biale, UC Davis
- 2011: David Ruderman, University of Pennsylvania
- 2012: Hanna Liss, Hochschule für Jüdische Studien
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Fellows at Abraham Geiger Kolleg
Rabbi Dr Dalia Marx, Rabbi Dr Yehoyada Amir, Rabbi Dr Samuel K. Joseph and Rabbi Dr Reuven Firestone are members of the HUC-JIR faculty. They visit Berlin and teach at the Kolleg for four weeks. Rabbis Marx and Joseph have participated twice in this program.
- Landsberg, Mitchell (2010-06-26). "L.A. synagogue hires first cantor ordained in Germany since WWII". Los Angeles Times.
- Connolly, Kate (2010-11-03). "Alina Treiger to become first female rabbi ordained in Germany since war". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2012-09-04.
- Martin, Michelle (2010-11-05). "Germany ordains first female rabbi since Holocaust". Reuters. Retrieved 2012-09-04.
- "Germany's new female rabbi sign of growing Jewish community". BBC. 2010-11-04. Retrieved 2012-09-04.
- Making History In Germany
- German Jews ordain first female rabbi since World War II
- First Rabbis ordinated in Germany after Shoah
- "Abraham Geiger Preis". Abraham-Geiger-Kolleg. Retrieved 2012-11-17.
- "Emil Fackenheim Lectures". Abraham-Geiger-Kolleg. Retrieved 2012-11-17.
- Deutschen Welle TV about the Kolleg
- www.abraham-geiger-kolleg.de Homepage
- Official website of University of Potsdam (German)
- Homepage of Leo-Baeck-Foundation in Potsdam
- Germany's only rabbinic seminary