In summer 2020, the Likrat Public team responsible for implementing the dialogue and education project of the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities (SIG) made their way to several Swiss mountain destinations for the second time. Equipped with information brochures, the Likratinos and Likratinas acted as intermediaries between Jewish visitors and the local population and helped promote mutual understanding. The SIG notes with great satisfaction that the project was carried out successfully in its second year, too, despite the Corona situation.
When planning the year, nobody had seen the enormous challenges posed by the Corona pandemic coming. To enable Likrat Public’s summer project 2020 to go ahead nevertheless in the Alpine destinations of Arosa, Davos, St. Moritz and Saastal called for a great deal of creativity and flexibility. It is therefore all the more gratifying that the project could be conducted so successfully under such difficult conditions.
More direct contact and a clear Corona security information
The Corona pandemic has had a deep impact on the tourism industry and led to a significant decline in visitors to Switzerland’s mountain regions last year. This also holds true for Jewish visitors, who arrived in smaller numbers than usual. All the same, the main season for Jewish guests – the three weeks after Tischa Be’Aw, the day of fasting and mourning – saw enough Jewish visitors come to ensure that the outreach team of Likrat Public remained constantly in demand. The Likratinos and Likratinas had a lot of direct contact with both Jewish tourists and the local population, and again distributed a large number of the well-known information brochures. The brochure entitled “Jüdische Gäste in der Schweiz” (Jewish guests in Switzerland) had first been published in 2019 by the two Swiss tourism associations “Schweiz Tourismus” and “hotelleriesuisse”. It provides information on Jewish culture, religion and traditions as well as on the diversity of Jewish life. The second brochure, called “Welcome to the Swiss Alps” and published by the SIG, informs Jewish visitors about Swiss customs and characteristics.
In times of Corona, the project’s flexibility proved a major asset. Having to do without public information events and mass meetings, the Likrat Public team members concentrated instead on direct encounters and networking, in particular with representatives of the tourism industry. They were also able to inform visitors clearly and efficiently about the security measures applicable in connection with the Corona virus. The protection policy in place for religious services, for example, was swiftly translated into several languages, explained and disseminated among the Jewish visitors.
Likrat Public leaves a lasting impression
At the Alpine destinations of Arosa, Davos and Saastal, the outreach team frequently encountered visitors and local residents who remembered the Likrat Public summer project from the previous year. The fact that many were pleased to meet the Likratinas and Likratinos again reflects the appreciation that the project enjoys. In their talks with locals, the team members noted that the knowledge of Jewish culture, religion and traditions among the resident population was higher on average than it had been a year ago. And many Jewish guests for their part showed a better understanding of specifically Swiss ways of doing things. This is evidence of the positive and lasting impact that the project has had among both locals and visitors.
See you again in 2021
In spite of the unfavourable Corona-related circumstances, the outreach effort again met with a wide-reaching and appreciative response. The SIG will therefore continue to count on committed project partners in the mountain regions. Its directors and the project managers are convinced that this summer project remains important and are pleased with the fruits it has already borne. Despite the general planning uncertainty in times of Corona, the chances of conducting a third edition of this project in the summer of 2021 are intact.