|Program:||Black/Jewish Forum of Baltimore, Inc., Baltimore, MD|
|Contact(s):||Bernard L. Berkowitz, President: (410) 542-9673, or Charles G. Tildon, Jr., Past President: (410) 367-1848|
|Purpose:|| To promote increased respect and understanding between the African American and Jewish communities |
The Black/Jewish Forum of Baltimore (BLEWS) was founded in 1978 as an effort to overcome estrangement between African Americans and Jews. During the first decade of its existence, BLEWS focused on dialogue designed to increase mutual understanding. With a current mailing list of several hundred people, BLEWS is now expanding its membership base and embarking on projects to broaden its sphere of influence and impact.
Through educational programs, peer dialogue and collaborative projects, BLEWS seeks to build mutual trust, advance shared interests, develop an appreciation for differing perspectives, celebrate cultural diversity, and develop leadership that can effectively handle or prevent crises. Dinner and lunch meetings are held on a bi-monthly basis featuring speakers on such topics as hate crimes, multicultural education in Baltimore and housing integration. One forum was held by an African American historian and a Jewish historian who compared the Middle Passage and the Holocaust. Dinner dialogues for pairs of African American and Jewish couples are also held to foster friendship and greater understanding.
Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments
In March 1997, BLEWS held an all-day, interactive teen summit for 300 black and Jewish students. The success of this summit led to the planning of a two-year intensive youth initiative involving education, community service and social components for 2,500 black and Jewish high school students. The program has been successful in attaining grant money in order to begin undertaking this two-year youth initiative.
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