Who We Are
In 1982, a group of concerned citizens from Atlanta's Black and Jewish communities came together to campaign for the renewal of the Voting Rights Act. The drive to renew one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation in U.S. history reinvigorated the bond between the two communities. Those involved decided to create a coalition to ensure that open dialogue and partnership between Blacks and Jews would continue in Atlanta.
Today, the Atlanta Black-Jewish Coalition has emerged as a central platform for Education, Outreach and Advocacy. As participation reaches new heights, the Coalition continues to build on its original mission by providing a forum for meaningful dialogue and action.
- Increase the understanding of and interaction between Jews and Blacks
- Respond on an ad-hoc basis with a definitive action to particular issues of concern to the Jewish and Black communities
- Provide a mechanism whereby each community can express its support for the critical issues of the other community
- Create public awareness for the work of 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 the challenges to each community 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 of 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 Black and Jewish adults to share experiences and develop meaningful relationships.
Click here to learn more about Project Understanding.
One of AJC Atlanta's Black-Jewish Coalition's flagship events is our biennial Black-Jewish Seder. This program unites members of Atlanta’s Black and Jewish communities to engage in passionate conversation about our shared experiences. It is an opportunity to celebrate rich Passover traditions of the past, focus on contemporary struggles for justice and equality of the present, and discuss how we can support one another for a better future.
In April 2016, we welcomed over 300 guests to our Black-Jewish Community Seder for an evening of meaningful dialogue between Jews and Blacks. The seder was a great success; it was truly a night different from all others. We had appearances from The Davis Academy choir, the Mount Zion Second Baptist Church Choir, and had the pleasure of hosting 1961 Freedom Rider Hank Thomas. Read the re-cap of this event in an article featured in the Atlanta Jewish Times.
Special thank you to everyone who lead the Seder, including our Seder Co-Chairs, Jay Bailey, Jonathan Grunberg, Lauren Linder Grunberg, and Jennie Rivlin Roberts; clergy, Rabbi Loren Filson Lapidus, Rabbi Mario Karpuj, Reverend Joya Abrams, Rabbi Bradley G. Levenberg, Reverend Dr. Gerald L. Durley, Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder and Reverend Angela Harrington Rice; and Host Committee.
To get involved with Atlanta's Black-Jewish Coalition, please contact Harold Hershberg.