Germany is home to the fastest growing Jewish community in the world today, with Russian-speaking Jews now comprising some 90% of the population. It is reported that the younger generation of immigrants feels estranged from their Russian culture and identity but still do not feel comfortable with defining themselves part of the established German community. This has created a crisis, especially regarding the community’s continuity and leadership.
To that end, Jewig e.V. has developed and implemented programs which work to bridge between the established community and these disconnected young adults through strengthening local inter-connectedness as well as broader connections to Jewish identity and Israel. The Amitim project is developing a network of German-speaking young leaders to create a forum aimed at fostering Jewish community building, developing young leadership and revitalizing Jewish communal life throughout Germany. The forum is divided into five groups with five structured learning tracks designed to meet the needs and interests of each group:
- Young academics and intellectuals interested in Jewish Studies and European Jewish heritage;
- Leaders of grassroots initiatives;
- Educators in informal Jewish frameworks;
- Professionals and students involved in media and communications;
- Established Jewish leaders in Germany which may include heads of communities, lay leaders and education professionals and senior community professionals.
All the tracks offer seminars and meetings which focus on a variety of topics appropriate to the needs and characteristics of their target audiences. Additionally, two annual 3-day forums will bring participants in the five tracks together to attend lectures, participate in round tables and other activities around a central theme, such as 50 years of diplomatic relations between Israel and Germany or 70 years since the end of WWII. Interactions will be facilitated through structured discussion groups, and the venue and schedule are designed to incubate personnel connections.