A Jewish high school operated by Chabad-Lubavitch in Berlin took top honors in the capital city’s state Regents exams, in which Hebrew was recognized for the first time by the German government as a tested subject.

The students who took the exam at the Jewish Traditional School in the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf section of the city weighed in with an average score of 1.37 on a scale of 1.0 to 6.0 (with 1.0 representing the high end of range) in a field of 103 schools, where the average was 2.4, according to the Senate Department of Education. Six of the students at the Chabad-run school registered exceptional results, added the department.

“For a Jewish school in Berlin to have these results is the very best answer we can have for the dark past,” Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal, rabbi of the Jewish community of Berlin told Chabad.org. “Hitler’s goal was not only to wipe out, G‑d forbid, the Jewish population, but also to eradicate Jewish education. This is the ultimate answer of light over darkness.”

As in many parts of the world, passing the exams is a requirement to graduate from secondary school and for entrance into most institutions of higher education. In all, 14,400 students took the test by June 27 to graduate, representing a passage rate of 95 percent.

“The Berlin schools have a large number of excellent students,” said Sandra Scheeres, Berlin Senator of Education, in a congratulatory message. “They have taken full advantage of their teachers’ offerings and made the most of them. They could rightly be proud of their accomplishments. This opens up many career opportunities for them.”

Hebrew was offered as a test-subject option for the first time this year; Jewish studies had already been an option.

The enrollment at the high school is a by-product of the work of the Teichtals, who arrived in Berlin in 1996. The Teichtals have since built up a community that now includes the high school, a student education center, four synagogues, a library, a nursery, a kindergarten, a yeshivah, a rabbinic education program and a kosher restaurant, among other facilities. In 2011, a center for Israeli residents and tourists was opened.

Today, some 700 visitors come weekly to the Chabad center, with 5,000 on average attending High Holiday services.

The school’s principal of Judaic studies, Rabbi David Gwirtz, said “the fact that we received the top results is an expression of the excellent quality of education, and that one can excel in Jewish and general studies at the same time.”

Honors students at the school's graduation ceremony
Honors students at the school's graduation ceremony