D.C. students visit SelmaPublished 8:17pm Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Students from Washington D.C., Maryland and other northern states met at the Temple Mishkan Israel Wednesday to celebrate and learn about other cultures. Operation Understanding D.C., a program comprised of rising high school seniors in the D.C. area, learned about Jewish heritage and Selma history as they toured the temple.
Hanna Berger and Ronnie Leet, both Selma residents and members of the Jewish community, met with students and explained Selma’s rich history.
“We’ve been studying different religions and trying to find ways for people to understand and accept other people’s points of view and opinions,” OUDC member Kelsey Brown explained. “It’s awesome to travel to these places and learn about the history. I would never have been able to go to Selma, Ala. if it weren’t for this program.”
The program is broken up into three parts, with the final one involving a three-week tour through the South, learning about the civil rights struggle.
Aaron Jenkins, program director, said it has been great to watch students grow and learn in the program. Visiting several places in Selma, such as the Temple Mishkan, has opened their eyes to different cultures and histories, he said.
“This is a great way to expose these rising seniors to different ways of living,” Jenkins said. “We hope when they go back to D.C., that they will take what they’ve learned in Selma and spread it to others.”
Aside from learning about herself and those around her, Brown said she hopes to have a positive impact on others through her participation in the program.
“We’re doing something bigger than ourselves. It’s an experience I wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else,” Brown said. “This program gives me the chance to open up my eyes and expand my horizons and learn more about other people.”