AJC's Rabbi Noam Marans to Speak at Kristallnacht Service in Berlin Church

Nov 01, 2013, 11:29 ET from American Jewish Committee

NEW YORK, Nov. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Rabbi Noam Marans, AJC Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations, will address a Kristallnacht commemoration organized by Action Reconciliation Service for Peace (ARSP) at a Berlin church on Saturday, November 9, the 75th anniversary of the fateful night.

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This service at the Französische Friedrichstadtkirche church is one of many annual services across Germany to recall the 1938 evening when scores of Jews were murdered as mobs attacked Jewish property, including the destruction of hundreds of synagogues, in what would be the beginning of sustained open violence directed at  Europe's Jewish population by the Nazis. 

"We must understand and support those Germans today who reflect seriously about Germany's horrific history," says Marans, who will be the only Jewish speaker at the Französische Friedrichstadtkirche church.

Joining Rabbi Marans will be a group of 20 young Jewish professionals from across the United States. The group, led by Marans, will be visiting Germany from November 3 to 10, on a program sponsored by Germany Close Up, in cooperation with AJC's Department of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations, ACCESS: AJC's New Generation Program, and AJC's Berlin Ramer Institute.

"AJC works in Germany with a large variety of partners to retain memory as a building stone of cooperation in Europe today," said Deidre Berger, Director of the AJC Berlin Ramer Institute. "It is critical to involve the younger generation in this dialogue, which is key to Jewish security."

This will be the fourth annual joint AJC-Germany Close Up program focused on interreligious relations. During their week-long visit the young American Jews will meet with German government and party representatives, academics, journalists, Jewish leaders, and other high-level officials and opinion-makers. Participants will visit a former concentration camp, Jewish sites in Berlin, and Holocaust memorials.

"The AJC-Germany Close Up seminar exemplifies AJC's work as the premier global Jewish advocacy organization," said Rabbi Marans. "Participants will engage with key actors in Germany's faith communities to better understand the intersection of religion and politics in modern Germany."

"This program enables listening, learning, and asking about the German-Jewish and German-Israeli relationships and how they are embedded in a larger context," said Dr. Dagmar Pruin, executive director of both Germany Close Up and Action Reconciliation Service for Peace. "We see it as an opportunity for young American Jews to reflect upon Germany's past and present alike. These experiences and the knowledge gained during these trips are key factors in assessing one's own view of Germany and one's relation to it."

AJC has long spearheaded Jewish outreach to other faiths, advancing interreligious understanding, and has worked closely with partners in Germany to foster friendship and understanding between Jews and Germans. Founded in 1906 to safeguard and strengthen Jews and Jewish life worldwide, AJC maintains headquarters in New York and offices across the United States and around the world

AJC began its work in Germany shortly after the end of World War II, reaching out to key opinion leaders and educators as part of an effort to reinstitute democracy and reinforce democratic values in Germany. In 1998, AJC opened the Lawrence and Lee Ramer Institute for German-Jewish Relations in Berlin, the only office in Germany of an American Jewish organization, to further its long-standing dialogue with German leaders in government and civil society.

Established in October 2007, Germany Close Up: American Jews Meet Modern Germany, is an initiative funded by a German government grant to enrich transatlantic dialogue and provide Jewish American students and young professionals in their twenties and early thirties with an opportunity to experience modern Germany up close and personally. Germany Close Up is an independent body regarding the organization and content of its programs.

SOURCE American Jewish Committee