At Lauder Yeshurun we offer a range of programs for both the newly affiliated and the deeply committed.
But what of those who are just making their very first enquiries and are posing their very first questions? As an answer, we have created our national outreach department for them. This set of programs casts a much wider net, one that reaches into every city and town in the country, providing a first glimpse, not only of what we do at Lauder Yeshurun, but of Judaism, Israel and the Jewish World.
It started with our Am Echad summer and winter camps, which now draw up to 400 youngsters annually. We then added Israel trips for 50 university students each year to travel to the Jewish homeland, where they learn in informal seminars, travel the country, and get to know Israelis their own age.
Both of these programs proved to be highly successful. But upon returning to their home towns from our camps and our Israel trips, the students asked for more programs, more frequent meetings.
This is when we developed Shabbat Experience weekends in Berlin for youth groups across the country, followed by weekly learning evenings for university students in Berlin, Hamburg and Leipzig.
We then started sending student groups to visit Jewish communities in London, Manchester, Zurich and Antwerp so they could experience the Jewish world outside Germany’s borders. Then we chose the most enthusiastic and brightest of our participants to join a special leadership program, training them to serve as teachers and counselors for their peers at home.
This, then, is how we take unaffiliated youth and create programs for – and with – them which they then expand themselves in cities and towns throughout the country.