You Can Now Rent-a-Jew, Who Knew?

Image from Wikipedia Commons
By far the oddest thing I have read in the news in the last few days is the programme out of Germany that allows people to “Rent-a-Jew”. It isn’t as bad as it sounds, this education outreach programme aims to teach people about what it is like to be a modern Jewish person living in Germany. The ultimate goal is to show that Jewish people are no different from anyone else in the country.

Anti-Semitism has a long history in Germany. After all, it is was the capital and founder of the Holocaust, it played host to the most vicious and murderous dictator in recent world history. At one point Germany was responsible for the mass genocide of most of Europe’s Jewish population. So the need to educate the German people about how its Jewish citizens are more than the victims of the Holocaust is not surprising.
What does come as a shock is that anti-Semitism sentiments has tripled in recent years. That is both sad and astounding. To combat the racism, the German government came up with the rent-a-jew programme. The Jewish people participating are from all walks of life, they are not professional speakers, and they simply want to show who they are. They are more than just their religion. 
Image from Wikipedia Commons
It is this connection that people often miss. That while religion can be important, even defining to who a person is, it is not the entirety of that person. Jewish people in Germany are more than who/where they worship. They have jobs, they have relationships, their religion is only one piece of their puzzle. 
While I hate the name of the programme, I like what it is doing. (And it is worth noting that the name is what has gotten it so much attention in the media) I think that America, England and other nations could do with this sort of thing. Maybe not geared towards education about the Jewish population, but about the Muslim religion. With ISIS constantly making the news, people are growing more distrustful and hateful towards Muslims and people from the Middle East in general. America especially, so Rent-a-Muslim might be something that could do a lot of good in schools, the workplace, etc. Just something to consider.

If you want to read more about this rental program, here are some links

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/12/12/rent-a-jew-service-now-available-germany/

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/germany-rent-jew-program-hopes-combat-anti-semitism-article-1.2914344

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/221876

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