Opinions Rosh Hashanah 5779

Preparing for our Future in 5779

Melanie Nelkin is AJC Atlanta president and Dov Wilker is AJC Atlanta regional director.

Melanie Nelkin

Preparing for the upcoming year, we are excited to look toward the future while recognizing the impact of our past. In 5779, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Atlanta region will celebrate its diamond anniversary (75 years) of leadership.

Over seven decades ago, AJC’s Atlanta leaders understood what we know even more intensely today. The Jewish people are a global people, and the challenges we continue to face do not always respect local or national boundaries.

Today’s challenges demand a reasoned, yet strong response from a respected organization that has a global reach. This anniversary year provides us an opportunity to ask how we can continue to make an impact in Atlanta because the challenges we faced 75 years ago may have been different, but many of the themes are still the same.

Dov Wilker

AJC Atlanta’s cohort of professionals, lay leaders and passionate advocates have been engaged on multiple levels to defend our values and define our world. They participate directly with policy-makers, our local diplomatic corps and community partners to find shared values and mutual understanding.

AJC’s network is unique and has never been needed more. Our reach and impact have never been greater. AJC has grown to have more than 60 offices and partnerships around the world. This affords our Atlanta advocates and leaders opportunities to engage on issues such as trade, immigration, Israel’s place amongst the community of nations, anti-Semitism and extremism. We recognize the importance of core democratic values and the integral role they play within our own community as we strive to respect one another’s diversity.

At this moment, we are preparing for our annual Southeast Diplomatic Marathon, a series of meetings with consuls general in Atlanta that mirrors AJC’s high-level diplomatic engagement, meeting privately with more than 70 heads of state and foreign ministers during the opening of the United Nations General Assembly in September. Our own meetings with the Atlanta-based diplomatic corps underscores the importance of international relationships on a local level. It also gives us a chance to highlight and invite leaders outside the Jewish community to participate in our many local community initiatives such as the AJC Atlanta Unity Seder and Shabbat Around the World, where synagogues will host diplomats for Shabbat dinners.

Our history of engagement with Atlanta’s ethnic, religious, international and political leadership has built relationships that have fostered dialogues and deepened mutual understanding otherwise unimaginable decades ago. While the Black-Jewish relationship continues to be the most identifiable, our ties with the Latino, Indian, Korean and Japanese communities also hold the future of our ethnic relationships. Partners such as Muslims, Baptists and Mormons continue to play an important role in our religious dialogues as well.
We often say that we have “something for everyone,” and 5779 will be no different.

Please join us. The easiest way is by visiting www.ajc.org/atlanta/RSVP. Today, we celebrate the impact of the last 75 years, and through our front-line work we will continue to strive for tangible actions and positive outcomes on every level of future Jewish interest. We look forward to strengthening friendships and making new ones over the next 75 years. ■


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