Source: Jewish Agency for Israel
The Jewish Agency for Israel sponsored a student conference for nearly 400 Taglit and Masa Israel alumni in Weimar, Germany, from November 25-28, 2010. The Jewish Agency for Israel "Student Conference: From Herzl until Today" brought together German-speaking young adults from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland on the 150th anniversary of the birth of the founder of modern Zionism, Theodor Herzl. The conference focused on modern Israel, its centrality in the Jewish world, and the global campaign to de-legitimize Israel.
Conference speakers included: senior journalists Ben-Dror Yemini, the opinion-editor of the daily newspaper Maariv, Yaron Dekel, political commentator for Arutz HaRishon TV Station, and Amit Segal, foreign correspondent in London for Arutz 2 TV Station; Anna Azari, Former Israeli Ambassador to the Russian Federation; Michael Brodsky, Director of Public Affairs at Embassy of Israel, London; as well as historians, rabbis, and community leaders.
Weimar is a significant location for the first German speaking conference of this kind as it was not only the home of many cultural greats, including Bach, Goethe, and Nietzsche, but also the location of Buchenwald, the former Nazi concentration camp.
This conference is part of a larger Jewish Agency strategy to cultivate an elite cadre of young leaders in Germany to positively impact a unique and complex dynamics of Jewish communal life.
The event also reflects the great importance the Jewish Agency attaches to nurturing Jewish life in Germany. As such, the Jewish Agency has launched a special task force for Central Europe and Germany under the direction of Dr. Michael Yedovitzky.
About the Jewish Community in Germany
Today, Germany is home to approximately a quarter of a million Jews. It is the third largest European Jewish population and also constitutes the only growing Jewish community in Europe. Approximately 90% of the Jewish population in Germany came from the former Soviet Union (FSU), and today they are spread out in more than 100 different communities. A large percentage of this population is still undergoing the long, complicated process of forging a personal Jewish identity while bridging their FSU origins with their lives in Germany today.