OFEK’s two young advisors, Maria and Irina, specialize in talking to people, finding strengths, naming them and awakening strengths where there are doubts, reservations and doubts. Maria begins, “So, my greatest strength is empathy!” For Shimon, the greatest strength is stamina.
The 37-year-old works and, like nearly 20 other people, participates in the symposium of the Central Office for the Welfare of Jews in Germany (ZWST). The group will be on the road for a few days, including meeting many participants from other cities at the Buchenwald memorial near Weimar on the occasion of Hushawa Memorial Day.
Saturday A day later, 20 young people met in Leipzig to speak and spend the Sabbath there, within a symposium on the topic “The New Self-Image of the Young Jewish Generation”. So it is about connecting, getting to know each other, exchanging, and coming together for a new strong community, and new self-confidence for the younger generation, who can and want to engage in society, politics and the daily life of Jews. Communities. It is important to look forward.
However, the question remains: why do stereotypes persist for so long? Why does anti-Semitism persist and what are we going to do about it?
For Shimon, a visit to the Buchenwald memorial caused “pain and a lot of thoughts and associations.” “It is important not to forget all this. We recently celebrated Easter and remembered what happened 3,500 years ago. «The events in Ettersberg go back 80 years. “And some would like to forget that too, and some want to forget it. But one must not forget that. This is part of it.
O king When Shimon talks with his friends today, he sometimes hears critical remarks, including anti-Semitic ones. He says that he does not put everything in the golden scale, although it is clear to him that even among friends, jokes have their limits. Wearing a kippa: talking about a conversation with his friend, who was previously convinced of the freedom to wear religious symbols – and who eventually preferred to take off his hat at a train station and hide it in his pocket.
From his point of view, daily Jewish life can and should be shown and represented more in its natural state.
Shimon says that the groups in question are often “divided into drawers.” For example, he often did not find himself in some series or films about Judaism. In his view, daily Jewish life should have a greater and more natural influence on the general consciousness of the community.
openness “If you don’t know anyone, you are skeptical,” says K, who does not want to be named. “So we have to be more active and open.” For Jewish Studies.
“Because of my work and because I now have more contact with Judaism than before, it also comes up in conversations with my friends. We talk about what I’m doing and what I’m learning. It may also affect others who do not deal with the subject otherwise. “It is about understanding and being understood. »Also about insight, about information: How do other people see something? What is the matter? says the young woman from Heidelberg.
Indeed, every day should be a day for Jewish culture.
Thomas Fest, Commissioner for Jewish Life
In Leipzig, her group met Thomas Feist at the Arrowwich House meeting and culture venue. He is the Saxony government commissioner for Jewish life. “We are committed to Jewish life without being Jews,” he says and talks about himself, his work, autobiography and great-grandfather: “He came to Theresienstadt on the last transfer in February 1945, survived there and was one of the first and few to return to the Jewish community here.
Thomas Fest talks about his many years of youth exchange with Israel, his volunteer work now and why everything is so close to his heart. “The Nazis reduced people to numbers, and our job is to turn stereotypes into people again.”
“Indeed, every day should be a day for Jewish culture,” he says, referring to the Jewish self-image in daily life in a society that still struggles with these questions, even though many cities – including Saxony – now have many From the Jews “ Days of Culture «Give. “However, I have noticed that it is especially easy to reach a certain target group – and not others.” This is exactly where Thomas Fest wants to start, and here also begins the creation of a new foundation by young people The Jews in society. “We always say: What helps not intolerance and anti-Semitism? An important point is always: education.”
Outlook – Perspectives An OFEK speaker asks, “What perspectives would you like to see?” The exchange begins around identity, how to find a new power, and appearing confident – also against anti-Semitism in order to avoid “normalization effects” and stigmas. Because every tolerance of anti-Jewish statements creates “background noise” that can never lead to respectful coexistence.
And one more thing for everyone: “We need to get away from these negative stories!” Show more role models, good stories, and empowering role models. Roman, 24, wants to do just that and sees his role in the field. He came to Germany from St. Petersburg a year and a half ago and is a trained actor.
He is currently completing a volunteer year at the Janusz Korczak Academy and touring with theater projects and traveling exhibitions. “With the Star of David and Lederhose” is the name of one of them and tells – whether in Miesbach or soon in Kehlheim – stories about Jews such as Levi Strauss, who was actually Loeb Strauss of Buttenheim and invented jeans, or about the Wallach brothers, who made acceptable traditional clothing fashions socially.
a task Roman will soon be out on the road with a story written by Viktor Frankl and will tell his colleagues from the academy about the founder of logarithmic therapy and Austrian-Jewish existential analysis. Roman shows the book cover on his phone: … They still say yes to life: a psychologist experiences a concentration camp. Frankl describes his experiences in various camps, including Auschwitz. “You have to do something,” said Roman, pausing for a moment. “My job in Germany is also to show and prove that not all people from Russia are that bad.”
The fact that his generation, along with Turkish, Syrian, Afghan and Ukrainian refugees, is now looking for everyone’s perspectives and has to develop ways – at a time when young Jews are developing new self-confidence is one of the tasks he wants. I like to face.
“Earlier in Saint Petersburg we lived with Belarusian, Ukrainian and Moldovan youths. I succeeded at that time. “Now it is important that we do everything better. “We are a big family – in Germany too,” says the young man. “We are together and we can make something beautiful out of it.”