Are you ready to be a catalyst for change in your community? Do you believe in a better future built on the power of learning and human connection?

Project Understanding is not just any retreat; it's a transformative weekend, where Black and/or Jewish thought-leaders can engage in exploration of each other's experiences while building profound connections.

The retreat is a signature achievement of AJC's Atlanta Black/Jewish Coalition and ensures that relationships between Black and/or Jewish thought leaders continue to expand into Atlanta’s next generation.

Project Understanding will take place from March 16-17, 2024.

This year’s retreat will have two cohorts:

  • Marvin C. Goldstein Project Understanding Retreat for Emerging Leaders (ages 25-39)
  • Project Understanding Retreat for Gen X (ages 40-60)

Project Understanding is open to those who identify as Black and/or Jewish and live in Metro Atlanta. The application is due Sunday, December 17, 2023.

Apply Now

"This was an exceptional experience. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to build meaningful connections outside of their own community.”

—2022 Project Understanding Participant

Questions? Contact Scroll down for the FAQ.

Project Understanding for Emerging Leaders is made possible by the Marvin C. Goldstein Project Understanding Retreat Endowment Fund.

Project Understanding 2024 Committee

Emerging Leaders Cohort

Maddie Cook ’22, Emerging Leaders Co-Chair
Aprille Moore ’22, Emerging Leaders Co-Chair
Kristopher Bonnejonne ‘22
Mamie Dayan Vogel ‘17
Chris Dorelus ‘22
Joel Dworkin ‘22
Marissa Fine Marcus ‘22
Jonathan Grunberg ‘13
Melissa Harari ‘22
Russell Hopson ‘17
Lauren Linder ‘13
Brittany Marshall ‘22
Mitch Robinson ’22
Gabrielle Rogers ‘22
Lisa Schnaubelt ‘22
Chris Walker ‘15
Jonathan Wortham ‘19

Gen X Cohort
Stephanie Hardy ’22, Gen X Co-Chair
Tamara Schwartz ‘22, Gen X Co-Chair
Andrea Carter ‘22
Stacey Chavis ‘13
Malaika Dowdell ‘22
Katrina McCrary ‘19
Laura Morse ‘22
Eric Wilson
Rachel Barnhard ‘22
Sari Earl ‘22
Kimberly Hockstein ‘96
Ghila Sanders ‘22
Andrew Schillinger ‘22
Phil Ventimiglia ‘22

History of AJC’s Black/Jewish Project Understanding Retreat

Atlanta's Black and Jewish communities have shared a unique relationship for many years, but this relationship has changed and evolved over time, as each community's challenges have become more complex. Today’s leaders who belong to either or both communities may not know or understand the natural alliances that have long drawn Black and Jewish people together in pursuit of justice. 

Project Understanding was born from the combined experiences of the Atlanta Black/Jewish Coalition and the strong desire on the part of ACCESS, AJC’s young professionals division, to create an opportunity for young Black and/or Jewish adults to share experiences and develop meaningful relationships. 

Beginning in 1989 and held every other year, Project Understanding has provided a unique opportunity for the young leadership of our communities. It is a forum where people of influence can share and learn from each other, and tap into a network critical to Atlanta's historical and current work building bridges between diverse communities. 

To stay updated on AJC's Atlanta Black/Jewish Coalition's work, please sign up for our emails

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to apply? 

Project Understanding is open to those who identify as Black and/or Jewish and live in the greater Atlanta area. 

The Emerging Leaders cohort is open to people ages 25-39, and the Gen X cohort is open to ages 40-60.

What can I expect during the retreat?

During this two-day retreat, participants are encouraged to interact honestly and forthrightly about issues that affect each of their respective communities as well as those that affect both. The program includes exercises designed to encourage open exchange among participants. Participants quickly move past political correctness to engage in real conversation about issues that are often difficult to address. In addition, Project Understanding provides an environment for friendships to flourish.

Individuals in Project Understanding should be fully equipped to engage in challenging conversations and empathetically embrace the experiences of others, even when they differ or conflict with their own perspectives. All participants should approach the Project Understanding environment with a desire and capacity to presume positive intentions on the part of their fellow participants.

One of the objectives of Project Understanding is to foster and nurture enduring relationships. Prospective candidates are expected to have or allocate time after the conclusion of the program to nurture these connections.

Who is selected?

Participation in the program is selective, and most Project Understanding alumni have continued to be leaders in various facets of the Atlanta community. Alumni include corporate CEOs, non-profit leaders, and prominent political figures.

What is the time commitment?

The retreat will take place from the afternoon of March 16 to 5pm on March 17, 2024. 

Where will the program take place?

This experience will be in-person, with the retreat taking place at a hotel conference center outside of the Atlanta area. 

Does it cost anything?

Thanks to the generous support of the Marvin C. Goldstein Project Understanding Retreat Endowment Fund, the Emerging Leaders cohort is highly subsidized. The cost to participate in the Emerging Leaders retreat is $100. Participants in the Gen X cohort are asked to pay $180. Scholarships are available. 

How long will it take to complete the application?

Expect the application to take around 30 minutes to complete. It requests basic information as well as the completion of 2-3 short essay questions to be answered in 250 words or less.

What is the application process?

Once you apply, your application will be reviewed by our Project Understanding Committee, which is composed of PU alumni. Applicants will hear about their acceptance in January 2024. 

Is it only available to adults in Atlanta?

Yes – but if you have a teen who is interested in participating in a similar experience, we encourage you to sign up for our Black/Jewish Coalition listserv to stay updated on the announcement of future opportunities to participate in the Black/Jewish Teen Initiative

Will food be provided at the retreat?

Yes, meals will be provided. Additionally, please note that we are happy to accommodate Kosher dietary restrictions with advance notice. 

If the retreat lasts most of two days, do I go home in between?

An integral part of the Project Understanding experience is staying at the hotel on Saturday evening to continue conversations and relationship building. Hotel rooms are included in your registration fee. All participants are required to spend the night at the hotel, barring extenuating circumstances.

Will I have a roommate? 

Yes, another integral part of the retreat is having the opportunity to share a room with another participant. This is a special way to continue deepening connections and friendships. 

Do I have to be religious to participate?

No, this experience is open to Black and/or Jewish adults of all backgrounds and levels of observance.

If I observe Shabbat, can I still participate?

Yes! If you observe Shabbat or another sabbath on Saturday, we will help you coordinate an early arrival at the hotel to accommodate your observance. 

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