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Classrooms Without Borders

A Program for Young Jewish Professionals in Cooperation with Classrooms Without Borders.

Established in October 2007, Germany Close Up – American Jews Meet Modern Germany is an initiative created to enrich transatlantic dialogue and provide Jewish American young emerging leaders up to 39 with an opportunity to experience modern Germany up close and personally. A generous government scholarship (a part of the ERP Special Assets of the German Ministry for Economics and Technology) covers more than two thirds of participation costs, which leaves a participation fee of $990 per person. At the same time, Germany Close Up is an independent body regarding the organization and contents of its programs. The purpose of the program is to allow participants to gain their own perspective on Germany through individual experience.

The trips are designed as an exposure to a myriad of facets that form modern Germany, with both the past and present in focus. Every GCU trip entails a number of activities, tours and meetings. The different groups will meet German opinion makers from academic life and from across political spectrum as well as representatives of grassroots movements and German peers. All the trips cover issues of Germany's terrible past and its efforts to deal with the memory of the Holocaust and the Nazi terror up to this very day. They will also consider its transformation in the last 60 years into a modern, reunified, and democratic country in the heart of the European Union, home to the third-fastest growing Jewish community worldwide. Observing Shabbat and keeping a kosher diet are both possible on all GCU trips.

The 10-day program between August 1st and 10th will enable participants to experience Germany, Berlin's multicultural life, visit former East Germany, the Jewish Museum in Berlin, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and experience other key historical sites and other cultural venues. They will meet with German opinion-makers, grass root movements, faculty and students of the Humboldt University Berlin, the Jewish community and Germans contemporaries. The role of Jewish voices in transatlantic relations will be explored as participants actively contribute to German-American dialogue.

The program will focus on the following topics:

  • Berlin and united Germany
  • The Holocaust and the Nazi Era including a visit to a former Concentration Camp
  • Transatlantic/German-American relations (incl. a meeting with officials of the German Federal Foreign Office)
  • Jewish Berlin, present and past (incl. the integration of new members of the Jewish community)
  • German-Israeli relations
  • A visit to Munich and Nuremberg


Coming Soon!

What our participants have to say...

I thought the Germany Up Close trip was an extraordinary experience. It has helped me to understand why the Holocaust occurred and how much work we all still need to do to prevent genocide.

Joshua Frank
Germany Close Up

I approached this visit as one of artistic inquiry, specifically pertaining to Berlin's approach to memorializing a vast, overwhelming epoch. How does one turn something intangible into concrete and meaningful art without undermining the significance of the subject? I took away an unforgettable lesson in German humanity: culture, hospitality, struggle and triumph. I also know myself better as a Jew.

Sarah Rubin / Teacher / Shadyside Academy
Germany Close Up