Chapter Intergroup Programs
The Belfer Center gives support, visibility and coherence to the intergroup work of the chapters. Some highlights include:
For decades AJC-Arizona has had a close relationship with our Latino neighbors. A recent Belfer Center Training program has deepened the level of understanding and cooperation. Based on a preliminary curriculum, the local Hispanic Leadership Institute is planning for a 2005 Latino-Jewish Passover Seder.
For over twenty years, the chapter has shared in the success of the Black/Jewish Coalition. The Coalition continues to work on strengthening relationships, understanding issues of concern, speaking out on mutual concerns and actively participating in many community events. In addition, the Marvin C. Goldstein Project Understanding Retreat is held every other year for rising young leaders in the Jewish and Black communities. Under the leadership of the Atlanta chapter, the Georgia Interethnic Coalition was launched in January 2003 and represents diverse ethnic communities whose members have come together to strengthen relationships and foster cooperation and understanding. The chapter has also been engaged in an ongoing Indian/Jewish Dialogue that has cultivated personal relationships and cultural understanding among the participants.
"Islam in Perspective," a six session course on the foundation and history, prayers, cultural expression, science and the arts of Islam, was developed to enhance our relationship with the Muslim community.
Baltimore Chapter members engage in dialogue on current topics, specifically legislative issues, with members of the Greek, Latino, Italian and Korean communities. America's Table - A Thanksgiving Reader is used during our November ethnic programs.
Dialogue with the religious community includes conversation with Catholic, Presbyterian, and Muslim clergy and their lay leaders. The chapter hosts a clergy discussion group. The Women of Faiths, Jewish, Christian and Muslim women, continue to meet.
1. Black- Jewish Economic RoundTable, now in its 13th year, brings hundreds of Minority entrepreneurs together for networking, mentoring, and socializing. We have now established a parrallel group of Blacks and Jews to focus on issues of antisemitism and public education.
2. Christian- Jewish Dialogue, now in its 22nd year, meets three times a year for theological discussions on current issues. Co-sponsored by AJC and the Mass.Council of Churches
3. German- Jewish Dialogue, now in its 10th year, meets once a month at a private home in Belmont, to discuss issues of concern to Germans and Jews in Boston.
4. Latino- Jewish Dialogue, now in its 5th year, meets for breakfast 4 times a year to discuss issues of concern to both communities.
5. Israeli- American Jewish Dialogue, now in its 12th year, hosts a reception each year for the incoming class of Israeli Wexner Fellows at Harvard' s Kennedy School, and meets periodically throughout the year for further dialogue
6. Muslim- Jewish Dialogue, formed last summer after much effort, and now solidly established with a Steering Committee and a series of planned programs and meetings. Our chief partner is the Islamic Center in Hopkinton, comprised essentially of Pakistani Shiites
7. Haitian- Jewish Dialogue, started 13 years ago with a strong relationship with the Haitian Consul General, and now revitalized after the recent upheaval. AJC hosted a lunch meeting last week for Haitian intellectuals in Boston, including the current Consul General. More meetings are planned.
8. Irish- Jewish Connection, just begun last summer with a cultural program co-sponsored by AJC, the Irish Cultural Center, and the Dante Aligheiri Society of Boston. On February 24, AJC hosted a wine and cheese networking reception for the Irish Chamber of Commerce, USA, which drew 45 people, including members of the AJC Board, members of ICCUSA, and the Irish Consul General and the Deputy Consul General. A series of programs are now being planned, including a possible joint trip to Dublin next fall.
9. Italians and Jews--AJC has co-sponsored showings of "The Righteous Enemy" with the Sons of Italy, the Dante Aligheri Society, and the Italian Consulate on at least 8 different occasions, including an event at the Kennedy Library that drew 600 people.
10. DIPLOMATS visits and Seder: AJC visits every diplomat in Boston with a delegation of AJC Board members. We also host an annual Seder for Diplomats, now in its 5th year. We have diplomatic representation from at least 22 countries.
11. Chinese- Jewish Connection--AJC has formed a connection to the OCA ( Organization of Chinese Americans), and we have enjoyed at least three events with them, including an evening at the private box of Ken Levine at the Fleet Center in Boston to see the Knicks play Houston.
12. Armenian- Jewish Dialogue. AJC has entered into an important dialogue with the Armenian Assembly, whose national leaders live and work in Boston. Our first formal event will take place on April 1 at the home of Henry Morgantheau, the grandson of the Ambassador to Turkey in 1915, and FDR's Secretary of the Treasury during World War 11 .
The Chicago Chapter actively engages the Latino community through its close affiliation with the Alliance of Latinos and Jews. Programs have included joint holiday observances, forums on immigration policy, and an annual Sephardic Seder. Three lay leaders and two staff participated in the national Intergroup Workshop on Latino/Jewish Relations. The Chapter hosted Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez and his wife Soraida who visited Israel with the AJC's Project Interchange.
The Chicago Chapter works to engage young people of different faith traditions in intergroup understanding through co-sponsorships with the Interfaith Youth Core, a group that fosters inter-religious understanding and cooperation to serve the common good.
The Chicago Chapter works to combat prejudice through Hands Across the Campus, the AJC-developed anti-bias program teaching tolerance and prejudice reduction in Chicago area schools.
The Chicago Chapter actively engages members of the Chicago Consular Corps. Examples of collaborative programming include:
- "Romanian Synagogues" exhibition of original paintings by a contemporary Romanian artist cosponsored with the Consulate General of Romania
- "Hana's Suitcase": A program in cooperation with the Consulate General of Japan discussing Holocaust education efforts in Japan. Chapter staff and leadership met with the new Japanese Consul General Yutaka Yoshizawa, and attended a reception celebrating the birthday of Japan's Emperor.
- "Intro to Ethnic Chicago" and "Intro to Religious Chicago" seminars for members of the Consular Corps
- German-Jewish dialogue in cooperation with the Consulate General of Germany
- Lecture with a Belgian Jewish documentary film maker, cosponsored with the Consulate General of Luxembourg
- Met with the Archbishop of Lublin, Poland and members of the Chicago Polish Community to discuss Polish/Jewish relations. Hosted Polish ambassador to Israel and Israel ambassador to Poland, Emily Soloff featured speaker at Polish-American Leadership Institute
- Chicago Chapter was one of only two Jewish groups invited by German Consul General to sister-city-gala. In AJC's honor, German choral group sings Chava Nagila.
- Only Jewish group invited to Turkish independence day celebration
- Joint program by Chicago's Greek Orthodox Diocese and the Chicago Chapter to commemorate Greek resistance to Mussolini and Hitler and the rescue of individual Greek Jews.
- Engagement with local members of the National Polish-American Jewish-American Council and the Polish American Leadership Initiative
- Hosted a farewell lunch for Austrian Consul General
The "Chicago Coalition for Interreligious Learning: Catholics, Jews and Muslims Working Together" was created through the work of the Chicago Chapter's Interreligious Affairs Commission. This landmark interfaith effort has created guidelines for teaching about other faith traditions for Catholic, Jewish and Muslim educators. The group intends to produce solid, concrete changes in the way differing religions are represented in religious school textbooks and classrooms in an effort in promoting respect and mutual understanding among respective communities.
Chicago became the latest AJC Chapter to implement AJC's Leadership Training Program for Russian Jewish immigrants. The program trains current and potential leaders of the Russian Jewish community in advocacy for Israel, leadership skills, and building coalitions with other ethnic communities. A six-part series of workshops led by AJC staff and lay leaders included leadership development, media and public relations, political outreach, Israel advocacy and American Jewish demographics.
Chicago Chapter co-sponsors the Joseph Cardinal Bernadin Jerusalem Lecture.
Ongoing relationship with Catholic Theological Union provides numerous opportunities for interreligious programming
The Chapter co-sponsors the annual Jewish-Christian Clergy Retreat, bringing 65 Christian and Jewish clergy together for an overnight retreat that affords Chicago area clergy a unique opportunity in interfaith education and scholarly communication. Includes participation of rabbis, Lutheran pastors, Catholic, Episcopal and Greek Orthodox priests.
The Chapter's long history in interreligious relations provided the necessary credentials to engage in high level dialogue meetings with Chicago Presbytery officials regarding divestment, and to attempt to persuade the Presbytery to call for a moratorium on divestment activity. One result was an open letter to the Jewish community signed by both the Moderator and Executive Presbyter of the Chicago Presbytery, the first time Chicago's Presbyterian leadership had addressed any concerns of the Jewish community. These meetings lead to an expanded dialogue including President and faculty from McCormick Seminary. The Chapter also initiated numerous meetings with local Presbyterian Church leaders and met at their churches and in small group settings. Training sessions for Chapter lay leaders and staff instructed Chapter representatives how to "speak the language" of Presbyterians. The Chapter also met with Episcopal and Evangelical leaders on divestment and other issues.
The Cincinnati Chapter has invited friends from other racial, ethnic, and religious groups to celebrate the Jewish festival of freedom at our Community Intergroup Seder for the past 12 years. We serve the ritual foods at a historic synagogue and offer an optional tour of the sanctuary after the Seder. We have celebrated Thanksgiving with reading of America's Table and lunch for our inter-ethnic partners. Each year we convene a meeting of editors of ethnic publications. Our ongoing Hands Across the Campus program in area public and Catholic high schools stresses intergroup understanding. We are at the beginning stage of building ties to the Hispanic, Asian-Indian, and Chinese-American communities.
For over ten years, the chapter has held private meetings with the Arab-American community, building relationships with moderate Muslims. Dialog with the local Hispanic community produced an art show to support "victims of violence" in the Middle East. Ongoing programming with the Asian-Indian community is leading to a multi-part series on the "Spirit of Immigration." We are hosting our first (annual) Diplomatic Seder this year. Our Emerging Leaders are hosting an inter-group golf outing in the Fall.
- The African American/Jewish Committee, formed over a year ago, addresses issues of concern to both communities and works on developing substantive programming and effective community building.
- The Catholic Jewish Action Committee (CJAC) convenes leaders of the Archdiocese of Denver and AJC Colorado chapter. The committee examines key issues facing both communities and develops programs to better educate the greater community.
- The Council of Churches/Jewish Dialogue was formed nearly 2 years ago. It will continue to focus on and discuss issues of common interest such as Israel and anti-Semitism.
- The Episcopalian/Jewish Dialogue discusses issues of concern to both communities with a special focus on the relationship between American Jewry and the land of Israel.
- The Latino/Jewish Committee was initially convened by AJC and LARASA in the 1980s. Today, the committee is comprised of a diverse group of leaders from the Latino community and AJC members. The committee discusses social and cultural issues relevant to both communities and develops programs to educate both communities on issues of mutual concern; such as immigration, healthcare and education.
- AJC's Colorado Chapter is also proud to have spearheaded the formation of Coloradans United Against Hatred, a coalition of over 30 organizations dedicated to hate crimes prevention.
The American Connection program engages a diverse group of students throughout the state to celebrate the contributions of the many immigrants to our nation. As part of an ongoing project, this Chapter sponsors several summer reading programs, in which students decide which immigration-themed books to donate to local middle schools. The Chapter also works with educators throughout Connecticut to supplement their curriculum on the immigration experience. An annual lecture is also part of the program's offering.
- For the past 25 years the Dallas Chapter of the American Jewish Committee has participated in the Dallas Independent School District Religious Faiths Advisory Committee appointed by Dallas Independent School District Superintendent. Many faith groups have worked with the school system to create a neutral place for discussion of religious needs of students and staff, implementation of the Equal Access Act, “adoption” of schools, and the publishing of quick-reference guides and calendars of Holy Days for use during the school year. Over 40 faith groups are our partners in this endeavor (including members of the Christian Life Commission of the Dallas General Baptist Convention, the Roman Catholic Diocese, various protestant Christian Traditions, Bahai, Buddhists, Christian Scientists, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, Eastern Orthodox, Hare Krishna, Islam, Jain Society Temple, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Native American religions, Seventh Day Adventists, Sikh, Unitarian/Iniversalists, Wicca’s, Zoroastrians, among others.
- As a result of this consistent and respectful association we have built deep and lasting relationships with many of these groups. The Dallas Chapter was honored at the 36th Annual Partners Volunteer Recognition Luncheon with the 2005 Dr. Emmet Conrad "Extra Mile" Award for its association over the past 25 years with the Dallas Independent School District, the eighth largest school district in the nation. The award recognizes the role AJC has played in promoting guidance on church-state separation and religious liberty issues.
- The Dallas Chapter has met with several leaders of the Latino community over the past year, including the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, members of the Latino media, Latino politicians, Carlos Garcia deAlba Z., Mexico's new Consul General from the Mexico Consul General in Dallas, Luis De La Garza, President of TeveAmerica Network, LLC and a highly-respected member of the Latino community and the CEO of Centro Communitario Mexicano. In several weeks we are coordinating a meeting of all these people with our Hispanic-Jewish committee to explore possibilities of future cooperation and emphasis on those issues important to both groups.
- We are attending the National Association of Hispanic Journalists convention, which will take place in Dallas June 16, 17, and 18, 2005.
- As a result of an interfaith program held earlier this year to provide all the citizens of Dallas with a strong and sensitive understanding of each other and the diversity of our city, in co-sponsorship with the Chaplain’s Office of Southern Methodist University and Thanksgiving Square, a meeting was held with members of other faith groups, including Presbyterians and Muslims. By working together representatives from the religious, academic, cultural and business communities of Dallas, can convey a more consistent and powerful message, improve opportunities for dialogue and interaction and reach a broader segment of Dallas through greater visibility. This program was followed up with a session to discuss strategies for inclusiveness and reconciliation.
This past year was jam-packed and memorable. As observers of the Iraqi national elections in southwest Michigan, Chapter leaders observed history as it unfolded. The next morning, AJC hosted a breakfast with our Chaldean American partners and discussed the aftermath of the elections.
The Detroit Urban League and AJC cosponsored the 10th annual Martin Luther King "All Peoples Breakfast". This year's theme, Spirituality, Values and Politics brought clergy and lay people together to talk about current events and Martin Luther King's messages.
AJC helped organize and support the Michigan Council of Asian Pacific Americans "Waves of Love" raising thousands of dollars for the American Red Cross and the SOS Children Villages organization in the wake of the Tsunami.
The Chapter aided the local Turkish American community as Turkey, was rocked twice within a week, by bombs. Jews, Christians and Muslims came together to mourn and to speak out against terrorism.
AJC and metro Detroit Indian American leadership traveled to Atlanta for a retreat to learn more about Indian American issues while the Chapter stepped up its Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Sikh-Jewish Dialogue programming. A summer picnic took place and over 150 attended. This summer, the communities will gather to view a film on the immigrant experience entitled "Flavors."
Invited by the Polish Catholic and Bangladeshi Muslim communities, AJC actively supported Hamtramck's religious and political leaders in their efforts to promote tolerance and pluralism in the recent programming around the "Call to Worship."
Joining with the PIAST Institute, AJC hosted Polish Catholic and Jewish Americans at the Holocaust Memorial Center at a program for the 60th anniversary commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz.
AJC, once again has linked up to participate in Concert of Colors, a 3-day summer world music fest sponsored by New Detroit, metro Detroit's premier race relations civic organization and AJC continues to serve on New Detroit's Cultural Exchange and Immigration Taskforces.
The Chapter is expanding its relationships with the African-American and Hispanic communities. Following successful exploratory meetings with the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Chapter will focus on immigration and educational issues in partnership with the Chamber's new leadership. Jewish relations will be explored with the African-American community through a series of meetings with Black community leaders and organizations to establish common ground and initiate joint programs
In addition to our outreach to the Latino community, the chapter has established a US-India-Israel Friendship Forum to build bridges between Jews and Indians living on Long Island and to support diplomatic and economic relations between the three countries. Over 200 people attended the launch event for the Friendship Forum in November 2004, featuring Ambassador Alon Pinkas, Mr. Rath, Consul General of India in New York and Congressman Steve Israel.
AJC has formed a Latino-Jewish Policy Forum in which the two communities will come together to share and promote common interests and to voice concerns in an atmosphere of trust and respect. The chapter has renewed its bridge building efforts with the Korean-American community in a united effort to strengthen our bonds through shared experiences, and ongoing contacts are maintained with the African-American, Thai and Chinese-American leadership. Additionally, we have established and strengthened relationships with minority elected officials.
The chapter held an Immigration Symposium on healthcare and educational needs of the South Florida immigrant community. An educational forum on Argentina offered topical and practical information on the plight of Argentina's Jewish community. In addition, a new local initiative titled The Next Generation: Strengthening Ties Between Polish Society and the American Jewish Community hosted young Polish residents in Miami, who interacted with local March of the Livingparticipants and met again in Poland jointly participating in the march to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp.
The Milwaukee Chapter of the American Jewish Committee sponsors the African American/Jewish Task Force with the Milwaukee Urban League. In March 2004, the Task Force held its ninth annual Seder: Celebrating Freedom, Exploring Common Ground. One result of these Seders has been an increased understanding of Jewish issues in the Black community and a renewed commitment to advocacy and mutual support as we attack the modern "plagues" in our community.
One month before 9/11, the Milwaukee chapter began its Children of Abraham Muslim Jewish Study Group. This ongoing dialogue group meets monthly to examine issues of belief and practice of these two Abrahamic religions. Our newly formed Latino/Jewish dialogue is examined issues of inequity in education, and working together to increase participation in the electoral process. The chapter facilitates the Milwaukee Ethnic Council whose members reflect the diversity of the Milwaukee community. The Council provides educational programs and forums, an annual ethnic sharing luncheon and Vision for Milwaukee banque recognizing leadership in the field of intergroup relations.
The AJC's Hands Across the Campus anti-bias education program is active in 6 school districts in southeastern Wisconsin. Hundreds of students learn skill sets that enable them to take leadership in building inclusive learning environments. The chapter co-sponsors Everytown, an annual youth leadership camp that provides intense training in unlearning prejudice and building community.
- Over 100,000 students, parents and educators have experienced at least one of the outstanding educational programs AJC has booked in NJ since 1993. Using live theatre and archival video images, the programs teach about the Holocaust( Through the Eyes of a Friend), the civil rights movement( Right to Dream), internment of Japanese Americans( Within the Silence), immigration to America( The New American) and the struggle for rights of farm workers( La Causa).
- AJC is also the founder of the Stamp-Out-Hate Coalition, comprised of 26 different ethnic, religious and racial groups. The Coalition annually sponsors a teen conference and a Stamp Out Hate Sabbath Weekend in June.
- The 2004 Hoffman Essay Competition provides an opportunity for high school students to write about a designated human relations topic and provides cash award to three top winners.
- The Annual Ira Silverman Teen Conference in 2004 for teen leaders from diverse backgrounds will feature "La Causa", the story of the struggle for rights for immigrant farm workers, followed by small group discussions.
The Latino-Jewish Dialogue
Continuing the New York Chapter Latino-Jewish dialogue that began with the Belfer Center's Regional Latin-Jewish Dialogue, the Chapter and Alianza Dominicana convened a Latino-Jewish Forum on Immigration on February 9, featuring City Immigration Commissioner Guillermo Linares, New York Immigration Coalition director Margie McHugh, Salvadorian National Network leader Guillermo Chacon, and HIAS president Leonard Glickman. Both Linares and Chacon had been to Israel under the auspices of Project Interchange, and spoke movingly during their remarks about the impact on the experience, both personally and professionally.
Latino-Jewish Immigration Reform Network
The forum ended with a commitment to identify a common Latino-Jewish immigration agenda, and at a March meeting, Chapter Board members and Latino leaders agreed that our "network" of Latino and Jewish leaders should urge Senators Clinton and Schumer to oppose the REAL ID Act, legislation intended to raise almost insurmountable barriers to asylum for persons fleeing persecution in their home countries, abroad. An effort to expand the network resulted in the addition of HIAS, UJA/Federation and the New York Chapter of American Immigration Lawyers Association. In early April, Diane Steinman sent a letter signed from network members to the New York Senators.
City Council Thanksgiving Event
On November 22, the Chapter held a City Council Thanksgiving event, co-sponsored by City Council members Gale Brewer and Hiram Monseratte. The program included a reading of America's Table: A Thanksgiving Reader, and Thanksgiving reflections by Senator David Paterson, Democratic leader of the New York State Senate, whose profile was included in the Reader, and as well as ethnically diverse AJC Hands Across the Campus student leaders from New York City high schools.
Another Thanksgiving event, featuring reflections by City Council member Eric Gioia, the son of Italian immigrants who represents the most diverse district in Queens, and who is one of the Americans profiled in the 2005 edition of America's Table, is being planned for next November.
Hands Across the Campus
The Chapter continues to sponsor AJC's Hands Across the Campus student leadership program in two city high school buildings, each housing six new small high schools. The program teaches the values and skills for leadership in a diverse society, and fosters collaboration among the small school student leadership groups, helping them address together the issues that arise within the building they all share, and fostering a sense of shared community.
The chapter initiated Orange County's Catholic - Jewish Dialogue which convenes Jewish leaders and clergy from the Diocese of Orange, for monthly discussions. AJC sponsors a Jewish - Latino Dialogue in conjunction with the Orange County Human Relations Commission. The chapter recently held an Immigration Forum with leading national immigration experts, and participated in a regional InterEthnic Summit devoted to forging a stronger alliance with the Latino community. AJC Orange County has been instrumental in building congressional support for Loretta Sanchez's bill (H.R. Con. Res. 200?) commemorating the landmark case Mendez vs. Westminster. This year the chapter will develop relationships with various ethnic chambers of commerce to further our work with the diverse community of Orange County.
With a strong intergroup outreach program, the Palm Beach County Chapter has the only ongoing, programmatically interactive Hispanic-Jewish coalition in the country. In its 5th year, this coalition has produced two annual conferences entitled "Building Bridges: A community Challenge", where issues and priorities for community work are established. A nascient black-jewish dialogue will hold its first event in April 2004 and building on a succesful first year of the Turkish-Jewish committee follow-up events will be held througout the county.
Evangelical-Jewish Dialogue: In response to several years of friction spawned by over-zealous proselytizing, support for bringing a national workshop on converting Jews to the area, and support for the Jews for Jesus, AJC speared headed a two year, off the record clergy dialogue. It's most notable accomplishment was a joint, published statement condemning the excesses of, "the Passion of the Christ".
Catholic-Jewish Dialogue: For over two decades the chapter has maintained a four day annual workshop between the largest synagogue and RC church in town. the annual program brings together the teachers of both institutions for an evening of joint lesson planning based upon a pre-decided theme; a lunch and lecture with and to the faculty and seminarians at the regional RC seminary, and both an interfaith Shabbat, including dinner, and mass that includes pulpit exchanges and joint adult and children's choirs.
Scandinavian-Jewish: The chapter formed the first field chapter of AJC's Thanks to Scandinavia Foundation. Cooperating with the Palm Beach County School District's Holocaust Education Office, The League for Education about the Holocaust, Florida Atlantic University's Holocaust Studies program the lay committee, made up of local Scandinavians and Jews planned a series of successful programs. The 16 fifth-grade children from the Palm Beach County School District created a Quilt of Friendship and Understanding, after studying the story of the Danish Rescue. Over 300 people turned out to see excerpts of a movie about the Danish rescue of Jews and to hear a panel of survivors and rescuers. Owner, Jorgen Moller donated his restaurant Out Of Denmark for a luncheon held by the American Jewish Committee/Thanks to Scandinavia Institute of Palm Beach County to help raise seed money to finance works by the committee and donations to the TTS scholarship Fund, thus fulfilling goals of teaching the story and aiding in the scholarship program.
La Kehilá Latina: The American Jewish Committee, recognizing the increasing number of Jewish families from Latin American countries settling in South Florida, has been offering programming in Spanish for Latina Jews for the last year as a way to bring them together in an atmosphere that is uniquely Latin and Jewish. This distinctive group is called “Kehilá Latina” a combination of Hebrew and Spanish words to denote Hispanic community. This group provides a much needed opportunity for women to socialize, network, and learn at the same time. All programs are held in Spanish.
Operation Understanding's mission is to develop a cadre of African-American and Jewish leaders who are educated about each other's experiences and can effectively lead their communities to a greater understanding of difference. Each year, a select group of 24 high school students are exposed to cross-cultural experiences and trained in leadership and facilitation skills. Through this exchange program of peer education team workshops, alumni programs, and citywide conferences, Operation Understanding is able to share its message of cultural understanding with thousands of Philadelphia-area residents.
Intergroup activities are the basis of this chapter's work. Highlights include a monthly Christian-Jewish Dialogue of clergy and lay people, a Black-Jewish Dialogue series, and implementation of the Catholic-Jewish Education Enrichment Program. In addition, the Chapter holds an annual competition for the more than 40 high schools in Allegheny County that honors graduating seniors who have demonstrated initiative in promoting intergroup relations.
In 1997, the chapter founded the Coalition Against Hate Crimes. It brings together more than 30 individuals representing community organizations and law enforcement to discuss current issues and events surrounding the growing problem of hate crimes. The Latino/ Jewish Dialog (organized in coalition with the Portland Hispanic Business Chamber) meets quarterly. The Chapter has an ongoing Catholic/Jewish Dialog with leaders from the Archdiocese of Portland (including the Chancellor), which has been meeting regularly for more than six years. We also are the only AJC Chapter to sponsor an ongoing dialog between our leadership and local leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. This LDS/ Jewish Dialog is in its third year. Approximately 150 people attended the 6th Annual AJC Intergroup Passover Seder this April, which had participants from a wide variety of ethnic groups, religious groups, and elected officials.
The Chapter has created and administers the San Diego Latino-Jewish Coalition, which actively promotes greater communication, cooperation, understanding, respect and friendship between the communities through a variety of programs, special events and meetings. The Coalition is currently planning a Teacher's Institute which will consist of a day-long tour of "Jewish and Latino San Diego" for social science middle school teachers and a facilitated workshop on how Latino and Jewish history can be taught in the classroom, as well as discussion concerning the key educational concerns of both communities. The Chapter is also involved in furthering Jewish-Japanese relations in partnership with the Japanese American Citizens League, and recently convened San Diego's first Jewish-Chaldean discussion group.
Interethnic outreach and dialogue is one of the cornerstones of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter. The chapter regularly engages in dialogue on current issues of importance and issues of concern with the leaders of the Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Korean, Italian, Mexican, Central Americans, and African American communities. Additionally, the chapter routinely hosts and participates in programs and events with the Bay Area Chinese and Indian communities.
One of Seattle's most exciting programs is FILMTalks...on campus, which is a unique diversity education workshop, free to local high schools. Guided by the AJC's commitment to encouraging pluralism and mutual respect, this program uses film as a launch pad for discussion and exploration into the sensitive topics of racism, prejudice and stereotyping. Also this past year the Seattle chapter has imitated ongoing dialogue groups with leaders of the local Indian and Turkish communities. The Seattle chapter organized a memorial program for the victims of the Turkish bombings that included presentations by the Consul Generals of Turkey and Great Britain, and representatives of the Jewish, Muslim and Catholic communities. And finally the Seattle chapter will be presenting the Block Awards to twenty high-school seniors in recognition of their contribution to strengthening inter-group relations and promoting better understanding among all people.
Chapter members regularly engage in dialogue on current issues of importance with members of the Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Latino communities and holds an Annual Sukkat Shalom to welcome all of our intergroup friends to gather in the Sukkah. The Chapter also participates with the African American Jewish Task Force in St. Louis.
The Chapter runs several initiatives that help build understanding and cooperation among the various ethnic and religious communities in Westchester County.
The Latino and Jewish Alliance (LJA) is a group of AJC and Westchester Latino leaders who dialogue and program activities that increase understanding of our respective cultures and heritage, and work together on issues of common concern.
The Westchester Organized Response for Darfur (WORD) is a coalition of mostly Jewish and African American groups, organized by AJC-Westchester, to raise public awareness, particularly within schools and religious institutions, about the genocide occurring in the Darfur region of Sudan.
The Chapter initiated the Westchester Interreligious Clergy Network as a response to the multiple divestment initiatives coming out of the mainline Protestant churches. Today, it is led by a multi-faith steering committee, which provides a space for clergy of all faiths to come together to discuss issues of concern to their congregations, identify areas of mutual interest and facilitate the replication of successful interfaith models.
The Thanksgiving Diversity Breakfast is an annual gathering of ethnic, faith and political leaders from throughout the County who come together in November to celebrate our diverse backgrounds and the democratic values that unite us as Americans. The Thanksgiving Reader, which was written in response to the events of 9/11, is the Breakfast centerpiece and reminds us that people of different backgrounds working together with mutual respect is a great source of strength for our country.
Shared Roots, Divergent Paths, our bi-annual Catholic-Jewish Lecture Series provides the opportunity to hear from leading Jewish and Catholic scholars and academics on issues of interest to the two faiths. The series is conducted in conjunction with Iona College's John G. Driscoll Professorship in Jewish-Catholic Studies. Recent topics include The Jewish Roots of Catholic Worship and How Does Faith Inform our Decisions in the Public Square?
Our fall program will examine the significance of the 40th Anniversary of Nostra Aetate, the declaration of the Church's relationship to non-Christian religions at the Second Vatican Council. This document, more than anything else, turned a major corner in Jewish-Catholic relations, and allowed the enormous steps forward taken by Pope John Paul II.
West Coast Florida
The Chapter has gained widespread recognition for its work in Christian-Jewish relations in the area. This is epitomized by the Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies (CCJS), a partnership between St. Leo University and the West Coast Florida Chapter. Recently our CCJS hosted an interfaith Town Hall meeting on "The Passion," a landmark event drew about 800 people from different religions. The CCJS is publishing pertinent statements on "The New Anti-Semitism." on the website -- www.cjstudies.org Last fall our seventh annual CCJS conference, Adversity and Loss: Jewish and Catholic Responses: Remaining faithful in difficult times, was also very successful, focusing on post 9-11 collective grief, fears of global terrorism, issues of serious illnesses, death and dying, and job loss.