A Link in a Chain

The project began to operate in January 2014. It develops and strengthens Jewish identity by teaching youth and students about Jewish Heritage and Tradition, and their family’s and community’s past. The project is comprised of 3 separate elements:

A Bar/Bat mitzvah program for 10-12 year olds meets for one 2.5 hour session each month. Sessions are conducted by two Youth Leaders, who are university students active in the community, and who have taken part in the community’s leadership program. Two Israeli teachers in Gothenberg meet with them to provide training. The curriculum focuses on two themes. Three sessions are devoted to the Jewish Life Cycle, and six sessions focus on the Jewish Calendar (including Shabbat and Jewish Holidays and memorial days). The curriculum for the Jewish Calendar includes Yom Hashoah, Yom Hazikaron, Yom HaAtzmaut, and Yom Yerusalayim. The applicant notes that these monthly sessions are virtually the only opportunity for the children to get to know other Jewish children their age. The project included a weekend camp session in April 2014, with children from another Jewish community (Malmo or Oslo), and a Shabbat dinner.

Finding My Roots, a year-long program for 13-16 year olds, is comprised of nine 2-hour monthly sessions. Participants learn about the history and context of the Jewish community of Gothenburg. The children work together with their parents to build a family tree, which represents their personal connection to Jewish history. The monthly sessions include a visit to an Old Age home in order to speak with residents about their life stories; a visit to Marstrand, where Jews were first allowed to live in Sweden; a Shabbat dinner for children and their families; and two sessions about Jewish history in the places to be visited during a “roots trip”. The culmination of this aspect of the project is a week-long trip to Jewish locations in Germany or Poland. Most families in the community came to Sweden from Germany or Poland.

“Shut and Beer” Jewish Students’ Program, meets once each month in the community center, to discuss subjects connected to Judaism and Israel, in an informal setting. The name of the program comes from the halachic acronym “She’elot U’tshuvot” (questions and answers). Topics of the monthly sessions are challenging and interesting. They include: The New Anti-Semitism in Europe; Jewish Heroism and Jewish Life Values; Israel Politics; The Place of Israel for Today’s Young European. Discussions are led by experts “who have their finger on the pulse” of the session’s topic. Experts include journalists, academics from Israel, and staff of Israel’s embassy or consulate.

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