Shalom Life | August 02, 2015

‘Rent a Jew’ Program to Unite Jewish, non-Jewish Germans

Provocative NGO initiative, ‘Rent a Jew’ program seeks to build relationships between German youth

By: Jeff Low

Published: July 4th, 2015 in News » World

The ‘Rent a Jew’ program (yes, that's actually what it's called) was launched by the Janusz Korczak Academy in Munich this June. Its goal is to bridge the gap between German citizens, preventing further conflict between Jews and non-Jews in Germany. According to board director Eva Haller, “many people in Germany have not had a chance to meet Jews in Germany.”

The Jewish Germans enrolled in the program are all under 30 years old and are required to have finished high school. They are available to ‘rent’ - to speak at school functions, religious events and so on.

Reportedly, the program’s “provocative name” is meant to connect with a younger audience; “to engage young people on the grassroots level,” Haller said in a phone interview with the Jerusalem Post.

The ‘Rent a Jew’ program is said to be inspired, in part, by “The Whole Truth … everything you always wanted to know about Jews,” the ‘Jew in a Box’ exhibit at the Berlin Jewish Museum a few years ago, where a Jewish individual literally sat in an enclosed glass box to answer the public’s questions. Controversy swarmed the exhibit, which was accused for furthering the ‘exploitation of Jews.’

It seems the ‘Rent a Jew’ program is seeking similar hype. However, the Jewish Germans involved are not intended for political or religious consult (though they are trained, to a degree, to answer such questions). Rather, according to Haller, the program is intended to “build interpersonal contacts for young people.”

Currently, there are 20 participants involved.

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