As part of the Likrat education and dialogue programme, Jewish youths visit school classes for dialogue on an equal footing as a means to dispel ignorance and stereotypes.
The word «Likrat» is Hebrew and means «approaching each other». Within the scope of Likrat encounters, specially trained Jewish youths known as Likratinas and Likratinos visit school classes and engage in dialogue with pupils. The SIG’s Likrat education and dialogue programme is aimed at 4th to 6th grade primary school classes as well as secondary and baccalaureate school classes with students aged between 12 and 18.
Fostering mutual understanding and reducing prejudice
Many youngsters in Switzerland know very little about Judaism, its tradition, its culture, and the variety of its manifestations. And the little knowledge they have is often interspersed with misunderstandings and prejudices. Above all, however, it is likely that they have never met or spoken to a Jewish person. This is where the Likrat project comes in. Likratinas and Likratinos visit school classes, give an account of their Judaism and respond to questions from the pupils. A further principle of all Likrat encounters is that any questions can be asked – there are no taboos.
With visits from Likratinos and Likratinas, Judaism is given a human face. Such encounters facilitate learning, and what is learnt is more easily retained. The aim of Likrat is to foster mutual understanding, put the emphasis on what people have in common, and thereby reduce antisemitic and racist prejudice and stereotypes. This approach enables the sharing of intercultural and interfaith experiences and an effective and sustainable promotion of tolerance and a culture of dialogue.
Organising a Likrat encounter
A Likrat encounter takes up two school periods and costs CHF 120. As a rule, the Likratinas and Likratinos are between 15 and 18 years old. They have been thoroughly prepared for interaction with school classes at various levels and represent a broad spectrum with regard to their Jewish faith.
In German-speaking Switzerland, Likrat has been in operation since 2002. Around 100 encounters each year have taken place since then. This mean that roughly 1,500 schoolchildren are reached per year. Likrat is an SIG project, supported and advised by Prof. Dr. Judith Hollweger Haskell, Prof. Dr. Erik Petry, Rabbi Dr. Jehoshua Ahrens and Dr. Zsolt Balkanyi-Guery.