New ‘Rent a Jew’ program hopes to bring Germans and Jews together.
A Munich-headquartered educational organization, European Janucz Korczak Academy, wants to oppose the rising wave of anti-Semitism. They have chosen a deliberately provocative, but eye-catching name of “Rent a Jew” as the name of choice for its educational seminars program. According to Mascha Schmerling, the spokesperson of the group, it is hoped that such an unusual name will keep the flow of conversation between Jews and people belonging to non-Jewish faiths in Germany.
In her interview with Deutsche Welle, the German broadcaster, Schmerling said, "We want to give people the chance to talk to the Jewish community. We want them to see that we're completely normal people.” They did not want non-Jewish Germans to observe them only through the lens crafted by the Holocaust. In a sentence, she wants to smash stereotypes. Jews number approximate 250,000 in present day Germany.
The newly set up Rent a Jew educational organization wants to fight anti-Semitic sentiment by sending ordinary Jewish people to visit German schools, universities and colleges so that they can speak about their personal experiences and their lives. This, she hopes, will dispel the myths concerning Jews.
— Simone Zoppellaro (@S_Zoppellaro) December 13, 2016
The Rent a Jew initiative was launched due to the troubling specter of anti-Semitism. Data collected by Deutsche Welle shows that there was a 34 percent rise in hate crimes against Jews in 2015. This is acknowledged by the Rent a Jew website which states that for many years dating back centuries, anti-Semites have put forward the idea that Jews are inferior to other races. The Jews are tired of hearing such hateful propaganda. Rent a Jew believes that such prejudices and stereotypes can be tackled with a combination of humor and chutzpah. And although Germany has a fair sprinkling of Jews, few Germans have ever personally interacted with a Jew. The organization wants to change this by permitting encounters between non-Jews and Jews away from any stereotypes.
The Rent a Jew website says it makes it possible for a non-Jew to have a personal interaction with a Jew instead of getting misleading information from third-party sources. Prejudices will be broken down and find that the Jewish participants can be quite colorful. The Jews who take part in Rent a Jew are not religion and political experts but ordinary people with personal opinions and stories waiting to be told.