Germany will use Marshall Plan funds to strengthen relations between Jewish American and German groups.
The new one-year program is called “Young Jewish Americans Meet the Modern Germany.”
The German Ministry for Economics and Technology announced Nov. 22 that $1.6 million will be administered through 2009 by The New Synagogue Berlin – Centrum Judaicum Foundation, which is under the directorship of historian Hermann Simon. The ministry will release the funds at the end of this year.
The Marshall Plan was a massive U.S. investment in post World War II Europe aimed at encouraging prosperity and democracy. Some of the money paid back by businesses that have benefited from Marshall Plan loans is reinvested in social works.
In its statement, the ministry noted that “most young Jewish adults in North American have no personal connection to Germany or Europe. Relatively few participate in the existing German-American exchange programs, due to common reservations about Germany that still prevail. That is why this new contact program is aimed especially at young Jewish Americans.”
The program will encourage visits by “young professionals, rabbis and members of Jewish communities, students and journalists for one- to two-week visits to Germany.”
Organizers hope the program will enable participants to learn about more about Germany and form their own opinions about the country and its Jewish life. The first two groups of visitors are expected in 2008.