Mission: To develop a committed group of young African-American and Jewish leaders dedicated to fostering diversity and cultural harmony.
“Coming from a big public high school in a racially and culturally diverse area, I have always taken for granted the importance of racial equality. Operation Understanding helped me to internalize this value in a different way, to think more deeply about inequality and my responsibility in the struggle against discrimination. Operation Understanding deepened my desire to battle discrimination and to make that battle a lifelong goal”. – Molly Ashodian OU ‘05
Operation Understanding was established in 1985 in response to concerns about the increasing tension and waning communication between African-Americans and Jews. The program concept was developed by former United States Congressman William H. Gray, III and George M. Ross, Managing Partner of Goldman, Sachs and Company and former Chairman of the Board of the AJC, Philadelphia Chapter. Operation Understanding identifies future leaders, exposes them to cross-cultural experiences, and provides them with the leadership and facilitation skills to promote understanding amongst their peers. The program begins a life-long process of building bridges, cultivating allies, and forging lasting friendships across cultural, racial, and religious boundaries. Through the year-long cross-cultural exchange program, workshops, service to the community, alumni programs, and community programming Operation Understanding is able to share its message of cultural understanding with thousands of Philadelphia-area residents each year. Source: www.operationunderstanding.org