An Open Program for Students in Affiliation with American Jewish Committee (AJC) Campus Affairs and Interreligious Affairs
The running of this program is subject to COVID-19 developments. Currently, transatlantic travel is possible. The running of this program may also be subject to COVID-19 related hygiene measures and may include, but not be limited to, the wearing of masks and social distancing.
Established in October 2007, Germany Close Up – North American Jews Meet Modern Germany is an initiative created to enrich transatlantic dialogue and provide Jewish-North American students and young professionals between 18 and 40 with an opportunity to experience modern Germany firsthand. A generous government scholarship (a part of the ERP Special Assets of the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action) covers more than two thirds of participation costs, which leaves a participation fee of US$920 per person (including travel). At the same time, Germany Close Up is an independent body regarding the organization and content of its programs. The purpose of the program is to allow participants to gain their own perspective on Germany through individual experience.
Visit Berlin, Munich and Oberammergau and be actively involved in Jewish-Christian dialogue by visiting and discussing the decennial Oberammergau Passion Play.
The trips are designed to expose participants to a range of aspects that make up modern Germany, with both the past and present in focus. Every Germany Close Up trip includes a number of activities, tours, and meetings. All trips cover issues related to Germany’s reflection on its past and its efforts to deal with the memory of the Holocaust and the Nazi horror up to this very day. They also consider Germany’s transformation over the last decades into a modern, reunified, and democratic country in the heart of the European Union. Observing Shabbat and keeping a kosher diet are both possible on all Germany Close Up trips. Please note, however, that the program cannot cater to very extreme forms of some allergies.
The nine-day program between August 9 and 17 (arrival in Germany on August 8) will expose participants to Berlin’s multicultural life, allow them to visit sites such as a former concentration camp, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and the Jewish Museum in Berlin, and to experience other key historical sites and cultural venues. They will meet with German opinion-makers from the academic and political spheres, representatives of grassroots movements and the Jewish community, as well as German contemporaries. The role of Jewish voices in transatlantic relations will be explored as participants actively contribute to German-American dialogue.
This iteration of Germany Close Up will have a once-in-a-decade opportunity to visit the Bavarian town of Oberammergau and view the decennial presentation of the world-famous Passion Play. Home hospitality will be part of the experience. Participants will have the opportunity to study the role of the Passion within Christian expression and the history of Passion portrayals that supported anti-Jewish ideology and violence. We will learn of the Play’s history of antisemitism and its amelioration in the context of German-Jewish and Christian-Jewish relations. Oberammergau expert Rabbi Noam Marans, AJC’s Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations, will resource the delegation.
The program will focus on the following topics:
- Berlin and united Germany
- The Holocaust and the Nazi Era (incl. a visit to a former Concentration Camp)
- Transatlantic/German-American relations (incl. a meeting with officials of the German Federal Foreign Office)
- Current German Politics
- Jewish Life in Berlin, past and present
- German-Israeli relations
- A visit to Oberammergau and the Passion Play
- A visit to Munich
This fee includes airfare, hotel accommodation in double rooms (3 star), most meals, and ground expenses. The scholarship does not include tipping. Please keep in mind that you will need to pay around 50€ (roughly US$60) for tips.
This fee is paid indirectly to Germany Close Up via a flight contribution. After being accepted to the program, participants are expected to book their roundtrip airline ticket to Germany with economy class and to provide proof of purchase to Germany Close Up. In most cases this expense will cover the US$920 fee. If your air fare is lower than US$920, the remainder is due to Germany Close Up following the program’s conclusion.
If your air fare is more than US$920, you may be eligible for a flight reimbursement from Germany Close Up for some of your costs above this amount. Please note that this amount is capped and depends on your point of departure in the United States or Canada. For participants departing from the New York or Washington D.C. greater metropolitan areas the maximum reimbursement available is US$80 (max. flight costs for full reimbursement: US$1000). For participants departing from elsewhere in the United States or Canada the maximum reimbursement is US$330 (max. flight costs for full reimbursement: US$1250). Only flight costs above the US$920 participation fee are considered for reimbursement.
For flight costs from New York of US$950, you will be reimbursed US$30.
For flight costs from New York of US$1000, you will be reimbursed US$80.
For flight costs from New York of US$1100, you will be reimbursed US$80.
Reimbursement will take place several weeks after the program’s conclusion and will be coordinated by AJC. Please note that the reimbursement process can take up to three months.
Once you have been accepted for the trip, we encourage you to begin researching flights ASAP due to the maximum reimbursement levels and the rising cost of airfares as the trip dates near.
9 days. August 9-17, 2022.
500 word statement of interest
one letter of recommendation (AJC external)
June 1, 2022.