May 12, 2016
With the rapid growth of the Korean population in Northern New Jersey, the JCRC initiated a Jewish/Korean Dialogue two years ago, with the goals of promoting greater understanding, fostering mutual respect, and exploring commonalities between the two communities; and enhancing support from outside the Jewish community in efforts to build allies, to assist in countering assaults on Israel’s legitimacy. A Jewish/Korean Outreach Committee was formed to develop the Jewish/Korean Teen Leadership Coalition.
Inspires creative initiatives for other communities
This Youth Coalition engaged in cross cultural exchanges to build bridges of understanding, formed meaningful relationships and friendships, shared a greater appreciation of respective cultures and heritage, and learned of issues of importance to each of their respective communities. This teen group was comprised of ten teen leaders each, from both the Jewish and Korean communities.
Advances the goals of the Jewish community relations field
This initiative served to increase greater understanding and appreciation of diversity among the respective ethnic groups. This coalition building effort fostered relationships with constituencies outside of the Jewish community through mutual collaboration.
Could serve (or has served) as a model for other communities
This program could definitely serve as a model for replication for other ethnic groups.
Encourages new ways of thinking and have the potential to energize the local Jewish community
The program has already begun to bear fruit in the following ways: A second cohort of teens is envisioned for participation by both communities for the next program year. In addition, meaningful relationships have been formed among the Jewish and Korean adult communities for future collaboration on exciting and innovative communal initiatives.
Additional Information or Comments
The Jewish/Korean Teen Coalition consisted of several programs throughout the course of the year, including: an Orientation, a Mitzvah Day project, Coffee House, Lunar New Year Celebration, Model Seder, and a culminating program which included a panel discussion featuring community leaders and an address by Amir Sagie, Deputy Consul General of Israel in New York. Certificates along with commendations from various elected officials were presented to the students for their participation in this year long initiative. Parents and committee members attended many of these programs along with the teens, which made for a very vibrant experience for everyone involved. These resonant experiences will have a lingering effect on the students as they embark upon their college experience. These students will be able to draw upon their greater appreciation for embracing diversity.