Germany Close Up – American Jews Meet Modern Germany is a youth encounter program for Jewish, North American students and young professionals. The program was established in October 2007 and is currently administered by Action Reconciliation Service for Peace (Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste e.V.) in cooperation with the New Synagogue Berlin – Centrum Judaicum Foundation. Germany Close Up is funded by a grant from the German Government’s Transatlantic Program, which draws on funds from the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. As such, the program aims to encourage German-Jewish-North American dialogue as well as to strengthen the involvement of the North American Jewish community in transatlantic relations.
Currently, Germany Close Up brings 250 participants on ten to twelve programs to Germany each year. Participants are Jewish, North-American students and young professionals aged between 18 and 39. Our programs aim to give participants the opportunity to experience contemporary Germany firsthand. The majority of programs are organized together with Jewish partner organizations based in North America and which cover a diverse range of religious and political backgrounds.
Each Germany Close Up program provides a framework for participants to experience and explore contemporary Germany. In so doing, it does not try to present one set picture, but rather to expose participants to a variety of elements that make up Germany today. All programs contain units looking at both the past and the present. Units focusing on the past explore Germany’s efforts to deal with the memory of the Shoah and the Nazi terror up to the present day. Units focusing on the present consider the changes in German politics and society over the past decades. Each program also looks at the reemergence of Jewish life in Germany and the current growth of the Jewish community.