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One America - Coalition For Mutual Respect

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One America

Program: Coalition For Mutual Respect, New Rochelle, NY
Contact(s): Rabbi Amiel Wohl, Co-Chairman: (914) 235-1800
Purpose: To encourage people of diverse backgrounds to learn from one another and build a stronger community

Background Program Operations Outcomes


In 1979, informal meetings between Rabbi Amiel Wohl of Temple Israel in New Rochelle and Rev. Vernon A. Shannon, minister of St. Catherine's African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, resulted in the creation of the Coalition for Mutual Respect, an organization that would rebuild and enhance communication between Blacks and Jews in the area. Although the initial meetings were tense at times, the group concluded that it was important to work together to affect change at the local level.

Program Operations

The Coalition For Mutual Respect sponsors interracial picnics, theater parties, pulpit exchanges and interfaith services. All of the programs focus on building closer relationships among a diverse group of people. The coalition also organizes trips to Israel, incorporating visits to both Christian and Jewish sites, and an annual, well-attended Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Sabbath Day Dinner that is held at Temple Israel. At least once a year, Rev. Rouse of St. Catherine's African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church holds a service attended by synagogue members and presided by Rabbi Wohl.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

Since its inception, the Coalition For Mutual Respect has hosted a series of public events such as a conference on how to overcome racism and anti-Semitism. The coalition has also coordinated the development of a weekly television program that has been broadcast locally, and it hosts an annual dinner for all of its members.

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