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Weekly Message From Rabbi Aft

08/07/2015 10:24:59 AM


Dear Friends,


As you read this column, Sue and I are returning from another of our family visits to the midwest.


I want to share some information with you about Operation Understanding DC, a Black Jewish Dialogue program for teenagers with which I have been involved for over 15 years.  A number of our congregants have participated in this meaningful program which is going to have a major 20th anniversary celebration in the fall. In the midst of recent racial tension, this program provides hope that people can learn to get along and that the civil rights movement is alive and inspiring all of us to build a more just society. (see below)


I hope that all of us will support this special anniversary program.  Details will follow in the weeks ahead.


Shabbat Shalom,


Rabbi Bruce Aft


Operation Understanding DC's mission is to build a generation of African American and Jewish community leaders who promote respect, understanding and cooperation while working to eradicate racism, anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination.

Our students are dedicated to stamping out racism and anti-Semitism wherever they encounter it. They build bridges between the Black and Jewish communities. But, they do not stop there. They use their skills, vision and passion to bring together people of all different ethnicities, races, religions, socio-economic backgrounds and sexual orientations. Our young leaders are changing the world, one person at a time.


OUDC’s program begins in January of a student’s junior year of high school.  During the first six months of the program, students participate in workshops, meetings, lectures and activities, learning about the religions, histories, and cultures of African Americans and Jews.  They build the trust necessary for true understanding through honest introspection and interaction, experiential learning and time in each others’ homes, most notably for Passover seders and Easter.  This part of the program is based on the Sankofa/Never Forget principle: without a firm grounding in the past, we cannot move forward.

Summer Journey

The cornerstone of OUDC’s program is our transformational Summer Journey in July.  Our young leaders stand on the battlegrounds of past struggles in New York and throughout the Deep South.  They study in-depth the history of the African American and Jewish experiences in our country.  Civil Rights-era leaders and foot soldiers share their stories from the front lines of the Movement.  Modern-day justice advocates illustrate the work still to be done and how to get involved.  Our students learn from each other, spending hours exploring issues, having honest dialogue, and developing steadfast relationships that erase racial, religious and ideological boundaries.


Congregation Adat Reyim


Contact Us

6500 Westbury Oaks Ct.

Springfield, Virginia 22151


Fri, February 28 2020 3 Adar 5780