The PLJS, founded in 2003, represents the interests of the liberal Jewish community in Switzerland and has around 1,800 members. In numerous fields, the PLJS and the SIG work closely together and communicate jointly to the outside world.
The Platform of Liberal Jews in Switzerland PLJS was set up in 2003 to represent the interests of the country’s liberal Jewish community. Founding communities were the Communauté Juive Libérale de Genève GIL in Geneva and the Jüdische Liberale Gemeinde JLG Or Chadasch in Zurich. After the Liberal Jewish Congregation Migwan in Basel joined in 2014, the umbrella organisation for liberal Jews now represents around 1,800 members.
Focal points of the PLJS
The PLJS has defined three focal points around which its activities revolve:
- Representing Jewish liberal interests in dialogues with political and religious representatives.
- Enhancing intra-Jewish understanding, strengthening ties among liberally minded Jews, and securing their place within the overall community of Jews in Switzerland.
- Working with organisations and committees that actively pursue interfaith dialogue and are committed to combating racism, antisemitism and defamation.
Close collaboration with the SIG
The PLJS was set up after an application for affiliation to the SIG had been rejected by the SIG’s Assembly of Delegates in 2003. Nevertheless, the PLJS and the SIG have been cooperating closely since the former’s foundation. An initial form of collaboration was arranged already in 2004. It remained in force – with a brief interruption – until 2013, when a formal cooperation agreement was signed by the two organisations. The cooperation originally comprised the fields of politics, antisemitism, remembrance of the Shoah, racism, Israel and security, with further topics being regularly added since. With the exception of religious subjects, there is close partnership and cooperation today in practically all areas. Moreover, representatives of the PLJS and the SIG now each have observer status at the other’s annual assembly of delegates.
Cooperation between the PLJS and the SIG includes a series of joint projects. Once every two years, for example, the two organisations together conduct a field trip for teachers to Auschwitz-Birkenau. In 2018, both organisations awarded, for the first time, a «Dialogpreis Schweizer Juden» (Swiss Jews dialogue prize). SIG projects aimed at Jewish community members are practically always open to PLJS members as well. As a result, liberal community members can take part in the SIG’s education programmes and are offered internships at the SIG.
A joint voice for Switzerland’s Jewish community
The PLJS and the SIG constantly strive to reach common positions on a variety of issues and then to act in unison. This applies in particular to public relations and media work, as well as to negotiations with political authorities. The overriding aim is to speak with one voice as representatives of the roughly 18,000 Jews in Switzerland and to jointly safeguard their interests.