Marvin C. Goldstein Black-Jewish Project Understanding Emerging Leaders Retreat, a signature achievement of the Atlanta Black-Jewish Coalition, ensures that relationships between thought leaders and decision makers who identify as Black and/or Jewish continue to expand into Atlanta’s next generation.
Young professionals between the ages of 25-39 who live in the Metro Atlanta area and are a part of the Black and/or Jewish communities are eligible to apply. Applications for the 2019 Project Understanding Retreat are now closed, but we encourage you to contact Julie Katz, AJC Atlanta Assistant Director, if you are interested in learning more about opportunities to engage with the Atlanta Black-Jewish Coalition.
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, the historic bond between Blacks and Jews is not always understood. Today's young people did not personally witness or participate in the struggles of the Civil Rights era. The stories of Black-Jewish cooperation are easily forgotten, particularly as there are few efforts to reinvigorate the relationship between the communities. Young leaders who belong to either or both communities are steeped in their own issues and priorities. They may not know or understand the natural alliances that have long drawn Blacks and Jews together in pursuit of social justice.
Project Understanding was born from the combined experiences of the Atlanta Black-Jewish Coalition and the strong desire on the part of ACCESS, the young adult division of American Jewish Committee, to create an opportunity for young adults who identify as Black and/or Jewish 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 can begin to tap into a network that has been critical to Atlanta's relative success in negotiating race relations for the last many decades.
Through a 24-hour 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 between young people.
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 several corporate C.E.Os, many non-profit leaders, and a number of prominent political figures, including the former Mayor of Atlanta, Mr. Kasim Reed and Gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.